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Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series
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Over 35,000 fans have demanded it, and so it has come. That’s how many rabid "Freaks and Geeks" fans have signed a petition via the Internet to plead for its release on DVD. "Freaks and Geeks," the Emmy® award-winning series about the trials and tribulations of high school outsiders in 1980 Michigan is finally coming out on DVD in its original form, with all the original music. And believe us – clearing over 130 music cues from the likes of The Who, Billy Joel, Bob Seger and their peers was no easy task.
"Freaks and Geeks" ran for only one television season, but arguably remains the most sought-after series yet to be released on DVD. Just 18 episodes were made, but its legend has exploded over time. Cast members have gone on to stardom, articles have continued to be written, internet activity abounds. Shout! Factory celebrates this incredible television series with the passionate treatment it deserves.
The comedy/drama Freaks and Geeks limped through its sole season on NBC in 1999 before being expelled by the network--but not before earning critical acclaim and a devoted fan base that fought valiantly to keep it on the air. Now all 18 episodes have been released in this long-awaited boxed set, which allows longtime fans and first-timers alike to enjoy one of television's most poignant and funny programs about high school.
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 GaitaSee all Editorial Reviews
- All 18 episodes on 6 DVDs including the director's cut of the pilot with never-before-seen footage
- Deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, and outtakes
- 29 audio commentaries by the actors, writers, directors, network executives, parents of cast members, and obsessive fans
- 28-page booklet with an essay by "Freaks and Geeks" creator Paul Feig and a Q&A with producer/writer Judd Apatow
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Top Customer Reviews
29 different commentary tracks (keep in mind there were only 18 episodes) borders on the obsessive, but if you're a geek, this is bliss. They got all the key cast members, including Linda Cardellini and James Franco, as well as writers, directors, television executives and even the parents of John Daley, Sarah Hagan and Martin Starr and some fans. There are some great bloopers and behind the scenes clips where people are completely out of character. And they also included the original audition tapes for the major characters, which are pretty interesting. If you go on the Freaks and Geeks website you can watch a couple clips including Samm Levine's famous impersonation of William Shatner that landed him a part on the show.
In addition to this DVD, they also have a collector's edition that comes with a yearbook and 2 more discs of extras. But that's a limited edition they stop selling in March 2004 and you can only get it through their website. Haven't seen that, but if it's anything like this set, it will rock.
They obviously put in a lot of work on the DVDs. I've seen other TV collections and they look like they've been thrown together. Here, every menu on every disc has a different image from a scene. And every time you change menus (on EVERY disc) a different dialogue clip plays, followed by some of Mike Andrews' original compositions for the show. Some of them go on for a couple minutes and most of these are songs I've never heard before. I'm a hardcore fan and I was prepared to rip them if they screwed with the legacy of the show....but this DVD blew me away. Freaks and Geeks will become the standard by which all other TV show DVDs will be judged.
For those of you who weren't lucky enough to watch F&G during its all-too-brief run, you'll soon have your chance to experience a true television gem on DVD. Freaks & Geeks ran sporadically on NBC during the 1999-2000 series, and then in reruns on the Fox (now ABC?) Family Channel. In short, it's the story of two siblings: Lindsay & Sam Weir, and their trials and tribulations as high school students in Michigan circa 1980. Lindsay is a junior and a former overachieving whiz-kid who undergoes a crisis of self after the death of her grandmother, and tries to find herself as a new member of a clique of underachieving stoners. Her brother Sam is a sensitive, nerdy guy trying to make his way through freshman year with a tight band of dorks and misfits.
As I write this, I realize that a brief summary doesn't begin to do justice to this multi-layered show. It's hysterically funny, poignant, often painful, and never tries to have the neatly tied-up generic sitcom ending. The secondary characters are as well realized as Sam & Lindsay, and really make the show special (including SCTV's Joe Flaherty as the ambivalent Mr. Weir, Samm Levine as Neil, and Martin Starr as Bill Haverchuck). There are so many moments on the show that I personally identified with, and I can't imagine anyone who was subjected to the tortures of high school life that wouldn't be able to at times. (Though it helps if you lived through the early 80's or can connect with references to the Jerk, Dallas, Dungeons & Dragons, and/or Neil Peart of Rush...). I could keep on going about the show, but I'll let you find out the rest for yourself. Now, to the DVD...
The standard edition of the DVD is described in some detail here, and includes the 6 episodes that never aired on NBC, as well as many extras. However, especially if you are a fan of F&G, you owe it to yourself to check out the limited Deluxe Edition that's available directly from the creators of the show at [...] Here's the description from the site:
"In this Deluxe Edition, we put it all into an expanded 80-page foil-stamped and embossed yearbook presented in true Freaks and Geeks style loaded with photos and memorabilia from the show. The yearbook is filled with personalized notes, tons of photos, even photos of many of you, script pages, a quiz, a letter from Paul [Feig, creator of the show], a Q&A with me [Judd Apatow, exec. producer], details about every show, a letter from Mr. Rosso, poetry, rock and roll lyrics, reprints of articles about the show, and lots more.
· three live "table reads" of some of our best episodes
· a one-hour Q&A with Judd, Paul & the entire cast at the Museum of TV & Radio in LA shot a few days before we got cancelled
· tons more auditions, deleted scenes, promos and outtakes
· some of our favorite scenes in the raw footage from a single-camera perspective
· guidance counselor Jeff Rosso & Feedback live in concert
· the full original electronic press kit, filled with interviews with the cast and crew
· a script that was never shot
· a special music and photo gallery
· surprise Easter eggs
· even more behind the scenes footage edited by Jason Segal and Martin Starr
· and other things that are weird and hard to describe"
It runs for the steep price of $120, but the way I figure it is, this is the only season of F&G you're going to get, so you may as well do it right! However, you won't go wrong with either version, so do yourself a favor and check it out.