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Sunday, December 20, 2020

It’s Yet Another Very Merry Muppet Christmas Toy List by Nicholas Napoli

Here I am in the old farmhouse, on the snowy hill, nice and cosy by a roaring fire, the Christmas decorations are up, and I’m sitting in my rocking chair, knitting, feeling just a little sad that I don’t have any Muppet presents under my tree this year. Why is that I hear you ask? Am I poor? Well yes but that has never stopped me from buying Muppets, I took out a small loan once, so I could catch up on my bills and buy a Master Replica Gonzo whilst I was at it. This year though has been so hectic, I’ve been so busy, especially these last few months that I did not realize how near Christmas was and forgot to do my end of year online Muppet shopping, won’t get here on time. Luckily, I’ve managed to buy all the presents I needed to buy for everyone else, I’m so happy as I always have at least one gift left to buy on Christmas Eve and I hate that. Anyway, my plane leaves for California in three hours, I better get this list done, what could a Muppet Fan ask for this Christmas? 

Dinosaurs arrives on Disney+ on January 29 th 2021 and although I don’t have Disney+ I could not be happier. This show is timeless, not only will it never feel dated (minus Earl’s shirt) but the shows messages just gain strength as the years progress. I truly hope a whole new generation of fans get hooked on this show and when they do, they’ll be lucky enough to find merchandise of their favourite prehistoric family, thanks to no other than Funko Pops. All five of the Sinclair family are available, though I am realizing that Baby Sinclair is becoming hard to find and prices are slowly increasing, if he’s on your list, I wouldn’t wait too long to get him. I’m so happy Funko created these, like me I imagine there’s a whole bunch of people who have waited twenty years to add more Dinosaurs to their collections. All I had growing up were the Dinosaurs action figures which included the main five and B.P Richfield, I also had the talking Baby Sinclair. I’ve always wanted to add at least Ethyl and Roy to my collection, Monica, Spike, Mindy, Turtlepuss, Timmy, I’ll take as many characters as I can get, let’s hope Funko Pops releases a second series. Speaking of Disney+ and Funko Pops I just have to say how much I enjoyed Earth To Ned, so much so that I want merchandise, Ned, Cornelius and the Clods Funko Pops, especially with new episodes airing on Disney+ on January 1 st 2021, whilst we’re at it Funko, I wouldn’t mind a Weldon The Troll Funko Pop either. 

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance might have been cancelled by Netflix but the story as well as merchandise still keeps on coming, the shows life continues and hopefully someday, somehow, we’ll get a season two. Through Archaia Comics the story of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance continues to expand with a twelve-book story that has recently concluded as well as a nice collection of books, which takes you both behind and in front of the scenes. An Age of Resistance Tactics game was released 
earlier this year on both the
PlayStation4 and the Nintendo Switch. Recently a collector’s version of the game has been released for both consoles, which features a lot of nice cool extras, which might get someone who doesn’t own either console to buy this, if I can find it. The most collectable of all The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance collectables has got to be thanks to Weta Collectables who have put out some beautiful Age of Resistance statues, which if I could afford, I would collect them all. Not only did we get Age of Resistance Funko Pops but a few months later they released an exclusive set featuring my all-time favourite The Dark Crystal characters, The Heretic and The Wonderer. We also got some cool Age of Resistance ReAction Figure which go nicely with the original The Dark Crystal set that came out a few years earlier, I hope we get more of these.

River Horse will expand their The Dark Crystal games collection, having already introduced The Dark Crystal Board Game, they are now also releasing a roleplaying adventure game, not set to be released until next year though. “This 200-page book, penned by Janet Forbes and Jack Caesar, features a roleplaying game campaign set in both the original The Dark Crystal film and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series. It contains a simple rules system, a GM toolkit, and a 100-scene adventure that also works with other game engines.
The book also showcases a fully-illustrated map of Thra, extended fold-outs, and transparency overlays. Illustrations for the book were done by Brian Froud, Johnny Frazer-Allen, Chris Caesar, and more.” Labyrinth will be getting a whole new sequel soon, which I imagine will bring a bunch of new merchandise alongside of it. For now, River Horse have not only released a Labyrinth Board Game with Goblins and Fireys expansion packs, and a card set but will also have a new game available soon titled “Ready, Steady, Worm”. And if we were hoping for any new Fraggle Rock merchandise recently, sadly there hasn’t been any. On the positive side, the Fraggles did return back with a new TV-Show for Apple TV and will be returning again at some point soon with a new Fraggle Rock series. This new show will hopefully give us more merchandise and hopefully finally some Gorg toys! I’m still hoping Funko Pops will release 6” figures of Junior Gorg, Ma Gorg and Pa Gorg as well as continue their regular line with Trash-Heap, Philo and Gunge, Doc, The Storyteller, The Worlds Oldest Fraggle but most importantly of all Cantus, that would be amazing. 

