On television right now, it seems like the two biggest trends are either revamping popular movie properties or franchises for the small screen (see Lethal Weapon, Westworld), or bringing back beloved TV shows from decades ago that were canceled too soon or ended poorly. Netflix, in particular, has grown very adept at giving critically-acclaimed series a second chance at life to great success throughout the years, like with the fourth season of Arrested Development or last year’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
For many fans and TV viewers too, the late ’90s and early 2000s were filled to the brim with TV shows that were ahead of their time, and were cancelled before they ever got the chance to receive the kind of critical and popular attention they deserved, whether it be obvious titles like Firefly, or obscure, similarly short-lived dramas and comedies. While the possibility of seeing a number of those shows come back again for a second chance seems to just grow with each new announcement, however, it looks like there’s one beloved series from that era that will not be coming back as a revival or reboot anytime soon.
During a recent interview with Deadline for his new HBO series, Crashing, executive producer Judd Apatow talked about why he has no plans or desire to bring Freaks and Geeks – which he wrote on and was an executive producer of – back despite the cult classic series only lasting for one season back in 1999-2000:
“I don’t want to do more Freaks & Geeks because we liked how it ended, so I feel it’s unwrapping something and seeing if you can not screw it up; I don’t think we would do that. Also, the world has changed so much. Back then in 1999, we were talking about the pre-computer and cellphone age that was before YouTube, Google, Snapchat. I don’t close the door on anything but my inclination is that we said all we had to say.”
In many ways, Freaks and Geeks was ahead of its time, being one of Apatow’s few early projects that looking back on it now, feels more prophetic than he might have intended. It was also a launching pad for some of the most popular actors and comedic voices in the industry right now, including Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Martin Starr, and more. It’s also the cast members’ star power now though, that would probably be one of the chief reasons a Freaks and Geeks revival might not work as well as it might seem on paper.
Practically the entire series, which was created by Ghostbusters director Paul Feig, hinged on the adolescence of its characters, and especially the time period in which the series took place in. A majority of the jokes, cliques, or even social dynamics of the characters may seem outdated nowadays, and to combine that with a bunch of legitimate movie and TV stars revisiting their characters from almost twenty years ago, it just doesn’t seem like it would add much more to the series. So while this might come as disappointing news for fans of the short-lived series, it’s probably for the best in the end. It’s also refreshing to see a powerful creator like Apatow be so vehemently against bringing back a beloved thing from the past, when so many of the popular shows and franchises being made nowadays seem to (transparently) hinge on nostalgia.