Class Acts: 20 Best School TV Shows

From "The Wire" to "Welcome Back, Kotter," these campus-set series get an A+

2. 'Freaks and Geeks'

Like The Wonder Years, Judd Apatow's criminally ignored — and ultimately game-changing — teen dramedy is a period piece that doesn't necessarily need the period. It barely made it through its sole season of 18 episodes, but what episodes they were. Created by Apatow and future Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, it focused on the two titular groups of outcasts — burnouts and nerds — in an early-Eighties high school, accurately portraying adolescence as a series of excruciating humiliations. Emerging from these indignities intact or undefeated in any way, no matter how momentary or slight, is presented as the great victory it is. The show begat not only Apatow's equally wonderful (and short-lived) college comedy Undeclared, but the entire careers of stars James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, and Busy Philipps. That's a hell of a matriculation rate.

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