56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2005
This is one of my favorite shows ever. The characters ring true and it is very funny. When the DVD was announced I couldn't wait. The same people behind this show made FREAKS & GEEKS and that is THE greatest DVD set ever released (the limited edition one at least) so I had high hopes. When I read about all the bonus features that would be included I got even more excited, but once I got the DVD there were a few glaring problems the biggest of which is that the episodes aren't in the correct order. If you watch them in the order on the discs then the stories and overall series plot are confused. Here's the correct order that the episodes should be viewed in:
2A. Oh, So You Have a Boyfriend
2B. Full Bluntal Nugety (this is actually the original version of episode 2A that the network refused to air. This version is much better.)
3. Eric Visits
4. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
5. Sick in the Head
6. The Assistant
8. God Visits
9. Parent's Weekend
10. Eric Visits Again
11. Rush and Pledge
12. Hell Week
13. Truth or Dare
14. The Day After
15. The Perfect Date
16. Hal and Hilary
17. Eric's POV
There are also annoying TV-PG ratings in the top corner of some of the beginnings of the episodes. Don't they put shows on DVD so we don't have to look at logos and commercials? These two glaring problems knock this release down from a 5 star set to a 4 star one. But there are still plenty of good things about it. Besides a great show there are 18 commentaries, deleted scenes on every episode, an hour long Q & A with the cast and crew, auditions, rehearsals, an unproduced script, and a concert by Loudon Wainwright who plays Steven's Dad in the show. It's a good set, but could've used a once over by the creators to make sure that everything in it was all right. Worth buying, but make sure to watch the episodes in the right order.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2005
There are certain television shows that please critics and receive praise from those in the television industry, yet never find a big enough fan base to become truly popular. Arrested Development is such a show today, Freaks and Geeks was another that fit this bill.
Undeclared was certainly a show that was never quite appreciated by audiences, and watching this DVD, it is apparent that people who weren't watching were truly missing out on one of the great looks at college life in modern television.
The show was created by Judd Apatow, the man behind Freaks and Geeks, and now known better as the man behind The 40 Year Old Virgin. Undeclared became his second show in just a few years to last only one year before being cancelled. And it's too bad, because this show really gave a great look at college life.
The show centered around Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel) the typical, nervous freshman, looking to reinvent himself in college, and trying to figure out just who he wanted to be. Baruchel is absolutely perfect in this role. His skinny frame helps his appearance of nervousness and apprehension at every new experience he finds in college. I find myself thinking about people I knew in college, and even of myself a little, and seeing pieces of that in Steven. This was a truly great piece of casting.
Carla Gallo plays Lizzie Exley, the girl of Steven's dreams who happens to live across the hall. While Lizzie is a little more outgoing than Steven, she also is encountering a number of the same problems Steven faces as she enters college. Her biggest issue is her boyfriend, played to perfection by guest star Jason Segel. His jealousness over her friendship and eventual relationship with Steven is a great plot line, one that helps the show stay not only on the college campus, but off it as well.
Monica Keena, who earned distinction as being the first character killed off on Dawson's Creek (Abby Morgan) plays Lizzie's roomate Rachel, the girl who knows she's attractive and uses it to her advantage. Yet at the same time, she can also be the girl next door, much as Lizzie is.
Steven's roomates Lloyd (Charlie Hunnam), Ron (Seth Rogen) and Marshall (Timm Sharp) are truly an eclectic bunch. Lloyd is the charming ladies' man from England, who has absolutely no problems finding ladies. Ron is the resident prankster, often teaming with the others to pick on Steven (in a friendly way). Marshall is the lonely guy, looking for a girl, but really only seeing one, Rachel. The four roomates work very well off each other, each bringing something different to the table.
Christina Payano stars for part of the season as Tina, Lizzie and Rachel''s other roommate. Her character doesn't get a lot of time to develop, as the cancellation stopped any hope for season two.
Legendary folk singer Loudon Wainwright plays Steven's dad, Hal, who breaks the news of his divorce on his son soon after he moves into college. Hal moves close by and eventually starts taking classes on campus, and at one point, even dates one of the RAs in Steven's dorm. He is a constant source of embarrasment for Steven, but at the same time, he is encouraging and supportive of his son.
