A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP!! TWO PART QUESTION: The Electric Mayhem are getting their very own series on Disney+ titled 'The Muppets Mayhem'. How excited are you to see a series based on them? SECOND PART: (Answer YES or NO) Are you hoping we will still see Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo etc. involved somehow? (Please vote once for each part) The NEW Poll can be found near the top of the right sidebar. Thanks for your participation!

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Friday, March 11, 2022

NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP! - "The Muppets Mayhem" Ordered by Disney+

A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is now up for your votes!

This month's question deals with "The Muppets Mayhem" just ordered by Disney+


TWO PART QUESTION: The Electric Mayhem are getting their very own series on Disney+ titled 'The Muppets Mayhem'. How excited are you to see a series based on them? SECOND PART: (Answer YES or NO) Are you hoping we will still see Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo etc. involved somehow? (Please vote once for each part)

You can find the MuppetsHenson Poll near the TOP of the RIGHT SIDEBAR. 

Thanks for your participation! 

MuppetsHenson Poll FINAL RESULTS: - How would you rate the first season of the NEW series "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock"?

 

NOW STREAMING on the Apple TV+ service - Season 1 of the NEW series "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock". How would you rate the first season of 13 episodes?
EXCELLENT 86% (12)
VERY GOOD 0% (0)
GOOD 14% (2)
FAIR 0% (0)
POOR 0% (0)
NOT INTERESTED IN WATCHING, I will stick with the original series instead 0% (0)
Total votes: 14

‘The Muppets Mayhem’ Series Ordered by Disney+

Disney+ has ordered a NEW Muppet TV series. 

Following a lengthy development process, Disney+ has handed out a series order to comedy 'The Muppets Mayhem', with Lilly Singh set to star. 

The comedy will follow the Electric Mayhem Band as it records its first-ever album. Singh will star as the human lead, Nora, the junior A&R executive who is tasked with managing and wrangling the band. 

Sources say the 10-episode comedy will begin filming in April. The series — which will feature Dr. Teeth, Animal, Floyd, Janice, Zoot and Lips — is described as a music-filled journey in which the 45-year-old band comes face to face with the current-day music scene as they attempt to go platinum. 

The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg, Bill Barretta and Jeff Yorkes developed the series based on characters created by Jim Henson. Barretta is best known for Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Bobo the Bear and Pepe the King Prawn, among others, after inheriting many of the roles following Henson’s passing. Goldberg, Barretta and Yorkes will serve as writers and produce alongside Michael Bostick and Chris Eber. The Muppets Studios’ David Lightbody and Leigh Slaughter will also exec produce.

[via press release from Disney+]

THEY ROCK, THEY ROLL, AND AT LONG LAST, THEY'RE MAKING AN ALBUM IN "THE MUPPETS MAYHEM," THE UPCOMING COMEDY SERIES FOR DISNEY+

Lilly Singh to Star with World-Famous Muppets

BURBANK, Calif. (March 7, 2022) - Today, Disney+ announced "The Muppets Mayhem," a comedy series starring the world-famous Muppets, has been greenlit. The series will take audiences on a music-filled journey as, at long last, The Electric Mayhem Band records its first ever album. Lilly Singh ("A Little Late with Lilly Singh," "Dollface.") will play the (human) lead role of "Nora" the junior A&R executive tasked with managing and wrangling the mayhem that is The Electric Mayhem Band.

The series was developed by Adam F. Goldberg, Bill Barretta and Jeff Yorkes based on characters created by Jim Henson. It is written by Adam F. Goldberg ("The Goldbergs"), Bill Barretta ("The Muppets," "Muppets Haunted Mansion") and Jeff Yorkes, the executive producers are Goldberg, Barretta, Michael Bostick and Kris Eber. Yorkes is a co-executive producer. The Muppets Studio's David Lightbody and Leigh Slaughter are also executive producers.

The Disney Branded Television series is produced by ABC Signature and The Muppets Studio for Disney+.

"The Muppets are renowned for quality, creativity and unrivaled, fun storytelling for the whole family," said Ayo Davis, president, Disney Branded Television. "We are thrilled to have Adam, Bill and Jeff at the helm to bring all of these iconic and great new characters to life in fresh and dynamic ways."

"Adam F. Goldberg is our resident Muppet enthusiast at Signature and getting to play in the sandbox with Bill, a longtime Muppet performer, as well as these beloved characters was a dream come true for him, Bill and Jeff," commented Jonnie Davis, President, ABC Signature. "Their take is fresh, fun, musical and of course, hilarious. We couldn't be happier to be the studio that is helping them get the band back together."

After 45 years of rockin' out, The Electric Mayhem goes on an epic musical journey to finally record their first studio album. With the help of a driven young music executive, Nora, the old-school Muppet band comes face to face with the current day music scene as they try to finally go platinum.

"We are so excited to bring the story of The Electric Mayhem Band to the front and center of this new series. They've been entertaining audiences since 'The Muppet Show,' which debuted 45 years ago, so it's wonderful that these characters are finally getting to play lead rather than supporting roles," said David Lightbody, executive producer and senior vice president of Disney Live Entertainment and The Muppets Studio.

