Freaks and Geeks (TV Series 1999–2000) Poster


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Perfect Television (only a network executive couldn't love it)
liquidcelluloid-117 April 2004
Network: NBC; Genre: Drama/Comedy; Content Rating: TV-PG (for language, drug use and adult content); Available: on DVD; Perspective: Modern Classic (star range: 1 - 5);

Season Reviewed: Completed Series (1 season)

There are few shows, currently on the air or in the entire pantheon of television, that are so obviously crafted with as much love as 'Freaks and Geeks'. Created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, 'Freaks' crackles with an honest writing and flawless chemistry and creates it's own wonderful universe. To watch the show is to be awash in details and obvious care that was taken to make it.The high school series has never been so real.

'Freaks' follows a group of geeks and a group of burnouts at McKinley High School in 1980, both of which centering around the Weir siblings. Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) is our heroine whose rebellion from the Mathlete life and into the world of the burn-outs (with the terrific James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen & Busy Philipps) creates a domino effect that the entire series spins on. Sam Weir (John Francis Daley) is an underdeveloped geek whose unrequited love of cheerleader Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick, perfectly cast) drives much of the geek story lines. Sam faces the torment and humiliation of daily life in high school with friends Neil and Bill (wildly underrated, star-making Samm Levine and Martin Starr, respectively). The show is a badge of honor for all involved.

The school is populated with a fully realized universe of supporting characters from Lindsey's church-going friend Millie to Dungeon master Harris to Mr. Rosso (David "Gruber" Alan, hilariously stealing any scenery not bolted down) - the school guidance counselor without any boundary for the inappropriate. . No more accurate depiction of the look and feel of high school (or the hell that was high school depending on your perspective) TV has ever seen.

Becky Ann Baker and Joe Flaherty make the perfect '50s era parents. Flaherty comes off the most over-the-top, but even that fits the vision. The dinner table scenes between the Weir family are so uncharacteristically happy and intentionally corny that it will surely be off-putting to the average cynical viewer. Years before "The Office" made embarrassment and viewer discomfort into a science, "Freaks and Geeks" was doing a similar thing, effectively making us really feel Sam and Lindsey's embarrassment over their parent's behavior. I particularly like the set design of the Weir house, and the show in general. "Freaks" is set in 1980 but designed with 50s, 60s and 70s paraphernalia. Unlike the many fast food period pieces now, - "That 70s Show", "The Wedding Singer", "American Dreams" - where the decade is treated like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, the decade doesn't turn over to 1980 and suddenly everyone runs out and buys parachute pants and the Thriller album.

The self-professed anti-'Dawson's Creek', the series is almost as distinctive for what it isn't than for what it is. It isn't a flashy show with 20-something preps playing high school kids set to blaring Top 40 pop songs where the biggest problems among the characters include juggling two hot dates on the same night. In other shows - most overly concerned with what the consuming public thinks of them, the geeks and the burnouts are fringe groups usually given as much thought as the potted plant in the corner, or used as 1-joke stereotypes. 'Freaks and Geeks' is the first show to acknowledge that they may be more interesting. They don't participate in the high school caste system and they muse about never being able to get girls.

I love the way the show's camera lingers on faces and soaks up Cardellini's incredible expressions. It rests on the kids as they sit and talk about their favorite drummer or the TV show they watched last night just like everyone does. At an hour the show allows for those quite moments. Just as it takes time out to do elaborate mid-show set pieces like an action movie-like dodge ball sequence or a violent spat between Kim Kelly (Philips) and her parents. The series is packed with these unforgettable little moments - heart-breaking and screaming funny, sometimes all at once. In 18 episodes it says more than most shows ever do: the geeks watching their first porno, the freaks getting their first fake IDs, the family catastrophes in Niel and Bill's homes and the painfully real crush Sam has on Cindy. Their world doesn't always a happy ending and awkwardness and embarrassment rule the day.

The fact that 'Freaks and Geeks' wasn't given a chance to make it by NBC is a sad testament to how network executives box in their viewers to find a ratings silver bullet. No matter, these 18 episodes are self-containing and fully satisfying enough to get over the sting of the network apathy. I'll break a rule and do a little necessary promotion here. All this is captured in a DVD set this show deserves, with as much attention and love put into the extras (29 commentary tracks!) that was put into the show. It is the single best DVD I've ever seen.

Who knows if the show would have been able to keep it up as the kids grew up and the show had to be written around it. As it stands, this is like lightening captured in a bottle. That perfect mix of all the elements coming together to make a truly classic series. No matter what the future holds, "Freaks" has a reserved place in my heart. This is really one for the ages, people. No list of modern classics is complete without "Freaks and Geeks".

