From thestar.com (Toronto Star)
by Jacques Gallant Staff Reporter
Jim Henson’s popular helmet-wearing green characters will be featured in 52 11-minute episodes on TVO.
Remember Fraggle Rock, the puppet television show created by Jim Henson that had an enduring impact on a whole generation of children in the 1980s?
If so, then you’ll also remember the Doozers, the little helmet-wearing, problem-solving green creatures who were constantly busy with construction projects.
The popular characters are now, at last, breaking out on their own. And they’re premiering on Canadian TV, entertaining and educating the kids born to the Fraggle Rock generation.
TVO has announced that Doozers, a CG-animated series — not puppets — co-produced by the Jim Henson Company and Canadian animation company DHX Media, will make its debut on Monday, Feb. 3 at 9 a.m.
“Doozers follows the awesome adventures of the Pod Squad, a quartet of young doers who employ creativity, technology and resilience to realize projects, solve problems and get things done,” says a TVO media release.
Jim Henson’s daughter and CEO of his eponymous company, Lisa Henson, told the Star that the idea of making a show solely about the Doozers had been circulating for years.
She said the show is first and foremost about education, and focuses heavily on science, technology, art and math.
“I hope kids will take away from the show the spirit of being an innovator and we’re hoping kids will be inspired to be problem solvers,” she said.
“The lead characters are worthy friends and buddies for kids in the audience. I think the little ones will feel they’re making friends and playmates of the Doozers.”
She said the target audience is the preschool crowd, so ages 3 to 5. The company has put together 52 11-minute episodes, which will later be available for streaming on tvokids.com.
Henson said creators are banking on the popularity of Fraggle Rock to encourage parents to sit down and enjoy Doozers with their kids.
Fraggle Rock also had a Canadian connection: it was taped in Toronto and one of its co-producers was the CBC.
“Fraggle Rock had such beautiful music and people had a special love for the show,” Henson said. “The Fraggles had different philosophies and ideas. For some people, Fraggle Rock was a little bit utopian.”
Patricia Ellingson, TVO’s creative head of children’s programming, said the TV station was “thrilled” to air a show that is closely aligned with its own educational values.
“We’re interested in critical thinking viewers,” she said.
“Anything that encourages children to go into their own bedroom, or go outside and create what they just saw, or go online and find out more information, that’s a win for us.”