Sesame Street have recently celebrated their 50 th Anniversary and with that you can find Sesame Street merchandise everywhere, too much for me to list. Although I think it is safe to say, that the best, most welcomed Sesame Street toy that has been released this year, was all thanks to devotion 
by the fans, who finally got their
long-awaited and well-deserved Sesame Street Lego set which is beautiful. Medicom released some cool Sesame Street figures last year, and will soon release more, though they can already be found online, including new characters like Grover, the Count and Abby. Hallmark Ornaments also released a cool Cookie Monster 
and Gronger (whoever that is)
food truck and an Elmo ornament this year. As much as I love Sesame Street, I don’t collect much merchandise, though the Medicom figures look very cool, collectable-like I would argue. I wish we’d get more Sesame Street collectables like statues or busts of the main characters. The Not Too Late Show with Elmo premiered this year on HBO Max and it was a lot of fun to watch, and luckily more episodes will be premiering at some point in the future. HBO Max has other Sesame Street projects in the works and at some point, we’ll also get a new movie. I think this year was light on Sesame Street merchandise when we consider what’s to come, I can’t wait. I just hope it includes some new collectables or at least Two-Headed Monster merchandise. I have nothing of these two and have wanted some sort of toy ever since they appeared as Santa Clause in A Muppets Family Christmas when I was five years old. I know there’s a plush going around, never managed to track one down and don’t get me started on the unmade Palisades Two-Headed Monster action figure.

We didn’t get too much Muppet merchandise this year but what we did get was well worth the wait, thank you Diamond Select for completing our The Electric Mayhem Band and giving us extra Floyds, Janices and Animals to add to our collections. Now all we need is Sam the Eagle, Rizzo, Pepe, Snowths, Bobo Bear, Uncle Deadly, Sweetums, Yolanda Rat, Big Mean Carl, Lips and Walter and I think I’ll be able to move on. Luckily once again Hallmark steps into the rescue by providing a classical The Muppet Show 
ornament featuring Kermit,
good thing they did otherwise this would have been a short paragraph. No Muppet announcements at The Disney Investors Meeting, no new Muppet merchandise, luckily, we did get Muppets Now this year so I guess I’ll give the merchandise a pass. What I don’t understand is how characters like Dr Bunsen, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Dr Teeth, Janice, Floyd, Zoot, Robin, Sweetums, Camilla, Uncle Deadly, Bobo, Mahna-Mahna, Snowths, Statler and Waldorf have not been released in plush form by The Disney Store. 
Most of
those characters have never been released as plush toys before and if they have most have never been widely available. I’m still trying to hunt down The Electric Mayhem plush set released for the 25 th Anniversary of The Muppet Show. These characters as well as the ones already released by Disney should be constantly available just as Disney does with the Muppet Babies plush toys. Speaking of Muppet Babies where have they been this year? There was a whole load of Muppet Babies toys released last year. Yes, Disney you managed to get me to buy Muppet Babies plush toys and action figures also including Summer. I even bought a Dr. Meanzo plush (basically Gonzo with a moustache how could I not buy two of those?) but if I’m going to buy any more Muppet Babies I want new characters. Rizzo, Bunsen, Beaker, Rowlf, Sweetums, Swedish Chef, Robin, Scooter, Skeeter, Statler, Waldorf, I’ll buy those. Skeeter returned! Skeeter merchandise is now possible again! Will we get a Skeeter plush? Will we get a Baby Sweetums plush as the first official Sweetums plush toy ever? Will Baby Rowlf sell out as fast as regular Rowlf did when he was first released at The Disney Store? Will Season 3 (which premieres on January 4 th 2021) be the last season? 2021 has a lot of unanswered mysteries awaiting us!

Well, I don’t know about you but after going through that list I feel like watching Muppets! I watched A Muppet Family Christmas two days ago, The Christmas Toy yesterday, I’m going to watch It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie today and I’ll probably watch The Muppet Christmas Carol tomorrow. Followed by John Denver & Th Muppets A Christmas Together, Muppets Letters To Santa, The Bells of Fraggle Rock, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas… it’s going to be a good Christmas this year, Merry Christmas everybody!  

- Nicholas Napoli

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