It's been 21 years since "Freaks and Geeks" — which was executive produced by a pre-fame Judd Apatow and created by future "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig — debuted on Sept. 25, 1999, launching then-unknown actors like James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and more into the spotlight. In honor of the iconic but short-lived dramedy series' anniversary, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at its stars to how they've changed over the years. Keep reading to catch up with the cast of one of our all-time favorite shows…
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Linda Cardellini starred as Lindsay Weir, a shy mathlete who transforms into one of the school's slacker freaks.
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Linda Cardellini went on to star on "ER" from 2003 to 2009. She also had an Emmy-nominated stint on "Mad Men," headlined "Bloodline," joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Hawkeye's wife in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," portrayed Velma in the two live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies and had lead roles in "Legally Blonde," "Brokeback Mountain," "A Simple Favor" and "Green Book," which won the Oscar for best picture during the 2019 Academy Awards. She's now starring on the Netflix dramedy "Dead to Me," a performance that earned her an Emmy nomination in 2020. The same year, she appeared in "Muppets Now" and the biopic "Capone." Linda dated "Freaks and Geeks" co-star Jason Segel for several years after the series came to an end. She's been with her current partner, childhood pal Steve Rodriguez, for years. The duo got engaged in 2013 after welcoming a daughter, Lilah-Rose, the previous year.
John Francis Daley starred as Sam Weir, Lindsay's book-smart and geeky younger brother.
After his time on "Freaks and Geeks" came to an end, John Francis Daley had a stint on "Boston Legal," starred on the short-lived sitcoms "The Geena Davis Show" and "Kitchen Confidential" and portrayed Mitch in "Waiting…" before scoring his biggest acting gig to date: He starred as Lance Sweets on "Bones" from 2007 to 2014. In recent years, John has worked predominantly behind the camera: He co-wrote and co-directed 2015's "Vacation" and co-wrote "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "Horrible Bosses," "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" and "Game Night." Next up, he'll direct and write a "Dungeons & Dragons" film, which is slated for release in 2022. He married Corinne Kingsbury in 2016.
Samm Levine starred as Neal Schweiber, Sam Weir's geeky best friend who has a huge crush on his BFF's older sister, Lindsay.
In the years since "Freaks and Geeks" ended, Samm Levine has appeared on countless TV comedies from "What I Like About You" and "Just Shoot Me!" to "That '70s Show," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Modern Family." He also had roles in "Inglourious Basterds," "Not Another Teen Movie" and "Jobs." In recent years, he's worked predominantly on the web series "Kevin Pollak's Chat Show" and "Movie Trivia Schmoedown" and scored a role in the 2019 film "Immortal." In 2020, he appeared in the crime drama "Adverse" and will next appear in the film "Bonded" and the TV series "Wags to Riches." In March 2020, editor Rachel Cushing revealed on social media that she and Samm were engaged.
Martin Starr starred as Bill Haverchuck, Sam and Neal's socially inept pal.
Martin Starr went on to star on "Party Down" and "Silicon Valley." He also had roles in "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Adventureland," "This Is the End," the 2014 "Veronica Mars" movie, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home." In 2021, Martin will appear in the superhero flick "Samaritan." He was previously linked to "Veronica Mars" co-star Krysten Ritter, though it's unclear if they were ever actually a couple.
Jason Segel starred as stoner and aspiring drummer Nick Andopolis, who briefly dates Lindsay.
Jason Segel starred on Judd Apatow's "Freaks and Geeks" follow-up series "Undeclared" — which proved to be equally short-lived — before scoring major mainstream success with "How I Met Your Mother," on which he starred as Marshall Eriksen from 2005 to 2014. He also launched a successful film career. In addition to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (much of which was inspired by his breakup from "Freaks and Geeks" co-star Linda Cardellini), Jason wrote and starred in the 2011 "The Muppets" movie, "The Five-Year Engagement" and "Sex Tape." His other biggest hits include "Slackers," "Knocked Up," "I Love You, Man," "Bad Teacher" and "This Is 40." Since 2020, he's starred in, created, directed and executive produced the AMC multi-platform anthology series "Dispatches from Elsewhere." Aside from Linda, he's reportedly romanced Chloe Sevigny, Michelle Trachtenberg, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Williams and Bojana Novakovic. He's been in a relationship with photographer Alexis Mixter since 2013.
James Franco starred as bad boy Daniel Desario, Nick's best friend.
