How I Met Your Father is now streaming its two-part premiere on Hulu, so fans of beloved sitcom How I Met Your Mother might be wondering exactly how this new series connects up with the original show, which ran for nine seasons on CBS from 2005 to 2014 and starred Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, and Cobie Smulders. So is it a spinoff, a sequel, a reboot, or a mix of the three?
For starters, Father shares a very similar premise to Mother, only with a few tweaks. Just as the original followed Ted recounting the highs and lows of his young life to his kids in the future, the new series sees Sophie (Hilary Duff in the present, Kim Cattrall in the future) doing the same. Like Ted, Sophie is also surrounded by an ensemble of eccentric friends. In this case, that’s Jesse (Chris Lowell), Valentina (Francia Raisa), Charlie (Tom Ainsley), Ellen (Tien Tran), and Sid (Suraj Sharma).
Sounds like a reboot, then, right? Wrong. The two-part premiere makes clear that the two series share a continuity by slipping in a few Easter eggs, including the return of Ted, Marshall, and Lily’s apartment, which is now home to Jesse and Sid after Marshall and Lily sold the place in the Mother series finale.
While these connections confirm a link between the series, Father isn’t a direct continuation of the same story. According to what showrunners Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker told NBC News, the new show is officially classified as a “stand-alone sequel.” Duff, who also serves as a producer on the series, likewise stressed that HIMYF isn’t a “reboot” and is just “borrowing” some familiar elements from the original.
We are not trying to reboot and re-create,” Duff explained. “We are borrowing some important parts of the [original] show that made people fall in love with it.”
“As soon as you try and replicate something successful you fall flat on your face,” Aptaker told NBC when discussing the changes Father makes to the formula, including Kim Cattrall’s Old Sophie appearing on-camera, unlike Old Ted (the late Bob Saget) who only served as a narrator. “So we thought, what if instead we showed an older version of the character telling the story to her son but also to the audience?”
So there you have it. “Stand-alone sequel” How I Met Your Father‘s premiere is now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes arriving Tuesdays.