Recently Apple TV began offering a series of shorts called Fraggle Rock: Rock On! They were the first appearances of the Fraggles in puppet form since their series ended back in the 80s, and the response was positive. In fact, people wondered…why bring back the Fraggles just for a bunch of brief shorts? Why not just make new episodes of the show?
Apple and The Jim Henson Company likely had that in mind all along. Today they announced a new version of Fraggle Rock is now in development, with all the original characters: Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley, and Uncle Traveling Matt. Though the new series is described as a “reboot” it will be very close to the original, which debuted on HBO in 1983, a personal project of Henson himself.
Matt Fusfeld and Alex Cuthbertson (New Girl, American Dad, Community) will be the showrunners, handling many of the scripts as well as serving as executive producers. Dave Goelz, the original performer of Boober and Uncle Traveling Matt, and Karen Prell, the original Red, will reprise their characters. The new Fraggle Rock is a co-production of Jim Henson Co. and New Regency, with Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford as executive producers on the Henson side and Yariv Milchan and Michael Schaefer and John Tartaglia on the Regency side.
Lately, The Jim Henson Company has been looking to the past to forge their future. They recently debuted a Dark Crystal miniseries for Netflix, and they also announced a sequel to Labyrinth directed by Scott Derrickson. As it is, the company lacks the most popular characters Henson created, having sold Kermit, the Muppet gang, and the Muppet name to Disney. Big Bird, Elmo and the Sesame Street characters are now property of Sesame Workshop.
It’s great to see so many old friends again, but taking a chance on something original might be nice. Otherwise we’re eventually getting a remake of Sid The Science Kid.