Words by Rachel Campbell
As 2012 came to a close, it was revealed that Cory and Topanga of “Boy Meets World” will be returning to our television sets. The spin-off, “Girl Meets World,” will focus on the duo’s teenage daughter, Riley , who is battling adolescence just like her parents did.
Offscreen, members of Judd Apatow’s “Freaks and Geeks” cast reunited for the first time since its series finale in 2000. Although this may have only been for Vanity Fair’s January 2013 “Special All-Star Comedy” issue, of which Apatow was acting as guest editor for, it still begs the question, where are they now?
Whether you tuned in each week for new episodes, or caught up on these classics with reruns or Netflix, some ‘90s shows never get old. Were the stars one hit wonders, or did they go on to have successful careers? Check out where some of your favorites ended up:
Boy Meets World (1993 – 2000)
Ben Savage (Cory Matthews)
The Savage brothers were quite a team in the ‘90s with hit shows like “The Wonder Years” and “Boy Meets World,” both of which each brother held the starring role in. Fred’s run in “The Wonder Years” end with the series in 1993, which was the same year “Boy Meets World” premiered. Seven seasons later, Ben left the set and entered the classrooms of Stanford University, where he graduated from in 2004. Ben did not take on another role until indie drama “Swimming Upstream” in 2002. He did a few other small films and returned to TV for appearances in shows like “Still Standing,” “Chuck,” “Without a Trace,” “Shake It Up!” and “Bones” throughout the mid-to-late 2000s. Other than that and a few post-production and pre-production films listed on his IMDB page, it appears the only notable thing he will have done since “Boy Meets World” is this soon-to-be spin-off.
Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence)
Like Savage, Fishel’s filmography was limited after the series ended. She also did small films, like 2000’s “Rocket’s Red Glare” and later 2003’s “National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze,” as well as some TV guest spots on “Yes, Dear” and “The Soup.” Fishel rediscovered success in TV, but not in the way you would suspect. She was a guest on “The Tyra Banks Show” in October 2006 where she revealed losing 20 pounds on the Nutrisystems Diet. This episode led to her being hired as the company’s spokesperson as well as a correspondent for Tyra’s show. In August 2008, Fishel began hosting the Style Network’s “The Dish,” a pop culture commentary eerily similar to E! Network’s “The Soup.” Between “The Tyra Banks Show” and “The Dish,” Fishel was arrested for drunk driving in December 2007 and began taking classes at California State University Fullerton from 2008 until she obtained her degree in 2012.
Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter)
As “Boy Meets World” reached its end, Rider Strong began lending his voice to “Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles,” an animated sci-fi series. He followed this up as one of many horror stricken college grads in Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever” in 2002 and the sequel in 2009. Like those before him, he guest starred on shows like “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Veronica Mars” and “Bones,” but he also returned to Disney from 2002 to 2004 as football player Brian Flagg on “Kim Possible.” Strong graduated from Columbia as an English major in 2004 and obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Bennington College in June 2009. While furthering his education, Strong landed a role in the short-lived WB drama “Pepper Dennis” in 2006. Here, he met co-star Alexandra Barretto, whom he became engaged to in December 2012. Shawn Hunter fans can rejoice because Strong’s IMDB page shows him as appearing in the awaited spin-off as his next project.
Will Friedle (Eric Matthews)
Two years before the series end, Friedle starred in a few Disney Channel Original Movies. You know, those ones we all waited for each Friday night with the cheesy intros. He was cast as Duncan in 2008’s “My Date with the President’s Daughter,” which is about exactly what the title suggests as well as 1999’s “H-E Double Hockey Sticks.” Much of the next decade consisted of staying under the radar with voice acting in TV shows such as “Justice League” and “Teen Titans” as well as video games like “Kingdom Hearts II” and “Chicken Little.” Friedle also joined his “Boy Meets World” co-star Rider Strong on “Kim Possible” as Ron Stoppable, Kim’s partner in crime. Like his three previously mentioned co-stars, Friedle’s intros also states his return for the spin-off. Now all we’re waiting on is “Fee-ee-ee-ee-ny.”
William Daniels (Mr. Feeny)
Mr. Feeny is the only teacher in existence to teach one classroom of kids from middle school through college, but we love him nonetheless. Unlike his co-stars, William Daniels had a prominent career before his start on “Boy Meets World” such as voicing the car, K.I.T.T. in 1982’s “Knight Rider.” After “Boy Meets World” Daniels appeared in shows such as “Scrubs,” ‘Touched by an Angel” and “King of Queens.” His most recent role was a five-episode run as Dr. Craig Thomas on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2012.
