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4.8 out of 5 stars
Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2004
I can't believe they actually got this made with all of the original music! This was a great series that accurately portrayed the trials and tribulations of being an outcast during the high school years. Well written, and with a great cast, if you haven't seen this yet you owe it to yourself to check it out.
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
Life is never perfect, it's an inarguable fact. So how can a show be so utterly realistic and, at the same time, be absolutely perfect? I don't know the answer. Thankfully, the people behind Freaks and Geeks have put together an incredible DVD box set enabling thier viewers to ponder the inanswerable question over and over and over.
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2004
Freaks and Geeks, one of the best shows ever presented on television, is now available in a DVD package which sets a quality standard that will probably never be beat. There are hours of extras (including great deleted scenes and commentary tracks for every episode), and everyone involved in this effort should be congratulated. The show didn't last a full season on NBC and efforts to get another network to renew the series failed. This generally means total oblivion, but too many people cared about this show to let it disappear entirely. This DVD package represents a true victory (appropriate for a show about the underdogs of high school) and shows that quality will find an outlet if enough people appreciate it.
Freaks and Geeks presents the first truly accurate depiction of teenagers as I remember them from my own high school experience. The show is basically a complete 18 episode miniseries that chronicles one year (1980-81) at a Michigan high school. The perfect balance of comedy and serious moments gives a sense of watching real life rather than a TV show. Although the show has special relevance for my generation (I graduated in 1982), anyone who watches this show will see aspects of people they knew in high school. The actors and writers deserve a lot of credit for creating complex, nuanced characters. Anyone who remembers feeling awkward around the opposite sex, being made fun of by other kids, or feeling like an outcast can relate to the characters in this show. The show's message is that no matter how people are labeled, they remain individuals who can still surprise you. I never thought I would find myself sympathizing with the "Freak" crowd (which I pretty much avoided in high school), but this show demonstrates that everyone can be potentially sympathetic once you get to know them and find out what their life is really like.
I became hooked on Freaks and Geeks in the first 5 minutes of the original airing of the pilot episode; its cancellation a mere 6 months later was a stunning blow, but not a big surprise. The show was simply too honest for most viewers in its portrayal of teenagers as most often clueless and never knowing the right things to say or do (even the smart ones). Most teenagers would rather see themselves as ultra-hip, sexy, mature and spouting post-graduate level dialogue as portrayed in popular fantasies such as Dawson's Creek and 90210. As for adults, many prefer not to relive their high school years, and some may have been turned off by the show's title, especially if they never thought of themselves as either a "Freak" or a "Geek".
It's one of the very few shows I've seen that has perfect casting; the only other show that immediately comes to mind is Northern Exposure. Both shows have a diverse cast of quirky yet appealing and believable characters such that every new episode seemed like a reunion with old friends. Freaks and Geeks also contains a coming-of-age story and nostalgia for the past (the soundtrack filled with 70's rock hits is great) that is reminiscent of The Wonder Years. Unlike the Wonder Years (which was a good show in its early years), Freaks and Geeks never became formulaic or predictable.
Although the entire cast is terrific, my favorite characters are Nick Andopolis (played by Jason Segel) and Bill Haverchuck(played by Martin Starr). Nick is a stoner freak with potential (if he could just get his act together), and Bill is a kind-hearted geek who takes the daily humiliations of high school in stride with a little help from his friends. This description does not do justice to the nuanced performances that make these characters so memorable. They manage to be both hilarious and poignant at the same time, and you constantly find yourself rooting for them and all the other characters throughout their trials and tribulations.
Fortunately, the producers saw the cancellation coming. They prepared a perfect final episode that brings a nice sense of closure to the series, leaving many characters changed considerably from where they started at the beginning of the school year. I could go on, but I can't think of anything else to say that others haven't said already. If you like quality television, buy this DVD!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I waited patiently for this set to drop in price to something reasonable, and I'm glad I did. Wow, what a set. Beautifully housed in a "yearbook" complete with signitures and notes in the cover, this is a great looking set. The discs are stored securely, but easily slide in and our. The book itself is loaded with more stories and notes than you can read in a sitting, and there are a ton of photos of your favourite freaks and geeks, and behind the scenes too.

This series was one of the smartest most underrated shows ever to be on TV. Witness the stellar then-unknown cast: Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Seigel, James Franco, Martin Starr and a host of others in supporting roles such as Mike White, Ben Stiller and Allan Covert. And wait til you see who plays the gym teacher. Throw in Joe Flaherty in the excellent role of the dad and you have one awesome series.

But it's different kind of show, a one-hour dramedy that at times heavier on the comedy, and others heavier on the drama. It is unique, well written, well performed, with a stellar awesome rock soundtrack. The booklet details every song you will hear.

