Fraggle Rock was one of the Jim Henson Company’s biggest hits of the 1980s, so when it was announced that the show was being brought back by Apple TV +there was a mixed reaction by long-term fans of the franchise who grew up with the original series that ran from 1983 to 1987. However, when the series made its debut, it was clear that the show had managed to avoid alienating those who grew up with the antics of Gobo, Mokey, Wembly Boober and Red, while setting out to secure a brand-new group of young fans with the same mix of fun and music it delivered almost 40 years ago.
Considering the substantial backlash seen from nostalgia-hunting fans of franchises like Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, and Duck Tales, rebooting any beloved 80’s franchise comes with a certain amount of trepidation. Many animated cartoons have mostly received criticism due to a dramatic dumbing down of animation style, or complete change to the characters that many grew up with decades ago. When it comes to the return of Fraggle Rock though, it appears that the Jim Henson Company are one of the few who are happy to live by the motto of “if it ain’t broke, do not fix it.” Having successfully returned to The Dark Crystal in a Netflix series that sadly for many did not make it beyond one season, Fraggle Rock‘s revamp on Apple TV + looks like an updated continuation of the original series rather than a complete reboot.
The main reason Fraggle Rock succeeds in capturing the exact feel of the 80s show is that does not try to be anything different than it was. While the pilot episode seems to change things up with a new theme song, and an apparent complete restarting of the Fraggles’ story, with Traveling Matt getting ready to head into “outer space”, his term for the human world, the episode ends with the familiar original theme song, which is then reinstated at the beginning of subsequent episodes, and from that moment on there is little doubt that the show is not about to take any of its audience, whether old or young, for granted.
Fraggle Rock Succeeds in Creating Something New From Something Old Without Compromising the Original Series
The new series of Fraggle Rock features a lot of new performers to the world of the Fraggles, but there are some old hands also involved in the project in the form of Karen Prell, who reprises her role as Red Fraggle, and Dave Goelz, the voice of Boober Fraggle among others . Other members of the team like John Tartaglia, Donna Kimball and Jordan Lockhart have long-standing associations with the Jim Henson Company, and it shows in their ability to inhabit the characters and bring them to life once again as though they have not been away .
The magic of puppetry is something that, when done correctly, does not age. The new Fraggle Rock puppets have been created using just the same methods and designs as the original series, and therefore whether watching the original series made almost 40 years ago, or new series made in 2021, with the focus on story and song also remaining intact, there is very little to differentiate the two. In this way, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rockwhich has already been green-lit for a second season, stands head and shoulders above many other remakes and reboots by remembering where it came from and what made it so popular in the first place.
Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rockalong with last year Fraggle Rock: Rock On! and the entire original 80s series are all available on Apple TV +
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