Television: Their Major Is Alienation

Meet the Class of 1999: four high school series laden with adult anxiety

Talk about school overcrowding: as if in a communal anxiety dream, TV has returned en masse to high school, offering a quartet of new takes on socialization and its discontents. On NBC's 1980 period piece Freaks and Geeks (scheduled for a Sept. 25 debut, 8 p.m. E.T.), the pencil-necked latter scurry from gym-class bruisers wielding dodge balls. On Fox's Manchester Prep (not yet scheduled), the tormentors are the rich preppies in the secret society the Manchester Tribunal, their weapon psychological cruelty. And the WB's Popular (to bow Sept. 29 and 30; regularly Thursdays, 8 p.m. E.T.) has outsiders alienated by social...

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