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April 27, 2004

{     Freaks and Geeks - The Complete Series     }    

I'm not the first to laud this one-season wonder of TV bliss, and nor will I be the first to lament it's untimely cancellation. Critics loved it, the show had (and still has) one of the most fervent fan-bases in television history and it just may be the most well-written slice of life to ever end up on the small screen. Of course it was cancelled. We need to make room for more cop dramas, legal dramas and legal/cop dramas! And let's give every shitty comedian who's ever done a stint at the Laugh Factory his own damn show! Don't forget to free up 60% of your programming schedule for REALITY TV! (it's so hot right now!) Despite the prevailing tastes of the nation, there are plenty of people who love this show, and now you can be one of them. The entire series has been released in two versions- a retail packaging that includes lots and lots of extras and a collector's edition that includes lots and lots and lots and lots of extras. All the "Behind the Scenes" clips, audition tapes and 29(!) commentary tracks are cool, and even if you're not the type of person who normally goes for that stuff, you'll find yourself checking it out. The real meat of the matter lies in the episodes themselves, the deleted scenes, and the incredible soundtrack. (In fact, the liscensing of all those 70's and 80's hits was one of the major roadblocks to getting the show on DVD in it's original format, but in the end everything has been included and accounted for.) I've been trying to put my thumb on just what makes this show so endearing. A lot of it has to do with the fact that it is superbly cast. These kids look like real people, and after decades of runway-models posing as high school kids it is a real pleasure to see actors who look the part. The writing is a huge factor too- very character and dialogue driven, and within the first episode you start to feel like you know these kids. There is a believability here that most television can't touch, and Freaks and Geeks revels in it. Even though it's set in 1980, there isn't a huge tendency to lean on nostalgia for laughs or plot (This is no goof-ass "70's Show") and it's relevant enough that you won't stumble over the fact that this is supposed to be taking place almost 25 years ago. One of the reasons I know I love it is because these characters don't act like TV characters, they act like human beings. So sometimes the reactions exhibited or the action that goes down isn't the most dramatic, it's then able to avoid the cliches and cliffhangers of TV land and deliver you into something that's a bit more meaningful. Without resorting to overly-sentimental narration by a supposedly grown version of the main character. (Thanks for fucking that up, Wonder Years.) Admittedly, I've been junking out on episodes- feeding my dvdiction like a fiend who's happened upon a giant bag of free dope. Even if I'd been taking it one episode a week, I'd still be just as involved. Shit, last night I even teared-up and got all lumpy-throated. I've done a lot of laughing too, and I'm only three-fourths of the way through. The retail version is going for about $50. If you've been saving up for that new Law and Order boxed set (is there a new Law and Order boxed set?) or (god forbid) another season of Friends, just take the money and buy this instead. You won't be sorry. You may cry a bit, but you won't be sorry.

     » Buy it from DeepDiscountDVD


Tara and I are also cracked out on the Freaks and Geeks. I have been trying to dole episodes out one or two at a time, but the addiction has gotten worse. Yesterday she bit me when I suggested watching the movie we had rented 3 days ago. And that was after four straight episodes!!! We only have a few left, and then there is nothing left but the 29 commentary tracks, the deleted scenes, and the damn character auditions. This show is unbeliebably good, but I am scared of what might happen when I run out.

Posted by: MB at April 27, 2004 9:05 PM

ya know, this was never a show that i could ever catch, i just heard about it all the time, and i read today that fox's wonderfalls just got cancelled too, i only saw it once, seems like it was only on once, but it was sorta funny... arrested development IS funny and i really liked that show undeclared when it was on- fox keeps busting them out, and eventually, if nbc doesn't find another niche, who knows what will happen what with friends and frasier, two of the most popular shows in history going off the air... oh well, i just keep hoping the simpsons get at least a few more years, that's all that matters... anyone who wants to let me borrow freaks, i'm all for it...

Posted by: stace at April 28, 2004 12:11 AM

You captured all the reasons I am addicted to F&G DVD. I am glad to see I am not the only one with this problem. I just don't know what I am going to do once it is over. I believe a support group will need to be formed.

Posted by: Tara at April 28, 2004 2:50 PM

this is the greatest thing that has graced my dvd player ever. I cant believe the television industry didnt see the potential this show had. I finished the episodes in two days and now on with the commentaries.

Posted by: paul at May 10, 2004 2:57 AM
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