Lee Norris (Stuart Minkus)
He may have only been in 23 of the 158 episodes, but Lee Norris was one of the few to find success outside of portraying Stuart Minkus. Minkus was your cliché nerdy kid of the series, a pigeon-hole identity that Norris transferred to his role as Marvin “Mouth” McFadden on “One Tree Hill” in 2003. Norris also appeared in “Dawson’s Creek” in 2000 as well as alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in 2007’s “Zodiac.”
Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)
Linda Cardellini (Lindsay Weir)
“Freaks and Geeks,” a cult classic canceled after one 18-episode season, centered on high school student Lindsay Weir. Lindsay was geek-like in her intelligence, but freak-like in her friend preference. She dated and hung out with “freaks,” but was also friends with and even related to the “geeks.” Cardellini’s first role post-Lindsay was a small part in 2000’s “Legally Blonde” followed by a starring role as Velma in the live-action version “Scooby Doo” in 2001 and the sequel in 2004. Cardellini began a six-year run on ER as Nurse Samantha Taggart in 2003, and she also made an appearance as a waitress in the controversial drama “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. ER ended for her in 2009 and two years later she starred in an indie drama, “Return,” which landed her a nomination as Best Female Lead in the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
James Franco (Daniel Desario)
James Franco has undeniably become a household name. His first big role was two years after the show’s demise in 2002’s “Spider-Man” as the Green Goblin’s son, as well as the sequels in 2004 and 2007. Franco also obtained the title role of 2006’s “Tristan + Isolde,” a sappy romance movie set in the Dark Ages. One of his next big roles was opposite “Freaks and Geeks” co-star Seth Rogen in “Pineapple Express” in 2008. Franco took a career-turning role that same year in “Milk,” a movie about the life of Harvey Milk who was California’s first openly gay elected official. Franco played Scott Smith, one of Harvey’s love interests, which was quite a different role for him. Two years later, Franco got his first brush with the Academy Awards due to his Best Actor nomination for his work in “127 Hours,” a film that was also nominated as Best Picture. Before, during and after the filming of “127 Hours,” Franco attended and taught college. One specific instance at NYU where Franco got a “D” in an acting class for not attending because he was, well, acting, got a professor fired. Currently, Franco has many anticipated films such as “Spring Breakers,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “This is the End.” “Spring Breakers” has continuously been mentioned for shattering the supposed good girl acts of Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson, but everyone has failed to mention Franco’s grill and corn rows. So much for his pretty-boy persona.
Jason Segel (Nick Andopolis)
Marshall and Lily are one of the most popular TV couples to date all thanks to the continuing comedy “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s no secret that this is Segel’s most well-known role, but he accomplished a lot of other things between “Freaks and Geeks” and “How I Met Your Mother.” Two years after the former, Segel appeared in the comedy “Slackers” before working with Judd Apatow and co-star Seth Rogen yet again in both the early 2000s TV series “Undeclared” and the raunchy comedy “Knocked Up.” He continued his comedic roles in the late 2000s with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “I Love You, Man” before switching to more serious roles in 2011’s “Jeff Who Lives at Home” and 2012’s “The Five-Year Engagement.” During this time, Segel was also recognized for revamping the Muppets for “The Muppets Movie” with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “The Five-Year Engagement” director Nicholas Stoller. Segel ended 2012 with another Apatow film, “This Is 40,” which was deemed the sort of sequel to “Knocked Up.” Besides continuing to stump audiences on how Ted Mosby met his children’s mother, Segel will appear in the aforementioned “This Is The End” with Franco, other ex-“Freaks and Geeks” co-stars and more.
Seth Rogen (Ken Miller)
Unlike those mentioned before him, “Freaks and Geeks” was literally Seth Rogen’s first taste of acting. He followed this up by snagging a few scenes in an equally cult-like classic “Donnie Darko” a year after the series cancellation, and later began filming “Undeclared” with Apatow and Segel. Rogen worked with Steve Carell on 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” as his co-worker, and later appeared in the flicks “You, Me and Dupree,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad.” He landed more popular roles with “Pineapple Express,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “Observe and Report” in the late 2000s. This time period also included returning to work with Apatow on “Funny People” in 2009, which was a more serious role (with just a dash of funny) for Rogen just like 2011’s “50/50” with cancer-stricken Joseph Gordon-Levitt and 2012’s “The Guilt Trip” with Barbara Streisand acting as his mother. Rogen tied the knot with girlfriend Lauren Miller, and co-star from films like “Superbad,” “Zack and Miri Make A Porno,” “Observe and Report” and “50/50” in October 2011. Currently, like Segel and Franco, Rogen will also appear as himself in “This Is The End,” a film he is also listed as a co-writer and co-director along side Evan Goldberg.