* * * * * / 5
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Best show about young people in a long time.
11-ball21 March 2000
"Freaks and Geeks" is about as good of a television show as tv can be. I'm only two years out of high school, and although the show is set in 1980, it effectively captures the life of high schoolers. Nowadays, with this huge surge in teen movies and television, I feel that young people are misrepresented by television shows like Dawson's Creek and movies like "Varsity Blues." Simply put, beautiful people were rare at my high school. Nobody I ever knew engaged in sexual relations with a teacher as a freshman, and I was never approached by women wearing only whipped cream (and I was a three-year varsity athlete). My high school life exactly resembles what the kids in "Freaks and Geeks" do: talk about sci-fi movies, get high, feel alienated by my parents, had confusing talks with guidance counselors, etc. And these kids look like teens, with big glasses, young faces, and zits. From watching "Dawson's" or all the other teen movies out there (although some of those films are admitteldly entertaining I liked "She's All That" and "10 Things I Hate About You) one would glean that all teenagers are young Adonises. "Freaks and Geeks" thankfully corrects that error.

Most importantly though, "F&G" is a great show. Hopefully NBC finds an audience for this show. It is definitely different, slower paced, and doesn't play the latest hit music at full volume, but it IS clever, funny, and warm. It also deftfully balances comedy and drama, without ever being cloying, manipulative, or condescending to its audience. I hope this show stays around for a long time. If NBC drops it, please, some other network, give "Freaks and Geeks" it's very well-earned chance.
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Excellent acting, great music and good storylines.
llihilloh15 July 2000
Why is it that all the best teen shows get cancelled way before their time? Maybe because the show is set in the 80's (where teenagers won't relate to some of the stuff back then). Or maybe because people don't look for smart acting anymore. Even if you were born after all that hippie - disco stuff, you should still be able to enjoy the show.

Personally, I don't think the show stood a chance. First, it was hardly advertised by NBC. Second, it was placed on a Saturday night. And third, it was taken off the air for a month or so and then brought back. You couldn't have any worse luck. Then when it came back on the air, they only showed a couple of episodes and decided to cancel it for good.

To sum it up - it was a good little show with terrific acting, excellent music, good clothes, great storylines, and a hell of a good try to stay on the air. Unfortunately, it didn't even survive one season. All I know is that I loved it and thank goodness I recorded most of the episodes.

Anybody who missed this show, you lost a chance to see what real television is about.
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Great little show!
Infofreak27 June 2001
Freaks and Geeks, like too many shows with a lot of potential, was shown here in Australia in a ridiculous time-slot and never had the chance to build an audience of any size. Pity, cos it was one of the best shows to come along in years. In 1980 (when the show is set) I was around the same age as a lot of these characters, and to me it caught the flavour of the era authentically. Was I freak or was I a geek? What do you think? Across the board great writing, casting and acting. I think there's a few future stars on show here. Also cool use of appropriate music. Not just the predictable (Styx, Rush), also the unexpected (a track from XTC's "Black Sea"!). Shows someone knows what they're talking about! And any show that featured Kevin Corrigan AND Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman in the same episode HAS to be cool, right? Hope this re-runs one day...
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One of the few gems in network TV
dark_phoenix_fire_1313 March 2005
Of all the shows I have ever seen, none have stuck with me quite like Freaks and Geeks has. To put it simply, the show was brilliant. Too bad it had to be canceled. The writing and acting was superb, I don't think anyone can say that they didn't fall in love with the characters. I mean come on, Bill? The stories each were well made and I found myself already anticipating the next episode. Kudos to Paul Feig. The story is centered around the two children of a middle class family as they grow and evolve in high school. There is the older daughter, Lindsey, a book smart, goody-goody, looking for approval and acceptance from the stoners AKA the freaks. Then there is the younger son, Sam, who is the stereotypical nerd of the early 80's. He is constantly in conflict between the popularity aspect versus his friends, the geeks. Over the 18 episode first and only season, the characters undergo many changes that almost any person can relate to somewhat in their high school years. The entire series is all about the self discovery of these two kids and their friends as they venture through high school and in my mind was too good for TV. If only HBO had gotten to it... Oh well... I do highly recommend buying the DVD because this show was beyond words in the excellence it displayed, thank you for one of the best years of television Paul Feig!
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A Classic (In my mind anyway)
Jdc1022 September 2000
This show was without a doubt the BEST new show on Television. It actually gave a new meaning to television and introduced wonderful and funny characters. The cast is perfect and the writing and acting is so great, there was nothing wrong with the show, in fact it was about 10 times better than some stupid sitcoms still on TV (some not all). Bill Haverchuck, played by Martin Starr is probably my favorite character because he was a interesting and funny character. The only problem was that NBC didn't give Freaks and Geeks a decent time slot. It was so unfair.

