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How I Met Your Mother is noted for the large number of actors featured in it who have also worked with renowned fantasy/sci-fi writer/director/producer Joss Whedon.
Co-creator Craig Thomas' wife, on whom Lily is based was a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan and suggested Alyson Hannigan to play the character. This started a trend with actors who had previously appeared in Whedon productions guesting on the show or in Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders cases would star in Whedon productions after appearing on HIMYM. In the case of Cobie Smulders, she was recommended to Whedon by HIMYM co-stars Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris.
For essentially all of the minor characters it's a coincidence that the same actors appeared in both HIMYM and Whedon productions, just like picking any two random long duration television shows and finding common characters.
|Actors||In HIMYM||Other shows||Chracters in these other shows|
|Alyson Hannigan||Lily Aldrin||
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
|Neil Patrick Harris||Barney Stinson||"Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long-blog"||Dr. Horrible|
|Cobie Smulders||Robin||"The Avengers" / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D||Agent Maria Hill|
Recurring characters Edit
|Actors||In HIMYM||Whedon works (episode title)||Character in these works|
|Alexis Denisof (Alyson Hannigan's husband)||Sandy Rivers||
|Harry Groener||Clint||"Buffy"||Mayor Wilkins|
|Rachel Bilson||Cindy||"Buffy"||Colleen, a Potential Slayer|
|Ray Wise||Robin Scherbatsky Sr.||"Dollhouse" ("The Left Hand")||Howard Lipman|
|Nancy Lenehan||Cheryl Whittaker||"Buffy" ("Dead Man's Party")||Pat|
One episode charactersEdit
|Actors||In HIMYM (episode)||Whedon works||Characters in these works|
|Ian Abercrombie||Ben Franklin ("The Goat")||"Buffy" ("Homecoming")||Techno-Hunter|
Penelope ("Come On")
|Morena Baccarin||"Crazy Eyes" Chloe ("Swarley")||"Firefly"||Inara|
|Tom Lenk||Scott the barista ("Swarley")||
|Danny Strong||Trey ("Last Words")||"Buffy"||Jonathan Levinson|
|Seth Green||Daryl LaCoutre ("The Final Page Pt1")||
|Daniel 'Oz' Osbourne|
|JP Manoux||Eric ("The Limo")||"Angel" ("Are You Now or Have You Ever Been")||Bellman|
|Caroline Lagerfelt||Bridal shop lady ("Cupcake")||"Buffy" ("Lies My Parents Told Me")||Spike's mother, Anne|
|Pat Crawford Brown||Thelma, the old lady on the plane with Lily ("Three Days of Snow")||"Buffy" ("Doublemeat Palace")||Creepy old lady|
|Phil Lewis||Loan officer 'Dowisetrepla'.||"Buffy" ("Beauty and the Beasts")||Mr. Platt|
|Eric Bruskotter||George ("Little Minnesota")||"Angel" ("Provider")||Brian|