Freaks and Geeks aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve aired. GET THE COMPLETE SERIES ON DVD. You won't be sorry.
This was a brilliant comedy-drama show that was executive produced by Judd Apatow. I'm not sure that I would even need to go on from there, but it most certainly gets even better!
The cast is one of those amazing ensembles, you can't even believe that all of this talent was in the same place at the same (very short) amount of time... and before they all really hit it big. Clearly this show MADE THEM. Or... you know.... Judd Apatow did.
Also, and this is noteworthy: Freaks and Geeks was home to the original William McKinley High School - well before Glee.
Let's take a closer look at the cast.
She's probably better known as Nurse Samantha Taggart from ER, or Ennis's girlfriend in Brokeback Mountain, or maaaaaaybe even as Chutney in Legally Blonde. Pretty. Amazing actress. She does the 'bad girl rebel' thing really well as a teen growing up in the 80's. She's an A student and a mathlete, until she enters high school and starts hanging out with all the slackers. The good girl gone bad, who struggles with her identity.
If you don't know who this is, you've been living under a rock. But if you need a refresher, he's been in Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Kung Fu Panda, Pineapple Express, Monster's v. Aliens, and the upcoming movie The Green Hornet. This is the show he was in before he was a big movie star. Plus, they're all so young! Anyway, he's one of the Freaks, along with Linda. This mostly means that they're outcasts at school, they smoke a lot of pot, and get into trouble without really trying.
What can I say about the man who is bringing back the muppets? What's that you say? He looks familiar, but you aren't quite sure who he is? Of course you do. He plays Marshall Eriksen on How I Met Your Mother. He's Lily's (Alyson Hannigan) husband. He was also in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. How could you forget his full frontal nudity? Anyway, his character is a drummer, his name is Nick, he has a huge crush on Lindsay, and I totally adore him.
He's gone on to star in the Spiderman movies as Harry Osborn. If you're not a superhero fan, maybe you've seen him in Annapolis, or Knocked Up, or Pineapple Express, or Nights in Rodanthe, Milk, Eat Pray Love, or a little daytime TV show called General Hospital. His name was Franco on that... how original. He's the real bad boy in this, and mostly the instigator.
John Francis Daley
This adorable little guy grew up to play Sweets on Bones. He was also on Boston Public and Kitchen Confidential, but if you know him it's probably from Bones. Also, watch Bones if you don't already. Most definitely a geek, as were his two friends.
This is that guy that shows up in a guest spot in a ton of different shows and he looks really familiar and you know that you know him, but you can't place where he's from. Yeah, he's that guy.
Another of Judd Apatow's favorites, he's had parts in Knocked Up and Superbad, and also Adventureland. And he's grown up. And his voice is super deep now. He might be the biggest geek of all (but grown up really well).
You know her from Cougar Town. But she was also in Dawson's Creek and ER. Or maybe, just maybe, you know her from The Sarah Conner Chronicles. She was also one of the Freaks, and although I think she was in every episode, she didn't make the opening credits.
Speaking of the opening title credits, they have Joan Jett and the Blackhearts singing "Bad Reputation" while the characters are getting their yearbook pictures taken. I have never fast forwarded through the credits. Not once. Ever.
It's basically a coming of age series that's grittier and funnier than The Wonder Years, more real-to-life than Buffy (simply because there are no monsters), and better than Glee (that fun singing show with absolutely no plot or continuity). It takes place in the 80's and you can TELL. This also makes it awesome... and horrible. Plus, the show centers around Linda Cardellini's character, Lindsay. It's not that often that the central character is so well defined, interesting, and female... and mostly surrounded by an entirely male supporting cast.
It's the epitome of high school and all the horrible events that we all suffered to grow up. It's sometimes painful to watch, but only because you remember those FEELINGS because every feeling was felt in capital letters. It's also very funny at times.
(I've just decided that a high school reunion show is totally in order. They need to make this happen...)
So, although I could list a TON of shows that were canceled before their time, I think that this one tops the list. I do however, want to make some honorable mentions:
If you haven't watched any of these series, they are all highly recommended. They also won't take you eons to get through because they didn't get to stick around very long!
See what everyone else had to say about it: