A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is up for you to vote on. This week we have 2 Poll questions. One pertains to "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance" and the other on "Muppets Now" airing on Disney+ later this year. Let us know your thoughts. The Poll can be found near the top of the right sidebar.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP! - "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" & "Muppets Now"

2 NEW MuppetsHenson Polls are now up for your votes!

This week's questions deals with The Jim Henson Company's and Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" and Disney+ "Muppets Now"

Here are this week's questions:

It has been almost 5 months since the premiere of "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" on Netflix. We are still waiting to hear if Netflix has or plan to order a Second Season. Do you think there will be another season or feel this may just have been a one time stand alone series?

'Muppets Now' is a short-form unscripted series to be released later this year on the Disney+ streaming service. Are you hoping the series follows in the footprints of "The Muppet Show" (an updated version of sorts) or hoping for something completely different? 

Let us know what you think. You can find the MuppetsHenson Poll near the TOP of the RIGHT SIDEBAR. 

Thanks for your participation!

MuppetsHenson Poll FINAL RESULTS: - "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" on Netflix

"Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" is now available to watch and/or download on Netflix. How would you rate the series as a whole (all 10 episodes)? EXCELLENT 85% (40) VERY GOOD 13% (6) GOOD 2% (1) POOR 0% (0) 

Total votes: 47

How would you rate Episode #1? EXCELLENT 80% (28) VERY GOOD 6% (2) GOOD 11% (4) POOR 3% (1) Total votes: 35  

How would you rate Episode #2? EXCELLENT 82% (23) VERY GOOD 7% (2) GOOD 4% (1) POOR 7% (2) Total votes: 28  

How would you rate Episode #3? EXCELLENT 83% (20) VERY GOOD 4% (1) GOOD 13% (3) POOR 0% (0) Total votes: 24  

How would you rate Episode #4? EXCELLENT 90% (19) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 10% (2) POOR 0% (0) Total votes: 21  

How would you rate Episode #5? EXCELLENT 95% (20) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 5% (1) POOR 0% (0) Total votes: 21  

How would you rate Episode #6? EXCELLENT 90% (18) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 5% (1) POOR 5% (1) Total votes: 20  

How would you rate Episode #7? EXCELLENT 95% (20) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 0% (0) POOR 5% (1) Total votes: 21 

How would you rate Episode #8? EXCELLENT 95% (18) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 0% (0) POOR 5% (1) Total votes: 19  

How would you rate Episode #9? EXCELLENT 95% (18) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 0% (0) POOR 5% (1) Total votes: 19  

How would you rate Episode #10? EXCELLENT 89% (16) VERY GOOD 6% (1) GOOD 6% (1) POOR 0% (0) Total votes: 18  

How would you rate the making of documentary of "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance"? EXCELLENT 76% (19) VERY GOOD 24% (6) GOOD 0% (0) POOR 0% (0) Total votes: 25  

How would you rate the soundtrack to "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance"? EXCELLENT 93% (27) VERY GOOD 0% (0) GOOD 0% (0) POOR 7% (2) Total votes: 29

Monday, January 13, 2020

“The Dark Crystal Age Of Resistance: Inside The Epic Return to Thra” Book Review by Nicholas Napoli

The Dark Crystal Age Of Resistance debuted last August on Netflix and alongside this brilliant show came new merchandise. Funko Pops, Action Figures, Weta Collectables, Pez Dispensers and many more, including books, my favourite being The Dark Crystal Age Of Resistance: Inside The Epic Return to Thra. This book grabs your attention just from the front cover, The Dark Crystal The Ultimate Visual History Book had the same effect on me. One of my favourite aspects from the show were the settings and the characters, alongside the story and everything else but the first two were the ones I was most eager to discover within the book. This book was a Christmas present from me to me and as much as I love my new socks, this tops the list for me. 

This book opens with an introduction by Lisa Henson, which by the time I finished reading had made me realize how much I actually wanted to learn about this epic return to Thra. I had come into this excited for the character designs and conceptual art, but now I wanted to learn about the new history of Thra and everything else that came with it. I felt the same excitement for The Dark Crystal as I did whilst watching Age of Resistance on Netflix, you know it’s a good show, when months later, the first page of a book, thrusts you back into your excitement of the series. The more I think about it, the more I realize how lucky we fans have been, the essence of what makes The Dark Crystal so special was respected. It took everything that was good from the old and used modern technology to tell a new story with the same spirit, that doesn’t happen much these days. And I must agree with Lisa Henson, the original is a puppet masterpiece, as is the new series, few franchises can consider all their works a masterpiece, The Dark Crystal franchise can. 