Starring are: The Muppets including Dr. Teeth on vocals and keyboards, Animal on drums, Floyd Pepper on vocals and bass, Janice on vocals and lead guitar, Zoot on saxophone and Lips on trumpet.

The Muppets are hot off the critically-acclaimed "Muppets Haunted Mansion," the first-ever Muppets Halloween special and the first special from The Muppets Studio for Disney+. It includes three new original songs. The Muppets also star in an original short-form series, "Muppets Now" available on Disney+.



Saturday, January 29, 2022

Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock Spoiler Review by Nicholas Napoli

Did the Fraggles just dreamfast together! Just like the Gelflings? Amazing, I love that, and Fraggle Rock is full of so many crystals. Did the Trash-Heap just introduce us to Junk City? Is Hoggle running around in there somewhere? Has the actual Labyrinth been walking distance from the Gorgs garden all these years? Doozer therapy sessions, Moon light dancing Mergelles, glowing Fraggle tails, Fraggles playing with a ball, that was beautiful, everything looks so good. This is an old fan’s way of thinking, but it is also important to get new fans interested too. With Puppets there is not so much movement as cartoons, it’s more talking, there has to be a joke every minute or so within the dialogue to keep kids’ attentions. The jokes through the series are timed and spaced out perfectly plus there very funny, I like this new edgier humour added into the show, it’s just truly amazing in all aspects. And it’s hilarious, I laughed out loud so many times, The Storyteller dancing is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen from The Muppets in general, I love that. The little “Happy New Day” Fraggle, “Oh please, call me Manty”, injured Doozers, “Map-Heads” sounds like Muppets, very clever, I wonder if that was intentional, I imagine it was. Sprocket’s reaction to Doc wanting to put his picture on the hero board made me laugh so much, so funny, so classic. Not only did this show take me back to childhood, it delivered all the emotions a perfect show should make you feel. Inspired, happy, laughter, sadness, fear, thoughtfulness, love, determination, it’s a beautiful ride of emotions for a brain, especially a young one in development.

          

The first episode alone, what puppetry/storytelling brilliance, best pilot episode for a revived classic show ever in my opinion. Not only does it follow the classic elements of Fraggle Rock perfectly, what it adds and updates it with is genius writing. The pilot episode, had it been a bit longer and released as a movie, I think it would have done really good, this is how good this show is. They do such a great job in introducing the characters and the Fraggle world all in one episode. Connecting the Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs, Humans (Doc) and Sprocket to the water, amazing and very clever to add in the first episode, it connects them all. When the Fraggle five were falling down the waterfall, loved that, that is the kind of things I wanted added as a kid, stuff that in the 80’s couldn’t really be accomplished. Uncle Travelling Matt asking Gobo to come with him to outer space, then uninviting him, then inviting him again, how clever, what a brilliant way to adapt the storyline from the original pilot episode and give it more depth and layers, truly outstanding. 

I was immediately in love with this show as soon as it opened with “Party In Fraggle Rock” as much as I missed the original intro, I still thought this was a worthy replacement, it had won me over by basically changing the theme song, how is that possible? Still, I was so happy when it ended and we got the original intro, so clever to place it at the end in the first episode, it fits better there I believe. The intro starts in actual outerspace, not just Doc’s workshop window, takes it even further, love all these updates. The original Fraggle Rock intro is to catchy and iconic not to include, and when they sang that song at the end and it finished, I realized I had been entranced for the whole 30 minutes, just like when I was younger. This show had held my attention for 30 minutes and not once did I feel I was not in this world, not once did something throw me out of the illusion that I was exploring Fraggle Rock, those 30 minutes felt like 5 minutes. I’ve just watched the whole series in two days and I plan to watch the whole thing again this week and numerous times throughout my lifetime because this is truly worthy of the Jim Henson name. And then the last episode, all the Fraggles in the Gorgs garden, the song, the messages, is it just me or is this not the smartest children’s show that has premiered since the original back in the 80’s? A children’s show that does not speak down to kids and teaches them real values, is it me or is Fraggle Rock not the best at it in both shows? All the Fraggles carrying Junior’s plant at the end, Sprocket catching Uncle Travelling Matt, the water returning, the final shot, this is outstanding, they don’t make shows like this anymore. Best revived show I’ve ever seen, best Jim Henson production in years, the ongoing stories throughout the whole series, amazing, I really like that it’s serialized, the first one was, but this one makes it clearer.

 

The first episode made me think it was a reboot, since Uncle Travelling Matt found the hole into the workshop and this seemed to have been the first time. Second episode made me realize it was a continuation, I was a five-year-old kid again, when Uncle Travelling Matt mentioned he had come back to outerspace. Sprocket didn’t recognize the Fraggles, he now lives with a new Doc, Fraggle’s didn’t know what outerspace was, Junior and the Fraggles aren’t real friends from the start but at the same time, it also feels like a continuation. This is brilliant writing, I understand why some elements seem rebooted and some a continuation, focused on a new audience, respecting old fans, I think The Jim Henson Company is the best at doing this in Hollywood. But they have outdone themselves because they have accomplished both perfectly, a reboot and a continuation, both in one show, how is that even possible to write and create? The reveal of the Fraggle hole into the real world, Fraggles entering outerspace for the first time, today’s new audiences need these elements to connect to this world, they need to be part of the journey from the beginning to feel like they’re going along on a ride, this was the best way to do this. 