Get the DVDs, you'll LOVE them!

Thank You
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Quite possibly the best show in TV history
zetes14 September 2008
I had heard this series bandied around by its fans like it was the greatest work of art in television history. It seems to inspire maniacal devotion, so much so that its fans bend over backward to praise anything with the Judd Apatow stamp on it (he was the producer, but not the creator, of this show). So, yeah, it had a lot to live up to. Somehow, despite all the praise it's gotten, it not only met my expectations, but wildly exceeded them. Freaks and Geeks is nothing less than one of the finest, if not the finest, television series that has ever been produced. Set in a suburban Detroit high school in 1980, the show follows the two titular groups (the Freaks being stoners, rockers, hippies and the like), both headed by a member of the Weir family. Lindsey Weir (Linda Cardellini) is a junior, a former smart, goody-two-shoes type of girl who wants to leave her past behind to hang out with the freaks, mostly because she's attracted to Daniel (James Franco). Unfortunately, he already has a girlfriend, Kim (Busy Philips). Also in the group are Nick (Jason Segel), who eventually falls for Lindsey, and Ken (Seth Rogan), a guy who hides behind biting sarcasm. Sam Weir is a tiny 14 year-old freshman who gets picked on constantly, as do his two best friends, Bill (Martin Starr) and Neal (Samm Levine). The show has a pretty even dose of comedy and drama. I teared up as much as I laughed, anyway. The scripts are just amazing, with the characters being some of the most fully-fleshed I've ever met on TV. Especially impressive is the fact that the writers don't make the adults in the show, the parents and the teachers, two-dimensional villains. Nearer the beginning of the show, I was thinking that the Weir patriarch, played by SCTV's Joe Flaherty, was a tad too jokey, but he gains depth with every appearance. Dave 'Gruber' Allen stands out as the school's hippie guidance counselor, again, never stereotyped. Even when he's pitted against the main characters of the show, he always comes off as an adult who is genuinely trying to help those children in his charge. The show features a wonderful soundtrack that rarely ever feels like you're just sitting listening to a classic rock station (this is certainly why the DVD set costs a fortune). It's a tragedy that the show was cancelled after just 18 episodes. I honestly never even heard of it until it was off the air. Every episode I watched, I got sadder, knowing the end was nigh. High school has never been seen with a clearer eye, written more honestly.
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Too exceptional to be allowed to remain on TV!
MartinHafer9 July 2006
This was a marvelously written and acted TV show. And, since TV is often a medium full of vacuous mind-numbing crap (reality TV, Jerry Springer, etc.), it's no wonder that this show bombed--it was just too good. It's really a shame, as I think the show would have appealed to people of all ages--kids as well as their parents.

The show centers on two siblings, their family and their friends. The oldest daughter is practically a genius and a nice girl, but she longs for so much more out of life than just good grades. So, she leaves her old friends and creates a new identity with the "freaks". Her younger brother is one of the most geeky kids you could imagine--except for his friends which are even worse. Nice kids, yes, but total geeks.

Each episode tended to focus on one or both of the teens and despite their differences, they both were basically decent kids. The parents, though pretty dorky (especially Joe Flaherty as DAD), were nice folks as well and you couldn't help but care about them all. AND, in spite of all I have mentioned, the show kept a nice sense of humor and was never saccharine! What a pity.
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Long live William McKinley High School, 1980! (minor spoilers)
vertigo_143 April 2005
I have just finished watching the Complete Series DVD collection of "Freaks and Geeks," one of the best high school television series on televisions that, thanks to idiotic network executives who continue to make the decisions that make network television more and more unbearable to watch, have truly missed out on a gem. And, thanks to a healthy fan network, I was able to enjoy every bit of the series (as short as it was) on DVD.

Freaks and Geeks was one of the most honest portrayals of high school life, pleasantly departing from the overrated attention given to other television series and films who consistently focus on the "untouchable" classes of the dreaded high school social caste system that we are all likely too familiar with. The assorted teen dramas, and the difficulty of just subsisting in the often passively rigid classes within the high school social scene. This television series presented things from two perspectives: a group of freshman friends marked as "The Geeks" and a group of older friends, underachievers known as "The Freaks." The Geeks often provided the comical element to the show, while the Freaks often explore more dramatic story lines such as problems with parents (a constant subplot), self-esteem, drugs, and more. Although the Geeks confronted their own share of problems, their youth and easygoing attitude often made the situation more light-hearted.

