Revised: Freedom

I mentioned early last month that out of all the obscure television shows I’ve written articles about, I only watched one when it was originally on the air. Freedom was that one show. Here’s the new summary:

Although the series was quickly cancelled and aired just seven episodes, the story of Freedom is an interesting one. The original lead actor was replaced and the pilot episode was scrapped, rewritten and reshot. Yet footage from the unaired pilot was used to promote the series on air. It got decent reviews but disappointing ratings and a number of episodes were never broadcast — at least not in the United States. Only months after it went off the air, the series was being aired internationally in a number of countries, where it developed a small cult following.

Read the revised article here.

Freedom premiered on UPN in late October 2000, making it by far the newest obscurity here at Television Obscurities. Only seven episodes were broadcast before it was cancelled. The network mixed in a few repeats and the series was gone by early January 2001. Some might argue no show that recent can really be considered obscure. I disagree. The series premiere, the highest-rated episode of the series, was watched by 3.6 million episodes, and through its first six episodes the series averaged just 2.6 million viewers. That’s far fewer than any of the other shows I’ve written about.

(Freedom would be considered a hit by the current standards of UPN’s successor network The CW, which ended the 2012-2013 season with only one show averaging more than 2.6 million viewers.)

So right off the bat you’ve got a relatively small number of people who might remember watching the show. I’m sure there are others who didn’t watch but saw promotional spots or advertisements. But remember, Freedom was on UPN, not one of the big networks, so its promotional reach was limited. I think it’s safe to say that in 2004 when the article was first published there weren’t a lot of people who remembered Freedom. Now, more than a dozen years after it went off the air, I’m sure even fewer people really remember having watched it.

In revising the article, I’ve expanded the section on the unaired pilot episode as well as the section on the seven episodes that aired in the United States. Rewatching these episodes reminded me why I enjoyed watching it so much when it was originally on the air. It was exactly what it looked like: a fun, over-the-top action show with ludicrous fight scenes, decent writing and a cast that had good chemistry.

I still haven’t been able to get my hands on the five episodes that UPN didn’t show but were aired in number of other countries, including Brazil, Canada, Australia and Israel. But I have descriptions of those episodes and some comments from international viewers. I would love to see them and the unaired pilot episode. Maybe one day.

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