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IFC announced today that they have acquired the rights to air the excellent (but sadly short-lived) dramedy series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Both created by popular filmmaker Judd Apatow (before he was popular), neither show lasted more than a season on TV before cancellation. They’ve since become beloved by many on DVD but are both deserving on any list of TV shows that were axed before their time.
IFC states that this move to air the two series is part of their “strategy of showcasing ‘slightly off’ comedies that appeal to its young male audience.” I’ll agree with the “slightly off” thing as both shows have a sort of quirky humor that many will find familiar if they’ve seen any of the films Apatow’s done since his TV shows flopped. The “off” part is where the charm is and it’s one of the reasons both series are worth checking out. But I can tell you as someone who is not a young male that these series (especially Freaks and Geeks) should appeal to a much wider audience than just young males.
Freaks and Geeks originally aired in the late ‘90’s but it takes place in the early ‘80’s. The series follows Lindsay, a high school girl looking to shed her good-girl reputation and get in with the “freak” crowd (the class-cutting, cig-smoking, “bad” kids), while her brother Sam is tormented mercilessly because of his “geek” status. The charm of the show comes in watching the Weir siblings and their friends look for acceptance while also occasionally finding the courage to embrace the things about themselves that might make them a little bit different. It’s one of my favorite TV shows (ever). If you’ve ever considered watching it and you have IFC, now’s your chance!
Undeclared, which came out a couple of years after F&G and was cancelled just as quickly, follows a group of freshman as they attempt figure out what to do with themselves while adjusting to college life. I can’t say I ever fell in love with Undeclared the way I did F&G (and it wasn’t for lack of relating to the characters as I was once a clueless undeclared college kid, myself) but it’s still a worth-watching show none the less.
Freaks and Geeks will begin airing on IFC on July 2nd, while Undeclared will start airing sometime in the fall.
Of the acquisitions, Hal Richardson, President of Paramount Worldwide Television Distribution said the following:
“We are pleased that Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared can soon be enjoyed again by television audiences on IFC. We believe that IFC is the perfect home to give them renewed life as well as introduce them to a new fan base who can watch the series that helped launch the careers of some of today’s brightest comedic talents.”
Brightest talent is no exaggeration. One could say that while Freaks and Geeks was short-lived, it helped launch the careers of quite a few now-known actors. Among them are Linda Cardellini (ER), John Francis Daley (Waiting, Bones), James Franco (Spiderman), Samm Levine (Life As We Know It), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, The Green Hornet), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) and Martin Starr (Knocked Up, Party Down). In short, if you do decide to watch Freaks and Geeks on IFC, expect to see a lot of familiar faces.