Other commentators have often posited the question (on the "Freaks and Geeks" board along with other short-lived television series) why shows like these never last long on television. While "Saved by the Bell" might have been the only show to be quite successful with it (though only after significant retooling of the original series, "Good Morning Mrs. Bliss would NBC even agree to pick up the show), my guess is that this show may have initially had a difficult time finding a loyal audience in the crucial early days of the show. There were issues of drug use and teenage sex which some might not have found ideal for the younger viewers of this show (people in their very early teens as this show tended to sometimes celebrate drug use...even though there was one episode that was clearly anti-drug). Five years ago was a different time, however. And shows like "The O.C." (on Fox) seems to get away with stories surrounding its "young" characters and attitudes towards casual sex. Sadly, however, the network, too, is to blame, as it shifted the show into unrecognizable time slots, airing a show that was ideal for young audiences at a time when they would least likely be watching television--Friday and Sunday evenings. I cannot say that this would be why other television series surrounding high school would also be canceled.

It might also be that the show was never given a fair chance. Some might have quickly judged it as a rip-off of "The Wonder Years" (John Daly and the Geek Gang--especially Neil and Harris--did look like characters you might find on that show, not to mention the high school looking just like that in The Wonder Years).

My other guess for the reason that shows like these are often short-lived is that they are too expensive to produce. "Freaks and Geeks," like "My So-Called Life" filled a lengthy time slot of fifty minutes or so. Filmed partially on location and partially on a set (like "Sqaure Pegs" and "My So-Called Life"), a show like this becomes very expensive to produce and, may unfortunately force some hasty decisions about how long a network would ride out slack ratings.

I still think NBC passed up a good thing, and possibly other networks if it was pitched to them once being canceled. It was a great show that tried to produce a very dynamic set of characters and stories and did well.

I would also like to say while I adored nearly every character on the show (except for Nick who's obsession with Lindsay transformed him into not only a bizarre, but a boring character), I thought Martin Starr was the best as the witty Bill Haverchuck (I love his Bionic Woman bit when he is getting his costume ready in the Halloween episode). Though I thought him to be needlessly bizarre in the beginning (particularly due to his gawky appearance), he turned out to be one of the best characters. He always tried his best to be a good friend to everyone and, he always had some of the funniest lines in th show (Joe Flaherty, as Sam's dad, also had a bunch of good one-liners). And, while he was not in the show but sporadically, I also loved 'Harris,' the Geek mentor who always seemed so confident about everything.

Long live Freaks and Geeks! May the television show's creators reconsider trying this one again (even if you have to start over with a new cast, since everyone has aged six years--as of this writing).
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One of the best shows of all time.
mikefogerty28 March 2006
The show's creative team seems to have an eye for the high school experience and their vision transcends the setting. Freaks and Geeks is set at a Michigan high school in 1980 and the opening shot of the series sets us up for who the show will be about. We track across a football practice and up to the bleachers where a player and cheerleader are discussing how they love each other so much, it's scary. We linger briefly on this generic moment before moving underneath the bleachers to real life and a conversation about Molly Hatchet and Led Zeppelin. These are the Freaks. Then come the Geeks. They are three boys quoting Caddyshack, are bullied for it, and then saved by a girl. It's through these freaks and these geeks that we will relive the high school experience. Sure the names of the groups change, their lingo and the bands they listen to, but everyone can relate to the horrors and beauties of high school and the relationships that reside there.

So many characterizations about this period of life are presented through the eyes of characters that virtually no one was. The characters are either too smart, quoting Kierkegaard at fourteen and making their own label-worthy clothing, or they are perfect, as if everyone's capable of making the game-winning shot. Our story here is presented through the lives of Lindsey and Sam Weir. Lindsey is the oldest. She's a former "mathlete" and "that girl in English who got an "A."" However, dissatisfaction with her life and an attraction to the easygoing ways of Daniel Desario, the head freak, leads her to a new group of friends and a shift in direction. Her successes as a student and the perception of her as a perfect daughter have left her feeling empty. So she trades her plaid dress for her dad's old army jacket and forsakes the library for the smoking patio. But Lindsey's is not simply a story of "teenage rebellion." Her's is a journey into the genuine as she finds a home in the murky adventures of friendships and a real life lived.

