Picks and Pans Review: Freaks and Geeks

updated 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Sat., July 8, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

Thank you, NBC, for generously airing three "all-new" episodes of the canceled Freaks and Geeks on one night. Better to trot them out in the dog days than toss them in the trash unseen. Now here's a revolutionary idea: Save the show!

Okay, back to reality. Diehard fans have to grab what they can of this critically lauded but ratings-starved series about Michigan high schoolers ca. 1980. But the July 8 marathon, entertaining though it is, may leave you regretful and a little angry at the thought that a show of such rare quality can't survive beyond a single less-than-full season.

The virtues of Freaks and Geeks shine through in these three hours: the naturalness of the young actors; character development that allows for growth and avoids predictability; humor that's warm one minute, pointed the next (as when McKinley High braces for a vice-presidential visit). It's not too late to meet endearingly awkward Sam (John Daley), his independent-minded sister Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and the other true-to-life teens. But you'll miss them all too soon.

Bottom Line: Let them live!

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