The show featured guest appearances by a number of great actors. Adam Sandler, Allen Covert, Ben Stiller, Fred Willard, Kevin Hart, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, David Krumholtz, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Phillips, Kimberly Stewart and many others made apperances throughout the season. An obvious connection to Freaks and Geeks is made, as Levine, Phillips, Segel, Starr and Rogen were all regulars on Apatow's former show. These guest characters however, are used very well and make for a well rounded ensemble.
Possibly the best part about this four disc set is the commentaries. Every single regular cast member sat down for at least one commentary, many did more. Apatow and a number of directors and writers also were featured, as were many of the supporting actors who made guest appearances on the show. Like the Freaks and Geeks set, there is a lot of information in these commentaries, and Shout Factory should be commended for getting all the actors together to do these commentaries.
Additionally, there is a Loudon Wainwright concert, a question and answer with cast and crew at the Museum of Television, a script for a second season episode that never existed and audition tapes for the main actors.
This truly is a fine set, with great extras. The high quality of the show made for great television and that fact was captured well in this DVD set.
37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2005
First off, I have to credit this show for its accuracy. I finished my freshmen year of college a few months ago, and I have to say that many of the things that happened in this show either happened to me or someone I knew. The writers must have really done their homework for this show (or didn't do a lot of homework in college and instead lived out these episodes), and the result is a pitch-perfect and hilarious look at college life.
The show is centered around the undeclared Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel), a tall and thin kid (who is actually built very similarly to myself) who was a bit of a geek in high school. He says the word wicked a lot, has a tendency to talk with his hands, and looks uncomfortable in any situation. He lives in a suite style dorm, so he has a roommate, a private lounge, and two other people he shares the lounge with. Lloyd Haythe (Charlie Hunnam), his roommate, is a British pretty boy who is a theater major. In the room on the other side of the lounge lives spacey music major Marshall Nesbitt (Timm Sharp) and calculating Ron Garner (Seth Rogen). The four guys become fast friends, yet they never pass up an opportunity to make fun of each other. Across the hall lives their female companions, Lizzie Exley (Carla Gallo), Rachel Lindquist (Monica Keena), and later Tina Ellroy (Christina Payono). Lizzie is a somewhat hyperactive girl who always tends to have the upper hand in relationships (her boyfriend Eric, played by Jason Segel, is always afraid that she will dump him, even though he's older than her by at least 10 years). Rachel, on the other hand, is more subdued. She is prone to anxiety attacks from being away from home, and she lets it all out by going a little nuts at parties. Tina, who joins the group later, is a bit of a loser, but she doesn't know it. She likes to listen to old songs on an endless loop and is "holding out" for Lloyd. Finally, Steven's dad Hal Karp (Louden Wainwright) is a recently divorced wreck who always seems to end up looking cooler than his son. Lloyd even invites Hal to party with them from time to time.
The side characters are also great. Perry (Jarrett Grode) is sort of the jack-of-all-trades in the dorm, and he really knows how to rub it in. Books (Samm Levine) is a vindictive frat president who takes out his rage on Steven and his fellow pledges, Lucien (Kevin Rankin) is the floor's goofy RA, Hilary (Amy Poehler) is the head RA who isn't quite right, and Eric is a lovable loser who just can't seem to get things to go his way.
The stories and jokes are hilarious. I especially liked the fraternity episodes. I didn't rush, but I remember going to frat parties, and all of the brothers were really nice to me and wanted me to pledge. However, I heard awful things about hell week. In the episodes, Steven decides to pledge, and is in for a surprise when Books pulls a Jeckyll and Hyde on him. In another episode, Marshall hooks up with a Japanese girl named Kikuki (Youki Kudoh) who doesn't speak any English. The two have to communicate using a pair of English/Japanese translaters. Finally, the guys actually write a detailed script in order to "spontaneously" start a game of truth or dare with the girls.
One of the most innovative and original things about Undeclared is the way the characters were written. Unlike every other show, the characters were not written at all before the actors were cast, and the pilot episode was only partially completed prior to casting. While they always knew that they wanted someone to be a Steven-esque character, no other character was planned. Then, they hired the actors who, among other things, were good at improv, and wrote the characters around the actors.
