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Freaks and Geeks (NBC 1999-2000, Linda Cardellini, James Franco)

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The whole nostalgia thing had been done before—Happy Days, The Wonder Years, That 70’s Show—but never quite like this. For all their coming-of-age intent, these shows all put a “now” spin on a “then” time—an idealized childhood we all wished we had. Set in 1980, the hour-long dramedy Freaks and Geeks remembered what adolescence was really like—a wonderful, terrifying, embarrassing and mind-numbing experience that could only be appreciated by living through it now and trying to make sense of it all later.

Skinny high school freshman Sam Weir was a geek. His best friends Neil Schweiber (a Steve Martin wannabe) and Bill Haverchuck (the übergeek) were also geeks. They loved all things Star Wars, Monty Python and sci-fi, and the opposite sex was pretty much a closed door to them. Life wasn’t always fair, but it was about as good as the geek world gets.

Sam’s older sister Lindsay was a freak. She didn’t start out that way—she used to be an honor student and a mathlete—but the death of her grandmother and the start of her senior year of high school caught Lindsay in the throes of the classic teen rebellion drama. She found new friends in burnout slickster Daniel Desario, dim-witted drummer Nick Andopolis, bad girl Kim Kelly and sarcastic Ken Miller, and immediately her life began to change. She was still smart as a whip, but she suddenly realized there might be more to life than good grades and getting into a top college.

Trying to sort out the various messes of their kids’ adolescence were parents Harold and Jean Weir, good-hearted sorts who just didn’t quite seem to understand (or, at least, they couldn’t understand why their kids didn’t think they understood). They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t caricatures either. In fact, no one in the Freaks and Geeks universe ever was. As Lindsay struggled with the taboo experiences of fake I.D.’s and smoking pot, her circle of friends offered a few surprises of their own: Nick passed up a chance to score with Lindsay because he respected her too much, Ken showed a soft spot for a school tuba player, and so on.

On the geek front, the boys learned that good times with pretty girls weren’t meant to last. That attractive new girl in school may have been a kindred spirit, but once the popular kids got their hooks in, you might as well say goodbye. Likewise, once Sam finally got cute cheerleader Cindy Sanders to look at him as more than a friend, he discovered that the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing gets old after a while.

By the end of the show, nobody was exactly what he seemed to be at the start, and nobody’s future was shaping up according to plans. It was a fascinating, bittersweet, nostalgic, and very funny journey, but not everyone was willing to come along for the ride. Critics praised the show, but after starting out in a Saturday night “death slot,” Freaks and Geeks was never able to build the large audience it needed to stay afloat. Fans lobbied for the show, but NBC cancelled it after its debut season.

Luckily, the creator Paul Feig and executive producer Judd Apatow had planned for just such a possibility, and Freaks and Geeks brought things to a close (well, an open-ended close) with a surprising, but somehow fitting series finale. The characters all moved on to unknown futures, and Freaks and Geeks rambled on to syndication, taking its honest look at the awkwardness of adolescence to hopefully greener pastures.

cast
Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir
John Francis Daley as Sam Weir
James Franco as Daniel Desario
Samm Levine as Neal Schweiber
Seth Rogen as Ken Miller
Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis
Martin Starr as Bill Haverchuck
Becky Ann Baker as Jean Weir
Joe Flaherty as Harold Weir
Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly
Steve Bannos as Frank Kowchevski
Dave Allen as Jeff Rosso
Sarah Hagan as Millie Kentner
Jerry Messing as Gordon Crisp
Natasha Melnick as Cindy Sanders
Stephen Lea Sheppard as Harris Trinsky
Chauncey Leopardi as Alan White

production details
Country: USA
Network: NBC – Apatow Productions – DreamWorks SKG
Duration: 45 minutes
Aired From: 25 September – 8 July 2000

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You Can’t Fight Christmas (TV One 2017, Brely Evans, Andra Fuller)

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You Can't Fight Christmas TV One

You Can’t Fight Christmas begins with the annual holiday decorating of the Chesterton Hotel by interior design expert Leslie Major (Evans). She is hard at work managing the transformation when she meets and develops a crush on the hotel owner’s handsome grandson, Edmund James (Fuller). Soon she discovers that Edmund and his uptight business partner, Millicent (White), have secret plans.

They intend to completely revamp the hotel into an upscale business resort once Edmund inherits it from his grandfather. Scheming Millicent also has plans for Edmund that involve a wedding ring.

Is he ready to take their partnership to the next level? Can Leslie save the hotel and its Christmas legacy? Will Edmund find his Christmas spirit?

You Can’t Fight Christmas also features appearances by Travis Winfrey (Single Ladies), Porsha Coleman (Hollywood Today Live), and cross-over appearances by Ash and Davis Jr.

cast
Brely Evans as Leslie Major
Andra Fuller as Edmund James
Persia White as Millicent Williams
Porscha Coleman as Belinda King
Travis Winfrey as Kevin Boudreaux
Nathan Davis Jr. as Thomas Wallace
Dedrick Bonner as Darren Rollins
Matthew Jones as Arnold Willis
Larry Poindexter as Jasper
Richard Gant as J. J. James
Marla Gibbs as Beverly Lawrence
Erica Ash as Regina Young
Ava Elise Farmer as Brie Wallace
Nicholas Anthony Reid as Waiter
Glen Marzillo as Tony

crew details
Director: Kenny Young
Writer: Marnie Martin
Producers: Elizabeth Cullen, Sean Dwyer

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: TV One – Poke Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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TV

Royal Christmas Ball, A (ION 2017, Tara Reid, Ingo Rademacher)

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Royal Christmas Ball ION

Dateless for the Christmas ball, 39-year-old bachelor, King Charles of Baltania, tracks down his American college sweetheart, only to discover Allison has never been married, yet raised a 17-year-old daughter, Lily, who mathematically might be Charles’ biological princess.

cast
Tara Reid as Allison
Ingo Rademacher as King Charles
Mira Furlan as Rosa
Haley Pullos as Lily
Faune Chambers Watkins as Eva
Mykel Shannon Jenkins as Sam
Marc Anthony Samuel as Marcus
Christian Olivo as Victor
Miles Burris as Emile
Kennedy Lea Slocum as Taylor
Claire Cohen as Lorena
David Meza as Waiter
Cesar Cipriano as Florist
Stan Bly as Paparazzi
Brian Nolan as Paparazzi

crew details
Director: David DeCoteau
Writer: Suzanne Dunn
Story: Jeffrey Schenck, Peter Sullivan

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: ION – Hybrid Films
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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Runaway Christmas Bride (ION 2017, Cindy Busny, Travis Milne)

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Runaway Christmas Bride ION 2017

A runaway bride, Kate, making herself scarce for the holidays, meets a ski patrol rescuer, Jason, at a resort. Her December days begin to brighten, until her parents and jilted fiancé, Alex, show up at the mountain to reset the wedding for Christmas.

cast
Cindy Busby as Kate
Travis Milne as Jason
Christos Shaw as Mike
Karen Kruper as Lily Paulson
Mark Milburn as Alex Atkins
Bruce Dawson as Rick Atkins
Roz Murray as Kim Atkins
Trent Pryor as Wedding Rehersal Guest
Holly James as Wedding Guest

crew details
Director: David DeCoteau
Writer: Brian Skiba

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: ION – Odyssey Media
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Saturday 9 December 2017

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