Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' Gets a Gender Swap Companion That Could Be a Keeper

by Padraic Maroney

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday January 18, 2022

'How I Met Your Father'
'How I Met Your Father'  (Source:Hulu)

It was just eight short years ago that "How I Met Your Mother" signed off. At the time, it polarized even diehard fans after dragging them though a season centered around a doomed wedding before killing the long-talked about mother so that central character Ted Mosby could end up with Robin, whom he met in the pilot. Fan reaction effectively killed the originally planned spin-off, but now the producers are back and telling the gender swapped story of "How I Met Your Father."

When the show opens, Sophie (Hilary Duff) is on the verge of turning 30 and has already gone on 87 tinder dates, each seemingly worse than the previous one. On her way to her 88th date, with a guy named Ian who seems like her soulmate, she also meets Sid and Jesse. Her date with is magical — until he tells her that he's moving to Australia the next morning.

Seeming to rectify the original show's belly flop of a landing, "How I Met Your Father" ends the first episode with multiple candidates to be the potential father. Could it be Jesse? Sid? Ian, coming back from Australia? Her roommate's recently-defunded British boyfriend? Who knows! In a later episode another candidate is added into the mix, as well. Though it seems pretty clear who Sophie will end up with, the writers are giving themselves back-ups in case anything messes up their initial plans. To not tip their hand, the future scenes this time around focus on Sophie, played by Kim Cattrall, recounting the story while her son is the disembodied voice.

The first two episodes of the four available to review are pretty rough, with creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger attempting to set everything up amongst the cast of characters. Being that they are merging two groups of people — which each has someone just moving to New York for the first time, it's not quite the easiest to explain everyone's connection. It's also a struggle to maintain the format of the mothership. Having Cattrall's future Sophie tell the story at the beginning and end of each episode, as well as a fun reveal in the first episodes that ties the two shows together, is enough of a connection that Aptaker and Berger can strike out on their own from there.

With the introductions out of the way, the show begins to hit its stride in the third episode, as the characters get to know each other a little bit better and chemistry among the actors warms up. The cast is strong, with many of them already television veterans. It is only relative newcomer Tien Tran who feels like a weak link. But it also doesn't feel completely like the actress's fault, as the writer's don't fully know how to write the newly-single lesbian farmer — the adopted sister of Jesse — who has also just moved from the Midwest to the Big Apple. That's a mouthful, and the writers have her switching moods faster than you can say — wait for it — legendary!

Given the time to breathe, "How I Met Your Father" could develop into a worthy successor for fans of the previous show, as well as entice new viewers with the romantic comedy shenanigans of the characters. The trick with a show like this, however, is that Hulu needs to work with the creators to make sure that the show doesn't unexpectedly get cancelled before the real father is able to be revealed.

"How I Met You Father" is streaming on Hulu beginning January 18, 2022.