I met your mother?
How I Met Your Mother premiered on CBS on September 19, 2005. The show was created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. As a framing device, the main character, Ted Mosby (Radnor), with narration by Bob Saget, in the year 2030 recounts to his son and daughter the events that led to his meeting their mother, which explains the title and allows for a narration in the past tense. How I Met Your Mother's other main characters are Marshall Eriksen (Segel), Robin Scherbatsky (Smulders), Barney Stinson (Harris), and Lily Aldrin (Hannigan). The show was renewed for a sixth season.
Inspired by the idea "let's write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York," How I Met Your Mother is Bays' and Thomas' idea. The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters, with Ted based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily based loosely on Thomas and his wife. Thomas' wife Rebecca was initially reluctant to have a character based on her, but only agreed if they could get Alyson Hannigan to play her. Fortunately, Hannigan was available, and was looking to do more comedy work.
Attentive fans will be rewarded with a wealth of small references to past episodes. Though there are moments when the fundamental premise--that this is all part of an unbearably long story that a future Ted is telling to his children--feels obnoxiously stretched (toward the end of the season, one episode in particular builds up to a false revelation), for the most part HIMYM is a sterling example of a well-sustained sitcom; the characters have successfully grown over the four seasons without losing everything that made them funny in the first place. The number of extras is surprisingly small--only a few show commentaries, an enjoyable group interview, and an extended version of Barney's video resume.