23 February 2011

TV Series: Freaks and Geeks

Ok ok -- I know this is a series that was broadcast in 1999 and only lasted one season.
And I never did get around to watching it while it was on.

But I kept hearing people talk about it. Even now, 11 years later, I still hear people reference this series as probably one of the best series ever.

So my curiosity was piqued. I'd kinda learned my lesson when it came to Firefly. I heard nothing but good about that series, finally checked it out, and was amazed that a network would throw something that good into the shitter.

So when the IFC channel had a Freaks & Geeks marathon over Christmas I put the old TiVo to work and had it record all 18 episodes for me.   TiVo's main job was to fast forward past the commercials. Well that and 18 hours straight of television just isn't something my body and mind likes to endure.  So TiVo's secondary job was to give us the series in doses. So we watched.   An episode here and there, in order.
And too soon it was all done.

Wow.  That show was amazing.
Awesome cast, pretty darn good stories each episode, a character development arc that spans the season for almost all the characters you encounter.  The production paid attention and didn't forget show 'history' in later episodes, instead built on them. 

I can't believe they cancelled it 12 episodes in to the season.  Apparently only 3 of the remaining 6 episodes were shown later on, but nobody got to see the last 3 episodes until later syndication (and DVD release).

But, then again, I think of all the awesome shows in the past that get canceled and I realize that, like always, it isn't about how good a show is, it is about how big an audience it can keep.  And some shows are just too good for general public consumption. That is - the number of people who would rather watch Full House exceeds the number of people who actively use their brains while the television is on.
And yes, I know Full House was already canceled before 1999. I just referred to Full House because its the sort of mentality that gets awesome shows like Freaks and Geeks canceled while steaming piles of shit like Full House goes on and on and on for EIGHT SEASONS.  I mean - seriously. How does a show about 3 men of ambiguous relationship preference, 2 daughters and a monkey  last EIGHT FREAKING SEASONS?


So, if you are ever on the look out for a very good old series, especially if you remember the 1980's with a soft fondness that is born from 30 years of distancing from that era, give this one a once-over.  Heck, throw Firefly in there too if you haven't seen it. It's one season is worth every hour of watching.

(original post 30 Dec 2010)

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