The Muppets, those adorably iconic puppet characters that were the brainchild of the late Jim Henson, might be popular fixtures in the childhood education program “Sesame Street.” But Henson knew well the all-ages appeal of the Muppets which saw them starring in other shows, and later movies, that feature stuff that could go up to a solid PG. The foremost of these programs would be the syndicated variety-show parody that is “The Muppet Show,” which ran five seasons from 1976 to 1981. With the Muppets under the Disney umbrella since 2004, it seemed just a matter of time before “The Muppet Show” could be put in any Mouse-connected media platform.
And lo and behold, as Variety reports, “The Muppet Show” it all its five hilarious and celebrity-laden seasons are all coming to Disney+, that fast-growing exclusive streaming service that the House of Mouse launched back in 2019. The announcement was made Tuesday, January 19, and the streaming release was revealed to be one month to the day, on February 19. That is welcome news to Muppets fans in general and this show in particular. Thus far only the first three seasons have ever been released on home media around 2005-08.
Quite fittingly, the Disney press statement regarding the new streaming home of this famous program was given in-character by lead Muppet Kermit the Frog himself, credited as “host” and “producer” of “The Muppet Show.” After greeting longtime fans and future new followers, Kermit invited prospective viewers to look back at the program that elevated many Muppet characters such as Miss Piggy to stardom and the public consciousness. “Today, I’m proud to say: ‘It’s time to play the music, light the lights and meet the Muppets on Disney+ tonight!’” declared Kermit in conclusion, then adding an aside to the cantankerous Muppet critic duo of Statler and Waldorf: “Here we go again.”
Jim Henson’s idea for mature entertainment featuring the Muppets began in pilots for ABC during the 1970s which failed to gain traction. It was not until Lew Grade of British TV station ATV expressed interest that what became “The Muppet Show” got off the ground, with production being done in the UK. The arrangement paid off handsomely as the program became famous the world over, thanks to its colorful sketches and musical numbers, with a variety of celebrity guests in attendance, many of whom were inspired to appear with the Muppets following the show’s success.
Currently, Disney+ now carries almost all Muppets-centric media. The two exceptions, movies “Muppets Take Manhattan” and “Muppets from Space,” remain under ownership of Sony Pictures. Another Henson creation, “Fraggle Rock,” streams exclusively on Apple TV.Image courtesy of Polygon