TV Review: How I Met Your Father, 1×1, “Pilot”

User Rating: 7

How I Met Your Father is the latest Hulu original series starring Hilary Duff. The show itself is a spinoff from the popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Creators Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger have developed this version of the pilot after several years of workshopping different concepts. In this story, Hilary Duff plays Sophie, a New Yorker who continues to believe in love despite her mom being a party girl and her dad being absent.

Sophie’s a photographer by profession. Her best friend is Valentina (Francia Raisa). They trust each other. One night while meeting her perfect Tinder match Sophie comes across Uber driver Jesse (Chris Lowell) and his friend Sid (Suraj Sharma) while getting a ride to her date and hearing about the story of how they encountered each other. We learn that Sophie’s date is named Ian (Daniel Augustin) and that they had a lot of great conversations just as Sophie was about to delete Tinder from her phone.

We have one catch, Ian is moving to Australia for work permanently. Ian doesn’t want to do long distances, so Sophie will have to deal with being single. This is absolutely devastating to Sophie, and when she wakes up the following day, she learns that Valentina has fallen in love with a British man named Charlie (Tom Ainsley), who used to have lots of money but gave that up to be with her. The whole episode culminates in a surprise proposal done by Sid for his long-distance girlfriend, who is a surgeon in California. One character that we’re introduced to but know very little about so far is Jesse’s adopted sister Ellen (Tien Tran). She is a recent transplant from Iowa and is supposed to be the funny, crazy character.

The narration for this series will be done by Kim Cattrall explaining to her son how she met his father. We’re already given early indications of who the father is based on how the characters interact with each other. We know that Jesse and Ian are our candidates. The audience doesn’t exactly have a firm idea of how Sophie and Jesse match, so the whole thing is about their journey as friends, apparently. This is not necessarily a bad thing because sitcoms rarely focus on how men and women can be friends and not be involved with each other. I would love to see the creators actually take the time to go this route and allow these characters to really care about and support each other over time rather than having them jump into a romance quickly.

The main problem with this initial pilot is that the only character I legitimately want to learn more about is Sophie. Hilary Duff does a fantastic job at playing a woman whose life you want to be involved in. The audience is motivated to see her succeed based on her personality and how she treats others. She might be the perfect Ted Mosby character type. Valentina is far too impulsive and chaotic for her own good, but they need to tone her down and give her heart for that character to work long-term within the show. Chris Lowell, as Jesse, is a perfect casting choice for a likable good-looking guy that Sophie could easily fall for, but he also needs some form of depth other than being the guy who got rejected for a proposal on YouTube. That’s just not good character design.

The things that I like about this pilot are the relatable situations for women in their late 20s early 30s trying to find something meaningful. The heartache of really looking for someone who wants to care is genuine. The pandemic is an interesting backdrop for this love story. While it hasn’t been mentioned heavily yet within the series, I imagine it will play a part in other stories, making for some interesting plotlines.

This will not be the best pilot you see this year, and as a series, it’s really got to score very quickly to get audiences engaged for multiple seasons. I don’t know how this show will do that, especially because it’s on Hulu. I want this cast and the creators to succeed, but they have to keep things more grounded and less chaotic for audiences to continually relate to what’s going on. I don’t care about how Sophie met her son’s father; I just want the journey to be meaningful, and hopefully, this time around, it will be.

How I Met Your Father is now streaming on Hulu.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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