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Freaks and Geeks - The Complete Series Boxed Set - television series DVD review
FREAKS AND GEEKS - THE COMPLETE SERIES BOXED SET Not Rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 5 stars
Actors: Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Samm Levine
  Studio: Sony Wonder/Shout Factory
DVD release: 06 April 2004   Runtime: 1080 minutes (6 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC, Digipak, Pan & Scan , 1.33:1, Closed Captioned
Features: Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), 18 episodes, Pilot episode director's cut, Deleted scenes, Behind the scenes footage, Outtakes, 29 commentaries (cast, crew, executives, cast parents & fans), 28-page booklet

How sad is it that perhaps the best TV show of the past 10 years lasted a scant 18 episodes (not all of which were even broadcast)? I'm speaking, of course, of the late, lamented Freaks and Geeks, that brilliant show executive produced by Judd Apatow, director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.

Freaks and Geeks centers on a group of high school kids in suburban Michigan in the 1980s. The main focus is on brother and sister Sam and Lindsay Weir (John Francis Daley and Linda Cardellini).

Sam is a pint-sized geek whose buddies include Neal (Samm Levine), the kind of kid who dresses for Halloween as Groucho Marx, and the undeniably odd Bill (Martin Starr, getting many of the best lines). Lindsay is a recovering geek who, in the wake of her teen angst, has started wearing her dad's old army jacket and taken up with a gang of "burnouts," the sort of teens who dress in ratty clothes and cut class. That group includes James Franco, who went on to co-star in the Spiderman movies, and Seth Rogen, who's become an offbeat film star with his roles in Virgin and Knocked Up.

Smart, witty and utterly defiant of the stereotypes that befall most teen shows, Freaks was a gem. Thus, when it originally aired on NBC in 1999, no one but a small cult of fans watched it. Thankfully, due to the magic of DVD, this fantastic show can be seen in its entirety. The DVD is impressive, including at least one commentary track for every episode, as well as deleted scenes, outtakes, audition footage and other extras.

But all that is just gravy. The real point of buying or renting these DVDs is to enjoy a fantastic, overlooked television show.


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reviewed by Amanda Cuda
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