Busy Philipps (Kim Kelly)
Following “Freaks and Geeks,” Busy Philipps starred in dramatic teen flick, “Smokers” and made a few appearances on “Malcolm in the Middle” and Apatow’s “Undeclared.” She soon found a new home as Audrey in an easily-as-popular if not more-so teen show, “Dawson’s Creek” from 2001–2003. Three years later she switched over to rubbing elbows with Cardellini again on the set of “ER” until 2007. Philipps revisited another old friend next on “How I Met Your Mother” and then moved on to “He’s Just Not That Into You” in 2009. Currently on one of her more well-known roles as Laurie Keller on “Cougar Town,” Phillips announced in December 2012 that she is expecting her second child with husband and screenwriter Marc Silverstein whom she married in 2007. Her first child, Birdie Leigh, was born in 2008 and “Freaks” co-star Lizzy Caplan is the godmother.
John Francis Daley (Sam Weir)
John Francis Daley portrayed part of the geek stereotype on the show as Sam Weir, who was also related to geek-turned-freak Lindsay. Daley moved on to guest and star on various TV shows before landing a slightly more well-known one, on “Kitchen Confidential” in 2005. This show had him sharing the screen with Bradley Cooper and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”’s Nicholas Brendon. Unfortunately, just like “Freaks,” “Kitchen Confidential” didn’t make it past one season. He jumped over to the crime drama “Bones” in 2007 where he still remains today. Daley also decided to try his hand at screenplays when he co-wrote “Horrible Bosses.” His most recent project was co-writing “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” which is a soon-to-be released film starring Steve Carell and Jim Carey as rival magicians.
Martin Starr (Bill Haverchuck)
There seems to be quite a tight-knit family when it comes to all these Judd Apatow films and TV shows (considering his wife, Leslie Mann, and children, Maude and Iris, both regularly appear in his work). Regardless, Martin Starr was also in Apatow’s “Knocked Up” and “Undeclared,” and he will also be in “This Is The End” with Franco, Segel and Rogen, to name a few. In addition to these, Starr dropped in on an episode of Segel’s “How I Met Your Mother,” and had a prominent role as a games operator in “Adventureland.” Recently, he starred opposite “Mad Men’s” Allison Brie and ex-“Freaks and Geeks”/”Party Down” co-star Lizzy Caplan in a romantic comedy, “Save The Date.”
Lizzy Caplan (Sara)
You probably barely remember Sara from “Freaks and Geeks.” She played Sara, or Jason Segel’s girlfriend post-Lindsay (Cardellini) for a few episodes toward the end of the season. Her role in this show isn’t as important as what she was involved with later. You’re more likely to recall Caplan telling her co-star in “Mean Girls” he was “too gay to function” in her role as Janis Ian in 2004. She later popped up in the found footage film “Cloverfield” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” in 2008 before landing one of her next well-known roles in “True Blood” as Jason Stackhouse’s love interest, Amy. As it was previously mentioned, she worked along side “Freaks” co-star Martin Starr in the TV series “Party Down” and movie “Save The Date.” Most recently, she appeared in Zooey Deschanel ‘s “New Girl” in 2012. In her personal life, Caplan has been dating “Friends” star Matthew Perry since 2006 and was named godmother of Busy Philipp’s first child’s godmother in 2008.
Claire Danes (Angela Chase)
Angela Chase was the picture of teenage angst in the mid-90s, so it’s no surprise Claire Danes’ next starring role was the title one opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in 1996’s “Romeo + Juliet.” She continued her historical roles next with the 1998 movie version of Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel “Les Misérables.” She was cast as Cosette, the role Amanda Seyfried took over in the 2012 reboot. Danes returned to modern day in 2002’s “Igby Goes Down,” a movie supposedly loosely inspired by “Catcher in the Rye.” She got her dose of action next in 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” followed by 2005’s “Shopgirl” where she was one point of a love triangle with Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman. Danes snagged another title role in 2010’s “Temple Grandin,” which was a biopic about the autistic woman who worked to advance practices in the humane treatment of animals on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses. Danes’ current and most recent role as CIA officer Carrie Mathison on Showtime’s “Homeland” landed her two more Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in 2011 and 2012, her first being for “My So-Called Life” in 1994. “Homeland” broke “Mad Men’s” four-year streak for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series when it won in 2012. Danes married fellow actor Hugh Dancy in fall 2009 and gave birth to their first child in December 2012.