Improv was a big part of this show. There were solid scripts, but the actors were pretty much allowed to make up their own lines as they went along, provided they followed the overarching story. In the extensive extras section, we can watch some of the rehersal footage and see the different lines that were thought up.
We are treated to plenty of extras in this set. Each episode has a commentary track and unaired footage. There is a director's cut of one episode, a panel discussion with the cast, a script, and a booklet with essays from creator Judd Apatow and actor Jay Baruchel.
It's too bad that this show was cancelled so quickly. Time Magazine named it one of the Top 10 New Shows of 2001, and with good reason. Sadly, the show was on FOX, the network that unjustly cancelled Firefly, Wonderfalls, Tru Calling, Greg the Bunny, Andy Richter Controls the Universe and so on. Now that Apatow is making movies, maybe we will get a big-screen version, but it is unlikely. Anyway, enjoy these 18 episodes from a lost TV gem.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2005
I watched every episode of this show and it was so hilarious! I couldn't believe it when it got cancelled. Anyways, I was catching up on DVD info because I've been on vacation for two weeks and came across this announcement on davisdvd.com:
Creator Judd Apatow's follow-up to "Freaks And Geeks," Undeclared: The Complete Series will be released on August 16th from Shout! Factory. The four-disc set will feature seventeen episodes from the show's 2001-2002 Fox run. Extras include two never-before-seen episodes, eighteen commentary tracks (with directors, writers and cast), deleted scenes, bloopers, rehearsals, behind-the-scenes footage, table reads, audition tapes, footage from the Museum of Television & Radio Q&A, Loudon Wainwright live concert footage and a 24-page booklet. Retail is $49.98.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2006
Judd Apatow could very well be the funniest man in the movie business right now. Before Anchorman, but after Heavey Weights, there was the TV Show Undeclared. Many people feel the need to compare this show to Apatow's other great accomplishment in television history, Freaks and Geeks, but it does not give the show the proper credit it deserves. Freaks and Geeks was an hour long drama; Undeclared was a half-hour of straight up comedy. Pretend both shows are your children; you could no sooner choose a favorite child because they are both beautiful and unique.
One of the great things about Apatow productions is all the cameos. Not even just of famous people, like Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Will Ferrell, but of other characters too, like Martin Starr and Samm Levine, Bill Haverchuck and Neil Schweiber, respectfully, of Freaks and Geeks.
Like I mentioned earlier, another aspect that makes this different from Freaks and Geeks is that the show is a comedy. They don't really delve into super serious topics, like broken homes and the problems of peer pressure, but instead, lightly brush against them in a comedic fashion.
There's a character for everyone to fall in love with: for me, it's the main character, Steven Carp, because he is just so geeky. But there is the hott British exchange student, the lovable Seth Rogen who dresses like an old man and still remains hilarious, oddball Marshall, the girl-next door, and the party-girl.
If you're a fan of Judd Apatow and his friends, I'm fairly certain that you'll enjoy yet another Apatow achievement.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2005
When Undeclared was on I really was too young to grasp the concept of college life. I gave it a small chance the one day and just wasn't really into it. Then the internet came to my rescue. I downloaded the first episode and watched it. I was laughing so hard that it was hard to imagine I never liked the show. Then I saw the dvd was out. I picked it up and I have been watching the episodes religiously! Since then I have also introduced it to my friends and they love it too.
What makes the show good is the cast. They are great at their characters. Lucien, Steven, Eric, Lizzie, Rachel. They all have that great awesome down to earth feel to them. My favorite moment is when they are doing lizzie's hair and steven just wants to eat candy and watch porn. Just to hear them screaming the background and just being guys just makes me think of my friends. It's stuff like that that makes the show enjoyable. All this stuff could happen to me and sometimes has.
I am so sad that there is no more episodes because I think this show would really hit it off right now. They put it on after 9/11 so obviously people were concerned with national security, not the foibles of college teens. Maybe we could get another run, but I doubt it. Just enjoy all the episodes that they have to offer and hope all the fans come out and buy the dvd to make them consider putting it back on.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2005
Just got my Undeclared DVD, and it's great -- I loved the show when it was on, but I actually appreciate it all the more now that I have had a chance to re-watch it. All of the episodes are here, including one that never aired ("God Visits"), and the director's cut of the 2nd episode, with Ted Nugent picking a fight with Steven (Jay Baruchel).
