The theme song sounds and the show name sound familiar, but the cast and creative team behind the new How I Met Your Father want you to know this certainly isn’t your Mother’s TV series. They recently discussed that during the TCA Winter Press Tour.
Set in the near future How I Met You Father (aka HIMYF) which premieres on January 18th on Hulu, tells the story of Sophie (Hilary Duff) looking back on her younger days in 2021 where she and her best friends (Chris Lowell, Francia Raisa, Suraj Sharma, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran) are figuring out who they are and what they want out of life.
While it shares some genes and lives in the same universe as the beloved How I Met Your Mother which ended in 2014 and found a whole new audience on streaming, this series is something completely fresh.
Showrunner/EP Isaac Aptaker clarified, “People keep referring to this show as a reboot. It’s not a reboot. I went on a deep dive on Wikipedia, and I learned this is what’s called a “standalone sequel,” which means that it’s set in the world of the previous show, but it’s really its own thing.”
This is great news for fans of ‘Mother’ because instead of getting a rehash this HIMYF aims to be a much more rewarding experience – one that can be enjoyed by a wide audience “There’s going to be lots of little rewards for people who love the original if they stick with us,” Aptake continued. “I think that will satisfy people who never have seen How I Met Your Mother and will satisfy people who are madly in love with the show.” As Director/Executive Producer Pam Fryman added, “It’s for everybody. It is so spectacular in its own right.”
Elizabeth Berger who serves as Showrunner/Executive Producer has been waiting years to bring How I Met Your Father to television. The process began before her work on This Is Us, then had to be put on hold and then hold again for dual pregnancies with Duff. “We really did not want to do this one until we could really do it right and give it our all, and we knew we could not do that while co-running a giant show that would take all of our time and energy… and then it finally did,” explained Berger.
Something that became quite clear as I listened to the cast speak about the series are some of the universal themes that will connect with today’s audience. The series touches upon, “just trying to find love in this world that we live in with all the (dating app) options that there are and how hard it is to meet someone face-to-face. “I think that they are not alone. It’s brutal out there, and just having the support system of your friends,” said Duff.
Hilary Duff was in the producers mind very early on. Once she signed on they “built out this incredible cast.” Chris Lowell (who plays Jesse) spoke about the unexpected place where their chemistry originates, “We are six pretty radically different people. We have such different lifestyles and styles in general. I feel like it’s so complementary.” He continued, “I think everybody brings so much perspective and ideas and style, and it’s just a fun sandbox to play in.” Suraj Sharma (Sid) agreed, “Everybody is entirely different, and I feel like that kind of brought this vibe to it.”
Chemistry is crucial when telling a story about such a large group of friends. Audience investment starts with Duff’s character Sophie but must extend beyond her. To accomplish this, their stories needs to be relatable. “Sophie isn’t quite where she thought she would be, and she’s just flailing a little bit. She’s just navigating,” explained Duff. But this is not just about Sophie’s story. “We are diving into each one of these characters, and we are watching these bonds happen. The show is really about friendship.”
The first two episodes of How I Met Your Father begin streaming exclusively on Hulu on January 18th with future episodes coming out weekly on Tuesdays.