Old shows get a second look: why you should watch ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and ‘Twin Peaks’

Twin Peaks (four stars)螢幕快照 2014-01-23 下午3.42.04

I have a soft spot for science fiction. Early on, my dad made sure the playroom floor was littered with plastic lightsabers, the shelves were stocked with “Star Wars” encyclopedias and, most importantly, I was with him when he watched the Sci-Fi channel.

Consequently, I jumped at the chance to review “Twin Peaks,” a ‘90s sci-fi mystery. In fact, I was so excited that I resolved to watch all 30 episodes one after the other.

The show premiered in 1990 to immediate critical acclaim. Though viewership declined as the series wore on, it still retained a massive cult following. It was so massive in fact that an organized mailing campaign managed to bring it back from ABC’s indefinite hiatus, the television equivalent of death row.

“Twin Peaks” feels like just another mystery show, and, for the most part, it is. What gives the show its sci-fi label is the general weirdness the protagonist gets himself into the further he investigates.

Besides minor memory loss (I still don’t remember climbing into bed), another side effect of prolonged sleep deprivation is a fairly accurate ability to judge what plot points in the show keep one entertained (awake).

As anyone who’s seen even one episode can attest, the intro sequence is positively hypnotic, with nature shots and the show’s trademark atmospheric music. Other than that, the show kept me awake and interested.

The basis of the story is that Laura from Twin Peaks, Wash., has been found dead, and FBI agent Dale Cooper has been called in to investigate.

I immediately fell in love with Cooper and the members of the Twin Peaks PD. You have the love triangle among the ditzy secretary Lucy, the equally oafish deputy Andy Brennan and the self-proclaimed “fashion aficionado,” Dick Treymane; the proverb-slinging deputy Hawk; and Sheriff Truman, the “straight man” of the group.

After the show’s conclusion, the actors never really did much, mostly landing minor roles in TV shows throughout the subsequent two decades. My favorite is Kyle MacLachlan (Cooper) as the mayor of Portland in “Portlandia.”

I believe that this host of characters could have carried the show, and maybe it would have been better that way because the show gets snagged on some of its subplots.

Half of me wishes that the show had stopped after we found out who killed Laura. The 12 episodes that come after seem a little tacked on.

My major problem with the show is that sometimes it turns into a soap (something that’s not helped by the show’s ever-repeating soundtrack). Teen drama is the theme here: love, betrayal, forgiveness. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

That said, what I like about this series far outweighs what I don’t, and it’s an easy recommendation for anyone who doesn’t mind a (mostly) well written but slow sci-fi tale.

—Grant Miner
Dawson’s Creek (five stars) 螢幕快照 2014-01-23 下午3.42.29

Scrolling through Netflix this summer, trying to find a way to procrastinate on my Latin homework, I came across “Dawson’s Creek.” As is probably the case with most people my age, I had never heard of it.

The show “Dawson’s Creek”—a ‘90s version of “Glee” or “90210”—was described as a “soap about a group of close-knit teens,” which was right up my alley.

Dawson’s Creek was the debut for actors Michelle Williams (“Brokeback Mountain”), Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”) and Joshua Jackson (“Fringe”).

My intuition was correct—watching “Dawson’s Creek” proved an enjoyable way to waste time over the summer.

Set in the small fictional town of Capeside in Massachusetts, “Dawson’s Creek” is, in essence, the story of a teen-age love triangle.

Yes, it’s cheesy and a bit predictable, but you can’t help but love the characters.

A total of 127 episodes (45 minutes each) amounts to more than a few love stories. This group of teenagers struggles with issues from religion to death to homosexuality.

Although the characters can be described as pretentious because of their choice of words, the way they speak is one of the defining qualities of lead characters Joey (Holmes) and Dawson (James Van Der Beck).

Their speaking style enhances their characters—Joey wants to break away from her small town and go to college while Dawson envisions himself following in the footsteps of director Steven Spielberg.

Joey’s the smart one and Dawson’s the dreamer, but every show needs a clown.

Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), my favorite character, is the one who enters the town’s beauty pageant.

And there’s the new girl Jen Lindley (Williams), who triggers the emotional upheaval between Dawson, Joey and Pacey, which only resolves in the final episode.

We are able to understand the personalities of Dawson and Joey because of the realistic acting.

An affair with a teacher? Father is in jail? News spreads like wildfire.

I’ll concede that at times the show stretches on a bit, but as the characters stumble through these obstacles, viewers are able to discover their multi-faceted personalities.

Looking back on all the heartwarming moments and all the hearts that broke over the course of my binge-watching this summer, I can’t help but be overcome by nostalgia.

Of course, my friends mocked me relentlessly for not only watching a teen drama, but an outdated one at that.

But in all honesty, things haven’t changed that much since then.

We like to think that we are so much cooler than our parents were back in their day. The show is just as relatable and hackneyed as any show today.

—Aishwarya Nadgauda 
Freaks and Geeks (four stars) 螢幕快照 2014-01-23 下午3.42.56

With a varied cast and sense of humor that should appeal to all ages, “Freaks and Geeks” is a hilarious look at what high school is like for the rest of the world and a definite must watch.

“Freaks and Geeks” is a comedy set in 1980 that follows the lives and daily struggles of McKinley High School students Lindsay Weir and her younger brother Sam.

The show also features a wide variety of now well-known actors, such as James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. Lindsay, who has always been a nerd, is now trying to fit in with the “freaks” of the school, while Sam and his “geek” friends are just trying to survive.

The kids who are considered “freaks” are generally stoners and are into hardcore rock and roll.

Think Led Zeppelin T-shirts and endless conversations about their latest trips.

“Geeks” are, well, your average geeks. Sam and his friends are the characteristically weak nerds who can’t stand up for themselves.

Lindsay constantly deals with judgement by other students and desperately tries to fit in by throwing parties and rebelling, while Sam lives in constant fear of his bully Alan White.

I admit that “Freaks and Geeks” feels a little alien at first.

The dress is a bit strange, with many characters wearing classic rock shirts and their dads’ war jackets, and some of the humor is ‘80s-based, making it hard to connect to for the first few episodes.

But all students can relate to Lindsay’s struggle to fit in and Sam’s feelings of inferiority to his sister and older students.

I also fell in love with the show’s ability to transition between different types of humor.

The jokes on the show jump from nerdy sci-fi references to tales of drive-in movies while high on mushrooms, all of which are absolutely hysterical.

To be totally honest, I did find the freaks’ (Franco, Rogen, and Segel), humor to be a bit more up my alley. This was probably because many of the actors who play “geeks” were very young and their acting could get cringe-worthy in the first few episodes.

While I did love the show, I would like to give a fair warning to all who start watching “Freaks and Geeks.”

The show consists of only one 18-episode season.This makes it easy to watch in a short time period, but it leaves the viewer wanting more.

Despite receiving positive reviews and a strong viewer base,“Freaks and Geeks” was cancelled after only 12 episodes.

Since then, the additional unaired six episodes have been released as part of a DVD box set and are available on Netflix.

The show also received critical acclaim after its cancellation. It is rated one of the best TV shows of all time by magazines such as Time and Entertainment Weekly. “Freaks and Geeks” also has a dedicated cult following.

—Eric Hilton

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