To be fair, if the criteria for a successful sitcom is one that makes us laugh a couple of times in a half hour — though are our standards so low? — then The Big Bang Theory is a success. One example of a joke that lands solidly is this exchange, as Leonard stares wistfully at Penny:
Leonard: Our kids will be beautiful and smart.
Sheldon: Not to mention imaginary.
Most proposed shows never make it to the pilot stage. Most pilots never make it to series. Most new series aren't successful. Given that, and my general lack of precognition, I rarely make predictions about which new shows will find an audience. But in a time when Two and a Half Men is the most successful sitcom around, The Big Bang Theory's similar tone and pedigree makes me think this one's got a decent shot.
And because another truth about pilots is that they're never as good as the eventual series they spawn, I have some hope that if it doesn't rely so heavily on the unrequited lust, and relies instead on the charm of the two physicists — yes, I said charm and physicists in the same sentence — The Big Bang Theory's potential success might not even make my brain explode.
The Big Bang Theory premieres Monday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. on CBS, in the cozy spot between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.