The book is broken up into five different parts, “Part I: Chronicles Of The Crystal” touches on all things relating to The Dark Crystal, from the original movie, to the proposed sequel and an animated show. A few very creative people got together and came up with The Dark Crystal bible, the whole mythology of Thra is laid out from start to finish, this is how you properly handle a legacy. As a fan I am so grateful to know that there is a plan, a direction that this story knows it’s taking us. And the most amazing part of this all, is that this bible was actually created by studying the wall of destiny from the original movie. I’m so ready for The Dark Crystal Age Of Resistance Series 2 but at the same time, this book has got me excited to explore the whole history of Thra. 

Power Of The Dark Crystal is the title for a The Dark Crystal sequel, which eventually got turned into a comic series by Archia. I was not aware of this but this idea came directly form Jim Henson’s plan for a sequel, I am now extremely interested in reading this, I must get myself a copy. It’s highlighted how fans kept up with the progress of the sequel, I thought that was nice of them not only to notice but point out too. As much as I would have anticipated a sequel to The Dark Crystal, I think that at this moment I’m happier that we’re getting a prequel series. There is so much history missing from the original, I’m glad we can catch up with that history before continuing the story. I’ve read The Dark Crystal Creation Myths and The Garthim Wars yet Age Of Resistance was still able to add so much more to the history of Thra. They’ve set out a well thought out mythology, I’m excited to see what happens once the crystal is healed, I’ll start by getting myself a copy of Power Of The Dark Crystal. 

“Part II: The Story Of The Resistance” begins to take us on a journey alongside the Age of Resistance production right from the very beginning. “The series was perceived as a spiritual continuation of Jim Henson’s work”. As a child I had no idea what was happening in The Dark Crystal, as I grow older, I realise the spiritual aspect of Thra is what I find most fascinating. They kept all the original elements from the movie and that is why this series works so well, it stayed true to itself in every little detail. They explain why the Mystics did not have a bigger presence than they did in the series, so cleverly thought out. Each main Gelfling is also meant to introduce us to different parts of Thra until they all come together. These writers are truly amazing, they wanted to reward fans who had kept up with the saga for years, and they did a great job at that, whilst still managing to capture the attention of a whole new audience. They went as far as considering what Jim Henson’s main goal was with Fraggle Rock, world peace, they thought of everything, a legacy in well-deserved hands. 

“Part III: Re-Creating The World Of The Dark Crystal” shows us how this world was brought back to life perfectly, so many years later. I think the main secret weapon Age Of Resistance has is Brian Fraud, he along with his family and the whole team were truly able to capture the spirit of the original, even with all it’s updated designs. Brian Fraud’s wife is responsible for the clothing designs of each character and their son, a bridge between London to America for Fraud’s creativity to flow. The world of Thra feels so real, we might forget at times that every character, even the tiniest background creature had to be brought to life first. There is so much that goes into this process, such as balancing the look of the character with its ability to perform the many actions required of them. There is a whole team of people, each of them doing their own part, in bringing this world to life, from familiar names to new beginners, they picked a wonderful team. When watching a “Muppet” production, I’m always on the look out for how the background characters stand, move or interact. Age Of Resistance had a whole lot to look out for, and every creature, going as far as a Podling standing in the background had life to them. This time around, all characters were designed slightly larger, as in the original Jim Henson’s hand could not properly fit inside Jen’s head, I love these little details. 

“Part IV: Shapers Of Thra” introduces us to each and every individual character making up the world of Thra, so many character designs, so much conceptual art, all throughout the book, it’s all so well put together. Gelfling, Skeksis, Mystics, Podlings Gruenaks, Landstriders, Threaders, Augrah, everybody. What I most enjoyed about the series were how different each Gelfling clan was from each other in their features. I really like that they changed the Gelfling skin colour to match their surroundings. Although they look different, the show makes sure to point out to us, that they are still all one in the same. There is so much to explore and learn in this world, I’m so glad this book combines all that history in one place. When learning about Brea they go into great detail over her journal. I’m not sure about you, but when I was watching this show for the first time, I was so captivated by the story, I wanted to know everything. I remember wanting to look through Brea’s journal, I wanted to see all her pictures and designs, what did they mean? Well in this book each page is visible for hardcore The Dark Crystal fans to analyse, so many cool tattoo designs to choose from. Within this part there is also a whole section about the spiritual duality between the Skeksis and the Mystics, highlighting both the Heretic and the Wanderer, my all time favourite The Dark Crystal characters. 