Jared Leto (Jordan Catalano)
Jordan Catalano was Angela Chase’s brooding, musician love interest, so it’s no surprise actor Jared Leto ventured into the music business as well with the band 30 Seconds to Mars. Leto continued with his acting in well-known flicks like “Urban Legend,” “Fight Club,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “American Psycho” and “Requiem for a Dream” from 1998–2000. He kicked off his musical endeavor in 1998 as well, but it was not until their 2005 album, “A Beautiful Lie,” and single, “The Kill,” that the band would become more of a household name. Leto continued acting while simultaneously playing shows, but he mostly put his efforts toward his music. Regardless, Leto is currently filming “Dallas Buyers Club” with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. Like McConaughey, Leto went through a dramatic weight loss to play a transsexual woman with AIDs for his first movie in four years.
James Van Der Beek (Dawson Leery)
One year into his title role as Dawson, James Van Der Beek also starred in one of the most popular sports movies to date, “Varsity Blues.” Van Der Beek made various appearances post-Dawson’s Creek in things like “Criminal Minds,” “Ugly Betty” and “One Tree Hill” as well as some TV movies like “Sex, Power, Love & Politics,” “Eye of the Beast” and “Football Wives.” He had a slightly reoccurring role as Dr. Joe Briggs in 2010’s “Mercy” before “slanderbeeking” “Ke-dollar sign-ha” in the rainbow and Unicorn-filled battle that is “Blow.” Currently, Van Der Beek is in the TV show “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” opposite Krysten Ritter.
Katie Holmes (Joey Potter)
As Katie Holmes moved away from the creek, she began taking on more complicated roles with the thriller “Phone Booth” with Colin Farrell and as the black sheep of the family in “Pieces of April.” In 2004, she starred in “First Daughter” with Michael Keaton as her president-father. One of her most popular roles outside of Joey Potter was as Rachel Dawes in 2005’s “Batman Begins,” where she played Christian Bale’s love interest, later being mysteriously replaced by Maggie Gyllenahall in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” Soon after her Batman role, Holmes began dating Tom Cruise. She birthed one of the tabloids’ favorite celebrity offspring, Suri, in April 2006 and married Cruise the following November. The focus of a family made Holme’s resume’ decrease, with 2008’s “Mad Money” being her first movie in three years. She starred in Guillermo del Toro’s “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” in 2010 before devoting time to the 2011 series “The Kennedy’s” as Jackie. Holmes filed for divorce from Cruise in June 2012 out of fear of Suri’s abduction by Cruise and his religious preference, the Church of Scientology. A settlement was reached in July, and Holmes has already boosted her projects with upcoming “Untitled Christian Camargo Project” and opposite Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford in “Responsible Adults.”
Joshua Jackson (Pacey Witter)
Joshua Jackson starred in films like “Urban Legends” and “Cruel Intentions” during his time on “Dawson’s Creek.” After the show’s demise, he appearred in the werewolf flick “Cursed” with Christina Ricci in 2005 and similarly creepy “Shutter” in 2008. Following this, he began his continuing five-year involvement with the JJ Abrams created series, “Fringe.” Currently, he is dating fellow actress and former model Diane Kruger, whom he has been involved with since 2006.