The extras are great -- the entire Museum of Television & Radio panel discussion is on it, and now everyone who wasn't able to make it to that event can see how amazing it was.
The commentaries are also hilarious -- and this is one of the only DVDs I know of that actually has commentary for every episode. How disappointing is it when you wait and wait for one of your favorite shows only to find that you only get the episodes and maybe 1 or 2 commentaries and no extras? That's not the case here -- every commentary's really interesting, and the other special features are great (including concert footage with Loudon Wainwright, and a lot of deleted and extended scenes, including Seth Rogen riffing about Adam Sandler and one of the actors who played a frat guy (Matt McCain) shoving Samm Levine and throwing quarters at Charlie Hunnam ... classic. This is one DVD that's definitely worth owning.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed watching this show on DVD (I didn't catch it when it was broadcast), but it has had the side effect of increasing my irritation at FOX. Jut how many excellent shows have they developed only to cancel over the years? FOX has demonstrated a wonderful ability to choose great shows to order for broadcast, but a stunning inability to support and develop them. They are seemingly incapable of nurturing a show. Their attitude seems to be that if a show isn't an instant and huge hit, can it. Things seem to have improved a bit under Kevin Reilly, though I remain nervous that DOLLHOUSE, one of the most provocative and interesting shows on TV, might not make it to a second season, largely because it has pulled in only average numbers after being stuck on Friday nights. FOX has actually developed enough great shows over the years to fill the schedule of two networks, but their ineptness and failure to stick with dozens of fine shows has fostered tremendous fan irritation and ill will.
I loved watching UNDECLARED despite being a complete nonfan of Judd Apatow and his cadre of fellow filmmakers. The only thing he has been associated with that I have loved completely has been FREAKS AND GEEKS. I should add that I'm especially a nonfan of Seth Rogen, whose box office success is one of the more unfathomable mysteries of the past decade. So, when I say that I enjoyed UNDECLARED, this is the opinion of someone who disliked THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP.
I suspect that one of the unsung heroes of both UNDECLARED and FREAKS AND GEEKS is casting director Allison Jones. Both of these shows feature an amazing number of talented young actors. Watching either you see an amazing number of actors who have gone on in this decade to have success either in film or on TV. What this means is that Jones has a great eye for talent. In the series pilot, for instance, two small roles are filled by Jenna Fischer (who has gotten Emmy nominations for playing Pam on THE OFFICE) and Tom Welling (who has for the past eight years been Clark Kent on SMALLVILLE). One could cite a huge number of examples of minor characters played by people who later because better known for other roles. A few would include Kevin Rankin (best known perhaps as Herc on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), Sarah Jane Morris (BROTHERS AND SISTERS), Alexa Davalos (ANGEL and REUNION), Lizzie Caplan (TRUE BLOOD and currently on PARTY DOWN), David Krumholtz (SERENITY and NUMBERS), Amy Poehler (at about the same time she joined the cast of SNL, but definitely before she was well known), and Felicia Day (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG). And a huge number of FREAKS AND GEEKS actors appeared on the show. In addition to Seth Rogen, who was not only one of the main actors on the show but also a major writer, Jason Segal had a recurring role. And a huge number of people associated with F&G showed up, including Busy Philipps, Martin Short, Samm Levine, Natasha Melnick (Cindy Sanders, Sam Weir's big crush on F&G), Mike White, Lizzy Caplan, and many others in either very small roles in each or in more sizable guest cameos, like Ben Stiller. Now, these aren't by and large major stars, but UNDECLARED nonetheless had a substantial number of quite talented individuals, and this unquestionably contributed to the show's success.
I very much enjoyed the core cast for UNDECLARED, most of whom had no connection to FREAKS AND GEEKS. I even enjoyed Seth Rogen, who I hated in F&G. I loved Jay
Baruchel in the lead role of Stephen Karp (whose dad was played excellently by the funny songwriter Louden Wainwright) and thought that Carla Gallo was really cute and sweet as his first college girlfriend Lizzie. The rest of the cast was also strong and as a group had great chemistry. All in all, it easily goes down as one of the best shows about college in the history of TV. I'm not sure why, but while there have been numerous excellent shows dealing with high school life, there have been astonishingly few dealing with college. Even truly great shows like BUFFY and VERONICA MARS stumbled somewhat when they hit college.
