Sons of Liberty premiered on the History Channel on January 25 to a modest number of viewers and, at best, mixed reviews.
The three-night and six-hour long miniseries, Sons of Liberty, debuted with a total of 3.3 million viewers watching it. Deadline Hollywood explained what those numbers meant for the History Channel.
“Elsewhere, these numbers might be filed under Not Bad, but on History the bar is set very high. Back in May 2012, History entered the original scripted arena in a big way, when the premiere of its miniseries ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ drew a staggering 13.9 million total viewers, 4.8 million adults 18-49 and 5.8 million adults 25-54 from 9-11 PM to become the No. 1 nonsports telecast ever on ad-supported cable TV. History followed that up in March 2013 with the debut of miniseries ‘The Bible’ to a crowd of 13.1 million viewers in its 8-10 PM, making it that year’s most watched cable entertainment telecast.”
The Deadline article later added that the History Channel noted Sons of Liberty was the “most tweeted-about scripted series on television for the day.”
Meanwhile, reviewers are giving the Sons of Liberty miniseries mixed reviews, with many people noting significant historical inaccuracies.
Thomas Verenna at the Journal of the American Revolution wrote a lengthy review of Sons of Liberty where he praised parts of it but called out its rewriting of history.
“As historical fiction (actually, it’s more of an alternate history) the miniseries is very successful. The acting is superb, some of the scenes are very clever, the special effects are fantastic (and believable), and—believe it or not—they actually included variations in the colors of the British soldiers’ uniforms (not all of the red coats have buff lapels, cuff and collars; some have yellow and some blue)! This is actually a huge step up from previous dramatizations of British soldiers.”
Verenna then added if viewers are looking for facts about the historical Sons of Liberty or the American Revolutionary War, they shouldn’t “plan on discovering” them in Sons of Liberty. Following that, he goes through each episode and lists many of the historical inaccuracies he identifies throughout the miniseries.
Mary McNamara writing at the Los Angeles Times also found that “‘Sons of Liberty’ takes a few too many liberties on History.”
Meanwhile, P.J. Gladnick of Newsbusters thought the liberties taken with the historical record were so bad that the first episode “wasn’t quite as bad as ‘Sam Adams: Vampire Hunter’ but it was close.” He ended his blog post by asking, “Exit question: Which is more historically accurate, ‘Sons of Liberty’ or ‘Ancient Aliens’?” in reference to the often-mocked History Channel mainstay program.
Others, such as David Wiegand writing at the San Francisco Chronicle, thought the lack of attention to historical detail didn’t take away from the overall viewing experience.
“OK, so the History Channel may take license here and there with factual accuracy: That doesn’t mean ‘Sons of Liberty’ is a flop.”
The miniseries concludes on January 27, and the History Channel should have a better idea at that time how their loose interpretation of history fared with viewers.
The Inquisitr previously reported on how Sons of Liberty wanted to emphasize the “wild side” of the American Revolution, and how the miniseries was not meant to be a documentary.
[Image of Emily Berrington as Margaret Kemble Gage, via official History Channel Twitter account]