It's a shame this show never hit it big, as it is leaps and bounds ahead of all the retro shows...That 70's Show is pathetic, compared to this, which is solid gold. It's smart, it's funny, it's witty, and all the threads coalesce by the end of its single season into one beautiful arch. Great writing.

Bonus features are plentiful! In addition to the features present on the original box set, this is beefed up with two more discs of auditions, featurettes, and alternate scenes. Great value for the money!

5 stars baby.
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on June 10, 2012
The series was amazing. I had heard about it from a few friends who told me that it was really good and that it had Seth Rogan and Jason Segal, which was all I needed. I watched the whole series in one weekend and could not have enjoyed it more.

The characters were so well written and realistic. It felt like I was watching people I knew from my own high school. Also, the storylines they came up with weren't the cookie cutter plotlines that seem to emerge with every other teenage show nowadays(not that I don't enjoy those shows too). This show just seemed to show all different perspectives of high school personalities, not just the freaks and the geeks but also the popular crowd as well as the teachers and parents take on things.

Also, There was not a single character in the show that at one point or another I wasn't empathizing with, Even allan the bully and Vicki the cheerleader had their moments.

Ken and Nick both were cute in their own awkward ways. Daniel was just so likable then even thought he never seemed to do anything right you always wanted him to suceed. Kim was so rude that I couldn't help but laugh. Her rant about "on The Road" had me in tears. Neil and Lindsay both had their moments as well. Sam, I never really connected with but I guess I can't really complain because he still was a great character.

After I'd finished, I had wished the show had lasted longer, but that might have taken away from what it was. A brief bright light in the otherwise dark and bland television universe. If it had gone on longer who's to say it would've maintained the quality that everyone seems to love so much.