Unfortunately, FOX did what FOX does . . . well, if not best, at least all too frequently. It killed it. Over the years the list of shows that FOX has killed off definitely exceeds in quality the list of those that they keep around. Like I said at the outset, it may be improving under Kevin Reilly. What he decides to do with the two superb series DOLLHOUSE and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES will show whether he is breaking with FOX's past or if he will perpetuate the network's tradition of killing off good shows.
I watched this via DVDs that I rented from Netflix. I don't know how to account for this, but the discs that I received duplicated an episode. "Truth or Dare" was on two of the discs, while "Rush and Pledge" was on none. I wouldn't have caught the omission of "Rush and Pledge" but for the "Previously on . . . " that began the episode "Hell Week." Also, if you compare the play order as the episodes appear on the DVDs with their original broadcast order, they are dramatically different. Usually this indicates that the network dictated a reordering of the episodes. But the odd thing is that there are numerous timeline incompatibilities on the DVDs as a result. Because I was renting rather than buying, I didn't take the time to work through the commentaries. Perhaps the conflicts are explained there.
Speaking of commentaries, UNDECLARED, like FREAKS AND GEEKS, has a vast number of special features. There are commentaries, deleted scenes, and a bonus disc. I wish all DVD versions of TV series were so generous. For instance, I love FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (in fact, much more than either FREAKS AND GEEKS or UNDECLARED), but it is relatively devoid of special features.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2005
Undeclared started in 2001 and when the pilot aired, I immediatley loved the show. The cast has amazing chemistry, theres great characters, story lines, solid scripts, Overall just a well made show. I have never gone to college but can easily relate to the stuff that goes on in this show. Its AWESOME! :)
BUT damn Fox pretty much killed it by switching its air time, so that no one will ever know when it is on, how do you expect to get good ratings when you move the show to different days every week? From what I heared it was doing good in ratings wise but knowing how greedy Fox is, they expect the show to have ratings like the OC or desperate housewives...ugghh. So I guess Fox would rather have some nanny take care of a bunch of brats or have some psychotic british chef or all the other crap that they've been airing rather than a show that was a classic in the makings.
...Well enough for my rambling on on my hatred for Fox for doing this. Onto the dvd itself, yeah its not in chronological order story wise but really who cares. It has alot of extras, all 18 episodes have commentary from the ENTIRE Cast! it also has unaired footage for all the eps as well, rehearsals, auditions, cast talking about the show live in Q&A, Loudon Wainwright (Hal) Live and an UNPRODUCED SCRIPT!!
I am definitley happy with this DVD and glad that they put it on DVD and so will you when you buy it.
This show definitley needs to come back on air!! WE NEED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
BEST SHOW EVER :)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2005
I had been hoping for the release of this series on DVD forever and finally got my wish not too long ago. "Undeclared" is undoubtedly of the best live-action television sitcoms to come out of the last decade. Witty, heartfelt, altogether brilliant - I can't imagine someone not enjoying this series! The dvd set is beautiful, with a detailed colour booklet and 4 discs, lots of extra features such as deleted scenes and commentaries by the actors, writers and directors. There's also an alternate version of one episode as well as an episode that never aired at all.
The only complaint I have about the dvd set is that it only made me want more "Undeclared", which, sadly, will never be. 17 episodes is all I'll ever have *cries*
But other than that, whether you're one of the people that watched the show religiously during it's short run and mourned it's cancellation for years or whether you've never seen any of the episodes before, it's something everyone can enjoy!
One last note - Fox did not do this series justice. If it were to air today, I have no doubt that it would do extremely well. Unfortunately, "Undeclared" had the sad misfortune of being aired just a couple of weeks after 9/11, when no one was in much of a joking mood. And it didn't help that Fox decided to show almost all of the episodes out of order. Stupid Fox Broadcasting!!
Anyway, my final words on the subject - BUY IT!