Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Freaks and Geeks

by | November 20, 2014 | Comments

Often considered one of the best “cancelled-too-soon” shows, this teen comedy-drama launched the careers of not only its creators Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), but also its young cast, including Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Linda Cardellini. Here’s why you should check it out.

Freaks and Geeks


What’s the premise? Set in Michigan in 1980, the show centers around teenagers Lindsay Weir (Cardellini) and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley), as they navigate high school life and find peers in two very distinct groups of friends.

What’s it like? It’s a period coming-of-age teen dramedy with a period-specific soundtrack, like The Wonder Years, but set in the early 1980s. Instead of the tumult of the 1960s, the Weirs are growing up in late-Cold War, not quite end-of-disco-era America. The “freaks” are the post-punks — the burnouts, outcasts, etc. — who ushered in the DYI aesthetic of the mid-1980s, while the “geeks” are computer nerds in the making. All of the teens are misfits in one way or another, trying to fit into a social group while dealing with teenage angst and a desire for independence.

Where can I see it? The complete series is both available on DVD and streaming on Netflix.

How long will it take? With 18 44-minute episodes, a dedicated viewer could knock the whole series out in one weekend. Even if you did one episode a day, you’d be finished in less than a month.

What do the critics think? Although the show had lower ratings, it was a critical darling when it first aired, and the show’s esteem continues to grow nearly fifteen years after its cancellation. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly said it was one of the few shows to “treasure youth even as it embodies all of its contradictions, craziness, hopes, and fears.” Time Magazine’s James Poniewozik listed it as one of his “All-Time 100 TV Shows,” saying, “Adolescence never hurt so good as it did in this comedy-drama about outcasts in a Michigan high school circa 1980.”

Why should I watch this? Fans of any of the actors involved will get a kick out of seeing their faves so very, very young. But you don’t even have to be a fan of the cast to relate to the characters as they fumble their way towards adulthood. While the ensemble cast is rather large, their chemistry is amazing. Eschewing the “best friend” ideal most teen shows promote, Freaks and Geeks shows the fluidity of friendships — how some days you relate more to one friend, and other days to another. It also features one heck of a soundtrack, from its theme song — Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” — to Rush, Neil Young, Styx, and more.

What’s my next step? Star Linda Cardellini was a regular on E.R. for six seasons and John Francis Delay was on Bones for seven seasons. For more coming-of-age television with killer soundtracks, try Happy Days, The Wonder Years, and The O.C. For more features from Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, try Anchorman (produced by Apatow), Superbad, Bridesmaids, and their other short-lived TV show Undeclared.

