Almost exactly eight months ago, the ninth and final season of CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” came to its long-awaited conclusion. As the show had promised since the very beginning of the series, the series finale finally showed Ted (Josh Radnor) meeting Tracy (Cristin Milioti), the future mother of his children. It only took 208 episodes and about twelve dozen close calls, but “How I Met Your Mother” did it, finally letting Ted and Tracy meet-cute under a yellow umbrella in the rain.
The story didn’t end there, however. Tracy, a quick montage revealed, has been dead for six years in 2030, and the true point of 2030-era Ted rambling to his increasingly bored children was to test the waters regarding their thoughts on “Aunt Robin,” Ted’s longtime off-and-on love interest (Cobie Smulders) with whom Ted was apparently always meant to end up.
Of course, that’s not unusual for a series finale — sticking the landing is one of the hardest things a show ever has to do. For one thing, the terms are sometimes impossible to dictate, thanks to an abbreviated season, unexpected cancelation or lack of renewal. And even when the show has some sense of control over its ending (or at the very least, a little bit of warning), it then has to measure up to fan expectations, which can be even more brutal than the critics. “Lost” had literally three years to work up its conclusion, and people still got pretty mad.