TV Review: ‘Home Free’

Home Free TV Review Fox
Courtesy of Fox

Bringing an additional feel-good twist to home remodeling, Fox’s “Home Free” comes from the producer of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which makes this summer offshoot the equivalent of tract housing. Nine couples work together gutting dilapidated homes, with the idea that the newly fabulous product will go to deserving families, while the ultimate winner earns a “dream house” of their own. Yet the pounding and sweating builds toward a payoff that’s undeniably emotional but anticlimactic. While the show has its heart in the right place, it still feels like there are a dozen versions of this on Bravo and Discovery.

Hosted with manly, no-nonsense vigor by Mike Holmes (“Holmes on Homes”), the main issue, strictly from a viewing standpoint, is that Holmes outlines the central wrinkle in the competition early on, one the producers have asked not be divulged. Yet without giving anything away, suffice it to say that the conceit undercuts the tension, and makes much of the back-straining work involved turning these lemons into urban palaces feel like little more than killing time until we can get to the main event.

That’s not to say the producers haven’t done a solid job of casting folks with legitimate tales of striving and woe, tapping into a being-on-TV-cures-what-ails-you level of comfort that has been a staple of this genre since “Queen for a Day.” But it’s hard to get invested in the process of yanking up boards and whatnot (unless you’re really into that sort of thing), or even the internal politics among the players, when the show tips its hand so early.

Granted, given the avarice and cut-throat behavior often on display in reality competitions, one is sort of loath to criticize a series that dares to proffer ideals like altruism, rewarding hard work, and helping families who could use it during tough times — a mentality also embraced, conceptually, by Fox’s latest from Ryan Seacrest, “Knock Knock Live.” Yet while “Home Free” goes the extra mile in its efforts to send viewers to bed with a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts, after sitting through the first hour, the best advice, given the rather tedious buildup, would be to wake us each week when it’s almost over.

TV Review: 'Home Free'

(Series; Fox, Wed. July 22, 9 p.m.)


Produced by Relativity Television.


Executive producers, Tom Forman, George Verschoor, Trice Bartow, Brad Bishop, Andrew Marcus and Mike Holmes. 60 MIN.


Host: Mike Holmes

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  1. Tim Tebow is condescending and disrespectful... says:

    OOOH I GET IT NOW!!!!!! They brought in Tim Tebow for season 2 so he could be CONDESCENDING to these people! This moronic 30 year old is trying to give life lessons to people CLEARLY 10-20 years older than him. Man these contestants much be seriously biting their tongue at times… or they added in these cheese “speeches” from Tebow later. The episodes in season 2 just drip with condescension whenever Tebow is speaking. Seriously, does this moron who happened to get a football scholarship and make millions think he really has a handle on how to handle life at 50 when you’ve worked for 25 years getting by check to check and still can’t afford a home??? That is what is great about Mike Holmes…. he’ll call you on your mistakes but I have yet to see him be condescending towards anyone on any shows he’s been involved with. Holmes is always respectful and kind, even when telling someone they’ve mess up. All of Tebow’s lines sound like a self-help preacher or something. Clearly not what Holmes EVER does.. so they had to bring in Tebow to do that.

  2. Mike Fitch says:

    Home Free has lost what was good about it, a design show! They’ve turned it into a bickering reality show. Doubt if it will come back next season, unless they turn it back into a design show !

    • Candy Munkres says:

      I totally agree!!!! I loved that it was about Creativity, team work and quality. Now they are just doing work orders with nothing about creativity. And to think we will not get a Truck bed made into a lawn seating oasis or that Boat.

      Then I also don’t like that they know their hero gets a house, The seeing them being so happy and surprise by them getting that home and truly feeling the loss of thinking they didn’t get anything was the amazing feel good part of the show often times bringing me to tears.

      Watching but feeling disappointed… Loved they remodeled run down homes that help bueatify that neighborhood now they’re just making one….

  3. katiemacny says:

    Are all these people expected to move to this neighborhood? It would seem difficult if your life and job are elsewhere.

  4. david bartelt says:

    This is so disappointing. I loved the first season where people worked with and cared about each other. This cut throat/alliance making version is as annoying as Tim Tebow. Watched two episodes. It sucks to see people actually disappointed that they “lost” but still won a home for their hero. And what about these crap pre-fab homes?” Also, it will be quite an interesting neighborhood where homes get bigger and more expensive as you walk down the block. SO DISAPPOINTED!

  5. James E. Stevens says:

    I’m so relieved to hear that season one was a lot better than this season. I respect and admire Mike Holmes on so many levels but I missed season 1 and from what I’ve seen of season 2 I have no interest in watching a “low T” version of “Survivor” (or dozens of other knock offs). OK, specifically the participation level for the contestants is zero. They don’t interact or learn from the real build crew, instead they play games while the real work is being done by Mike’s crew. They are expected to perform skills for which they have no training or practice and when they can’t perform they are ridiculed or laughed at. You can’t expect people to perform skills like using a hammer for the 1st time without some fundamental training; Whoever is directing is making my hero, Mike, look like a jerk – taunting contestants that have not been trained for lack of skills or knowledge. The only redeeming content is that the hero gets a home regardless of the success or failure of the contestant. I’m sooooo disappointed – I cancelled the series record after the 2nd episode.

