LOS ANGELES — There will be 59 series starting their new seasons on the five network this fall to go along with the 26 new programs being added to the lineups. All but one of those shows will start the year hoping to have a good enough year to get brought back next season.
The cast and crew of "How I Met Your Mother" start their ninth season on Sept. 23 knowing that this is the last year. After being teased for nearly a decade, viewers will finally get to find out how Ted (Josh Radnor) met the woman he would wed. How that plays out through the final episodes isn't clear, but it will all take place in what's supposed to be the weekend leading up to the marriage of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders).
If that's the case, Smulders had better like the wedding dress her character will be wearing because she'll be in it for a big part of the year. The only break will come, as has become the norm with the Monday night CBS comedy, during episodes that will include a flashbacks.
The end of "How I Met Your Mother" is bittersweet for the Canadian actress. She's excited about the opportunity to move on to other projects, but she's been on the show for so many years that it feels like home. The reality is that it hasn't hit her that this is the end.
Just like fans of the show, Smulders got to see the "Mother" when Cristin Milioti appeared in the last moments of the season eight finale. There have been a lot of different candidates for the "mother" job over the years.
"In the first year, I thought I was going to end up being the mother," Smulders says. "But that went away in seasons two or three. There still have been a lot of people who wanted to offer their theory. For me, all I cared about was what I was doing."
Smulders is glad Milioti will be on the series all season and get to interact with the cast. Her greatest fear was that the character would be revealed in the last scene of the very last episode with Bob Saget — who's been the narrator as the voice of future Ted since the start — saying "and that's how I met your mother" and the screen going black.
After this season, the cast members will go their separate ways. Smulders has been thinking about future work that could include stage or even another series, although she's leaning more toward work in films.
"Right now I'm excited because since we know this is the last year, I have time to chose what I want to do," she says.
Smulders is going to reprise her role of Agent Maria Hill — first seen in the feature film "The Avengers" — in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" that will be released in 2014. She's hoping to be part of the "Avengers" sequel when it starts filming. She will make a guest appearance as Hill in the first episode of the new ABC series "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," which airs Sept. 24.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.