The Liberator (miniseries)

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The Liberator
GenreWar drama
Created byJeb Stuart
Based onThe Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey
by Alex Kershaw
Written byJeb Stuart
Directed byGreg Jonkajtys
Narrated byMike Rowe
Opening theme"July 10, 1943"
by Jason Todd Shannon
  • Mikolai Stroinski
  • Jason Todd Shannon
  • Benjamin Scott Holst
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes4
Executive producers
  • Jeb Stuart
  • A&E Studios:
  • Barry Jossen
  • Unique Features:
  • Michael Lynne
  • Bob Shaye
  • Sarah Victor
  • Trioscope Studios:
  • L.C. Crowley
  • Grzegorz Jonkajtys
  • Brandon Barr
  • Mark Apen
  • Alex Kershaw
  • Łukasz Dzięcioł
  • Natalia Lacosta
AnimatorTrioscope Studios
EditorAkın Özçelik
Running time45–56 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNetflix
Picture format4K (UHD) Widescreen
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseNovember 11, 2020 (2020-11-11)

The Liberator is an American adult animated war drama miniseries created and written by Jeb Stuart.[1] It is based on the book The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey by Alex Kershaw.[1]

Directed by Greg Jonkajtys, the miniseries was released on November 11, 2020 on Netflix.[1][2][3][4]


The Liberator takes place during World War II where maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment fought for over five hundred days alongside the Allied forces during the Italian campaign.[5]

The Liberator is a character-driven action miniseries based on the true story of World War II infantry commander Felix "Shotgun" Sparks (played by Bradley James), who led the members of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division, an integrated group of white cowboys, Mexican Americans and Native soldiers drawn from across the west. Sparks and his battalion of "Thunderbirds" were classic citizen soldiers, and for over 500 days they led a special group of American soldiers from Italy to France to the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, through some of the most grueling battles of the war, becoming one of the most decorated American combat units of World War II.[citation needed] The unit received eight combat awards for service in Italy, France, Germany and Central Europe [6]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Why We Fight"Greg JonkajtysJeb StuartNovember 11, 2020 (2020-11-11)
The Thunderbirds' time in Salerno hits some very big bumps, particularly for Capt. Sparks, whose early days as the unit's commander are also explored.
2"One Word: Anzio"Greg JonkajtysJeb StuartNovember 11, 2020 (2020-11-11)
With their flank exposed, the Thunderbirds face a brutal standoff with the Germans while defending Anzio. Sparks faces discipline for his actions.
3"The Enemy"Greg JonkajtysJeb StuartNovember 11, 2020 (2020-11-11)
A rebuilt E Company ships off to France. Initially it's a welcome break, but it soon brings another impossible mission. Sparks receives high honors.
4"Home"Greg JonkajtysJeb StuartNovember 11, 2020 (2020-11-11)
As the Allies close in on increasingly desperate German forces, the Thunderbirds bear witness to the atrocities of their enemy, and their fellow troops.


Announced in November 2018, the miniseries's production would be handled by A&E Studios and Unique Features with animation services by Atlanta-based studio School of Humans.[1] In January 2019, Bradley James was cast in the leading role of Felix Sparks and Martin Sensmeier was cast as Samuel Coldfoot.[7][9] Later, the animation team behind the series launched Trioscope Studios, with the show as its first series in production.[11] On November 9, Brandon Barr, chief content officer at Trioscope Studios, was interviewed. He stated that the project was "particularly challenging" and a lot of work, while arguing that anime opened the door for other visual techniques and styles.[12] He also hoped that the company could be part of "bringing nuanced emotional drama to that broader adult animation push."

The miniseries was the first to use Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation, a technique that blends live-action actors with CGI. According to its developers, L.C. Crowley and Grzegorz Jonkajtys, the technique gives off “unprecedented level of emotion and fidelity to the animated drama experience.”[13]


The limited series was released on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020.[2]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries holds an approval rating of 64% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.15/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "The Liberator's eccentric animation gives it some creative gloss, but clichéd storytelling and stock characters keep this World War II tale from being wholly salute-worthy."[14] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100 based on 7 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Reviewing the miniseries for Rolling Stone, Alan Sepinwall gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars and said, "The Liberator more often than not is an effective reminder about why pop culture keeps revisiting World War II material again and again."[16] On contrast, Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter called the show a series which is "very watchable" but is infuriating due to its "inconsistent focus and narrative choices" even though his interest never wavered due to the interesting and "eye-popping" animation. Fienberg concluded that people should check out the show for the animation, for a commemoration of Veterans Days but to be prepared for frustration over "how much more complicated, and how much richer" the actual history is and how the show could have been better.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Netflix Orders World War II Animated Drama Series The Liberator". Netflix Media Center. November 15, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Del Rosario, Alexandra (October 24, 2020). "'The Liberator': Netflix Drops Trailer, Premiere Date For WWII Animated Series". Deadline. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  3. ^ Matthews, Liam (November 5, 2020). "Best New Shows and Movies on Netflix This Week: Dash & Lily, The Liberator". TV Guide. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 15, 2018). "Netflix Orders Innovative Animated World War II Drama Series 'The Liberator' From A+E Studios, Unique Features & Jeb Stuart". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Sarto, Dan (November 11, 2020). "Trioscope's Gripping WW2 Animated Drama 'The Liberator' Premieres Today". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Wilson, John B. (1999), Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades, Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, ISBN 978-0-160499-94-4
  7. ^ a b Flook, Ray (January 22, 2019). "The Liberator: Netflix Enlists Medici's Bradley James for WWII Animated Series". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (October 12, 2020). "Trailer: Animated WWII Drama 'The Liberator' Lands on Netflix Veterans Day". Animation Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Petski, Denise (January 31, 2019). "'The Liberator': Martin Sensmeier To Star In Netflix's Animated World War II Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Guest Cast". 2021.
  11. ^ White, Peter (January 22, 2020). "L.C. Crowley, Brandon Barr & Greg Jonkajtys, Team Behind Netflix's 'The Liberator', Launch Trioscope Studios". Deadline. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  12. ^ Layton, Mark (November 9, 2020). "TBI In Conversation: Trioscope's CCO on launching Netflix's 'The Liberator' & an animation revolution". Television Business International. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  13. ^ Davies, Trevor (October 12, 2020). "Courage is a decision in Netflix's animated WWII drama miniseries The Liberator". Critical Hit. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Liberator: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  15. ^ "The Liberator: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  16. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (November 9, 2020). "'The Liberator' more often than not is an effective reminder about why pop culture keeps revisiting World War II material again and again". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  17. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (November 10, 2020). "'The Liberator': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.

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