We knew the series fate of How I Met Your Mother
was uncertain, and now Variety
has reported that CBS and 20th Century Fox TV have entered "preliminary talks" to discuss a possible ninth season for the veteran comedy. With an unexpected ratings increase in season 7, there is a mutual interest in extending the series for one more final season (all parties are committed to season 8, which premieres on September 24). But in order for that to happen, a lot of pieces have to fall in line: creators/producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, in addition to the show's increasingly busy
five stars, will all need to extend their contracts, and CBS and 20th will have to agree on a license fee since their two-year deal also expires next May.
While we as viewers don't have much say in these ongoing negotiations (which will need to conclude soon, given the imminent season 8 premiere), we CAN discuss and speculate which option is preferable from a fan perspective. Thomas has said the show runners have "a Plan A and a Plan B"
for how the series will finish, depending on that possible season 9 extension. Since we already have a general idea of how season 8 will proceed, here's my guess as to what those two* plans might resemble.
Plan A: Season 8 as the Final Season
If this upcoming season is the show's last, I'm betting it will end with Barney and Robin's wedding (which was revealed in the season 7 finale), when Ted finally
meets The Mother. We know Barney and Robin will start off season 8 in separate places (Barney will be engaged to Quinn, and Robin will begin a "significant" relationship with someone else). And even with 24 episodes in a season, it's going to take them a while to eventually call off those relationships and find one another in a way that is unforced and believable (they are ultimately getting married, after all). Plus, I think it would be a bit awkward to have their wedding/The Mother's reveal in the middle of the season, and then continue the remaining episodes getting acquainted with The Mother. How would the season/series end then? Knowing HIMYM
's writers, they're going to want to end with a bang.
Plan A is to tie up the Barney and Robin romance once and for all, while having Ted close the door on Victoria so he can finally be ready to MEET THE MOTHER in the season/series finale.
Plan B: Season 9 as the Final Season
An alternative plan is to have season 8 go as previously outlined, but then use season 9 to actually integrate The Mother character into the group. This character is someone we've been waiting to meet for seven-plus years and if the show ends with a one-time ta-da reveal, I don't think it will mean as much as it potentially could if the show's narrative continues. Plus, perhaps something could go awry at Barney and Robin's wedding (like someone fleeing the altar; Ted calls it "the wedding day that went horribly wrong," after all) and they could use season 9 to address their uncertain relationship and finally come together for real.
The opposing argument for this concept is that season 9 could lose its steam, since the whole Ted-meeting-the-mother plot is what defines and moves the show's narrative. Some would argue it's not called How I Got to Know Your Mother
or How I Fell in Love with Your Mother
Plan B is basically Plan A plus a more fleshed out story of who The Mother is, why we should care about her and how Barney and Robin really seal the deal on their relationship.
*OR, Plan C: Season 9 as the Final Season, Option 2
Considering the arguments against Plan B, there could also be another alternative: have Barney and Robin's wedding/Ted meeting The Mother at the end of season 9 and use the final two seasons to carefully lead us up to that point. Given how much the writers like to leave little hints, I could see them carefully crafting their way along a two-season path to build upon an already crazy hype in the ultimate reveal in the series finale. But I personally find this thought a bit tortuous, and would prefer Plan A to Plan C, if the show is really going to end with The Mother's reveal.
Based on these options, which would you prefer?
While I like the romantic notion of Plan B and getting to know The Mother beyond a brief reveal of some stranger's face, I do think it would be hard to actually execute while sustaining the momentum that's naturally built into HIMYM
's premise. For that reason, my vote goes to Plan A. After voting, sound off in the comments below to support your opinion--or provide a Plan D as to how you think the writers can best conclude this one-of-a-kind series.
(Image courtesy of CBS)