It’s been 18 years since Freaks and Geeks was canceled after just one season on NBC. Though it wasn’t a ratings hit, the one-camera sitcom’s legacy has survived for nearly two decades thanks to a massive cult following and the advent of streaming services like Netflix, where you can binge all 18 episodes whenever you feel the call to revisit William McKinley High.
On Saturday night, fans of the beloved series packed into the Tribeca Film Festival hub to catch the premiere of Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, an upcoming A&E Cultureshock special directed by Brent Hodge, which offers a no-holds-barred look at the making of the show’s first and only installment.
Before the screening, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig, who reminisced on the iconic series and its lasting impact.
“It’s really cool. Whenever you make stuff, you hope it’s going to have some life beyond itself,” he said. “But the odds of it happening are very low, especially back then when there was no secondary way to put a show out other than syndication. Once you got canceled, it was like, ‘Well, I guess we’re just gone forever.’ So it was nice to have the first DVDs to come out a few years later and now with streaming services, we can stay alive.”
In response to fans’ eagerness for a Freaks and Geeks revival amid Hollywood’s reboot frenzy, Feig said that an official reunion is highly unlikely. “The chances are probably pretty low,” he said of resurrecting the show, which jumpstarted the careers of its young cast. Freaks and Geeks had six episodes written by exec producer Judd Apatow and co-starred James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Busy Philipps as “the freaks”; and John Francis Daley, Martin Starr and Samm Levine as “the geeks.”
Feig added of the reboot conversation, “I loved the show — the 18 episodes that we did. And I always get nervous about reunions and that kind of thing. Also, our cast is so famous now. I don’t think we can afford them!”
While he’s considered the idea of rebooting Freaks and Geeks “with a different cast, possibly another generation,” Feig is hesitant, as it could damage the show’s position in pop-culture history. As it stands, Freaks and Geeks is revered by critics and viewers alike, often topping “TV shows that were canceled too soon” lists.
“I feel like we did it so well, that part of me just wants to step away,” Feig told THR. “But — never say never.”
Whether or not Freaks and Geeks ever comes back, fans were thrilled to take a trip down memory lane on Saturday night. Here are eight highlights from the documentary’s New York debut and its post-panel discussion with Feig and director Hodge.
(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Report