Sam and his friends, Bill and Neal, are freshman, learning from the outset that "high school sucks." But their stories are not simply the ninth grade torture chamber they could have been. No, Sam, Bill, and Neal are redeemed by their acynical, wide-eyed approach to life and their affection for one another. This care they have for one another is refreshing and truthful. In one episode (The Garage Door), Sam suspects that Neal's dad is being unfaithful in his marriage. Bill reminds Sam that he has to tell Neal what he saw. There are no secrets. "Remember that time in science class when I tried to sneak out a fart and it came out a…poop? Do you think I wanted to tell you that?" Their innocence isn't simply an extension of their naivete, (well, Bill is a little naïve) but flows more from their trust in one another and willingness to be faithful. In "Smooching and Mooching," Neal and Bill discuss strategy for spin-the-bottle at an upcoming make-out party. Bill asks, "What if they don't wanna kiss us?" Neal replies, "That's the genius part of the game. They have to." "I don't know. I just don't want to see the expression on their face when they see that the bottle lands on me," says Bill, gently. The geeks are not understated, and yet never over the top. They get their friendship just right.

Freaks and Geeks also gives us two of the great television characterizations that I've ever seen, Bill, played by Martin Starr, and Nick, played by Jason Seigel. Bill is the anti-Eddie Haskel. He's brimming with authenticity and his laid back ways provide some of the shows greatest comedic moments. In "Girlfriends and Boyfriends," Bill gets to be study partners with Cindy Sanders, one of the cutest girls in school and Sam's big crush. At a study session, her getting up from a chair is accompanied by a noise that either came from her or from the vinyl seat covering. When she leaves the room he immediately switches chairs and scootches around on it to see if indeed the sound came from Cindy or the vinyl. (It wasn't the vinyl…) Nick isn't quite so self-assured. If he is wide-eyed, its because he's staring into headlights. In fact, there are times when he comes off as manipulative and creepy and yet there is a sadness in his character that I haven't quite seen before. He is afraid. In "I'm With the Band" Lindsey encourages him to try out for a local band and fulfill his dream of being a rock-n-roll drummer only to find that his skills don't quite match his passion for the music. In "Discos and Dragons" he finally finds something he's good at, disco, and yet it's revealed to the viewer that the disco will close within a weeks time. He's the friend that has to be taken care of. (Ken smashes Nick's guitar so that he won't sing an embarrassing love ode to Lindsey.) Yet he wants to be the spirit of the group. ("Laser Floyd is playing at the laser dome!") But Nick isn't simply sad because bad things happen to him. He wants to be a deep thinker, but can't scratch the surface of things and conventional modes of "finding your way" seem only to backfire. He has glimpsed his place in the world, and he can't bear it.
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It's a shame they took this off the air...
JBoze3133 October 2000
I just started watching this show lately now that it's on Fox Family Channel. I saw one episode before, where the kid is the mascot for the basketball games and all. I love this show! I think it's one of the funniest shows I have ever seen in my life. The characters are the best of almost any series I have ever seen as well. I especially love Haverchuck...he cracks me up. The show deals with kids who are sort of outcasts in high school in 1980, and what outcasts they are. You have the rebel sister and the dorky brother in the main family in the show, and they both will make you laugh. I think the biggest laughs come from Sam and his friends. They are sort of geeky, but they try their hardest to be cool, and they talk constantly about getting chicks and how hard it will be. In one of the episodes, they think Neal's father is having an affair, and Haverchuck says," I don't even know how you get one chick, let alone two." or something to that effect. This is a great show, and it saddens me to see that NBC screwed it up with it's horrible scheduling and promotion. The show deserved much more of a chance than it had, because it's one of the best shows to come along in years, but leave it to the networks to screw up a great thing.
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Charming Cast, Superb Acting, and Great Soundtrack
cuevasadrianomiguel14 July 2020
The only teen tv show that doesn't deserve a freakin' one season. As an 18 years old turning 19 in the 21st century, Freaks and Geeks didn't make me feel bored at all. NBC made a wrong decision when they cancelled it for a second season. They argued that it had an average ratings but the real problem is - the poor timeslot (source: reliable online articles).

Unlike any other teen tv shows, this doesn't feel unreal. You can easily relate with the story and its characters that was made possible by the charming cast and good screenwriters. The songs adds an effect to the series - like a seasoning to a main course dish, great soundtrack indeed. Watching this series brings you not only lots of laughter but also lessons in life.

