November 17th, 2013 How I Met Your Mother 3
Networks don’t like getting rid of successful shows. Too many shows have been kept on the air long past their expiration dates because they were still getting good ratings. After a few stale seasons, someone eventually realizes that it’s time to let go, and the show finally ends. But what happens when the network thinks that rebooting a beloved (and exhausted) show with a new cast and a different perspective will bring back the spark and keep their cash-cow rolling?
CBS has officially decided to buy a pilot for How I Met Your Dad, which follows the titular mother of How I Met Your Mother as she embarks on her own journey to find her future husband, a.k.a Ted Mosby. Basically, they hope to recreate the same show they’ve been making for 9 years, just with different characters. I can totally see why CBS thinks this is a smart move. HIMYM is still doing very well ratings-wise, so why not try to keep that audience as long as possible? The premise is one people like to see, and will probably want to watch with a fresh take.
I’ll tell you why it won’t work: It barely ever does!
Too many times shows try to stay alive through spin-offs and reboots, and they are almost never as good as the original show. If a show is already exhausting its material during the run of the original show, chances are the writers won’t come up with anything new, and all the stories will just be rehashing stuff that’s been done. Usually the only thing keeping viewers after a show starts its downward spiral is love for the characters. I’ve definitely continued watching shows after they’ve gotten unbearable (HIMYM included) just because I wanted to check in on the characters I love and the actors who played them. If a spin-off of a show eliminates all the characters that viewers were watching for in the first place, there’s no reason for them to put up with sub-par writing and ideas.
A good example of a show that tried to spin-off this way is when That 70’s Show became That 80s Show. T7S started losing its appeal during the second half of its season run, with many fans not even wanting to acknowledge that season ever happened (myself included). For some reason, somebody thought it was a good idea to take the premise of the show, but make it take place in the next decade with an entirely new cast of characters. Naturally, the show bombed, only lasting for 13 episodes.
Again, I really do understand why it’s so appealing for networks to make shows this way. The fan-base is built in, the hard work of coming up with a premise is already done, and ordering a spin-off is less risky than putting trust in completely knew showrunners. CBS is not a network known for making good TV, so all they care about is most likely the bottom line. However, I really think they should look at television’s short history and decide if it is really a good idea.
After all, That 80’s Show is not the only spin-off that failed miserably. Scrubs, which was a much better show than That 70’s Show, also had a failed reboot with the much-hated season 9. Friends had Joey as a spin-off, which actually kept a beloved character on the show, but it also was cancelled after two terrible seasons. There are so many factors that go into making a television show great, and attempting to recreate them will never work. CBS should just let How I Met Your Mother die with the dignity it has somehow managed to retrieve with its last season, and leave it at that.