31 October 2005 | Quinoa1984
wonderful many years down the line; kids of today might want to take a look
Shows like Fraggle Rock don't get the chance to grace the TV screens anymore. Indeed, back in the 80's and early 90's when the show was most popular among kids and (some) of their parents, there was almost nothing else like it on TV. While it shared its connection to the other Jim Henson driven show, Sesame Street, it wasn't restricted to all of the same conventions. I remember the show as a kid bringing some memorable songs, lovable characters, and some morals that rivaled most of the animated cartoons. It was also at times, along with the tradition of the muppets, very funny. The dynamics of the world of the Fraggles, of their middle-world between the world of humans and the flip-side to the Gorgs, is something of fantasy fascination even as I'm now an adult.
Once the basic premise is set-up from episode 1- Uncle "Travelly" Matt goes off into the real world to explore leaving his nephew Gobo and his pals (Mokey, Boober, Red, and Wembly) to have to retrieve a postcard each episode. In each episode, however, the Fraggles- along with their little friends the dozers, and the ominous Gorgs who think of themselves as the "rulers of the universe"- learn some new lessons, and sing some catchy songs. The whole concept of the show is practically never cynical, and like the best animated kids shows they give a variety of characters for kids to identify with and simple adventures for them to go through. There's also the wonderful touch of Doc and his dog Sprocket, who sort of keep a parallel to what the Fraggles learn.
Was this as groundbreaking as the Muppet Show or Sesame Street? Yes and no; the humor and general storytelling is definitely at times more geared to kids, and for some adults it could be a little boring. But on a technical level it's still a marvel- the little dozers especially seem hard to control, which goes to show how much ahead of the game Henson was with his creations (and the mechanics of them). The sad thing is, those who are kids right now have an idea and have seen many of the Muppet stuff- the movies, the show maybe, the cartoons- as Fraggle Rock lays dormant. Luckily there is the new DVD of the first season out, which can provide a glimpse into what made it such a cult favorite in the 80's. I still like watching an episode every so often, and like with the other Muppet films and such, it brings a smile to my face, and not very cheaply either.