The Evil Entertainment Empire will finally let this beloved syndicated show out of the vault and of course the big question…what took so long? Emperor Mickey fell through on the last two seasons on DVD over a decade ago plus I doubt it had anything to do with rights, Disney is notorious for shitting all over that.
Still, I’m glad because I miss it. I used to go through all the trouble to watch the first season on channel 17 with the rabbit ears on our TV. It was a small effort too because the station chose to air it on a Saturday afternoon; this was before ABC was nothing but college football by 10 AM. Hard to believe the three commercial networks passed on The Muppet Show which is why Henson went to the UK for production. Over there it was an ITV program like Space 1999 and I think The Tom Jones Show. After the hit The Muppet Movie in 1979, syndication went through the roof. The Muppets went from being my little secret show to a standard in the daily 6:30 PM slot to usher in prime time stuff.
I’ve never seen their Nineties attempt but I can assure you the current program Muppets Now…SUCKS. It isn’t very funny. It isn’t very interesting. It’s a chore to watch. I can live with the guests I don’t recognize; kids will be puzzled with Show having Zero Mostel and Madeline Kahn, maybe not so much Alice Cooper or Deborah Harry. Now‘s formula doesn’t work. The Muppets work best when they’re all together, playing off each other’s characters and interacting with people. It’s true in their variety shows and movies.
It would be nice if they preserved some of the DVD features. I recall Brian Henson giving an introduction about the episode and the guest. The one which sticks out in my memory the most was Elton John. Brian talked about how he was a little reluctant to do the show since he had dumped the elaborate costumes he was known for.
I look forward to my friends’ kids getting to see what made Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and the rest cultural institutions.