Tuned In: Freaks and Geeks

Television can be a confusing, bleak, and utterly depressing landscape for entertainment. With thousands of shows airing each week and even more new ones coming and going before you even have the chance to blink, it can be almost impossible to find something worth watching. Between the big four TV networks, cable, premium cable, and now the Internet, it’s tough to know where to start if you’re looking for a new television series to watch, enjoy, and love.

That’s why I’m coming to everyone’s rescue with a new recurring segment called Tuned In. Here, I’ll let you know which shows from the past and present are not only worth watching, but are also worth obsessing over and putting your entire life on hold until you’ve seen every episode. No longer will you need to invest your time in a TV show only to see it be cancelled, or worse, kept on the air so long that it eventually becomes worse than Heroes Season 4.

So if you want to enjoy the best that television has to offer, be sure to check back regularly for new segments of Tuned In and see what’s worth watching.

Freaks and Geeks

For the first installment of Tuned In I’d like to recommend a very special show that a lot of people don’t know about. It’s a dramady that ran for only 18 episodes from 1999-2000 and it’s called Freaks and Geeks.

Created by Bridesmaid’s Paul Feig, Freaks and Geeks has one of the best casts of any television series in history. Led by the amazing John Francis Daley and Linda Cardellini, the show also features Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Samm Levine, and Martin Starr. If that sounds like any Judd Apatow movie, it’s because it pretty much is. Apatow served as the executive producer of the series and even wrote and directed several episodes.

Freaks and Geeks follows brother and sister Sam and Lindsay Weir in each of their respective social groups in a high school in the 1980s; the freaks and the geeks. Rather than spend time focusing on the jocks and the cheerleaders, Freaks and Geeks takes the most realistic approach to high school that’s ever been attempted and captures every moment with unparalleled honesty, realism, and heart.

With each 44 minute episode, we learn more about each of the characters and they become more fleshed out as real people, not just random students at an arbitrary high school. No one sings, dances, or deals with melodramatic Hollywood problems, instead they live and breath relatable experiences that anyone can remember from their days in high school.

With any good television show comes a list of reasons as to why it’s so good. Facts can be recited about who stars and directs, but what it all comes down to is what feelings the show evokes when watching it.  For me, Freaks and Geeks is a show so good that I just want to tell everyone about it after every episode I see. Freaks and Geeks is so good that, even though the episodes don’t end on cliffhangers, I need to watch the next episode immediately after the previous one has finished. Freaks and Geeks is so good that it’s too good to even explain why it’s so good. It’s just really good.

So if you’re looking for a great show, I would strongly suggest you start right here. Yes, there are more dramatic shows out there and there are funnier shows, but there is no show that is as pure and realistic as Freaks and Geeks, that manages to balance the comedy and drama so well. There is no show with as much talent behind and in front of the camera that is as underappreciated. There is simply no show in the past, present, or future, that is or ever will be like Freaks and Geeks.

To see one of the best scenes from the pilot, watch the video below and be sure to get the series on DVD. Freaks and Geeks is something you’ll want to watch over and over again.

Jake Horowitz is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario with his TV and computer. His favourite food is milk steak, his hobbies include magnets and ghouls, and he dislikes people's knees. He also obsessively quotes movies and TV shows as a means of interacting in real life.

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