A fan-led campaign caused NBC to broadcast three more episodes in July 2000; three others would not be seen until September of that year, when the cable network Fox Family Channel aired them in syndication. The complete series was later released on DVD.
Their friends, respectively, constituted the "freaks" — Daniel Desario (James Franco), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel), Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps) — and "geeks" — Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) — of the title. The Weirs' parents, Harold (Joe Flaherty) and Jean (Becky Ann Baker), were featured in every episode, and Millie Kentner (Sarah Hagan), Lindsay's nerdy, highly religious former best friend, was a recurring character.
The show's starting point was Lindsay's transition from her life as an academically proficient student, star mathlete, and proper young girl, with Millie as her like-minded best friend, to an Army-jacket-wearing teenager who hangs out with troubled slackers. Her relationships with her new friends, and the friction they cause with her parents and with her own self-image, form one central strand of the show; the other follows Sam and his group of geeky friends as they navigate a very different part of the social universe trying to fit in.
Other notable guest appearances were made by Thomas F. Wilson (in the recurring role of Coach Fredericks), Joel Hodgson (in the recurring role of a salesman who loves disco), David Koechner (as a waiter), Kevin Corrigan (as Millie's delinquent cousin), Jason Schwartzman (as a student dealing in fake IDs), Allen Covert (as the liquor store clerk), Matt Czuchry (as a student from rival Lincoln High), Claudia Christian (as Bill's mother), Shia LaBeouf (as the school mascot that gets hurt), and Ben Foster (who appeared as the mentally handicapped student Eli, and often hyped the show while promoting the film Liberty Heights), Alexander Gould as Ronnie, the boy Lindsey babysits while high. Veteran character actor Kevin Tighe also appeared in two episodes as Nick's father.
Many of the writers appeared on the show at one point or another. Mike White, for instance, played Kim Kelly's oft-discussed injured brother, first appearing in the fourth episode "Kim Kelly is My Friend". Paul Feig and Gabe Sachs appear uncredited as members of the fictional band "Dimension" in "I'm With the Band". Michael Andrews, the original score composer for the series, plays the role of Dimension's lead singer. Steve Bannos played the recurring role of the much hated math teacher, Mr. Kowchevski.
Punk rock band Diesel Boy appears and performs in the "Noshing and Moshing" episode.
In November 2004, two Freaks and Geeks books were released, titled Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 1 and Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 2. Both published by Newmarket Press, each book covers nine scripts from the series as compiled by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow themselves. Extra content includes behind-the-scenes memos and notes, photos, additional plotlines and excerpts from the Freaks and Geeks series bibles.
On November 25, 2008, the deluxe "Yearbook Edition" boxed set will be re-released; the set will feature all of the episodes, commentaries, and special features of the "Complete Series" 6-DVD set, plus two extra discs and deluxe packaging. It is packaged as a 80-page color yearbook with essays, pictures, and episode synopses.
One of the distinguishing characteristics that separated Freaks and Geeks from similar television series at the time was its authentic soundtrack. The creators made it a priority to feature genuine, period-specific music that would help to create the tone of the show. Clearing such names as The Who, the Grateful Dead, the Moody Blues, and Billy Joel would prove to require much of the show's budget. Eventually, this would become an obstacle in releasing the show on DVD due to the difficulty and expense of clearing all of the music rights for the series. Many television shows (such as Dawson's Creek and WKRP in Cincinnati) had music cues changed or removed in order to facilitate relatively inexpensive DVD releases. The creators of Freaks and Geeks, however, chose to wait to release the DVD until they could find a company up to the challenge of gaining clearance for the music, as not to upset the fans of the show. Shout! Factory, a music and video company specializing in comprehensive reissues and compilations of classic and sometimes obscure pop culture eventually brought Freaks and Geeks to DVD with all of its music intact.
The opening credits of each episode were accompanied by the song "Bad Reputation" performed by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
The show was nominated for an Emmy once again in 2001 for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Paul Feig, "Discos and Dragons").
In addition to the Emmys, the show has been nominated and won numerous awards for writing, directing and acting.
Millie makes reference to playing against the "Mount Clemen High School". It is actually Mount Clemens, a city directly adjacent to Clinton Township. There are also mentions of 15 and 16 Mile Roads. (Metro Detroit is anchored by the "mile road system").
The freaks successfully sneak into "the Rusty Nail", a bar in Clinton Township, Michigan on Groesbeck Ave., where they ultimately are found to be underage by their guidance counselor who was performing with his band on stage. As of May 2007, the Rusty Nail is open for business and features live music most nights.
In Episode 8, Mr. Rosso tells Lindsay that he contracted herpes from a girl he met at a bowling alley on 15 Mile Road.
In Episode 18, Lindsay Weir is asked to participate in the "Academic Summit" at the University of Michigan.
Nick Andopolis took drum lessons from Terry Breese of the Huber & Breese music store in Fraser, Michigan.
Six years later, actors from the two shows comprised the bulk of the starring cast of Apatow's film, Knocked Up, with James Franco making a brief cameo appearance as himself. In addition, many of the extras starred as teachers and principal tertiary characters from both shows. Martin Starr, Steve Bannos, and David Krumholtz all appeared as extras in Superbad, which was produced by Apatow and co-written by Rogen (who also has a supporting role in the film). Walk Hard featured Bannos, Krumholtz and Starr in minor or cameo roles.
In 2008, Rogen and Franco co-starred in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy film Pineapple Express.