It used to be that when a beloved series or franchise would be canceled, a small, very vocal community would not be able to let the dead IP rest, and when asked about the possibility of a reunion, those involved would be forced to say, “yeah, I would love that to happen.” Of course, such shows only seldom would come back. Over the years, there’s been talk about Joss Whedon returning to “Firefly,” yet it’s never come to fruition (though he did make “Serenity“), and while Guillermo del Toro acknowledges chatter about more “Hellboy” films, it never comes to pass. Fans have been itching for more “Carnivalé” too, but that doesn’t look promising.
But with the rise of “PeakTV,” the landscape is changing and almost everything seems up for grabs. A “Deadwood” movie is coming after years of fans clamoring for more and none but the most dream-on optimists thinking such a thing was remotely possibility. A “Veronica Mars” movie was made (although it tanked theatrically), “Arrested Development” came back via Netflix with a fifth season looking likely, “X-Files” and “Twin Peaks” are on the way back, as are shows like “Full House,” “Gilmore Girls,” “24” and “Prison Break.” This is not only PeakTV, but a nostalgic TV reboot era as well.
One of the shows consistently mooted for revitalization has been Judd Apatow’s and Paul Feig’s “Freaks & Geeks,” a show that was canceled after one hugely beloved first season. Starring a cast that would go on to become major stars and filmmakers (James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel), well-known comedians (Martin Starr, Samm Levine), in-demand Hollywood screenwriters (John Francis Daley) and well-known character actors (Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps), “Freaks And Geeks” is now recognized as a hothouse for young talent.
Apatow was asked about the return of “Freaks and Geeks” at the Television Critics Association winter press tour —he said it was a definite possibility, though not before dropping a witticism first. “All those kids are dead. All those characters died in a super max prison,” Apatow quipped (via The Wrap). “You never know, it could happen. This year it won’t happen, but we’ll see. I think James Franco has already made a series of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and hasn’t told us yet.”
No one should be surprised if Netflix or some other streaming network takes that idea seriously. In any case, Apatow is back in the world of TV with “Love” his new show for the streaming giant, so who knows. But certainly, if you’re a former showrunner of a strongly regarded show, there’s probably never been a stronger climate for to revive it than this very moment.
Apatow did talk about one show he’d love to revisit. “I did a pilot in 2001 called ‘North Hollywood’ for ABC. They wanted to do an edgy, groundbreaking comedy —it was around the time ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ was very popular,” he said. “We did a show about struggling actors and comedians, and it starred Jason Segel, Kevin Hart, Amy Poehler and January Jones… I don’t think any show has not been picked up faster. I’d like to try to do that again just to see how much we’d have to pay everyone.”