March 12, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “Hindsight”


HINDSIGHT has been a very pleasant rom-com-dram vehicle that probably didn’t generate enough in the way of buzz, and certainly didn’t score the ratings, to survive past its first season, notwithstanding its cliffhanger season finale.  (Its only real chance is if network VH1 decides to make a statement by backing its first scripted series no matter the numbers.)  So referring to it in the past tense is probably accurate.  Emily Fox’s show, though, was negligible but not unskilled, and quite likable.

Fox and her fellow writer/producers successfully solved what appeared to be Hindsight‘s main issue as a going concern, which was whether the kind of high-concept premise that would normally support a 2-hour movie could be sustained for a continuing series.  Here the gimmick was that present-day Becca (Laura Ramsey), unhappy with both her dead-end job and her unexciting fiancée Andy (Nick Clifford), stepped into a magic elevator–and when she exited, it was 20 years earlier, the night before her first marriage to the more exciting but infuriating artist Sean (Craig Horner).  Even though she was back in her 1995 life and body, she knew everything about what would happen over the next two decades, including the wreck her marriage to Sean was going to become.  The dilemma of the show was whether Becca should, or could, change her destiny and those of the people around her, starting with her decision to leave Sean at the altar.

Hindsight made some missteps early on, like the repeated appearances of a mysterious black guy in various guises (he seemed to be inspired by the Don Cheadle character in the similarly themed Family Man) who never actually told Becca anything and didn’t add much to the show.  The low-rent production values have been little short of glaring.  (It’s set in the part of New York that offers Georgia tax incentives.)  The tone has wobbled at times between earnest drama and caricatured sitcom.  (Andy’s 1995 girlfriend Melanie, played by Jessy Hodges, has been particularly grating.)  The writing has some life, though, smartly playing the time-travel gags with a soft touch (Becca more or less invents viral marketing before its time), and layering some of the characters with a sense of genuine regret for their seemingly unstoppable bad choices.

As Hindsight‘s season went on, it shifted from being concerned mostly with Becca’s love life to her friendship with Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), and that was a wise decision.  The men in the show, although Fox made an effort to give them some dimension, especially Becca’s untrustworthy brother (and Lolly’s sometime boyfriend) Jamie (John Patrick Amedori), were relatively simplistic.  The Becca/Lolly relationship, however, best demonstrated the advantages that came from stretching what could have been a compact movie story into an extended series, turning Lolly from what would have been a mere kooky sidekick (think of it as the Judy Greer role) into a character as rounded as Becca’s, with her own set of complicated feelings.

In tonight’s season finale, written by Fox and directed by Roger Kumble, the central story revolved around that relationship.  In the future, Becca would meet Lolly’s old friend Kevin (Steve Talley) and, despite knowing that Lolly had feelings for him she’d never told him about, Becca would end up in an adulterous romance with him, one that would shatter her friendship with Lolly.  In the show’s alternate 1995, Becca did everything she could to avoid getting involved with Kevin, but Lolly, the only one who knows about Becca’s time travel, figured it out, and had the fight with her that Becca had been dreading.  That led to Becca going back to that elevator and hoping it would bring her elsewhere, the result left open at the episode’s end.  (Other finale plot developments, like Andy’s sudden marriage to Melanie and the consequences of Jamie stealing and then losing his doctor father’s prescription pad, were less interesting.)

The impact of the past/future on the main characters was affecting.  Ramsey, without any physical transformation beyond some effective costuming, has been able to suggest the weight of the extra decades she carries in her mind, and she’s appealing both when she’s being funny (a cute if not unfamiliar sequence in the finale had her leaving endless messages on Lolly’s answering machine) and distraught.  Goldberg is similarly capable of being sharp-witted and vulnerable.  That elevator’s destination may remain unresolved, but on the merits Hindsight has earned another ride.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."