The Jim Henson Hour (1989– )
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However, the new characters on this show were great. They included Bean Bunny, who was only hired to be cute, Leon, a purple lizard-like character, Digit, an android technician who also played in a band called Solid Foam, Waldo C. Graphic, a computer-animated bird who later appeared in Muppet*Vision 3D, and Clifford, the bass player for Solid Foam who would later host Muppets Tonight. MuppeTelevision also took place in a room full of monitors and usually featured a guest star (Bobby McFerrin, K.D. Lang) and even a theme (Science Fiction, Garbage).
The second half hour for five of the shows was The Storyteller, starring John Hurt. There were also half-hour specials, including Miss Piggy's Hollywood, Songs of The Cloudforrest, and Lighthouse Island. Some shows had specials for the entire hour, including Dog City (although that did have a 20-minute pre-show with the Muppets), Monster Maker, and The Secrets of The Muppets. After the show was canceled, all of the second half-hours have been shown on their own, and the hour-long specials have been shown without The Jim Henson Hour openings.
In 2004, The Walt Disney Company bought the rights to The Muppets, and unfortunately this is the only production where ownership is split up between companies. Disney owns MuppeTelevision, Miss Piggy's Hollywood, most of The Secrets of The Muppets, and the pre-show to Dog City, while The Jim Henson Company owns the rest. I hope that Disney releases the MuppeTelevision portions on television or DVD soon, as I have't seen those since the shows original run. I also hope that more of the shows original characters (especially Digit) come back someday.
One skit I remember vividly was the Tokens doing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" with a fabulous Muppet Lion. There was also this great ecology skit, staring Ted Danson. The special affects were fantastic for it's era, the gags were hysterical, and some great informative skits.
The Storyteller portion of the show is what I remember being excited over the most, however. There I learned about fairy tales that were quite different than I knew of. Fairtales such as the The Heartless Giant, or The True Bride. This portion is now available on DVD, but I wish the whole show series was available. I miss MuppeTelevision.
Maybe if we beg Disney and Jim Henson Productions hard enough, this wonderful show will be put on DVD in it's entirety.