Even though the series is critically acclaimed and always had been on the list of "Best TV Shows of All time" in many articles, magazines, and the like - this series deserves more recognition than it is getting. This is a classic show that needs to be recognize by broader audiences.
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Ahead of its time...
Space8143 October 2008
Freaks and Geeks is quite possibly one of the best television shows of the last 20 years. Maybe even better. It's raw, real, full of laughs and pulls every heart string. I believe, wholeheartedly, that if this show was aired now, it was have a massive viewing audience. I think ten years ago, the public wasn't ready for it. Now that Judd Apatow has had some serious box office hits (Knocked Up, etc.) the public might be more receptive to F&G.

My proposal: Judd Apatow, write a Freaks and Geeks movie with all of the same characters. Yes, John Francis Daly will be much taller and I'm sure some of the other freshman (i.e. Martin Starr) may look a little older. I don't care what plot twists might have to be added to make it work, but I think it would be incredible.

I just watched the final episode, again, and was choked up. It never gets old. "Ripple in still water...."
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Great, original, true. Watch it get canceled.
Steph-11326 September 1999
I was born in 1980, but I appreciate this show much more than laughable crap like Dawson's Creek. I think NBC showed some rare good judgment when they picked this show up. My biggest worry is that none of the "Dawson's" set will watch it, it will flounder for ratings, and that this good thing will come to an end. Try to prove me wrong, Okay?
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Best High School series I've ever seen...
LobotomyKid12 March 2006
I'll make it short because most comments here will already tell you how great this show is in detail much better than I could and in adding a lenghty review I would only repeat much of the other reviews. Freaks and Geeks is a wonderful show with real characters the viewers can identify with and it tells school life as it was with all the humiliations, pain, angst, joy, discoveries,'s a very honest and low key show with a slow narrative but the stories and characters really grab you by the heart. The casting was incredible and the chemistry between the actors is something else. Especially the geek trio is awesome. Sams unanswered crush he has on cheerleader Cindy is something all Geeks of the world can relate to, as we all know nice guys finish last :-) I was fed up with all the models and pretty boys who follow these stupid, superficial, oversexed and manipulative dating&love story lines a long time ago already and only recently saw these episodes of Freaks and Geeks. And it was like a fresh breath of air! I didn't watch it from the beginning unfortunately and zapped in to "We've got spirit". Then came the scene when Todd thanked the team and the high school and then he thanked God, and I knew I was in for something special. Only I didn't know right then and there just how great of a show freaks and Geeks truly is! The fact that NBC stopped this series after one season only is a true testament to the sad state of television these days.
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AllisonLVenezio13 January 2003
The teen years are already hard to swallow without all the other consistent pressure of growing up. However, most shows don't represent this properly--or they portray "beautiful people" as the troubled group. "Freaks and Geeks" blows that completely out of the water, and depicts the lives in two unique fringe groups--square geeks and lowly freaks, and their trials and tribulations, as they work to gain acceptance from their unfair peers in an unfair environment--high school.

In 1980 suburban Michigan, Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) is a perfect student--a Mathlete, brilliant, promising. Her grandmother death floors her, and sends Lindsay into a tailspin. She drops the Mathletes and ditches her bookish ways to become a freak--though she is still a smart one. Meanwhile, her brother, Sam (John Francis Daley) is beginning his freshman year with his friends, Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) and Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine), and the boys are immediately thrown into the geek group.

I am a 20-year old college sophomore, and when this show premired in September 1999, I was a junior in high school. I was also unfortunate never to see this show during its initial run, because I was not home when it aired. I remember "Freak and Geeks" being placed in death knell time slots on Saturday and Monday nights, and saying to myself "NBC isn't giving this show a chance." It didnt--"Freaks and Geeks" was cancelled after only 4 months, and several episodes did not make it to air. I was largely disappointed, because I had good intentions on watching this show, and was never home to do so. Much to my luck, ABC Family began airing the reruns, so I taped one to watch. The first episode I saw, "Looks and Books," was hysterical. Recently, I saw the episode with the tuba girl, and this past weekend I saw "Chokin' and Tokin'," where Lindsay smokes potent marijuana that Nick gave her, and Bill accidentally eats a peanut that was jokingly put on his sandwich during lunch. That was the best of the three I've seen.

I attended high school between September 1997 and June 2001, and the school was majority (99%) white, and centrally located in suburban southern New Jersey. My high school had several distinct groups in its structured hiarchy: the jocks, the smart kids, the preps, the in-betweeners, the geeks, and the freaks.

