Last night, VH1 debuted its latest scripted drama, Hindsight, and all things considered, it’s actually pretty good – if you can get past the idea that clogs were ever a fashionable option for women’s footwear.
The show revolves around Becca, played by Laura Ramsey (Mad Men), a familiar face, but still relatively under the radar. On the eve of her second wedding, in a very Thirteen Going on Thirty trippy teleportive way, Becca is transported back to the nineties just in time to be faced with the reality of making the same mistakes for a second time.
The pilot itself is mainly concerned with establishing the characters, most of whom you meet both in present day and then as younger versions of themselves, and setting the groundwork for the series as a whole. It answers most of the basic questions – how, what, where, when – but leaves a heavy question mark hanging over the why.
Becca’s first order of business in 1995, after freaking out – a totally rational reaction to the situation – and seeking council from her best friend, Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), is to decide whether or not to go through with her first marriage to hunky Aussie Sean (Craig Horner). Her relationship with both of these characters is non-existent in the future, so it’ll be curious to see how far Becca’s round two decisions impact how things turned out the first time.
It’s still too early to tell if this entire experience is a roundabout way for her to end up in the same spot more or less, or if the writers are planning to completely overhaul Becca’s future. They’ve been fairly upfront with revealing how things went wrong in her marriage to Sean, but they’re being extra sly about what exactly triggered the fight that ended her friendship with Lolly.
Although the concept of hitting the reset button isn’t a fresh idea by any means, the execution brings viewers a comedic take on an old idea, without the hassle of reinventing the wheel. Hindsight also teeters on the idea of something we’ve seen before, the ripple effect (thank you, Back to the Future). How will Becca’s decisions change not only her life, but the people around her? There’s already some glaring differences starting to pop up between the characters as their past and future selves – mainly her mother, who may undergo the biggest transformation of all if things keep going the way they seem to be.
Ultimately, the biggest question that Hindsight brings to the table is whether of not Becca has learned enough from the future to let herself be happy in the past. With a healthy offering of nostalgia, viewers have a chance to ride the wave of “what if’s” along with the characters. There’s a lot about this show that seems familiar, but then again, it’s also what makes it so kitschy and easy to be sucked into.
The only thing about Hindsight that could become problematic is if the writers continue to rely on the expected as the basis for their story arc. With material that’s essentially been done before, they need to break from the mold and quickly – the more curve balls the better. Otherwise, Hindsight has the unfortunate potential to become a glorified hodgepodge of recycled content.
Overall, Hindsight is a fun and enjoyable new show. If you go into it not expecting to be blown away, there’s a decent chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. With a solid ensemble cast and an imaginative narrative, you can get your fix of comedy, romance, and drama all in the same place.