Tag Cloud

Animation game of thrones Walt Disney Pictures 20th Century Fox CBS All Access Fox Searchlight medical drama Avengers USA Network lord of the rings Mindy Kaling Song of Ice and Fire PBS directors reviews fresh Comedy Central book adaptation Peacock DC Universe 2016 Cartoon Network diversity Discovery Channel festival FOX best Tumblr AMC Plus king kong SundanceTV Brie Larson Legendary breaking bad toronto boxoffice Prime Video marvel cinematic universe rt archives name the review Crunchyroll Women's History Month NYCC festivals animated TCA Awards AMC Election Universal a nightmare on elm street Film Kids & Family prank Superheroe LGBT stop motion adventure casting spider-man die hard The Walt Disney Company Rocketman comiccon 24 frames Emmys Star Wars razzies Mystery Film Festival rotten movies we love 2017 Paramount Network chucky Horror what to watch Fall TV Hollywood Foreign Press Association archives Amazon Prime hidden camera OneApp Starz MTV monster movies news Tarantino Mudbound women Binge Guide Food Network supernatural target El Rey GIFs pirates of the caribbean tv talk The Walking Dead comedies nfl BBC One National Geographic Winter TV Calendar anthology cancelled TV series young adult Summer 99% 1990s Apple TV Plus RT History Musical comics dragons disaster Marvel Television werewolf HBO witnail Awards Tour TV movies video video on demand rt labs critics edition japan hispanic heritage month strong female leads Tokyo Olympics Comic Book Black History Month asian-american DGA Apple TV+ spider-verse ratings Winners kong sports Photos adaptation Watching Series Best and Worst versus binge Alien 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Superheroes Exclusive Video biography 2019 laika international talk show Western mcc docudrama obituary Travel Channel President political drama Awards The CW series facebook rom-coms emmy awards Turner Amazon zombies Acorn TV latino hollywood USA ID The Witch Hulu Crackle child's play Musicals TV One popular Bravo blaxploitation comic book movie Lifetime Christmas movies VH1 hispanic Emmy Nominations TBS jamie lee curtis trophy royal family Dark Horse Comics Rocky BET Hear Us Out romance police drama rotten Extras Christmas OWN YA based on movie Disney Channel foreign art house rt labs australia Comics on TV mutant concert Writers Guild of America Tubi YouTube A&E zombie Schedule Reality Competition movies Video Games PlayStation VOD San Diego Comic-Con green book 2021 Fargo Academy Awards live action technology aliens dreamworks Marvel Cannes APB Adult Swim Columbia Pictures action-comedy franchise serial killer Esquire Music streaming movies dc TNT DC streaming service ABC Signature Chernobyl cars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina HBO Go TruTV docuseries kaiju Comedy unscripted 90s venice Sneak Peek twilight children's TV spanish saw Pop TV Image Comics 4/20 FX on Hulu TCA Winter 2020 ghosts 45 sequel doctor who CBS Countdown CNN james bond Action jurassic park kids BBC Television Academy feel good Thanksgiving Tomatazos Pacific Islander thriller E3 Spring TV The Academy comic book movies comic Red Carpet worst stoner romantic comedy Tags: Comedy Heroines Sundance Now nature Super Bowl TV IFC Neflix PaleyFest Hallmark dceu Infographic TV renewals The Arrangement composers 007 New York Comic Con spinoff worst movies IFC Films Wes Anderson Toys richard e. Grant know your critic Trailer sitcom Holiday Ghostbusters cartoon basketball natural history ViacomCBS screenings TCM GLAAD biopic Mary Tyler Moore theme song parents Opinion Marathons Quiz Rock Rom-Com heist movie blockbuster DC Comics Hallmark Christmas movies MCU Shudder BET Awards NBA true crime blockbusters Sony Pictures discovery new zealand Amazon Studios Fox News Trivia Amazon Prime Video wonder woman 2020 Epix cinemax golden globes Freeform Pop Elton John Broadway stand-up comedy historical drama Family Disney streaming service french Apple Ellie Kemper Spectrum Originals award winner vampires Pixar HFPA SXSW japanese halloween tv History First Look Star Trek Valentine's Day quibi olympics Interview Disney+ Disney Plus Warner Bros. golden globe awards 79th Golden Globes Awards critic resources independent TCA 2017 elevated horror travel Netflix free movies revenge Creative Arts Emmys deadpool Pride Month Ovation anime Lionsgate cops psychological thriller cancelled television Set visit screen actors guild sequels Stephen King game show The Purge Captain marvel dark crossover classics posters documentaries Biopics Disney cats period drama high school cancelled Country E! Funimation RT21 telelvision satire king arthur space cancelled TV shows Character Guide BBC America MSNBC Classic Film dogs TV Land gangster genre ABC Family Arrowverse Cosplay Year in Review reboot christmas movies scorecard BAFTA football Polls and Games harry potter book godzilla black comedy Masterpiece 2015 Universal Pictures scary movies black superhero streaming WarnerMedia Logo remakes Anna Paquin Paramount Plus CMT Nat Geo trailers ESPN films YouTube Red VICE Syfy universal monsters Podcast Nickelodeon 73rd Emmy Awards adenture IMDb TV fast and furious GoT Disney Plus war Britbox leaderboard Mary Poppins Returns NBC X-Men First Reviews cults batman finale critics Teen Fantasy 2018 marvel comics Sundance TV A24 Vudu CW Seed See It Skip It legend psycho superman politics SDCC HBO Max 93rd Oscars crime thriller toy story slashers italian Pet Sematary zero dark thirty 21st Century Fox scene in color DirecTV hist Comic-Con@Home 2021 Netflix Christmas movies spanish language Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt singing competition Trophy Talk Sci-Fi Grammys science fiction TLC 72 Emmy Awards social media FXX aapi mission: impossible Lifetime new york ITV spy thriller miniseries comic books movie WGN south america Drama TCA Spike LGBTQ sag awards indiana jones crime dramedy new star wars movies justice league Box Office robots all-time YouTube Premium Martial Arts Premiere Dates Pirates 71st Emmy Awards crime drama Shondaland television Lucasfilm dexter mockumentary FX cooking teaser Endgame Turner Classic Movies mob canceled halloween spain Mary poppins ABC Sundance nbcuniversal Instagram Live Black Mirror Holidays boxing live event joker Reality indie debate Certified Fresh transformers criterion canceled TV shows Nominations sopranos Paramount American Society of Cinematographers renewed TV shows slasher Oscars documentary suspense Marvel Studios TIFF Showtime vs. scary Television Critics Association Baby Yoda