A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP!! 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? The NEW Poll can be found near the top of the right sidebar. Thanks for your participation!

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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 

Friday, January 21, 2022

NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP! - How would you rate the first season of 13 episodes of the NEW series "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock"?

A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is now up for your votes!

This month's question deals with 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?

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

Thanks for your participation! 

MuppetsHenson Poll FINAL RESULTS: - Are you planning on signing up for Apple TV+ just to watch "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock" ?

 


Beginning on Friday, January 21st, "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock" will premiere on the Apple TV+ service. Are you planning on signing up for Apple TV+ just to watch this new series?
YES 72% (13)
NO 17% (3)
MAYBE, will wait to see what word of mouth is like first 11% (2)
Total votes: 18

"Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock" Soundtrack Now Available

"Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock" soundtrack album is now available for listening/purchasing on Amazon and Apple Music stores. 


Tracklisting:

1
Fraggle Rock Theme –  Fraggle  Rock
2 Party in Fraggle Rock – Fraggle Rock
3 Hip, Hip, Hooray – Fraggle Rock
4 Only Way Home – Fraggle Rock
5 Floop, Bloop, and Whoop – Fraggle Rock
6 Shine on Us Now (Moon Come Soon) – Fraggle Rock & Patti LaBelle
7 Every Voice – Fraggle Rock
8 Doozer Marching Song – Fraggle Rock
9 Merggle Moon Migration – Fraggle Rock
10 Share and You’re Not Alone – Fraggle Rock
11 Chase the Wind – Fraggle Rock & Cynthia Erivo
12 Go with the Flow – Fraggle Rock & Daveed Diggs
13 Glow Away – Fraggle Rock
14 That’s Not What I Want – Fraggle Rock
15 Legend of Icy Joe – Fraggle Rock
16 New Day’s Day – Fraggle Rock
17 Dream a Dream and See – Fraggle Rock & Ed Helms
18 Craggle Lagoon – Fraggle Rock
19 Doozer Stick Jingle – Fraggle Rock
20 Same Light – Fraggle Rock
21 Ball of Fire – Fraggle Rock & Kenan Thompson
22 Once Upon a Time (I Knew My Name) – Fraggle Rock
23 No Two Paths – Fraggle Rock
24 Put It All Together – Fraggle Rock
25 There’s a Lot I Want to Know – Fraggle Rock & Ed Helms
26 Follow Me – Fraggle Rock
27 One Heart – Fraggle Rock
28 Fraggle Rock Rock – Foo Fighters

Sunday, December 26, 2021

NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is NOW UP! - Are you planning on signing up for Apple TV+ just to watch "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock" ?

 

A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll is now up for your votes!

This month's question deals with the new series, "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock". 


Beginning on Friday, January 21st, "Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock" will premiere on the Apple TV+ service. Are you planning on signing up for Apple TV+ just to watch this new series?

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

Thanks for your participation!