Free Spirit "Love and Death" (found episode of TV series; 1990)
Free Spirit was an American sitcom series that aired on ABC from September 1989 to January 1990. The series revolved around Winnie Goodwin, a spunky young witch who worked as a housekeeper for three children who kept her secret, and their father who remained unaware.
In addition to thirteen regularly available episodes sourced from ABC's broadcasts, a fourteenth episode – titled "Love and Death" – ended up unaired in the United States, making it a sought-after item for fans of the series.
Broadcast and Cancellation
Although Free Spirit earned satisfactory ratings when first broadcast on September 22, 1989 as part of the TGIF Friday evening block – which also included Full House, Perfect Strangers and the new Family Matters, it was moved to Sunday evenings after Life Goes On – a slot where much of the intended young audience did not find it – due to the intervention of Miller-Boyett Productions and the contractual obligation of Just the Ten of Us keeping its time slot. This resulted in much lower numbers, leading to the show's cancellation and a lack of reruns in the United States. Despite this, Free Spirit has since grown a cult following.
A total of thirteen episodes ran their course and the show was pulled from ABC's schedule. It was never released in any home video format, but recordings of the entire series have been circulating in the bootleg market. "Love and Death" – the fourteenth and final episode – remained unaired, despite being announced.
Scheduled to air on January 21, 1990, it was listed in all TV print guides, including newspaper listings the day it was to appear. It was mentioned as following America's Funniest Home Videos in a TV promo spot, with no footage being shown. However, a Full House rerun was aired in its place, and Free Spirit was never aired again.
This schedule change was motivated by the premiere of The Simpsons on Fox. When AFV made its first appearance, Free Spirit was moved to 8:30, facing the first broadcast of "Bart the Genius". This resulted in ABC dealing with an 80% ratings drop for the next several weeks no matter what was aired in that timeslot.
Never aired in the United States, "Love and Death" would not surface online until May 27, 2015, when YouTube user casanoc uploaded a recording of the elusive episode, sourced from an Australian broadcast. It has since been mirrored on Dailymotion and can be viewed below.