“Part V: Raising The Realm” maps out the world of Thra, locations, locations, locations, this is my favourite part. Ever since I was small, the world of The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock and even Dinosaurs all felt very similar to me, it was a giant playground (world) for all of Jim Henson’s creations to play in. Returning to one of these worlds and seeing in being epically expanded on with this new lore and mythology, I’m a little kid again, thank you The Jim Henson Company for recapturing the magic and bringing it to Netflix. If this is more than just a TV show for you, if this is a world your invested in, you need this book, this is the fan version of having a Thra bible. The book ends with a tease of all the possibilities left open for a second series, they’ve created a world, where none of them want to stop playing in, as a fan, this makes me very happy. “I feel we’ll be able to take fans on a journey they’ve been waiting for for thirty-five years”, they know us so well. The Dark Crystal was a very personal project for Jim Henson, Age Of Resistance proved how much respect they have for the legacy, this book helps prove that fact even further. 

by Nicholas Napoli
Author of 'Politics, Bullies and You'

CLICK HERE to order 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Tribute To Caroll Spinney (1933-2019) by Nicholas Napoli

He’s been Big ever since we were small, a legend who will me remembered by the whole world as the man who brought Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life throughout our childhoods and furthur. I never had the privilege of meeting Caroll Spinney, therefor for me personally it is hard to describe him as a person. From the clips I’ve watched of him online, since the dawn of the internet, reading his book The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch), watching his documentary I Am Big Bird, and simply knowing that Big Bird came from within him, leads me to know what a great man he’s always been. As well as I know Caroll Spinney from following his work throughout my life, leads me to know about his wife, Debra Spinney, a lovely woman from everything I’ve ever seen and read about her, my condolences to his wife and family. My tribute will be from the perspective of a fan, a 33-year-old man who grew up with Sesame Street.

My first introduction to Big Bird was when I was around three years old, making his way to New York City, declining a ride from Kermit and Fozzie in The Muppet Movie. After seeing Big Bird in A Muppet Family Christmas and The Muppets A Celebration Of 30 Years I needed more Big Bird. Luckily my Mom rented me a copy of Follow That Bird, I watched it so many times, she ended up buying me my own copy. Sesame Street as a whole is fantastic, but when I was a child it was Big Bird that most grabbed my attention, as did Mr Snuffleupagus. They’re both so big compared to the other characters, yet Big Bird was much more prominent in my childhood. Once I was a teenager, I remember I began discovering who performed each Muppet. This is where I began to learn about Caroll Spinney and the first thing that I remember when learning about him, was how shocked I was to learn that he performed both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. 

Big Bird was so cute and lovable and Oscar on the other hand was mean and grouchy, I now appreciate Oscar so much but as a child I never understood him. He lived on Sesame Street, how could he be so grouchy and mean to everybody all the time? When I was young, I was so worried that Big Bird wouldn’t find his way back to Sesame Street after running away from the Dodos, I remember being so frustrated with Oscar when everyone was getting ready to set out to find Big Bird and Oscar asked a question unrelated to the search. Another shocking discovery for me as a child was when I learned Big Bird was only six years old, I think Mrs. Finch was the first person to inform me. I was completely shocked, because of his height I always considered him an adult, yet never questioned why he acted so innocent and child-like. 


Since learning of Caroll Spinney’s passing, I’ve been recollecting my Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch memories from my childhood. This is a great legacy to leave behind, although I never met Caroll Spinney I have still been touched by him through his performance, as has the whole world, getting through to so many people, without having ever having met them, that is a true accomplishment, what a great man. Another great achievement by Caroll Spinney is by the fact that his work lives on, he created these two characters, and even after he is gone, his characters continue to live on, still making the same impact he had since the very beginning. Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson now performs these characters and I must agree with Caroll Spinney’s decision, he made an excellent choice in who he chose for each one. 

Caroll Spinney will be greatly missed but never forgotten, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, anyone who’s even seen them, will always have a memory of Caroll Spinney, even if some might not even be aware of it.  

- Nicholas Napoli

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Caroll Spinney, Puppeteer Who Gave Life to Big Bird & Oscar, Dies at 85

Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on "Sesame Street," died Sunday at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut, according to the Sesame Workshop.

The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that the legendary puppeteer lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.

Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets from their inception in 1969 when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids' television show that later moved to HBO.

"Before I came to `Sesame Street,' I didn't feel like what I was doing was very important," Spinney said when he announced his retirement in 2018. "Big Bird helped me find my purpose."

Through his two characters, Spinney gained huge fame that brought international tours, books, record albums, movie roles, and visits to the White House.

"Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending," the Sesame Workshop said.

But he never became a household name.

"I may be the most unknown famous person in America," Spinney said in his 2003 memoir. "It's the bird that's famous."

Spinney gave "Sesame Street" its emotional yin and yang, infusing the 8-foot-2 Big Bird with a childlike sweetness often used to handle sad subjects, and giving the trashcan-dwelling Oscar, whose voice Spinney based on a New York cabbie, a street-wise cynicism that masked a tender core.

"I like being miserable. That makes me happy," Oscar often said. "But I don't like being happy, so that makes me miserable."

To colleagues there was no question which character the kindly Spinney resembled.

"Big Bird is him and he is Big Bird," former "Sesame Street" head writer Norman Stiles said in a 2014 documentary on Spinney.

It wasn't easy being Big Bird. To play the part, Spinney would strap a TV monitor to his chest as his only eyes to the outside. Then the giant yellow bird body was placed over him. He held his right arm aloft constantly to operate the head, and used his left hand to operate both arms. The bird tended to slouch more as the years took their toll.

In 2015, Spinney switched to just providing the characters' voices. That year, the longtime PBS show inked a five-year pact with HBO that gave the premium cable channel the right to air new episodes nine months before they air on PBS.

Big Bird's builder Kermit Love always insisted that his design was a puppet, not a costume. But to many children, he was neither. He was real.

"Eight-year-olds have discovered to their horror that he's a puppet," Spinney told The Associated Press in 1987.

Born in 1933 in Waltham Massachusetts, Spinney had a deeply supportive mother who built him a puppet theatre after he bought his first puppet, a monkey, at age 8.

He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force after high school, then returned to Massachusetts and broke into television. He teamed up with fellow puppeteer Judy Valentine for their own daily series, then worked on a Boston version of the clown show "Bozo's Big Top." Spinney in this period had three children, Jessica, Melissa and Benjamin, all from his 1960 to 1971 marriage to Janice Spinney. He later married his second wife Debra in 1979, and the two were nearly inseparable for the rest of his life.

It was after a disastrous performance at a puppet festival in Utah that Spinney met Muppet master Jim Henson, who came backstage and told him, "I liked what you were trying to do," Spinney remembered Henson saying, in his memoir.

Spinney would join the Muppet crew when "Sesame Street" was about to turn them from popular phenomenon into an American institution. Henson brought his signature character, Kermit the Frog, to the show. His right-hand man Frank Oz would become famous via Grover and Cookie Monster. Together they created Ernie and Bert.

But Big Bird would become the show's biggest star, his name and image synonymous with not just "Sesame Street" but PBS and children's television. The character was usually used for comedy, but his innocence and questioning was also useful when serious subjects needed addressing. When "Sesame Street" shopkeeper Mr. Hooper died, Big Bird had to get a lesson in accepting death, saying in the memorable 1983 episode that "he's gotta come back. Who's gonna take care of the store? Who's gonna make my birdseed milkshakes, and tell me stories?"

When Henson died suddenly in 1990 at age 53, leaving the Muppet world devastated, Big Bird played the same part in real life. At the funeral, Spinney appeared alone on stage in full Big Bird costume and sang "It's Not Easy Bein' Green," Kermit's signature song.

"It was extraordinarily moving," Oz said in the Spinney documentary. "It tore people up."

Spinney said he was crying under the feathers but he got through the song, looking at the sky and saying, "Thank you Kermit," before walking off.

Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said Sunday that Spinney, her longtime colleague and friend, "not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well."

"We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world," she said.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Jim Henson Company to Produce New Puppet Talk Show for Disney+

Disney+ is teaming with The Jim Henson Company for a new puppet show — with a twist.

Disney+ has handed out a straight-to-series order for Earth to Ned, a comedic half-hour talk show in which an alien (and his lieutenant!) interview celebrity guests. The series will exclusively stream on Disney+, the subscription streaming platform set to launch November 12th, 2019.

Here's how Disney+ and The Jim Henson Company describe it: the comedy follows Ned, a blue-skinned alien, and his lieutenant Cornelius, who were sent to scout Earth for an eventual invasion — but instead became obsessed with popular culture. Now they host a talk show, broadcast from the bridge of their spaceship hidden deep underground, where they interview our most precious commodity — celebrities — to talk about Ned’s current pop culture obsessions. Ned will be bringing real-life celebrity guests to his ship from across the known universe and interviewing them, late-night talk show style, in hopes of producing the ultimate talk show — making Ned a celebrity and putting him further off-mission. And the more Ned learns about our human culture, the more obsessed he becomes.

