There was great anticipation among fans of “Lizzie McGuire” when it was announced new episodes were to be produced. That happiness was crushed when the series never happened.
Those fans can take a little comfort in the fact that “Lizzie McGuire” star Hilary Duff is starring in a new series where she plays a McGuire-like character. Her character of Sophie is a single woman looking for love in the new Hulu series “How I Met Your Father.”
The first season of the series about life in the era of dating apps launches Jan. 18 on the streaming service.
Yes, it is a semi-sequel to “How I Met Your Mother” more than it is a continuation of the “Lizzie McGuire” story but if you squint real hard… Actually, Duff prefers viewers to look at this show in a whole new light.
“I think she’s a totally different character,” Duff says. “And, we get to obviously have a lot more fun with what people are doing in their 30s.”
Just like “How I Met Your Mother,” the series starts in the near future with Sophie telling her son the story of how she met his father. The story then jumps back to the year 2021 where Sophie and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are and what they want out of life.
Duff points out that the biggest difference between her new series and the “Lizzie” days is that “How I Met Your Father” looks at a group of friends. They will have each other for support.
“It’s brutal out there. Just having the support system of your friends, I think there’s obviously a little bit of an effect of the hype thing where she’ going to date this person. This person is going to date that person,” Duff says. “But we all are this tight knit group of friends and just relying on the people that you love and having the experiences in your early 30s.
“I think, probably, Sophie isn’t quite where she thought she would be and she’s just flailing a little bit. And everyone around her is helping boost her up, not that she’s down and out by any means. But she’s just navigating.”
Duff is certain viewers will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations the characters will face because she has plenty of friends who are going through the same thing when it comes to dating. She loves getting the opportunity to play this character while she goes on her dating quests.
The role on “How I Met Your Father” comes to Duff after her seven-year run on the TV Land series “Younger.” A big difference is Duff will also serve as a producer on “How I Met Your Father.” That means Duff may be able to work in some musical number as a reminder she also has a global singing career with more than 15 million records sold worldwide and five consecutive top five album chart debuts.
Duff is also an accomplished author having released her first children’s book, My Little Brave Girl, which debuted on the New York Times best-seller list. It was inspired by her own experience as a mother.
Along with Duff, the cast of “How I Met Your Father” includes Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran, Suraj Sharma as well as recurring stars, Kim Cattrall, Daniel Augustin, Ashley Reyes and Josh Peck.
Duff is quick to point out this is not a show solely about the ups and downs of Sophie’s dating life.
“It’s not just about Sophie’s story. We are diving into each one of these characters, and we are watching these bonds happen,” Duff says. “The show is really about friendship and just the fact that Sophie is very effervescent and it’s hard to really get her down.
“She kind of keeps getting knocked and she just keeps trying. So it’s a feel good show at the same time. It’s funny and it’s real and we get some little tug-on-the-heartstring moments for sure.”
Executive producer Isaac Aptaker explains that while his new show is set in the same world as “How I Met Your Mother,” it is a completely different project. Because the team is such a big fan of “How I Met Your Mother,” there will be some elements in their show that make a connection between the programs.
Aptaker adds, “There’s going to be lots of little rewards for people who love the original if they stick with us. So, I think that will satisfy people who never have seen ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and will satisfy people who are madly in love with the show.”
One element that may be the same or different is how long it will take to show who is the dad in “How I Met Your Father.” The details of meeting mom in “How I Met Your Mother” took 208 episodes to reveal.