'Hindsight:' How the VH1 series captures the past perfect
It’s no secret VH1 loves the ’90s—and now the network is renewing its vows, so to speak, with Hindsight (Wednesdays, 9 p.m.). The scripted series follows fortysomething Becca (Laura Ramsey) as she travels back to the decade of baby-doll dresses and beepers for a second chance at life and love. Creator and executive producer Emily Fox tells EW how she brings the past into the present.
Finding a home
With its #TBT backdrop and earworm of a soundtrack, you’d think Hindsight was genetically engineered for VH1, but the series was actually developed for another network: NBC. “They had liked it but passed on it, and it was sort of sitting on what I imagine to be a pile in a great warehouse of pilot scripts,” Fox says. “VH1 was looking to develop scripted material, and they were looking to buy stuff that had already been developed and written so they could adopt it, basically.” Happily, it took very little retooling to get the series fit for its permanent place on the dial.
Fox didn’t intend to create a ’90s-set series—the time period was simply a by-product of the story she wanted to tell. “We set out to make a show that was about this character getting another chance to make some big decisions in her life, and the math worked out to land her in the ’90s,” Fox explains. When it came to capturing the decade’s trappings, the writers’ room had a sizable cache of memories to call upon (Fox jokes that her head is one big ’90s Pinterest board), but they also relied on visual inspiration to get the world just right. “We definitely have numerous bulletin boards that are festooned with pictures from My So-Called Life and 90210 and Blossom and Melrose Place,” Fox says.
Lingering on the music
An important part of what makes Hindsight such a wistful snapshot is its carefully curated score. And on that note, Fox gave music supervisor Jon Ernst a specific mandate: “I don’t want the top single from this album. I want the fourth single from this album, I want the one that sort of reaches into the back of your consciousness, that flicks this switch that hasn’t been flicked in 15 years,” she says. The result: tons of catchy tunes you may have forgotten you loved—from the series’ theme (Spacehog’s “In the Meantime”) to songs from Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and the Cranberries.
Dressing the part
While ’90s fashions have enjoyed a resurgence (thank you, Forever 21), Fox wanted to make sure Hindsight‘s look book was true to the time period. “You can get ’90s-type dresses, but they’re not actually ’90s. Now everything is super body-hugging and flattering. In the ’90s everything looked like pajamas,” Fox says. So she and head of wardrobe Lorraine Coppin culled vintage finds. “When we first started out on the pilot, we sat in a hotel room in Universal City for 48 hours and went through racks and racks and racks of things she found in a warehouse.”
Back to the future
On the surface, Hindsight‘s time-travel conceit could appear limiting (after all, 13 Going on 30 told a similar story in 98 minutes), but Fox assures that she and the writers have thought beyond season 1. “Our hope is that we can ratchet it up and create more intrigue, more drama, more excitement, more fun, and take it to an unexpected place,” a coy Fox says. Consider our VCRs set.