In 2002, two years after "Freaks and Geeks" came to an end, James Franco won a Golden Globe for his performance as the titular late actor in TNT's "James Dean" made-for-TV movie. He scored Golden Globe nominations for "Pineapple Express" and "127 Hours," for which he also earned his first Oscar nomination in 2011, before winning another Globe in 2018 for his work in "The Disaster Artist," which he also directed. He's also scored Emmy nominations for hosting the 2011 Oscars (even though his work was universally panned) and for his short comedy series "Making a Scene with James Franco." His other biggest hits include "Milk," for which he won an Independent Spirit Award, the original "Spider-Man" trilogy, "Eat Pray Love," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "The Interview." In 2019, he starred on the third season of HBO's "The Deuce," appeared in the film "Zeroville" and lent his voice to a character in the film "Arctic Dogs." In recent years, James has turned his attention to academia — he's earned several degrees and taught classes on filmmaking at various universities — and writing and directing smaller independent films. Next, James will appear in the films "The Long Home" and "Kill the Czar." Over the years, he's romanced "Whatever It Takes" co-star Marla Sokoloff, Lindsay Lohan, Ahna O'Reilly, Agyness Deyn and Isabel Pakzad, with whom things are currently quite serious!
Busy Philipps starred as Kim Kelly, Daniel's trouble-prone girlfriend.
Busy Philipps went on to star on "Dawson's Creek" (through which she met real-life bestie, Michelle Williams), "ER," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Vice Principals," though her biggest break following "Freaks and Geeks" is "Cougar Town," on which she starred as Laurie Keller from 2009 to 2015. She also had roles in "White Chicks," "Made of Honor," "He's Just Not That Into You" and "I Don't Know How She Does It." The actress joined the late night game with the popular but short-lived talk show "Busy Tonight," which aired on E! from late 2018 to mid-2019. Busy — who released a lauded memoir, "This Will Only Hurt a Little," in late 2018 — married filmmaker Marc Silverstein in 2007. They have two daughters, Birdie and Cricket.
Seth Rogen starred as Ken Miller, Nick and Daniel's whip-smart and sarcastic pal.
Seth Rogen went on to star on Judd Apatow's "Freaks and Geeks" follow-up series, "Undeclared," on which he's also credited as a writer. He and partner Evan Goldberg co-directed "This Is the End" and "The Interview," which they co-wrote along with several other films in which Seth has starred ("Superbad," "Pineapple Express," "The Green Hornet" and more). His other biggest hits include "Donnie Darko," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Funny People," "50/50," "Neighbors," "Steve Jobs" (in which he memorably portrayed Steve Wozniak), "The Disaster Artist" and "Long Shot." On top of all that, he scored an Emmy nomination for his work behind the scenes on "Da Ali G Show," through which he met Lauren Miller, whom he wed in 2011. He also executive produces the shows "The Boys" and "Black Monday," voices Mantis in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise and brought Pumbaa to life in the 2019 remake of "The Lion King." The latest film in which Seth starred, "An American Pickle," debuted in 2020.
Sarah Hagan starred as Millie Kentner, Lindsay's straight-laced former bestie.
After her time on "Freaks and Geeks," Sarah Hagan went on to star on the final season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She also had a stint on "90210," appeared in "Orange County" and "Spring Breakdown" and popped up on episodes of "Undeclared," "Boston Public," "Judging Amy," "Grey's Anatomy," "Medium," "Private Practice" and "NCIS." In September 2018, she and her partner of more than a decade, filmmaker Clay Jeter, welcomed their first child, daughter Frances Margaret. Sarah also works as a ceramics artist.
Natasha Melnick starred as Sam's crush, popular cheerleader Cindy Saunders.
After her time on "Freaks and Geeks," Natasha Melnick appeared on episodes of "Malcolm in the Middle," "Judging Amy," "Undeclared," "Boston Public" and "Life as We Know It." She also popped up in "Orange County," starred on the short-lived sitcom "Do Over" and voiced Meg's friend Ruth Cochamer on "Family Guy" from 2005 to 2012.
Becky Ann Baker and Joe Flaherty starred as Lindsay and Sam's parents, homemaker Jean Weir and sporting goods store owner Harold Weir.
After her time on "Freaks and Geeks," Becky Ann Baker had stints on "Life as We Know It," "All My Children," "The Good Wife" and its spinoff, "The Good Fight," and "Girls," for which she earned an Emmy nomination in 2017. She also popped up in "Spider-Man 3," "Nights in Rodanthe," "Table 19" and "The Chaperone." In 2019, she had recurring roles on "Younger," "Big Little Lies," "Brockmire" and "The Blacklist." Becky has appeared on several television shows in 2020 including "Katy Keene," "Hunters," "Council of Dads," "Little Voice" and the Netflix coming-of-age film "The Half of It." In 2009, the accomplished theater actress and her real-life husband, Dylan Baker, co-starred on the short-lived NBC drama "Kings." They have an adult daughter.
Joe Flaherty (pictured in 2000) went on to star on "Go Fish," "The Legend of Tarzan" and "The King of Queens." He also popped on episodes of "Even Stevens," "That '70s Show" and "Frasier" and appeared in "Slackers" and "National Security." More recently, he had a role in the 2014 short "Nightlife."