Freelancers The Series is a fun, fantasy action web series by Ignatius Fischer. The show is fast-paced with plenty of action and a healthy dose of humor added in to make it a highly entertaining experience. While Freelancers doesn’t take itself too seriously, Fischer has been very serious about producing a quality show.
After three episodes, the show is looking something like a fantasy version of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where a large cast of characters races to be the first to find the large stash of treasure. In Freelancers, however, the characters are all chasing a beautiful and crafty thief named Caitlin, played by Caitlin Geier. Cailtin has stolen something of particular value, and now nearly every bounty hunter in the world is after her.
Freelancers follows the story of two of those bounty hunters: Nick the Bold, played by Nicholas Givanio, and Ivan Strang, a powerful, yet quirky wizard, played by Ivan Borntrager. Borntrager is hilarious to watch as Ivan wanders around seemingly more interested in finding hallucinogenic mushrooms and plants than assisting Nick in capturing Cailtin.
One thing that makes Freelancers so enjoyable is its rich cast of characters, each with his or her own flaws and idiosyncrasies. These aren’t epic heroes with unstoppable powers; these are people stumbling through their own adventures, often in a comical fashion.
Fischer has been working hard to create characters that feel real and fit into his story. “These characters have probably been living with me since I first started reading fantasy,” Fischer says. “I’ve been contemplating an epic fantasy story for a long time and I think that at least the archetypes of these characters have been rolling around in my head for just as long. While I love the archetypes, I love filling those archetypes with crazy people I feel that I know.”
Fischer admits his own ideas can only do so much once the story goes to the screen. “The other half of the equation of course are the actors, who literally bring these characters to life!” he says. “The actors are why when the camera is rolling, I feel the best I ever feel, because through this bizarre alchemy of filmmaking, what was at one time just a mere thought is suddenly made absolutely real.”
Those actors really do bring Freelancers to another level, with Borntrager leading the way. Geier and Givanio aren’t far behind, and both convincingly pull off some great action scenes. The rugged Givanio seems made to play the role of a sword-wielding brute, and the fight choreography, along with some solid editing, makes the combat in Freelancers free from the awkwardness often seen in a fantasy web series.
Although Borntager, Geier, and Givanio have top billing for the series, there are many other notable performances in Freelancers. Bradley Greenwell, who plays Bradley the Soft in addition to being the editor of the series, makes every scene he’s in fun. Jeff Doba also shines as the enigmatic wizard Verlinden, a character who has just finished rolling around in bed with a powerful man’s wife and leaves her with a special surprise.
While there are so many praiseworthy performances by the cast of Freelancers, Holiday Kinard wins the show-stealing award. Kinard, who plays the role of Kristian the Shadowbinder, is simply phenomenal. Kristian is Ivan’s ex-girlfriend, and the two battle over Cailtin as they hurl criticisms alongside magical bolts. Kinard plays the part of the controlling, self-centered sorceress flawlessly in a scene that takes a look at what happens during an argument between exes when both have magical attack powers. Kinard is sharp, beautiful, and somewhat frightening, and the scene is possibly the best of the series so far.
If the list of characters seems extensive, be prepared to try to keep track of over a dozen during just the first three episodes of season one. There are a lot of characters to follow, and Freelancers quickly cuts between numerous scenes. The pace can be frenetic at times, and the frequent changes in camera angles ramps things up even more. However, this seems to work for Freelancers, and the audience has few slow moments to sit through. Because of the pace, viewers may want to watch the episodes a second (or even third) time to fully catch everything, but the show actually does become even better on subsequent viewings.
While Freelancers has many great things to rave about, the show does have some weaknesses, primarily the inconsistencies of Nick’s character. We see him beaming and running off giddily while shouting, “I think she likes me,” yet two minutes earlier he boldly declares, “I’m going to murder you both.” Nick does plenty of murdering in the show, his worst coming when he stabs a disabled enemy in the back as the helpless man tries to crawl away. Moments later he puts on a charming smile and pleads for his own life. This is the guy the audience is supposed to be cheering for, but Nick’s ruthless and unfeeling attitude towards killing makes it difficult to fully connect with him.
When asked what’s next for Freelancers, Fischer says,“We are just now starting to market Freelancers, to get the word out – it’s time to build an audience…My dream is to produce at least four more seasons of truly epic fantasy content, cinema on the web. Freelancers is built for big screens, play it on your 60″ LCDs – it will definitely appear in theaters at some point in the future, that’s the type of story I’m attempting to tell.”
Freelancers is a joy to watch just as it is, but a greater appreciation can be gained when the viewers realize the minimal resources Fischer has had to work with. “I think the one thing I wish people knew about Freelancers was how impossible it was to make,” he says. “There is no rational explanation for how this show exists. I wish we had behind the scenes that could show everyone exactly how little we had to work with, I think that puts what you see onscreen in a different light. But it’s for that very reason that I generally don’t allow behind the scenes shooting – our production is usually so barebones that it’s slightly embarrassing.”
Despite the difficulties and limitations Fischer has dealt with, this is definitely one web series worth checking out. Freelancers the Series may not have gained much popularity yet, but this just might be the most entertaining fantasy web series around today.
The first three episodes of Freelancers are available for viewing online, and Episode 4 is scheduled to go live Friday, May 31st.