7/10 Following up “Freaks and Geeks”, Judd Apatow graduated from high school to college with this single season comedy series from 20 years ago. While not as good as “Freaks and Geeks”, this is a still a good show that comes from the same DNA and therefore has some positive similarities which strengthen the show. For example, some of the same people behind the scenes and in front of the camera worked on both shows. Like “Freaks and Geeks”, people who worked on this show early on in their careers went on to much bigger, well renowned projects. Behind the scenes talent for this show includes Greg Mottola (who went on to direct “Superbad” and “Adventureland”), Jay Chandrasekhar (“Super Troopers”, “Beerfest”) and Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”, “Elf”, “The Jungle Book”). Returning directors from “Freaks and Geeks” include Judd Apatow, Paul Feig and Jake Kasdan. The casting is spot on and we get to see cameos from actors who were about to blow up or recently had. Famous cameos include but are not limited to Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Jenna Fischer, Tom Welling, Fred Willard, Mike White, Will Ferrell, Felicia Day, Amy Poehler, Kevin Hart and “Freaks and Geeks” alum like Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Natasha Melnick and Busy Philipps. The show has some funny moments and is always entertaining. Episodes are only 22 minutes long so since there are 17 episodes, you could binge watch this in a day if you wanted to, making it a quick and easy viewing if you aren’t looking for a huge time commitment. The show has some heart to it and some relatable elements. As for the negatives that hold it back from being as solid as “Freaks and Geeks”, the shorter run time for each episode doesn’t give us as much time to develop characters or make the show as heartfelt as it possibly could be. There are some over the top moments and a subplot with our main character’s father always showing up runs its course quickly. Finally, the season finale was just like any other episode and could have been substituted for any other episode. Season finales are supposed to either be more eventful/epic than your standard episode or tease you a little bit for a possible next season, which this show unfortunately never received. Overall this is a good show worth watching if you can seek it out and although it doesn’t quite live up to “Freaks and Geeks”, this is a fun watch filled with young stars at their humble beginnings and hinted at Judd Apatow’s future rise to some hilarious feature films to come. This is one college class worth attending.
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