The way this series connects all the worlds, I think that’s my favourite part, as a child, I still remember how in awe I was when these worlds connected, when Doc finally met the Fraggles at the very end, that blew my mind. For old fans its fan service, for new fans, it’s mind blowing, it helps them believe Fraggles exists in their world too. It makes them believe somewhere in their house there might be a hidden Fraggle hole, that leads through Fraggle Rock into the unknown universe to be explored behind the Gorgs castle. That is what made me connect to the Fraggles and its messages so much as a kid, that belief that this was all real and the way this shows handles the connecting of these worlds is brilliant. When the Ditzies light up Fraggle Rock and then come out into the Gorgs garden through the well and light over Junior, that’s so beautiful. That’s the type of things I wanted to see as a little kid but as an adult now understand why I couldn’t have it, it just makes this whole world feel even more real now. You know how believing that the possibility of Star Wars could actually exist makes it even more special, that’s how I feel about Fraggle Rock. This is how kids today will feel, if this show can get kids to believe they can actually find a hole leading into the world of Fraggle Rock, this show has accomplished its job. And since it seems to have kept long-time fans drawn into this world, which is harder, I think that means this show has succeeded, how can it have not? 

At one point, towards the middle of the series, I was on the edge of my seat for so long, the suspense was killing me. When Cotterpin Doozer spoke to Doc through the speaker I jumped up from my sofa, did that really just happen? Five-year-old me would have been thinking about that for days, these days probably the same. Then a few episodes later, Cotterpin Doozer comes across the entrance into outerspace and drives right through it, I hit my head on the ceiling. Then when I thought I couldn’t jump any higher, seconds later, the Trash-Heap reveals Junk City! Are Goblins stealing radishes from the Gorgs garden at night? Then before my excitement could come down from seeing that beautiful shot of Boober lost within a mountain of trash, we’re then taken back to Cotterpin Doozer walking on top of a sleeping Sprocket inside the workshop, I’ve been waiting years to see a Doozer get this far. When my excitement calmed down and I realized that there was a possibility that Doc would walk in, basically Doozers exposed to Humans I became so nervous, I was on the edge of my seat, as if I was watching a thriller movie. I’m so invested in this show, in this world, those nerves, those same nerves I would have had as a child if a Doozer was in a position to be exposed to a human, I still got those at 35 years old. I was sweating, moving nervously, at one point I even had to stand up, the suspense was too much, what a fun ride. 

For me the one thing I cherish most from growing up with Fraggle Rock is the messaging I received from it at such a young age. When the mind is being programmed, this is when these ideas should be inserted, for greater impact in the future, for that I am very grateful to Fraggle Rock (original). This new return Back To The Rock is just as powerful, strong and clever and this time around even more relevant and I think even braver. Teaching good lessons through fun entertainment is the best way to use television, Fraggle Rock is aimed at the younger crowd, whilst The Dark Crystal expands on those ideas but for a more modern audience and now the worlds seem to be colliding? The Jim Henson Company you are geniuses, caring for these properties for so long, to bring them back in this fashion, such a worthy investment for everybody involved, even the audience watching. 

Fraggle’s meditate! That Mokey and Red meditation scene is a great example to explain everything so perfect with this show. It’s teaching such important, valuable lessons in such clever ways. Then we get Red’s version of what meditation is for her, so clever, so wise. Then Mokey and Red hold hands and meditate together that they are underwater, I never knew I had to see this, Fraggles swimming underwater, so beautiful. These are such good and strong messages to be teaching but in a fun way that is clever for adult viewers and just entertaining for children at that time. As they grow up, they realize how strong these messages are and since (even unknowingly to them) they can connect it through strong memories from their childhood, makes it easier for them to accomplish the goals they want for the life they wish, it’s all so deep. This is the power TV can have, especially on young minds, this is the beneficial way to use it, beneficial for the children. Wembley goes into Fraggle politics and it explains that aspect of life to kids, something not dealt as strongly in the original in my opinion, such clever writing. The episode facts vs intuition, how relevant and how perfect for Fraggle Rock, these are the messages they need to get across to their audience. The fact that they don’t make anyone on either side feel bad or in the wrong goes perfectly with the Fraggle Rock style of narratives, study both sides, that is the right answer, Fraggle Rock got it right, we can all learn from this show, children and adults. This is genius writing, this is Jerry Juhl writing talent, these writers truly have the at most respect from me. They all deserve to win writing awards, this kind of storytelling is not found anymore. “Nature healing nature”, that’s probably the cleverest thing I’ve ever heard, I wish that message was in my mind when I was little watching the original, this is so powerful. 

Songs are a very important element to the Fraggle’s, not just good songs, clever songs, clever songs that make you think without realizing, same applies to the storytelling and on both fronts Fraggle Rock: Back to The Rock succeeded. Great storytelling and amazing music, luckily the soundtrack to the show is available for purchase, all the songs are so powerful, just like the original. This new show features both old songs from the original and new songs, and all of them go together perfectly, the new ones are just as amazing, I especially like the last one. Music is very important and I like that many of the old songs were brought back, the words in those songs are just so powerful. And the new songs, they’re also as powerful and just as beautiful, I can’t wait to listen to these over and over again.

   

This new updated world is so true to the original, it feels so real and if it does for me, it certainly must for children. The best part is, all the things that “bothered” me as a child have been fixed. Something I really like, is the fact that it’s mentioned very early that the Doozers like that the Fraggles eat there Doozer constructions. As a kid I remember I found the Doozers boring and thought the Fraggles were bullies, the way they just ate their construction art and broke everything and then just didn’t seem to care. I remember my six-year-old mind actually thinking, I like the Fraggles but they’re so mean to the Doozers for no reason and I resented them a little, made me happy that Junior Gorg would terrify them, serves them right. Throughout the original, the Doozers on different occasions comment that they like that the Fraggles eat their constructions but for so long, I didn’t realize that. So, I’m glad this one fixes that problem by making it clear from the very start, very clever, I hadn’t even remembered that until watching the show over the weekend.

Fraggles and Doozer children, this makes me so happy, this is the kind of good, clever update a reboot should get. As a kid I wondered why the only Fraggle baby only appeared in the credits, we never saw any Fraggle children and I wondered why. Now in the reboot, the old fans are happy, because wanting something for so long, as silly as it might be, makes the whole thing more important, because you waited for it. This new generation will not have to wonder this, as an adult I just think it’s fun and handled correctly, as a kid it won’t make them question that aspect of this world, I know it will, this bothered me and my sisters a lot as we grew up, it wasn’t just me, where were the Fraggle children? A brighter Fraggle Rock, that’s something else I remember thinking of as a kid, I remember thinking it’s so much fun, so many colours but the caves are so dark, this new generation now get this bright, more colourful looking version, much easier to keep a young minds attention. 

That Mantor would have scared me so much as a kid watching Fraggle Rock, a good scare, an exciting one, one the original never really gave me. I always remember hoping to one day see the Fraggles get in real danger, the Gorgs terrified me but I knew they‘d never kill the Fraggles, this Mantor on the other hand, that would have scared the radishes right out of little six-year-old me, I truly believed the Fraggle were in real danger from an actual bad creature. When Red had her flashback to a previous episode, for a kid that is a memory that they also remember, makes them feel this is a journey they are on together, so I really like that, I know the effect it would have had on my imagination had I been five again. The fact that the storyline with the water is brought back every now and again, keeping the whole thing together as one long narrative, so clever, all the worlds connected, the storylines connected, it’s a journey, I’m so on board. The way the Fraggles now all run and escape in full view, it all looks so real, Gobo climbing out of Fraggle Rock and walking towards Junior, all the Fraggle running from Junior and hiding under the bridge, this all looks incredible and so realistic. You believe this world can exist, even as an adult, imagine a child’s mind growing up being influenced by these stories they believe are real. Connected to their world thanks to the Doc element of the show, that’s how it worked on my mind when I was little… and now too because the reboot succeeded in what it’s meant to do. 

The characters, every single one of them is so special and so important to the Rock, so glad all the old favourites returned, and every single new one is very welcomed, especially the blue big Viking Fraggle, I want merchandise. I was able to stay in the illusion, all my friends returned, they didn’t seem like new puppets, they felt like old friends returning, that means The Jim Henson Company captured the magic. Gobo is perfect, so well recast, amazing, true leader of the Fraggles, it’s him, no question about that, that’s what I want to feel from these characters. If I had to make a list of my five favourite Muppets of all time, Mokey now makes that list, not the original Mokey, this one. That is hard to accomplish, not just a recast accepted, but a recast that has changed a list that has only been altered twice in my mind, once in the early 2000’s with Pepe and the early 2010’s with Uncle Deadly. Not only do I accept this recast, not only can she keep me in the illusion that she is Mokey, she’s raised so high on my list, where’s my haired-up Mokey merchandise? I thought I wouldn’t be able to believe this is Mokey, not until I saw her with her hair down, I was in the illusion within seconds of the first episode. Later on, we do see her with her hair down, and it did give me that childhood feeling all over again, I met Mokey twice this series, through the feelings I had from childhood reborn, Deja vu with an old friend twice. “Once a bird looked at me and I was like can I control birds now?” 

Karen Prell is Red, nothing has changed at all, from all of them, she’s the one that most makes me feel like the original Fraggle Rock adventures had just taken place days earlier within this timeline, that’s just Red hands down, the one that keeps me in the illusion the strongest. The more I grow up, the funnier I find Boober, the more I relate to him. As a kid I actually didn’t like Boober or Mokey for that matter, I found them boring but Boober he just didn’t belong, he just complained, he should just move to a cave of his own, that was my mentality as a kid. As an adult, I accept Boober so much, because I can relate just as much. This time around though, I don’t feel Boober gives off that vibe to young children, being an adult I’m not sure, but there’s more of a young mind fun likability to him this time around. Seeing as this is Dave Goelz, it’s also one of the strongest characters to keep me in the illusion that this world is real. Boober does not sound exactly like the Boober my child mind remembers, but it still sounds like Boober, I’m sure my voice has changed to since I last saw him so many years ago. Boober sounds like he’s just matured, his voice has changed slightly after all these years. Wembley, he’s grown up and matured a bit, that way he doesn’t feels different to me, that’s my mentality so I can stay in the illusion whilst watching this show. The new recast for Wembley is just as amazing as all the others. When it’s an original character it’s easier, when you’re doing an imitation of someone else’s character it’s even harder and he nails it, so very talented. The thing is I don’t want an imitation of Wembley, I want Wembley. Those Steve Whitmire Wembley noises, if I heard those, I’d get a feeling I missed out on this time around. Wembley was so good, I was able to stay in the illusion, though I had to pretend but I thought that was going to ruin the show for me, so grateful at how well Wembley was recast but I don’t want a recast, I want Steve Whitmire. As a fan from childhood, I want to feel every childhood emotion possible and as perfect as the show is, for me personally, Steve Whitmire’s Wembley would have made this so special, I just have no words to explain it. 

When I was little, I found Uncle Travelling Matt so funny yet interesting with how he observed the world, my little young brain was so proud that I was smarter than him, I could spot his mistakes when describing what human things are used for. Five-year-old me always hoped to either find a Fraggle hole or bump into Uncle Travelling Matt walking around whilst outside. As I grew up, I find him so entertaining, he’s been my favourite Fraggle for so long and in this new show not only did he return perfectly but I feel we got the closest to classic Jim Henson sketches in a long time. All his scenes in outerspace, so silly and Muppety. This actually applies to the whole show, it’s so Muppety, and certain scenes actually feel like sketches straight out from the original The Muppet Show, such as the song Fraggle Lagoon. “Scientific jargon… dry stuff meets wet stuff” Uncle Travelling Matt is hilarious, the whole series is, which is very clever, great writing, I am amazed at the writing staff. Uncle Travelling Matt now sends other stuff as opposed to just letters back to Gobo from outerspace, what a perfect update. The Uncle Travelling Matt segments are so clever and funny, he should have his own Tik-Tok Account.

 

The Minstrel, handled perfectly, better than I ever thought possible, what a clever idea, I can get on board with this, especially because it’s the best way, when you think of the backstage situation. I was so eager to see how this character was handled, I actually expected him to be retired but deep down didn’t want that but knew that without Jim Henson I could not accept that character from anyone. Well turns out I can, the specific changes they made to the look and even the name, I as a fan facing that problem, this was the only way to fix that, they gave me what I didn’t even know was a possibility. I love that “Cantus” is in this show, the best way to bring this character back, this show did everything perfectly, I cannot stress that enough. So many returning faces such as the Storyteller, the World’s Oldest Fraggle, Large Marvin and so many new ones, I enjoyed all the new Fraggles all the way from Lyle to the big new Viking Fraggle and the mystical white-haired tail- glowing Fraggle. I’m so glad that this time around characters stick around, unlike the original they don’t disappear, as a child you have no idea how many creatures, I wished had stayed living inside Fraggle Rock, mostly because I felt sad that they were not there with everybody because the rest of the caves seemed so lonely. That’s another improved update I like from this new show, I really like that that the Fraggle species has been expanded on more this time around. We have more prominent different groups of Fraggles living within the caves such as the Mergelles and the day sleeping/dream living Fraggles, what a cool concept, great idea. This time around the caves don’t seem so empty, there’s more life, more Fraggles, there’ only two more Fraggle’s I’d like to see living in these caves. There needs to be a Steve Whitmire Wembley Fraggle and a new mean and grumpy Frank Oz Fraggle, this world needs a Frank Oz Fraggle. 

The Trash-Heap scared me so much when I was little, more so than the Gorgs, this time around, I don’t think she comes across as scary. Marjory The Trash-Heap was the only one that really through me off, the voice is so different but still somehow, I managed to stay in the illusion, she felt like the pile of trash I grew up with. The Trash-Heap feels exactly the same, she just sounds and looks younger, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trash-Heap ages backwards. Philo and Gunge seem completely the same, I really like those two characters, I remember when one almost got eaten on Dinosaurs, that was so frightening for me when I was little. The new Doc, she had some pretty big shoes to fill, that’s not your workshop, that’s not your dog, but she immediately won me over. She’s even worthy of the name Doc, I really like that the actress treats Sprocket like a real Dog (just like Gerry Parkes did) and not a puppet. She also doesn’t speak down, or act as if she’s in a children’s show, she plays the part respectfully, which adds so much, because for children she is their main connection into this world. Perfect casting for a new Doc, I’m fine with her moving in, being Sprocket’s new owner and even taking the name Doc, it was all handled so well. Sprocket, I know that is not Steve Whitmire, it bothers me but since Sprocket doesn’t “speak”, it’s so easy to fall into the illusion and that for me is definitely Sprocket, although I know it’s not. The Doozers have been updated even better than I could have imagined, the new technology, their funnier, not as boring, makes me want to watch episodes from the Doozer animated show and even hunt down vintage Doozer toys on Ebay. 