Our freaks were goths--they wore black, clamped dog chains around their necks, wore fishnet shirts underneath t-shirts, dyed their hair weird colors, and were controversial figures--they often wore black trenchcoats and hated everyone who wasn't them. They were burnouts who took classes in the D-Wing, which was where all the woodshop, graphic arts, and special education classes were. In other words, if you were a D-Winger, you weren't the best of students, and were placed there because you were not a productive member of the student body.

Meanwhile, our geeks enrolled in computer science classes, and played role-playing card games in lunch. The geeks were impatient with everyone who didn't understand them, and they always worked as tutors. Basically, I refused to get tutoring for math because of them.

I, on the other hand, was not a geek nor a freak. I was an in-betweener--I got good grades but couldn't compete with the smart kids, well-dressed but not cool enough to be a prep, definitely not of geek appeal, and frightened of anything the freaks did (seriously, they used to stare at anyone who wasn't them). I could relate to Lindsay--I was constantly looking for acceptance, but I got by (I've been better off since I started college). This show portrayed teen angst the way it was mean to be portrayed--among the groups that feel the wrath of high school. Too many times have movies and television shows depicted the angst among the beautiful, smart, rich kids--what do they have to be angry about? It's the rest of us that fought for acceptance. The in-betweeners worked just as hard as everyone else, but our individuality kept us out of the respectible groups.

When I first saw this show, I saw distinctions right away, and similarities to my own school years. I also saw something in Lindsay--I knew she's grow out of the funk she was in once she grew up, and I knew she would do ok with herself. I liked the geeks because they always had something funny to say, especially Sam, who was reduced to stammering "Oh, hi Cindy" every time he saw her. Neal was the one who tried to be cool, but his geekiness held him back. Bill, thankfully, didn't look like anybody I went to school with, although that would have been funny. I also love the time period it takes place in--1980. What's not to love about the '80s???

This is a brilliant that was never recognized. Thankfully, the reruns were resurrected, so those of us who missed it the first time can see it now. I'm really liking this show, and I tape it every time its on (again, I miss the reruns because "Saturday Night Live" is on, and nothing comes between me and "Saturday Night Live"). If you get the chance, and have ABC Family. check this show out--it's 60 minutes of something we can all relate to.
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The entire high school experience in eighteen episodes
GRWeston30 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When I was in high school, the most popular TV show about people my age was Dawson's Creek. As someone who was on the outside looking in to the kind of teenagers this series featured, I avoided it because I thought it would be as incomprehensible as some of the lectures on C-SPAN. Before Freaks and Geeks, the supposed antithesis to shows like Dawson's Creek, came along, my first thought was that with a title like that and a tag line of "what high school was like for the rest of us," it would be along the lines of the typical '80s teensploitation movie. Instead, we got a show that is intelligent, heartfelt, genuinely funny and - best of all - real. Instead of stereotypes, Freaks and Geeks gives us characters who seem so authentic that it is easy to mistake their names for the names of similar people we grew up with. I knew at least one dismissive, sarcastic man of few words like Ken, a constantly fighting couple like Daniel and Kim and was, ahem, knew an awkward, all-around geek like Bill. Despite focusing on the titular cliques, the show covers facets of high school life both in and out of the classroom that all students regardless of social standing encounter. These include romantic relationships that end before they begin, initial exposures to sex, drugs and alcohol and what could be the overarching theme of the series: how difficult it can be to discover who you are and where you belong. My favorite episode and the one where I feel the series hit its stride is "Carded and Discarded," particularly for how it reveals the unfortunate fact that some high school friendships are merely confidence-building stepping stones to bigger and better things. Freaks and Geeks only lasted one season, but since its portrait of the high school experience is so complete, this is hardly a drawback. For this reason and for the show's hilarity, authenticity and that it never hits a false note, Freaks and Geeks deserves to be on a list of the best TV shows of all time.
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One of the best T.V shows I have ever seen.
pinkpooch271 December 2011
I had read a lot about this show and was dying to see it. I have watched all 18 episodes 4 times over. The first time I saw it I did a marathon run and stayed awake until I'd watched the lot. It really is that good.

The thing I liked about it most is I could relate to the characters whether they were freaks or geeks. It was shot in 1980 a year before I left school. I was one of these characters even though I was in another country, it didn't make a difference. School is school no matter where you are.

If you haven't seen this masterpiece then do so. Then tell everyone. Linda Cardellini is fantastic in this as are all the cast. There are so many future stars in this show it's amazing. I will leave it to you to spot them. Enjoy.
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Newer review - still a great show!
holepuncher8 February 2006
Just wanted to provide an update. It's Feb 2006 and I just started watching the show this year. It is a really good show. The other guys comments from 2000 still apply.

