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Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger: Their journey in conquering TV

by Conor O'Brien
Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger

While many casual television fans may be unfamiliar with this writing/producing duo, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger have well and truly conquered the television landscape.

This Is Us. Love, Victor. And now, soon to be, How I Met Your Father. What do they all have in common?

While very different in terms of characters, storylines and situations, the three projects share the creative powerhouse duo of Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.

If you just enjoy watching your favourite shows and don’t think about the people making it all happen, Aptaker and Berger are probably unfamiliar. That’s okay! We’ll be breaking down their journey in recent years all the way to 2021, as they have added another major credit to their repetoire.

After meeting for the first time at the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger wrote episodes of several television sitcoms, including About a Boy, The Neighbors and Grandfathered.

The latter, a one-season FOX comedy (2015-2016) John Stamos and executive produced by Dan Fogelman, proved to be the most fruitful for the duo.

Following the cancellation of Grandfathered, Aptaker and Berger joined the writing staff of Fogelman’s new project; NBC’s romantic family drama This Is Us. For those unaware of the premise, the series follows the lives of several members of the Pearson family, led by patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As well as being separated physically by living in different states, the show also utilises flashbacks and flashforwards to add extra dimensions to the characters.

Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger
Image courtesy of NBC

In March 2017, after the entirety of This Is Us’ first season had aired, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger were named co-showrunners alongside Dan Fogelman for the second season, a position they continue to hold as of the current fifth season.

In these new roles, they have been able to spearhead the show’s creative direction and have experienced success including multiple Emmy Award wins for the series.

Aptaker and Berger adapted Becky Albertalli’s book Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda in the 2018 film Love, Simon which starred Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford and Tony Hale, among others. Following this, they expanded upon Albertalli’s universe with their new series Love, Victor for Hulu.

This show follows a new character, Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino), who, like Simon had been, is a closeted student at Creekwood High. Having fully shown Simon’s story as told by Albertalli, Love, Victor follows Victor’s own coming out journey.

Simon (with Robinson reprising the role) appears as a recurring character, narrator and emotional support. The show was renewed for a second season in August 2020, with Breaking Bad alum Betsy Brandt joining the cast.

Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger
Image courtesy of Hulu

Just when you thought Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger couldn’t get any busier, they added yet another show to their schedules.

In continuation of their relationship with Hulu, the streaming platform ordered 10 episodes of How I Met Your Father straight to series.

The project is a reimagining of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014), with original creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas serving as executive producers on the new show.

Hilary Duff (Lizzie Maguire) will play Sophie, the show’s central character, a mother telling her children about how she met their father. As this news was only announced in late April 2021, there is not much more to share, as of writing.

Josh Radnor played ‘Ted Mosby’, the equivalent character in the original series, while Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and Cristin Milioti also starred.

Image courtesy of Katie Jones/SheMedia/Shutterstock

Who knows what Aptaker and Berger will do next?

This Is Us airs Wednesdays on NBC.

Love, Victor Season 1 is available to stream on Hulu.

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