  6. Season 2 blows.... says:

    Season 1 was great… season 2 blows. Individuals rather than couples, FAIL! They ruined the “surprise” factor completely. FAIL! Building kit homes on the same street in a development isn’t anything like refurbishing existing homes. FAIL! Tebow hosting? FAIL! Sorry, but from the season 2 premier, I can say I mostly probably will NOT finish watching the season. I’ll give episode 2 a try.. but beyond that.. it’s unlikely.

  7. debbie says:

    Disappointed in “home free” this year. I enjoyed this show last year when contestants showed their style in decorating and building the homes. This yr. Is lacking, and now they are plotting alliances. I’m sure there is something better on.

  8. sam says:

    How do I get on this show been with my wife 15 years we don’t own a house probably never will we don’t own a car and I just wanna make a better life for my kids and wife

  9. How to get on the next cycle

  10. Claudia Lilly says:

    I love this show! It is one of the few TV show that I make sure I see every week. The premise is wonderful…everybody gets a house. One reviewer stated the loser shouldn’t get a house, but if you watch it and see how hard everybody works, you are so happy for them when the “losers” are told the house is theirs. I also like the way the competitors pull for each other even though they are trying as much as possible to win. Unlike some reviewers, I find this series exciting and I think Mike Holmes is great on it. It makes me feel good, something very rare these days on TV.

  11. rasenia says:

    How do I audition for the home free project?

  12. Callie says:

    Hello My family are in need of a safe and healthy place to call home. Our home has black Mold and as been cause us major health issues. From breathing to ear infection skin irritation and more . We would love to be on this show.

  13. Joan says:

    Love this SHOW!!! The best part is when Mike sais “You built it, you EARNED it, it is your new home”.

  14. OncleWillie says:

    Variety really blew this one. This is a fun, funny and heart warming show. Apparently you missed the whole idea. Mr. Holmes puts these folks through their paces and THEY think it is all or nothing. They work hard doing unfamiliar tasks in hopes of building a better life. Each week the houses are potentially more expensive and larger so the longer you stay around the nicer the home you earn. Mr.Holmes sums it up nicely. You built it, you EARNED it, it is your new home. The true American dream: work hard and you get rewarded.

  15. Carol Gill says:

    I love the show but often wonder do these people have to give up their jobs & move to a new area in order to live in that house. The house seems to be in a different place every week.

  16. Karen says:

    I love your show Mike Holmes. It has made me laugh at times…and plenty of tears…tears of happiness for all of those couples who receive a home each week. Great show and so happy that all of the contestants will have a home in the end. If my sister were still living in Georgia I would submit her name. Now she is a single mom living in Toronto.

  17. Mike holmes says:

    Thank you for the laughter and tears. I love this show

  18. reco Johnson says:

    Mike I really want to be on home free I need a shot for my family and kids and give them what they deserve and so we can call something a home and ours and we don’t have to live with any one

  19. reco Johnson says:

    I would love to be on home free TV show having a home would be great for my family so I’m not staying with others and give my

  20. Tom Ewing says:

    Love the premise, but after many years of HGTV fare and in comparison to the other shows, I find myself fast forwarding to the end with the arrival of the judges to showcase the outcomes of the 45 minutes I fast-forwarded through, and to get to watching them find out they won a house. So, if nobody minds the missing 45 minutes, OK, but otherwise the 45 minutes need to be more compelling to sit through.

  21. Lorrie Olszyk says:

    OMG…I can’t believe you reward the losers with a house…and no more work to remodel another 5,6,7,8 houses! What does that prove. It Pays to Lose!? You took many people who did not even know the name of some common and uncommon tools and gave them NO Instructions before putting them in some very dangerous situations and then condemned them when they did not know how to do the tasks. This show while a nice idea of giving houses away…..what if the house does not meet the needs of that weeks losing contestants? Do they want to live in Atlanta? Can they afford the costs to operate. Already house #1 seems nicer (with pool) than hose number 2. How is that fair??
    This show need REHAB!!!

  22. I really want to come on your show me and my husband we need a place for our four kids and grandchild we live in a two bedroom apt.we sleep on sofas and our kids have the rooms.My husband got shot and I’m the only one working barely getting by can you let us try to build a home please.

  23. crystal says:

    I love the show start to end even though we know someone will get the home the exciting part is seeing the person face when they are the one that wins priceless

  24. love the first show it may me cry that they all getting homes, way to go Mike and Fox now if you could come to Edmonton Alberta Canada

  25. Jerry says:

    I certainly agree with the last sentence of the review except for the “wake us up….’ I would rather catch up on sleep than to be bored to sleep by that program again. The fact that the show didn’t show much of the construction and remodel at all made the show even more boring! Put us out of our misery and just cancel the show…let all the home recipients just get their prize and not endure the rerun of their trials.

  26. chandra williams says:

    I would like to be a contestant on this show how can i apply plz need a home willing to help others build theirs to get one

  27. Susan says:

    I was wondering if u do homes in California redwood city we would love a mame over im deaf my husband a mail carrier i cant get state aid i spend all my time with my dogs. We are renters but our landlordis wworking with us so were not homeless please wego no where because all are money goes to rent we recycle so we have money for pet needsIt doesnt need to be perperfect or hugh just a home that feels like a home thank you sue Owens

  28. paula Ann gomez says:

    I have owned my home since 2000 and since then have not been been able to do any repairs. My home is in shambles. Please help mebout to renovate my home.
    Thanl you

  29. Nancy Lopez says:

    , How you s the family the you give the free home? We need a home

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