It's a school comedy/drama that follows the life of a family that has a geek (and geeky friends) and a freak (and freaky friends). The show refers to freaks as grungy stoner/slackers.... It has really funny moments where they are really geeky and even sad/funny moments where they are being picked on etc... Sometimes it's sad but funny at the same time cuz you know it's just a TV show. Science fiction conventions, nerdy crushes, bullies, school tests, gym class, cheerleading, mean teachers, nice teacher, teen angst, drugs, parties, mathletes, etc.. all that good stuff... throw in some very traditional/conservative parents and things get quite enjoyable to watch...

I think the more episodes you watch, the more the characters grow on you... I am hooked now... it's a light, enjoyable show. It's comedic, has some drama but just not too much, romance but not too much... most of the time it is just interesting watching the characters react to their situations... and sometimes it makes me reminisce about highschool/junior high... many of the characters on the show remind me of people I once knew... and once laughed at back in the cruel halls of junior and senior high....

I definitely recommend watching/buying/downloading this show.
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gs011b25248 April 2002
In short - a beautifully observed, moving, funny and witty show, sadly cancelled by it's network. Freaks and Geeks is a remarkably honest programme, and brilliantly acted by its cast. It is interesting to see now, when many of its stars, such as James Franco and Linda Cardellini, have gone on to higher profile projects.

All in all, unmissable, a gem of a programme that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Well worth seeking out. 10/10
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I'm eighteen and I don't know what I want.
Polygone19 August 2012
This show is one of the best shows ever and probably the best one about teenagers.It is accurate - I really like the fact that there's no happy ending in every episode. Everything in life is not gonna be OK. The acting, the dialog, clothes are excellent, so are the songs played and characters have a lot of depth.

I watched the pilot episode a month ago and thought it was alright. After the second one, I was hooked and watched the whole series those last three days. Eleven in a row, one of them. Well, that's what summer holidays are for, aren't they? It made me nostalgic about an era of my life that just end two months ago: High School. Because, in fact, it almost all still the same. Even in 2010's, in a French school. And nostalgic about an era I didn't even know - the eighties.
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This generation's Wonder Years
pandemos-118 February 2008
NBC creates one of the best series to burn cathode particles into a screen...only to abandon it like one of those professionally choreographed orphans in Annie. Except this time Daddy Warbucks adopts all the children only to light their singing bus afire. Maybe NBC should join up with FOX.

The best way to explain the scope of what this show could have been would be made in a simile--like The Wonder Years. Except that this show has a soundtrack on par that doesn't have too many legal tie-ups to be put on DVD. Simply the best show to portray what high school is ::italics:: ACTUALLY LIKE! Even though portrayed in the 70s, somehow it comes off as timeless. With so many one-dimensional shows about Abercrombie models being over-dramatic when not waxing and/or getting breast implants in their collective chests--depending on gender...or maybe not--there are few series that are willing to show a fair side to the rest of the hall populace.

The writing and production are top notch. Enough so to make the series feel like it was scanned from the mind of Cameron Crowe. Seriously. Once the casting was secured, the only thing that could've sunk this show was a bad time slot and a lack of commitment. Firefly? Firefly, anyone? If only the fans could come together and pull another Serenity. Alas, the cast is now the better part of a decade older, and have moved on with their careers. In the meantime, I strongly suggest viewing of anything Paul Feig has written for. And buy the damn box set.
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School life
zurdulla1 October 2020
The best TV series about school and school life.Funny and interesting.It's a shame that season 2 never came out.I advise young people to watch this wonderful TV series.
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Great tv- shows
eyupkaplan12 May 2020
Oh boy, I just finished watching it. I have to tell you that it was fantastic. I mean all of them. The acting was so natural. The storyline was absolutely terrific. I gotta be honest with you. I was expecting a classic highschool series like handsome boy and pretty girl the head of role etc but it turned out not like at all.

I don't like a happy ending. It doesn't reflect real-life however in Freaks and Geeks every carácter from our highschool memory.

I amazed of how they act like that in that age. I wish it would have been continued at least one more season.
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I can't believe they cancelled this
flook758 May 2020
I've been meaning to watch this show for years and lockdown and 4 On Demand (UK) has given me that chance.

I was not disappointed. This show was amazing. Funny and touching, hitting the trials and tribulations of growing up perfectly

The cast was outstanding. So many actors/actresses from this show have gone on to become famous

Massive shame that they couldn't give the characters any sort of ending. You really get invested in their individual stories

Plus it's got bloody Biff Tannen in it
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