After nine season and 208 episodes, How I Met Your Mother aired its season finale last night. But whatever your feelings about it (and there were plenty of them), fans of the show will be without one of the most reliable comedies of the last decade. Fortunately, there are plenty of shows —new and old, niche and broad, live-action and animated — that can fill the void left behind by the Mother gang:
New Girl (FOX)
If there's a genuine spiritual successor to HIMYM, it's New Girl. Swap New York for Los Angeles, add a prominent player (depending on how you feel about the return of Coach) and you've got the very familiar early 30s, three guys-two girls, sexual tension all over the place, nonstop inside-joke formula that made HIMYM so successful. The archetypes don't quite match up — though Max Greenfield's Schmidt is a fan favorite in much the same way that Neil Patrick Harris' Barney was —but it's close enough that HIMYM fans should be able to seamlessly transition to New Girl. Plus, without an overarching gimmick that mirrors the one from HIMYM's, New Girl viewers shouldn't be in for nearly as much disappointment when the show eventually finishes its run.
Dan Harmon's critically acclaimed show already has a devoted following, but there's still plenty of room on the bandwagon. It might not be quite as easy to slip into Community as it was HIMYM, but the payoff is almost guaranteed to be more rewarding. Rather than following a familiar formula week after week, each episode of Community is its own adventure — all set within the confines of the world's worst community college. The show lost its showrunner (Harmon, who has now returned) and two of its cast members (Chevy Chase and Donald Glover), but remains as funny as it's ever been and shows little sign of slowing down. Its partner for NBC's 8 p.m. hour on Thursday nights, Parks and Recreation, is also a viable option.
If HIMYM's propensity for inside jokes is what drew you to the show, Archer should be your next stop. It's true that it has little obviously in common with HIMYM other than the fact that they're both half-hour comedies about humans (Archer is an animated series about about a spy agency-turned-drug cartel, soon to be turned-spy agency once again), but it takes inside joke-making to unprecedented levels. Archer also has the advantage of being arguably the funniest half-hour on television, so it's hard to go wrong there.
You might have heard of them. The spiritual predecessors to HIMYM, Seinfeld and Friends are both worthy of binging if you didn't catch them the first time around. HIMYM is about a close a clone of Friends as you'll find — though there have been plenty of imitators over the years and HIMYM is, by all accounts, the best one. As for Seinfeld, if you haven't watched it yet, you probably should just go ahead and do that. (Also if you watch its finale, you probably won't be as disappointed by HIMYM's anymore.)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
HBO's latest comedy effort, created by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill), isn't likely to bear much resemblance to HIMYM as it chronicles the efforts of six programmers looking to hit it big in the tech industry, but it does start this Sunday and has received rave reviews. Never hurts to start something from the beginning, especially since that's not an option for the five shows listed above.
How I Met Your Dad (CBS)
Of course, the other option is to wait for HIMYM's spinoff, How I Met Your Dad. The new show, which will not so much be a spinoff as its own standalone series, features an entirely new cast, headlined by Greta Gerwig as the dad-meeter. Though it will feature all-new characters and locations, HIMYD will be run by HIMYM showrunners Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, as well as Emily Spivey. Few details are known at this point, but its a safe bet that HIMYD will feel very familiar to fans of its predecessor.