If you have enjoyed the movies of Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, James Franco, Martin Starr, etcetera, you have likely either watched Freaks and Geeks during its initial run on NBC, or you have discovered the show through various streaming services, and DVD. It was a show that met its early demise, in part because of the way the humor in the show is used to present more serious stories. The “Dramedy” hadn’t really become commonplace at that point. The show was of high quality, with actors perfectly performing characters which people very clearly wanted to see more of. Some of the creative team behind the show have made their anger towards the decision to pull the plug publicly known. It has since gathered a phenomenal cult following, and has become a huge home video success. Shout! Factory were the ones to bring this series to DVD, and now they bring it to Blu-ray.
The first thing I’d like to note is that this box set is really high quality. Sturdy packaging, coupled with a plethora of extras, and two versions of the show. You remember when that huge X-Files box set was released, and we discovered that all of the episodes were “remastered” in widescreen, meaning that the original format was cropped in favor of filling out an entire TV. A remastered widescreen version of Freaks and Geeks is part of this set, but you also receive a full HD version of the entire series in its original format as well. This is something that more companies need to consider when releasing shows that were originally exhibited in a full-frame format. It could be the difference between a consumer like myself taking plunge, or taking a pass on a beefy expensive box set.
That aside, how does the show hold up after all of these years? Well, I’d say surprisingly well, but this was probably my fifth time marathoning the entire season, so there are no surprises here. This is a fantastic show. It’s funny, it’s topical, yet it not only gets a little serious, but it takes quite a few unexpected dark turns. It’s said that they main reason the show was cancelled was that the studio wanted it to lighten up. It wanted each episode to end in some kind of victory for the for the protagonist of each episode. If you’ve seen the show, you know that this suggestion would alter it entirely. So, while I’m saddened that I didn’t get to continue the story — especially when it concluded partly as a cliffhanger — I’m equally thankful that it wasn’t transformed into sitcom ho-hummery.
The image quality is great. I opted for the full frame presentation, because, well, I’m me. The good news is, aside from missing some video information from the zooming, if you’re okay with losing out a little bit of the picture in favor of disappearing the black bars on the left and right of the picture, the widescreen remaster is of exceptional quality as well. The sound is really impressive. As I mentioned, I’ve viewed this show in its entirety several times. I did so on streaming services, as well as DVD, and never has the sound been this robust. Each piece of the amazing soundtrack booms like never before. As for bonus content, a lot of it was available on the previous DVD release of the series, but there is an all new “conversation” with Paul Feig and Judd Apatow. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release of Freaks and Geeks is now available, and highly recommended.