'Big Bang Theory' final episode viewed by over 18 million in US

More than 18 million fans said goodbye to some of TV's most highly paid actors in history.
More than 18 million fans said goodbye to some of TV's most highly paid actors in history. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The Big Bang Theory, the show about four brilliant but socially inept scientists that made geeks and comic book nerds pop culture cool, began in 2007 and went on to win 10 Emmy awards, four of them for Jim Parsons as quirky theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper.  

For the past seven years, it has been the No. 1 comedy on U.S. television with an audience of some 20 million people, and with fans as far afield as Russia and France.

Thursday’s one-hour series finale gave fans the kind of closure many had been hoping for, including the repair of the broken elevator in Sheldon’s apartment building that had been a running gag since 2007.

“The Big Bang Theory” has transcended its pop culture origins. The show’s “Bazinga!” catchphrase, used by Sheldon when playing a prank or telling a joke, has inspired the name of a species of bee found in Brazil and a jellyfish found in Australia.

Over the years, the series saw cameos by the likes of British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, “Star Trek” actors William Shatner and George Takei, and Marvel comics legend Stan Lee. 

In the final show, the most touching moments came when self-centered Sheldon turned to salute his friends in the audience.

“I apologize if I haven’t been the friend you deserve but I want you to know, in my way, I love you all,” he told them.

The final scenes sent fans into an emotional meltdown.

The finale of The Big Bang Theory will air in New Zealand on Friday at 7.30pm on TVNZ2. It will also be available on TVNZ OnDemand.