Junior Gorg’s introductions in the first episode, walking out like a huge scary intimitading monster, only to immediately be distracted and goofy, then chasing the Fraggles in the garden, best thing I’ve ever seen. The new modernized chase scenes look so real, it’s beautiful to watch. When Junior Gorg stood up to his father to protect the Fraggles right to their water, so amazing. Although this is a recast, which I always knew would have to be the case and even though he looks quite different from the original, less scary looking, it still feels like Junior Gorg. We’ve seen Fraggles return here and there every now and again, Doozers got their own animated spinoff show, The Muppets and Sesame Street never left, but the Gorgs, they hadn’t been seen since 1987! So Ma and Pa Gorg are hand puppets right? I was wondering throughout why they didn’t come out of the house, it wasn’t until I really focused that I saw the difference in size between them and Junior Gorg, you can’t even tell, I was just specifically looking out for this. I laughed because I felt silly that I had not realized earlier, I was lost in this world, I forgot it was a show, and was not thinking of the behind-the-scenes stuff, I was focused on what’s on screen. If that happened to me, you can be sure children will definitely be lost in that world. I remember as a kid watching Dinosaurs, thinking if they have so many different Dinosaurs why do they only use the same ones over and over again as different characters? Eventually I realized the other Dinosaurs were hand puppets, but when your lost in that world, as if it is real, that’s not even an option, that’s what this new generation gets to experience now. 

Trees with lights, that’s exactly the kind of things that should make up this part of their world, so clever. I really like that there’s more life in the Gorg garden now, I love the talking plants. I want to live in that garden, I want Fraggles running around, talking plants, light up trees, what a beautiful world to visit, glad this team was able to take us back there after all these years. The Jim Henson Company is amazing at reviving their old properties, they do it exactly perfectly as it should be done. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance that premiered on Netflix in 2019 is another Masterpiece, which in my mind, is the same world in which Fraggle Rock is based on, so what an amazingly cared for Henson Universe they have created. A story is being told to different generational age groups, all through different properties, telling their own story, but combined telling an even bigger one. As a child grows up watching and learning from the Doozer Animated show, they can then continue learning that message at a more advanced level through Fraggle Rock and as they keep on getting older they can discover the worlds and messaging’s of The Dark Crystal and, Labyrinth, The Story Teller, it’s all connected. It’s one long ongoing story, developing at the same age pace as their audience, genius. 

This new series is so spectacular, in my mind, it deserves a standing Fraggle ovation, this has all been perfectly accomplished.



by Nicholas Napoli 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock - A Non-Spoiler Review by Nicholas Napoli

Amazing! Fraggle Rock is beautiful, not only is this the best revived show I’ve ever seen, it’s just one of the best series I’ve ever watched period, this is Jim Henson’s Muppets. This is truly worth the wait, what a masterpiece, from everything original to everything updated, everything is perfect. The characters, the writing, the sets, the designs, the energy, the pace, the humour, everything is just exactly what I’ve always hoped for from an updated version of Fraggle Rock, ever since I started watching as a three-year-old kid for the first time. This is a perfect example of how to revive a show and I’m going to explain why and to do so, I’m going to revisit my six-years-old Fraggle obsessed self as we review Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock. 

I already know this is going to be a long review, there is so much to praise and so much to highlight as to how to do these reboots/continuations correctly, whilst still pleasing everybody that needs to be taken into account for, so an audiences doesn’t just stay its original size, it expands without excluding. This is what I like about The Jim Henson Company, they’re giving us Jim Henson’s Muppets, his philosophies, his ideas, this feels like it’s been written by Jim Henson himself, Jerry Juhl too, do you know how difficult that is to achieve? It’s the most Muppety thing I’ve ever seen as an adult, since I was a child. This does everything perfectly, every aspect from on screen to off screen that it’s supposed to accomplish it does, every goal it should achieve, it reached them all with flying colours. Hollywood in general needs to pay attention to this, this is genius storytelling with excellent relevant messaging, just as clever as the original, just as worthy of the Fraggles and the name Jim Henson. This team, everyone involved, they have to stick together and remain doing this, I truly can’t believe this exists, the world needs Fraggle Rock right now, this team has actually taken us there. 

One of the things that just made the icing on the cake for me watching all 13 of these episodes over the weekend, is that I went into this show spoiler free. I had no idea who to expect or what to expect, other than the trailer, I had seen nothing. And that is exactly how you should see it, if you haven’t watched it yet, trust me it adds to the fun of the ride and it’s so worth it. I’m going to start by giving a spoiler-free review of the show in general and give examples of why I feel this is the perfect example of how to revive a show. One which keeps old fan’s happy and invested in the illusion of this world, they are welcomed along for the ride and cherished for their over thirty-five- year investment in the original. Whilst at the same time bringing in new characters, modern concepts and updated ideas that work because they make sense within this world. There’s an inner child within all of us, which most of us think we’ve outgrown but the truth is it’s always there, as we grow up, it’s just harder to keep in contact with. That’s what fans want to find when our childhood memories are brought back to us as adults in an updated modern revival. We don’t just want to have fun, we want to revisit our childhoods and escape into that world and if the world doesn’t feel the same, we don’t get that feeling we crave as lifelong fans, adult escapism back into childhood. 

