Freaks and Geeks barely lasted one season on NBC, but the teen dramedy left a lasting mark on all of those it touched, both during its original run from 1999 until 2000 and today, through Netflix. It's also a series that remains close to the heart of exec producer Judd Apatow, who has gone on to become a superstar director and producer of films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Trainwreck. While promoting his new Netflix comedy Love, Judd Apatow said that a Freaks and Geeks revival could happen on a streaming service, and it's simply the greatest news to come out of the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Since its cancellation, Freaks and Geeks has developed a cult following of people who deeply adore the series for being so real and poignant, totally breaking the mold of teen shows. At the TCAs, Apatow noted that there is no reunion or revival in development, but "anything can happen." He continued, "I think we had a beautiful poetic ending, and it’s a miracle that it worked so well...There’s something about the show that’s timeless because we were trying to write about the era before technology so it doesn’t look goofy because they’re holding tiny cell phones, so we’re very lucky that way."
And that means it should be easy to pick up right where they all left off, right? Come on, Judd — you can make this happen! I mean, just look at how easily the all-star cast of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp slipped back into their roles. I'm sure Freaks and Geeks stars James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, Busy Philipps and Linda Cardellini would come back and reprise their roles for a return of the beloved series.
Here's what they've had to say about the series over the years, proving that they are all still Freaks and Geeks at heart.
Linda Cardellini: "It Sort Of Keeps Living Forever"
I’m so grateful that the Internet and the DVD came along because, otherwise, something like Freaks And Geeks would have been dead. At the time we made the show, those avenues weren’t really available, and the idea of the show carrying on after it was canceled was something that didn’t really happen...It’s amazing what’s happening with IFC and Netflix where all these people who weren’t around or didn’t know when the show came out can now find it. And it sort of keeps it living forever.
It sounds like the actor who played Lindsay Weir is a fan of streaming services and glad to hear that Freaks and Geeks has found a new audience. I think it would be safe to say she'd be in support of introducing a new audience to Lindsay and Co. with new episodes, right?
James Franco Reprised His Role In 2015
Last year, Franco stepped back into the role of Daniel Desario for an AOL webseries called Making A Scene for an episode in which the actor mashes up Freaks and Geeks with teen comedy Saved By The Bell (above). And Franco didn't miss a beat as he played both Daniel and Zack Morris — now how about playing Daniel again for real?
Seth Rogen Confronted The Exec Who Canceled Freaks & Geeks
If you ever had any doubt for Rogen's passion for the dramedy series, then look no further. In 2014, Rogen and Paul Rudd attended a taping of Saturday Night Live to support friend Bill Hader, and that's when the Geeks star overheard the name of NBC executive Garth Ancier, who pulled the plug on Freaks and Geeks. And true to his word, Rogen confronted Ancier.
"I know his name, obviously, because we’ve talked about how stupid he is for the last 15 years," Rogen told HuffPost Live. He continued:
He oddly tried to justify it. He was like, “You know, Judd wouldn’t listen to my notes.” I was like, “The notes probably were stupid.” … He was like, “You know, I kept telling Judd, ‘Give them a victory, give them a victory.’ And I was like, “The whole show was about how in high school you always lose all the time.”
Ancier took to Facebook after that to defend his actions, but also admitted, "This was an awful decision that has haunted me forever…For what it is worth, I have watched all of the episodes over and over again on Netflix, and asked myself what I could have done better to save it."
Freaks & Geeks Inspired Jason Segel To Write
Segel, like much of the cast, has now become a movie star in his own right with hits like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets, I Love You, Man, and a nine-season run on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. But Marshall — which Segel also wrote — wouldn't have happened without him playing Nick Andopolis on Freaks and Geeks.
How so? According to Vulture, Apatow encouraged Segel to improv some of Freaks and Geeks' comedic scenes and told him, "If you can improv the way you can, you can write. That's just improv-ing on paper." In addition to writing, Apatow also encouraged Segel to sing and play the guitar for "Lady L" (above).
Judd Apatow: "It's All Revenge For Canceling Freaks & Geeks"
In 2013, Apatow told the audience at Paley Fest that all of his success has been revenge to those who canceled Freaks and Geeks , a hurt that still smarted at the time:
“Even to this day, I think I didn’t want to admit that Freaks and Geeks was cancelled. Everything I’ve done, in a way, is revenge for the people who cancelled Freaks and Geeks. It’s really demented, but it’s just like ‘you were wrong about that person, and that person and that person. And that writer and that director.’ And I really should get over that.”
They do say success is the best revenge. But you know what's even better revenge? Bringing back the show to a place like Netflix, where it'd be wildly successful.