Cast: Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco
Release Date: Now Available On Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 10/10
Set in 1980 at the fictional McKinley High in Detroit, Freaks and Geeks focused on two groups of outsiders: the stoners, tough kids and bad girls; and the brains, nerds and squares. Although this Emmy award-winning series ran for only one season, it has remained a cult favorite and a benchmark of quality television.
Get ready to go revisit McKinley high and its unique collection of individuals like never before as the exceptional and widely praised cult classic TV series ‘Freaks And Geeks’ arrives on Blu-ray disc for the first time ever in a magnificent Collector’s Edition Blu-ray box set from Shout Factory providing you the opportunity to join your favorite nerds and stoners time and again, and in beautiful high definition. The series was created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) who also wrote many of the episodes, along with executive producer Judd Apatow and plenty more who were also involved with the series. The show also features plenty of familiar faces including Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Samm Levine, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Joe Flaherty, and Becky Ann Baker among others, not to mention plenty of familiar faces in guest roles.
One element many fans will be exceptionally thrilled with is that this Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release features new masters of all 18 episodes and in two different formats, both the original 1.33:1 4×3 Aspect Ratio in which they were originally broadcast, as well as brand new widescreen presentations featuring new and never before seen footage on the left and right of the screen thanks to the series initially filming all but the pilot episode in a widescreen format and these folks taking the time and care to go back and remaster the episodes in both formats for your viewing pleasure. Fans will surely appreciate the inclusion of both versions (which are also each included in their own separate 4-disc Blu-ray cases within the solid exterior case) something many TV fans know all too well that we’re not often provided, in many cases only being offered the option of a cropped and reconstructed 16×9 version on Blu-ray for many shows which weren’t even filmed in widescreen, therefore often suffering the loss of footage as a result. In order to provide fans a better idea of what this actually offers them in the picture on this Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series’ you’ll notice that I’ve included matching screenshots from both versions of the episodes for this review.
Fans of this fantastic short lived TV series as well as the talent involved with it will undoubtedly want to make certain to pick up a copy of Shout Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series’ to add to their collections. This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release delivers impressive high definition video and audio presentations on every episode in the series on both the original aspect ratio and new widescreen presentation versions, not to mention a plethora of bonus content including 28 Audio Commentaries with the cast and crew, Deleted Scenes from every episode and an entire additional disc loaded with even more extras to boot including A Conversation with Paul Feig and Judd Apatow moderated by Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd, Behind the Scenes Footage, Cast Auditions and a whole lot more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below), sure to make this a definite must own for fans of the series and likely even some newcomers such as myself who may not have previously had the pleasure of enjoying this remarkable series from start to finish.
Overall, fans of this timeless piece of television will definitely want to get their hands on a copy of Shout Factory’s fantastic ‘Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series’ Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and should be thrilled with the gorgeous high definition video and audio presentations, along with the inclusion of both formats for each episode and no shortage of great extras. For those who never caught the show, I can’t imagine a better way to experience it for the first time than with this outstanding Blu-ray collection.
The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series’ features all 18 episodes from the series in two formats, both presented in full high definition; the first in a 1.33:1 4×3 presentation representing the Aspect Ratio in which it was originally broadcast, in addition to a new 1.78:1 widescreen presentation featuring additional footage on the sides of the screen as a result of the team going back to remaster the series from its original source for the Blu-ray and discovering the entire series with the exception of the Pilot was in fact filmed in widescreen. It’s wonderful to see Shout Factory opt to include both versions in this Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release as opposed to following in the footsteps of so many other studios and including only recut 16×9 versions from 4×3 filmed shows which sacrifice footage while stretching the picture. Both versions of the episodes included look quite fantastic as a whole, delivering sharp, detailed presentations that still retain some mild white squiggles and other artifacts representative of its source, yet nothing that will negatively impact the viewing experience in the slightest. Overall, both versions of each episode included look impressive and these high definition video presentations should easily thrill fans of the series.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both the original aspect ratio and new widescreen versions of all 18 episodes in the series. These lossless multichannel soundtracks sound wonderful, and while not overly active in the surround elements, the wonderful soundtrack and some general ambience make their way throughout the rear channels on occasion, while the dialogue and all other auditory elements are consistently clean and crisp, suffering no notable faults throughout. Overall, these are solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that deliver in every way required of them.
Shout Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series’ is absolutely jam packed with supplemental material, including goodies on both the episode discs as well as an additional disc dedicated solely to extras. Included on the episode discs (applicable to both the original aspect ratio and new widescreen presentation discs) are Audio Commentary tracks with the cast and crew on every episode, with numerous episodes including multiple commentaries, altogether totaling 28 Audio Commentary tracks. Also included on the episode discs are ‘Deleted Scenes’ from every episode in the series, over 100 minutes in deleted footage altogether. The Bonus Disc (aka Load O’ Extra Stuff) includes even more hours of additional extras such as ‘In Conversation with Paul Feig and Judd Apatow: Moderated by Los Angeles Times Critic Robert Lloyd’ (running approximately 46 minutes), ‘Paley Center Q&A’ (approximately 72 minutes), ‘Table Readings’ for three episodes (approximately 2 hours, 28 minutes altogether), even more ‘Deleted Scenes’ with optional commentary (9 minutes altogether), ‘Cast Auditions’ which are broken down into three separate categories within: ‘Main Cast’ (12 minutes), ‘The Freaks’ (8 minutes), ‘The Geeks’ (7 minutes), ‘Students of McKinley High’ (9 minutes), ‘Freaks and Geeks Alternate Universe’ (12 minutes), and ‘The Authority Figures’ (12 minutes). Also included are some fun and behind the scenes videos including “Long Live Rock” (8 minutes), ‘Sober Students Improv Players’ (5 minutes), ‘Tales of the Secret Service’ (7 minutes), and general ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage (19 minutes). Next we are treated to a section titled ‘Smorgasbord’ which is broken down into a number of categories within that feature even more great and classic extras. The included ‘Smorgasbord’ sections are: ‘Raw Footage’ (27 minutes), ‘Odds and Sods’ (26 minutes), ‘NBC Promos’ (28 minutes), ‘Bloopers’ (5 minutes), ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’ (2 minutes), ‘Graduation’ (3 minutes), ‘Extra Goodies’ (15 minutes), and ‘Thanks, Goodbye’ (3 minutes). A nice, solid and informative booklet featuring comments from the creative, an episode guide and more is included in the set as well.