MuppetsHenson will post my spoiler review sometime soon, where I’ll be able to properly highlight and give examples of how reboots should be done. How to help past properties keep growing for future seasons whilst always reaching new fans along the way and never losing old ones using spoilers to show examples. This show not only deserves a Season 2, 3, 4 etc… it also deserves to win so many awards, the way it handles deep subjects with profound messages told so entertainingly with clever, fun, creative storytelling, just as valuable as the original. This show is doing exactly the job it’s supposed to do throughout the whole 13 episodes, brilliant storytelling, all just so clever, this feels so much like Fraggle Rock, it’s been there this whole time.

 

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ - YouTube I also want to review this show through the eyes of an old fan (adult) and young fan (child), what is good for old fans, means this is what the children watching the original grew up wanting, that means the show went in the right direction, the direction it taught them. If the old fans are happy, this means you have drawn them back into this world, if you can draw back the old fans, by making them feel like their childhood world with their old friends is back, then you can definitely make new fans feel like this is a world they can actually be part of. As adults we consider it fan service, but as children we consider it real, I was twenty-five years old when I finally realized the possibility of finding a Fraggle hole in someone’s house wasn’t something that could actually happen. That’s why I also want to focus on fan service in my review, it can also be seen as the key to making this world seem like a world that could actually exist within our reality, at least in the minds of children. I think I was six, maybe even seven when I finally realized The Muppets weren’t really walking around Hollywood, as much as I learned to play guitar, I could never really join The Electric Mayhem. Star Wars comes to mind, until this day, that scenario could exist in space somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. But since I grew up with Muppets not Star Wars, the world of Fraggle Rock is the one my childhood mind is most connected too, the one I’m most passionate about. If Gobo came back as a grumpy Fraggle who had lived a bad life all these years, if Boober, Wembley and Red never shared the screen together, if Mokey went to outerspace with Uncle Travelling Matt and started to fly, I would have been disappointed. 

But no I was a lucky devoted fan, I got exactly what I wanted as a lifelong fan, what I had waited for all these years, The Jim Henson Company delivered, I’m so proud of them. Not just because of what they delivered, they went against what somehow seems to be considered “unpopular” these days in some places. Some would call it catering to the fans, that’s not it at all, it’s continuing the expansion and return to this world in a way that makes sense, so the illusion that this is all real can continue, the escapism we crave as adults can be delivered, only if we can lose ourselves in the illusion. The Jim Henson Company accomplished the right things by doing what might be considered the unpopular thing by others, they did the right thing over the wrong thing, even if the majority aren’t doing it. I love that, because that is the Jim Henson spirit, this is how you continue his legacy, not just with his creations but by his teaching and the companies’ actions, this series succeeds at so many things, on so many levels, a real masterpiece. 

In my opinion I even think this show explains how to handle “wokeness” properly, to the point that the “woke” label can be detached from it and used by its correct term: logical and clever values to install through creative storytelling that makes sense. This series deals with strong subjects told in Fragglish fashion appropriate for kids, important topics yet it’s done the right way. Meaning it doesn’t turn into “woke nonsense”, it feels like logical lessons and values to have, that’s when it’s done the right way. Fraggle Rock teaching kids how to be woke the right way, the sensible way, that way when they grow up, they’ll know better and might not have to go through what we all have these past few years. My definition of woke is trying to achieve/teach something logical and valuable in a senseless and immature manner that actually hurts the message, not because the message is bad, but because people are being conditioned to associate that behaviour with anger and irritability, frustrated with something that should not be so difficult to accomplish without tainting the message or destroying the escapism.  

For example, a strong female lead character or two is very important, but needs to be done right, if not you just frustrate the viewer with that concept. They fear the quality of storytelling it is attached too; they fear the belittling of other beloved characters to raise up the strong female character. They might begin to hope for a male character, not because they don’t want a strong female character, but rather because they are scared it will not be portrayed well/realistically and will spoil their escapism within the story. When can I buy Mokey and Red figures? When can I buy Gobo, Boober and Wembley figures? I respect all five, none were dumbed down to make others smarter, everyone was just smart and good in their own unique ways. 

Give me a green Fraggle, a blue Fraggle, a yellow Fraggle, give me any colour, I relate to all of them. I wonder why there is never any red coloured Fraggles? They must look scary? I can’t imagine what other reason there could be for never having red Fraggles? Is it important that we don’t know the Gorgs religion? No. Is it important that we don’t know the Trash-Heap’s sexual preference? No. Is it important that the Doozers didn’t tackle racism? No. The subject does not have to be handled literally in a show aimed for children, though Fraggle Rock does get the message of racism across throughout the whole series, even if one doesn’t realize it, their brain does. This also applies when you were little watching the original, even if you didn’t realize at the time, you were learning very valuable lessons for later on life. I know I didn’t realize as a child, but as an adult, I now understand what it was teaching me, and I value it, I think it’s good morals, teachings and lessons to live by. I’m so glad this show succeeds in getting this part right, I think is might be the most important aspect, the true magic of Fraggle Rock. It teaches the lessons schools should be teaching, the ones they don’t teach, how to understand yourself first before anything else, how to see the bigger picture. Between Fraggle Rock (philosophy/spiritualism) and Sesame Street (facts/education), I think that’s the best combined full education a child can receive to get them ready for life, those two shows together is how a school system should be created and balanced. 

