Reminiscent of the movie “Sliding Doors,” VH1’s latest scripted series, “Hindsight,” contains a familiar but nevertheless intriguing premise: What if handling one moment or action differently could seriously alter your life? Throw in a time-travel element, “Life on Mars”-like anachronisms and the desire to get home again, and there’s plenty of material to mine in this promising hour, which, like most such exercises, fares best if you don’t overburden the concept with a lot of thought or questions, like why someone who goes back in time would bother working when she could simply make a killing by investing in Apple.
The premiere finds Becca (a very appealing Laura Ramsey) preparing for her second wedding. Yet she can’t help but wonder if she’s going to get it right this time, plagued by doubts about her judgment that have her “questioning every decision I’ve ever made” and wanting to “go back and start over.”
One inexplicable elevator ride later, and she has the chance to do exactly that. Having fainted, Becca awakens in 1995, on the eve of her first marriage. So will she again go through with her wedding to the sexy Sean (Craig Horner), which turned out to be a disaster, and repair her friendship with bosom buddy Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), with whom she had a falling out that the older version of her still regrets?
Series creator Emily Fox has some of the expected fun with Becca’s knowledge of the future, telling Lolly that a nerdy guy “got cute — the same thing happened to Patrick Dempsey.” Plus, there are amusing throwaways, like the O.J. Simpson trial playing on TV.
At its core, though, “Hindsight” explores whether the title attribute really is 20/20, or if people are doomed to repeat their mistakes — or, by altering events, just create a new batch of them.
Of course, making it all about one woman’s journey keeps the field of vision rather narrow, and the pilot (directed by Michael Trim) doesn’t provide quite enough depth to fully appreciate the gravity of what changing Becca’s past might mean. Other than the styles of the era, scant effort has been made to reflect the passage of two decades on the characters, which is a quibble, perhaps, but a trifle disorienting at first.
Still, just looking at the series’ potential in the initial episodes, it’s an obvious backdrop both for light-hearted soap opera and nostalgic comedy — about everything from AOL to smoking in bars — two qualities that dovetail pretty neatly with the niche that VH1 courts on a regular basis.
Add those breezy qualities to the show’s central relationship between Becca and Lolly, and the good choice of Donna Murphy and Brian Kerwin as Becca’s parents, and any number of cable networks might find themselves looking back on “Hindsight” wishing they had the foresight to develop it.