The Muppets have always struggled to overcome the deep-seated notion that puppets are for children. So, despite yet another product out of Jim Henson studios that is more intelligent and inventive than most television fare, too many people are passing it by.
To Brian Henson's great credit, he has managed to recreate the 1970s The Muppet Show for the vastly different entertainment landscape of the 2010s without pandering to the more puerile elements of "reality television." Henson has moved the concept from vaudeville theatre to the contemporary action game show genre. Like the original, the scenes switch between on-stage and backstage actions and the real life celebrity game show guests are on equal footing with the backstage Muppets and their everyday problems. Henson wisely does not use any previous Muppet characters, creating a new batch of personalities, mostly human rather than animals, unlike most Muppets. Through it all, the show gently skewers the cult of celebrity and the absurdity of television today. Some of the skits and bits are inspired, like Sausisong and Paddlestar Galactica. Not all of it works but that is to be expected from a new show. The first few episodes of The Muppet Show were not that good either but it grow into one of the great series in television history.
I hope viewers and the BBC give the show a chance and a second series to grow. It is doubtful it will ever top its inspiration but it sure is better than yet another retread of the pabulum genres of almost every other "entertainment" show on television today.
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