This perfect return to Fraggle Rock has managed to succeed in so many ways, but especially for life long fans of Jim Henson’s work. The children who grew up watching classic Jim Henson Muppets because I’m one of them and this show gets everything right in my mind. When I was little, I could completely lose myself in these Muppet worlds, every production I saw, be it Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Christmas Toy, Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas, they were all perfect, I could not find a single fault. From around 1999 onwards, after Muppets From Space, that feeling became very hard to come across. Not that I don’t like the new stuff, but liking it and getting that childhood feeling back is two different things for me, if I like it great, but if it takes me back to my childhood, that’s what I’m really after. 

The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Haunted Mansion come extremely close to this for me, though with Steve Whitmire’s absence, The Muppets can never give me the feeling Fraggle Rock has given me this weekend, even with Steve Whitmire’s absence from the Rock, I’ll tackle that part in the spoiler review. I really like It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, The Muppets (2015), Muppets Most Wanted, I can watch these on repeat, like I do with the classic Muppets that came before it but that feeling, the one I look for in a Jim Henson production, that’s rare to come across without Jim Henson and most of his original team not there. Although I have to stress, had it not been for Steve Whitmire’s absence, Muppets Haunted Mansion would have succeeded in giving me that feeling that this new Fraggle show has given me. It’s one thing to get certain things right at different times, it’s another to get them all right at the same time and so perfectly, that is what gives fans the Jim Henson magic from their childhood that they’re after, at least in my case. 

I was thirteen when Muppets From Space premiered in movie theatres, the years after I just assumed I had grown out of that feeling, that feeling where I was lost in Jim Henson’s Muppet worlds. That feeling where you just want to buy merchandise based on what you’ve watched, watch the episodes over and over again. I hadn’t grown out of that, because now at thirty-five I’ve experienced that exact Jim Henson magic I’ve been craving all these years. Lots of productions throughout the years have come close, but this show, for me personally, this takes the radish cake. The Muppet Show, Muppet specials from the 50-90’s, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space, Muppets Tonight, Follow That Bird, Fraggle Rock (original) and Dinosaurs. When it comes to Jim Henson property productions, those are my holy grails. Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock is the first time, I’ve ever felt I could add something to that list in my adult life. I feel as if I have watched something that Jim Henson himself specifically helped to produce, it has the Jim Henson magic, as a fan that is what I’m looking for. 

Credit where credit is due, before we went Back To The Rock, there was another new Henson show recently that also joins that category for me, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019) series on Netflix. That is another masterpiece, brilliant, clever storytelling, it deserves all the praise I’ve given Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock. It accomplishes all the same goals but at a different age level, and in the same perfect way as this new show, getting all elements right and accomplishing all its goals. Since I did not have deep connections with The Dark Crystal characters throughout my childhood, as I did with The Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock characters, they don’t give me that same magic childhood feeling I get from these when they return so perfectly as they have with this new Fraggle Rock show. 

In my opinion the hardest thing for a reboot to accomplish, is not just being perfect, it’s getting not just old fans, but new fans too, to want to invest into watching the original either again or for the first time. Double, triple, Doozer bonus points, if the reboot is able to add a new experience, when watching the original that came out many years earlier. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is the best example of that for me, I love that show, but was so eager to watch the original movie again, now having this new understanding to the story. And after over thirty years, my viewing experience of something I already loved was improved and I didn’t even think that was possible. That is a perfect example of a reason why a reboot should be merited on going forward or not, excitement for the future, greater appreciation for the past, that’s its main goal. Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock, makes me want to watch it again, followed by the original series, A Muppets Family Christmas, The Fraggles Look For Jobs, The Dark Crystal, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock again and again, that’s actually what I’m going to do. 

 

A good reboot should also want to make you buy merchandise, I want it all, I want more than what I can spend! I want Glowing Tail Fraggle Plush Toys, Gorg Funkos, Doozer Construction Sets with lights, a real dog called Sprocket, Trash-Heap pyjamas, I want all the characters. Honestly, I just feel like buying Fraggle Rock merchandise, all of it, growing up I just wanted Fraggle Rock merchandise and it was so hard to come by and I still want it. I want action figures of all the characters, not just the main ones, all of them, the secondary characters, the new characters, that speaks volumes for this show. One thing is to get fans excited with the old cast but introducing new characters, getting the balance right, getting each new character so perfect and likable right from the get go. To the point that they are part of an old fan’s merchandise list too, that’s when the show has accomplished all it’s goals. If like me you want new Fraggle Rock merchandise, don’t forget, sometime around March new Fraggle plush toys are being released: Fraggle Rock Funko POP!, Plush Toys & Collectibles (toywiz.com) 

Come back soon for our spoiler review, where I’ll continue this review but using actual examples from characters and episodes in this reboot. And yes! We’re going to talk about Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs, Sprocket, the new Doc, Ditzies, everything and everyone, see you soon. 

You know something that is interesting to think about, for those fans like me who remember watching the original when they were little, has your favourite Fraggle changed from then until now? When your little, your favourite Fraggle is the one you most relate to, mine was Wembley, now I relate to Mokey the most. How has your personality developed from yesteryear up until today, using two Fraggle’s to explain the difference? 

    

by Nicholas Napoli