Michelle Williams (Jen Lindley)
The same year “Dawson’s Creek” began, Michelle Williams starred in one of many Michael Myers flicks, “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.” During her time at the creek, she appeared in other films such as “Dick,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Prozac Nation,” and with Ryan Gosling in “United States of Leland.” Williams worked with Gosling again in “Blue Valentine” in 2010 before her other breakout hits “Shutter Island” and “My Week with Marilyn.” As Marilyn, the latter earned Williams the 2011 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture. In her personal life, Williams began dating Heath Ledger in 2004 after meeting on the set of “Brokeback Mountain.” She gave birth to their child in late 2005, and the couple later split in September 2007. Ledger died from an accidental drug overdose in January 2008, which thrust Williams and their daughter into the spotlight. After Ledger, Williams dated director Spike Jonze, and more recently Jason Segel, whom she split from in February 2013. Williams’ next release will be with Segel’s ex-“Freaks and Geeks” co-star James Franco in “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers)
Jamie Lee Curtis was the “scream queen” of the 80s, and there is no doubt that Sarah Michelle Gellar took on that role in 90s. This was obvious with her screamtastic roles in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “The Grudge” 1 and 2, “The Return,” “Possession” and more. She stopped playing the victim with her duty as vampire slayer Buffy Summers, and got even further away from her pigeonhole role in 1999’s “Cruel Intentions” and 2002’s live-action “Scooby-Doo.” Gellar began dating “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scooby-Doo” co-star Freddie Prinze Jr. in 2000, and married him in 2002. The couple is still together and has two children, the most recent being born in September 2012. One of Gellar’s most recent roles was as the star of “Ringer” where a woman on the run from the mob poses as her supposed twin sister as a way to hide in plain sight. The drama was canceled after just one season in 2012, which leaves Gellar’s next move up for debate. Rumors have been circlingthat she will co-star with Robin Williams on an upcoming show titled “Crazy Ones.”
Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg)
“This one time, at band camp,” may be one of the most popular quotes to come out of the 90s, and Willow was responsible for it. Well, actually, Alyson Hannigan was in a different role as Michelle Flaherty in “American Pie.” Hannigan appeared in the next few American Pie movies as well as “Buffy” spin-off, “Angel.” She also had a few guest roles on “That 70’s Show” and “Veronica Mars” before landing her current role as Lily Aldrin, opposite Jason Segel, in “How I Met Your Mother.” Hannigan married “Buffy” co-star Alexis Denisof in October 2003. Despite Hannigan’s lesbian role on the show, Alexis is indeed a man and played one of Buffy’s fill-in Watchers in the series. The couple currently has two children, the latter arriving in the summer of 2012.
Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris)
Did you know there are two Xanders? Well, kind of. Nicholas Brendon has a twin brother, Kelly Donovan, who acted as a Xander stand-in and even appeared on screen in one episode where Xander split himself into two identical halves. As mentioned before, Nicholas Brendon went on to “Kitchen Confidential” after “Buffy” before making some appearances on “Without a Trace” and the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice.” He signed on for various appearances from 2007 – 2012 on “Crimninal Minds” as Kevin Lynch. Brendon checked himself into rehab (http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,631412,00.html) post-“Buffy” in 2004, but still struggled with his issues with alcohol in March 2010 when he was tased and arrested . He returned to rehab in May, which led to probation and community service for his cop encounter. It doesn’t seem that Brendon has done much else but get into trouble since his days as Xander Harris, but he currently has three upcoming projects listed on his IMDB page.
David Boreanaz (Angel)
David Boreanaz is best known for his role as the friendly vampire, Angel, whom Buffy takes an interest in. He was basically the less sparkly Edward Cullen with better acting skills of the 90s. Boreanaz was part of “Buffy” from episode one, but he ended his recurring role to begin his self-titled spin-off in 1999. He reappeared on “Buffy” a few more episodes as would “Buffy” characters appear on “Angel,” but the latter became his main focus until its end in 2004. Boreanaz began work as Special Agent Seeley Booth on “Bones” in 2005 opposite Zooey Deschanel’s older sister, Emily, which is where he still is today.
James Marsters (Spike)
Spike was the opposite of Angel, at least for the most part. Californian James Marsters portrayed this sassy, bleached blonde, British vamp for all seven seasons. He also made appearances on “Angel” before resorting to guest roles in the mid-2000s on “Saving Grace” and “Without a Trace.” After “Buffy” and “Angel,” Marsters began working on “Smallville” from 2005 – 2010 as well as “Supernatural.” TBS’ new show “Wedding Band” was his most recent role as Declan Horn, a tortured musician in search of a writer’s block relief. In real life, Marsters dabbled in music as a solo artist and in various bands.
Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers)
Dawn appeared on the Summers’ doorstop as a pre-teen, well sort of. She wasn’t really a pre-teen, or even related to Buffy. Trachtenberg began the show in 2000 and rode it out until the end in 2003. Her first role following the innocent portrayal of Dawn was the wild comedy, “Euro Trip” in 2004. She later made appearances in “Six Feet Under” and “House M.D.” as well as starred in Disney’s “Ice Princess” and “17 Again,” and she appeared in the horror flick “Black Christmas.” Trachtenberg began her run as the scandalous Georgina Sparks on “Gossip Girl” in 2008 until 2012, working on the role of drug dealer Emma on “Weeds” in between.