Freaks and Geeks was a show ahead of its time, due to it popularizing “uncool” and misunderstood teens like Sam Weir- the socially impaired SNL fan. Since its cancellation, the series has developed a cult following, in part, due to it streaming on Hulu. Now Millennial and Gen Z fans are looking for something new to binge that gives them the same high school nostalgia.
From Netflix to Amazon to Disney+, there are a plethora of shows ranging from the past to the present that give off the same feels as Freaks and Geeks. Whether it’s dealing with awkward moments, high school drama, or a simple coming-of-age tale, these shows are worth a watch.
10 Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2015) – Available on Amazon Prime
Degrassi: The Next Generation follows the students of Degrassi middle school (and later high school) as they deal with the obstacles of being a teenager. Each episode follows the teens as they deal with topics such as their sexuality, school shootings, teen pregnancy, and more.
This show is such a hit because viewers can relate to the Degrassi High characters. Like Freaks and Geeks, Degrassi tackled the awkward moments that teenagers face such as Emma and Sean’s first date, but also touches on the longing of being an adolescent in high school. While Freaks and Geeks fall more under the comedy realm, Degrassi is more of a teen drama dealing with darker issues. For those who love the nostalgia that comes with Freaks and Geeks, this series is a must-watch.
9 Boy Meets World (1993-2000) – Available On Disney+
Boy Meets World follows Cory Matthews as he makes his journey from adolescence to adulthood, all while juggling friendships, relationships, and school. Throughout the series, an important lesson is taught at the end of every episode, which helps Cory better understand his world.
Like Freaks and Geeks, this is one of those shows that will put a smile on viewers’ faces due to its sentimentality and awkward moments. Both Cory and Sam have a strong bond with their friends, but struggle to be seen as more than a geek to their peers. The difference between these two shows is that viewers can see Cory develop from a teenager to a man, but since Freaks and Geeks ends abruptly, fans never get to see past Sam’s adolescence.
8 Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006) – Available On Hulu
Malcolm in the Middle follows the protagonist, Malcolm – a genius kid who is placed in a class of gifted students but also gives viewers an inside look at the dysfunctional yet hilarious Cleavers family.
Both Freaks and Geeks and Malcolm In The Middle tell a coming-of-age story of kids coming into their own, like Malcolm and Sam – the highly intelligent students who have so much more to offer than their book smarts. While Freaks and Geeks has more of a serious tone, fans who watch the series for the laughs will love the mishaps Malcolm and his family get into.
7 Daria (1997-2002) – Available On Amazon Prime Video
Many teens can relate to Daria – the smart sarcastic high school girl who does not care what anyone thinks of her. She lives life to the beat of her own drum while attending high school throughout the entire series.
Daria does not tackle serious issues, but the animated show resembles Freak and Geeks almost perfectly in the comedy realm. From Daria’s difficulty relating to her parents to how she’s always able to nonchalantly put the “popular” kids in their place with her witty comebacks.
6 90210 (2008-2013) – Available On Pluto TV
90210 is the typical teen drama. It follows Annie and Dixon as they move from Kansas to Beverly Hills, California. Upon arrival, not only are they dealing with a vast amount of culture shock, but also must deal with some intense drama including a hit and run, substance abuse, and blackmail.
This series is a little heavier on the drama but continues to touch on teenagers navigating their way through life. Annie and Dixon are the new kids in town and find ways to fit in; such as Annie auditioning for the school play and falling for Ethan, the cool kid in school. The biggest difference between the two shows is that fans can relate more to Freaks and Geeks due to the series being less glamorized.
5 Euphoria (2019 -) – Available On HBO Max
Euphoria follows a 17-year-old girl named Rue, a teenager who has just left rehab, with no intention of getting her life back on track. The series also focuses on Rue’s peers as they deal with their issues while trying to navigate their lives through high school.
Euphoria is the darker version of Freaks and Geeks, due to covering topics such as abuse and relationship problems. But what makes this show a must-watch is that, just like Freaks and Geeks, it tackles these issues in a real and organic way. Viewers get to see what Rue goes through as she tries to get her life back on track, and how every single character deals with their mental health.
4 Pen15 (2019 -) – Available on Hulu
Pen15 is a show that takes millennials back down memory lane. The series focuses on Maya and Anna – best friends tackling middle school in the year 2000. Along the way of trying to finding themselves, they also deal with first-time crushes and the urge to just fit in with the cool crowd.
Pen15 is a brilliant show, thanks to the fact that the story told between Maya and Anna is so raw. Like Freaks and Geeks, the series has many awkward but funny moments that take fans back to their adolescent years. From Maya practicing how to make out on her mirror to Anna asking her crush to the dance, and getting rejected.
3 13 Reasons Why (2017-2020) – Available on Netflix
13 Reasons Why follows the life of Clay Jensen, a high school student who must find out why one of his classmates – Hanna Baker, takes her own life. Now Clay is listening to 13 tapes as she explains the turmoil she went through in high school.
This series is more intense and does not have a comedic tone like Freak and Geeks. The series gets into a whole range of issues facing high school students, even touching on topics so controversial that a warning was needed before the start of an episode. Even though the tone is different, fans will love the journey Clay and his peers go through as they make their way through high school.
2 Glee (2009 – 2015) – Available on Netflix
Teacher Will Schuester is the head of the Glee Club, a club that students join who have a love for singing and performing. Glee focuses on a group of teenagers from Rachel Berry – the overachiever to Finn Hudson – the school jock.
If Freak and Geeks were a musical it would be called Glee. Each student tackles the social climate of high school. There’s Santana and Quinn – two cheerleaders who want nothing more than to be the queen bees, and the original members of The Glee Club who are looked down on by the popular kids.
1 Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 -2003) – Available on Hulu
Buffy The Vampire Slayer follows Buffy Summers – the chosen one who must protect the people around her from evil forces. She’s doing this all while trying to juggle school and friendships. The series touches on important topics such as coming out to friends, substance use, and losing loved ones.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer has more differences than similarities to Freaks and Geeks, but both shows do have one common ground that fans will love, and that is the original Scooby gan. Buffy, Xander, and Willow are all “geeks” trying to find themselves. Willow is the shy, yet smart teenager, and Xander is a nerdy guy with a crush on the popular girl.