To sum up, If you are looking for a TV show that will not only entertain you but also make you laugh and relive your own high school experience(as good or bad as that may be) then this is the show for you. If you don't like or appreciate this show, I feel sorry for you.
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on October 25, 2011
It seems that the 3 people who gave this series a 1* rating do not want to understand what this series actually means. They are claiming that "nobody wants to relive their horrible high school years", but that's just the point of the series: to show us from an outsider's perspective how hard it is to fit in and be happy in High School. Anyone can relate to a character in this series. The character development is nearly incomparable to any other TV show, you want to know what's going to happen, and you get so in-tune with the characters that you can read between the lines and actually understand what they're thinking and why they're acting in a particular way. The series might have been canceled early on, but seeing how the story was going along, it couldn't have lived on much longer... They were just finishing the school year, Sam would no longer be a Freshman, and another year (or season) and the "freaks" would have graduated. The length of the series allows you to appreciate every detail, rather than forget arbitrary plot twists in hopes of stretching out the storyline. This is one of my favorite series of all time.
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on July 1, 2004
I saw this show when it first ran on NBC and loved it. Due to NBC's constantly rescheduling the show, I missed a few episodes but I'm glad that it has all been captured on DVD. This is not your typical high school show because it is brutally honest about high school and family life and those relationships we have growing up. I like that the parents aren't typecast to be the usual dimwitted parents you usually see on TV (okay, Mr. Weir is cartoonish the first few episdoes--and pretty funny--but you do see a human side to him as the show goes on). With Mr. Schweiber, you see parents are human and have thier faults too. I'm glad the music was kept intact on these DVDs and the soundtrack alone is worth the buy. Music works great in depicting certain moods or events in the show. It kind of reminds me of a Cameron Crowe movie. This show could've taken the easy road with some episodes but the fact that it's creative in giving you the unexpected is what made it one of best shows on TV at the time. For example, in "Beers & Weirs," when the kids decide to throw a party when the parents are away, the episode isn't about them getting caught but instead it takes a much better twist. In short, don't hesitate--buy this DVD!
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As a sporatic viewer of "Freaks and Geeks" during its brief 1999 run, I was delighted to recently sit down and watch all 18 episodes. What I remembered about the show was reinforced by a fresh viewing -- the writing is clever, the cast (even down to the smallest characters) remarkably good, the use of music inspired. The show reminds me a lot of "Welcome to the Dollhouse" in its unflinching look at the ugly dynamics of high school.
The DVD has some standout extras: an all girl commentary of "Smooching and Mooching," deleted scenes that show you how certain episodes might have gone (most just flesh out certain subplots), and a final commentary on "Discos and Dragons" that, along with the actual viewing of the episode, will bring tears to your eyes. Episodes like "Noshing and Moshing" take the show in a slightly different direction, and make you realize just how much potential this series had.
I hope this DVD collection will introduce the show to many who have only heard about it. It is a first rate effort.
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on June 27, 2004
FREAKS AND GEEKS is a awesome tv show and the sad thing about Freaks And Geeks is that it didn't last very long and that's really sad cause it is a awesome show. I remember watch one of the episodes on its original run on NBC and as I was watching I was thinking wow, this is a awesome show, I can't wait till the next one. Unfourtly there wasn't a next one. What made me intrested in this show was the fact it was set in the 1980's, that was cool cause not many "good" shows are set in the 80's. Another thing was the music, I love classic rock and it about time a show had a good soundtrack but the coolest thing about this show is that you can releate to anybody on the show cause you have either been or going through situtations that are on the show. I really glad Freaks And Geeks finally got realeased on DVD, I think its cool that tv shows are getting released on DVD. I was amazed by the 29 commentary tracks, I mean that is unheard of but in any case it is a awesome DVD collection.
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Where to begin? Well, I guess it's safe to say that "Freaks and Geeks" far surpassed any comedy-laced drama I've seen in many moons.
I had originally heard about the show during its original run on NBC during the 1999-2000 TV season. I even managed to catch a few episodes. However, I didn't watch it often enough to get to know the characters very well. Still, as a bit of a geek myself, I could relate to what Sam Weir (John Francis Daley), Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) and Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine) were going through, as awkward high school freshman. In fact, I can recall some similar painful experiences while attending Robinson Junior High and East High in Wichita, Kansas circa 1987-90.
So, when I heard online that this slice of Americana was being cancelled, I chalked it up to another example of bonedheaded decisionmaking by the shortsighted suits who wouldn't know a good TV show if it bit 'em square on the tuckus.
Look what befell quirky and interesting shows like "Twin Peaks" and more recently, "Wonderfalls." I could go on but I think most people reading this review know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.
So, when Apatow's new show, "Undeclared," came on a season or so later, I began taping the episodes. And during the short reruns of "Freaks and Geeks" on Fox Family, I was happily reintroduced to the Weir clan and all the complex and interesting characters inhabiting early 1980's-era Chippewa, Michigan.
There was the beautiful and smart Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), the dry-witted, Nuge-loving Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), the stern and outta touch Harold Weir (Joe Flaherty), the sage hippie school guidance counselor (Dave "Gruber" Allen), and one of my all-time favorites -- Harris Trinsky, played by the amazing Canadian actor Stephen Lea Sheppard. Casting director Allison Jones was incredibly astute in choosing Sheppard for that role. In fact, I knew guys (and similar D&D dungeon masters) just like Harris when I was growing up. All these characters, with their very human thoughts, desires and shortcomings, were reminiscent of the characters on "Northern Exposure," albeit a little more down to earth. (And as much as I loved it on NX, FnG didn't have any odd dream sequences featuring rabbis in rowboats or shape-shifting bear people).
And after Fox Family stopped airing the show, I was afraid I'd never see it again.
But I was (thankfully) wrong!
And now ... the amazing creators of "Freaks and Geeks," Judd Apatow and Paul Feig have lovingly put together a most excellent DVD collection featuring all 18 episodes of "Freaks and Geeks." Not only that, but deleted scenes, commentary, and all sorts of other stuff that makes fans like me jump for joy.
Watching these episodes -- each disc features three episodes -- over the course of the past two weeks, has put me in a nostalgic frame of mind. Watching it, I felt like I had gone back to the 1980s. The pop culture references are dead on and the music selections -- Styx, the Grateful Dead, XTC, Journey, etc. -- are perfect. And the episodes -- my faves are "Tricks and Treats," "Discos and Dragons" and "Beers and Weirs" -- couldn't be more fun and heartfelt. And the special guest stars -- Ben Stiller, Joel Hodgson, Jason Schwartzman, etc., etc. -- well, they were totally appropriate for us TV and movie nerds.
And while I enjoyed the lovelorn, pot-smokin', drummer wannabe Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel) and the rebel without a cause Daniel Desario (James Franco), it was the underrated Martin Starr that always stole the show for me.
Seeing Martin Starr getting drunk while watching "Dallas" is an absolute scream! Starr deserves far more attention as an actor, as does Levine, whose comic timing is dead-on. Look at Starr's face when dressed as Jamie Summers (The Bionic Woman) for Halloween, a spaced-out hippie gives him and the gang some homemade carob candy. This, in the midst of the 'razorblade-in-the-candy' hysteria of this era. His expression is priceless!
Then there is the episode where Ken finds out the truth about his girlfriend Amy (the always terrific Jessica Campbell). Another example of television gold!
As for the actors, well, five years later I'm still stunned that Apatow and Feig were able to pull all these amazing talents together. Shame on those NBC knuckleheads for deep-sixing the show just as it was finding its audience. I guess for now I'll just have to get my "Freak" on by sitting down with a bowl of Count Chocula and a bottle of pop and spend some more time watching my "Freaks and Geeks" DVDs while anxiously awaiting that oft-promised "Freaks and Geeks" soundtrack. Please guys, don't forget to include Jean Weir (Becky Ann Baker) singing "The Monster Mash" or Nick (Segel) and Millie (Sarah Hagan) singing "Jesus is Just All Right". That'd be all right.
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