"Disney has a long history of giving audiences a glimpse at faraway lands and bringing new talent into the spotlight. We believe Ned is next in line,” said Dan Silver, vp unscripted originals at Disney+. “We’re lucky to have the talents of the Jim Henson Co. and the folks at Marwar Junction Productions helping Ned, Cornelius, BETI and the Clods to execute and fully realize their vision. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Ned for promising to entertain us, rather than destroy us all."

Earth to Ned is produced by the Jim Henson Co. and Marwar Junction Productions. Jim Henson Co. chairman Brian Henson (Jim's son) and head of development and production Vince Raisa exec produce alongside Marwar's Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley.

The characters of Ned, Cornelius, their artificial intelligence BETI and army of "Clods" (cloned living objects of destruction, all featured below) are brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the same team behind Netflix's Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance. 

The Disney-owned studio is also behind Muppets Now, a shortform interview series featuring Kermit and company also interacting with celebrities.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Bret McKenzie to Adapt Jim Henson’s ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas’

Bret McKenzie, has signed on to pen the script and write the music for “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas,” based on the 1970s ABC special from the Jim Henson Company.

Henson’s 1977 TV special was based on the children’s book of the same name by Russell Hoban. McKenzie also has the option to direct the new adaptation, which follows a poor otter family who risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas, but a decision has not yet been made. 

With McKenzie’s attachment, the package will be shopped to buyers, as no distributor is currently on board. The family movie will be a co-production between the Jim Henson Company, Pacific Electric Picture Company and Snoot Entertainment.

McKenzie is no stranger to the world of Jim Henson projects: He was the music supervisor for 2011’s “The Muppets” — which won an Academy Award for best original song for “Man or Muppet” — and 2014’s “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Friday, October 11, 2019

Soundtrack Albums for Netflix’s ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ Announced

Music.Film Recordings has announced two soundtrack albums for The Jim Henson Company’s Netflix original series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. 

The Volume 1 soundtrack features selections of the original music from the show composed by Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Daniel Pemberton (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Steve Jobs, Ocean’s 8, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and the Volume 2 soundtrack features music by Pemberton and Samuel Sim (Awake, The Halcyon, Home Fires). Both Volume 1 & Volume 2 albums will be released on CD on November 15th, 2019. 

The soundtracks are currently only available via digital download. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

‘Farscape’ Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Complete Series Blu-Ray

On November 19th, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray the complete “Farscape” TV series, in time for the science-fiction series’ 20th Anniversary.

The Blu-ray Disc set includes all 88 episodes, more than 15 hours of archival special features, and the series finale miniseries “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.”

“Farscape” was produced originally for the Nine Network and on the Sci-Fi Channel in March 1999. It was produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The Henson Company provided the alien make-up and prosthetics.

The series was supposed to last for five seasons, but was canceled after four, ending on a cliffhanger. Rights to the series were later acquired by co-producer Brian Henson, who directed a three-hour miniseries finale, “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.”

Earlier this year, in March, all four seasons of “Farscape” as well as “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars” were made available on Amazon Prime Video in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Nordics, and several other countries.


Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars 2-part Finale Miniseries
Audio Commentaries
Archival Documentaries, Featurettes and Inside Looks
Behind-the-Scenes Interviews
Deleted & Director's Cut Scenes
Alternate Version of the Season 2 Premiere
TV Promos


Creator: Rockne S. O'Bannon
Executive Producers: Rockne S. O'Bannon, Robert A. Halmi, David Kemper, Brian Henson, Richard Manning
Cast: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Gigi Edgley, Anthony Simcoe, Virginia Hey, Lani John Tupu, Jonathan Hardy


1080p 1.33:1 / 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
5.1 DTS-HD MA English Audio

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

On September 24th, We ALL will Celebrate the Life of Jim Henson

September 24th has a special place in all our hearts. On this day, back in 1936, Jim Henson was born. This year we will all celebrate what would have been his 83rd Birthday.  

Please take a moment today to reflect on what Jim has meant to you. Even though he left us far too soon, let's all be thankfull for the 54 years he was with us and all the joy he brought (and continues to bring) to millions around the world.

If you have any thoughts or artwork you would like to be add to our 'Jim Henson Tribute Page', please send them along to me at bknatchbull@gmail.com

CLICK HERE, to visit our 'Jim Henson Tribute Page' Enjoy reading the many posts on how Jim has affected so many of us throughout the world including some of the Muppeteers that have worked with Jim and/or The Jim Henson Company.  

We will never forget you Jim.