Weekend Ar(t)s: The time is now for revisiting Freaks and Geeks
_During the weekend, even Ars takes an occasional break from reflecting on rugged phones or experiencing the Pirate Party._ Weekend Ar(t)s _is a chance to share what we’re watching/listening/reading or otherwise consuming this week._
There’s almost too much great TV currently running in its later seasons—see heavyweights like _Mad Men_ or _Game of Thrones_ for instance. For longtime fans, it’s phenomenal. But for anyone who catches wind of the buzz and wants to join, it’s almost… daunting.
Retroactively investing in a TV series comes with a higher barrier to entry now in TV’s Golden Age (and that doesn’t even count the hate you’ll get from David Simon). Stories are more layered, less serialized. Characters undergo real growth through major experiences that you need to consume chronologically. Jumping in on S4 of _Seinfeld_ was OK, but today’s titles have no shortcuts. Sure, streaming services make it possible to cram and catch up to the up-to-date masses. But that’s a lot of time to dedicate. There’s also something unsatisfying about having story arcs unravel in a timely fashion during your Netflix binge, only to be forced back into snail’s paced week-to-week routine.
So for anyone in need of a happy medium (high content without the tremendous investment), there is a solution. The AV Club recently sat down with Paul Feig—writer/director/actor who most recently worked on _Bridesmaids_—to have him provide an insanely thorough and indulgent walkthrough for TV’s perfect blend of quality and access: _Freaks and Geeks_.
_Freaks and Geeks_ was a turn of the century series with equal parts drama and comedy, focused on a brother and sister that ran with two distinct but interconnected crowds at their high school. You had the geeks with their (ironic) AV Club and D&D tendencies, then the freaks with their drug use and low-level criminal mischief. These relateable youth stories were set against 1980s Detroit, allowing for some kickass soundtracking and sly pop culture references. It was Feig’s brainchild, with the help of friend Judd Apatow. It launched the careers of people like James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. You can infer the quality on this alone.
What makes this particular series so accessible? _Freaks and Geeks_ was a show birthed in the wrong era, when a TV series needed to attain unrealistically high numbers by today’s standards in order to live on. It’s as if _Community_ existed 10 years earlier—no Internet battle grounds existed for diehards to build critical buzz and swarm a network with vocal support. The only indicator of success was a show’s rating and _Freaks and Geeks_ didn’t do it.
It’s a one season commodity, ranked among the best of its kind though. You can find it on Netflix and now you even have its creator providing the episode-by-episode insights required in the age of the Internet TV critic. If you missed _Freaks and Geeks_ during its air days (or when IFC and Nick have smartly reaired it), that’s OK. There are more resources than ever and the current TV landscape is filled with shows asking for more of a commitment while providing only equal (at best) payoff. The time is now to meet the Weir family and finally experience the _Freaks_.