Created by writer-comedian Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow (The Larry Sanders Show), Freaks and Geeks followed the Weir siblings--former math whiz Lindsay (Linda Cardellini of the Scooby-Doo feature films and ER) and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley)--as they navigated the perils and pleasures of a Michigan high school circa 1980. What separated Freaks and Geeks from most other scholastic series was its brutal honesty--Lindsay and Sam, as well as their friends and parents, were given very human personas that showed failure, malice, indecision, and moments of great clarity. Likewise, the plotlines rarely offered pat solutions to the characters' conflicts--the show unfolded in a naturalistic manner, which was a welcome respite for viewers tired of flashy high school dramas. When combined with its smart dialogue and winning performances (the cast included SCTV veteran Joe Flaherty and Spider-Man star James Franco, as well as the sublime and criminally underrecognized Martin Starr and Seth Rogen as Sam's pal Bill and dry-witted Ken, respectively), the show became a haven for fans of quality television, if only for a brief period of time.
The six-disc boxed set provides over 40 hours of supplemental material, which should satiate even the most obsessive of fans. Twenty-nine separate commentaries from the show's creators, cast (and as some of their parents!), composer Mike Andrews, and fans are included, as are 60 deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, and cast auditions. However, the most striking extra is the warmth that radiates from the commentary participants--their pleasure in taking part in such a quality program is palpable, and will undoubtedly be echoed by all who watch these discs. --Paul Gaita
For some (myself included), High School was a dreadfully painful experience. And now, with the help of Freaks and Geeks, you can relive those awful High School experiences. This, to some reviewers on this posting, is a bad thing. But that's precisely the charm of this series. Finally, someone has gone out and depicted High School realistically. Our experiences are universal. Sometimes they're hilarious, often times they're unbelievably painful. But, they're always engaging. This series wasn't just about sitting back, shutting off your cerebral faculties and yukking it up for an hour. This show was about falling in love with characters you could understand, and following them through the all of their relatable experiences, good or bad.
I have explored and watched every available extra in this collection and I strongly recommend it to everyone who's lived or is currently living an average High School experience. If you were unconditionally popular, then skip this DVD collection, you won't understand it. You'll dislike or misjudge all of the characters and their motivations, just as you presumably did in High School. But, for everyone else, buy it as soon as is humanly possible.
Buy it firstly for the relatability of the show. But, if that isn't enough for you, buy it for the characters and the plotting. Storylines featured in this show are some of the most original, touching and realistic ever depicted on television or in film. Personal highlights include "Carded and Discarded" (The geeks befriend a new female student who's gradually being sucked into the popular crowd), "The Diary" (Mr. and Mrs. Weir read Lindsay's diary only to learn more about themselves more than their daughter).
And if that weren't enough, the entire cast was impeccably put together. I could watch the entire series without ever paying attention to anything but the acting, and I'd still be endlessly entertained. James franco's naturalism ("Tests and Breasts" is, in my opinion, his best episode), Martin Starr's assuredly brilliant readings (see him in "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers"). Jason Segel's awkward adorability, the list goes on.
And the music... I can't wait for the soundtrack.
This is a show that did everything right. And yet, it was cancelled. Do yourself a favor and buy it on DVD. Then, once you've watched it all, show it to everyone you know.
On a different note, I have to commend whoever designed the packaging for this set: many times when you buy a DVD set with 4 or more discs, the packaging folds out for you to access the discs. With 4 discs it can be awkward, but with, say, 7 discs, it's quite cumbersome. This set is different -- each disk is on its own "page" so to speak, so that getting the disc you want to watch is as simple as opening a book and turning to the right spot. It's also a lot more durable than the "fold out" style packaging.