The genius of Jim Henson took many forms over the years, from the educationally driven Sesame Street to the frantic pace of the sketch show-inspired The Muppet Show to the musical, lesson-teaching Fraggle Rock. To some degree, all of Henson’s shows hold appeal across the age spectrum, but Fraggle Rock strikes that balance between kid-friendly and fun for the adults the best.
Sesame Street is pretty much strictly for the young ones with its simple educational lessons and The Muppet Show can skew a little older, with its guest celebrities probably meaningless to kids and wit that likely goes over their heads. But Fraggle Rock is different. The simple morals can easily be understood and the songs are infectious. It’s difficult to imagine any kid not enjoying the show. As an adult though, it’s not hard to watch five or six episodes in one sitting, regardless of whether or not there are kids around. I marvel at the fact that I forget I am watching puppets every time I watch a Henson production – the construction of the Muppets and the enthusiasm of their operators make the experience far transcendent above that of a mere puppet show.
Fraggle Rock ran for five seasons on HBO from 1983-1987, and amassed a total of 96 episodes over the course of the run. The Complete Series Collection includes every one of those episodes plus a slew of bonus features on 20 discs. Seasons four and five, both half the length of a regular season, have been combined and are represented here solely as season four.
There has been widespread criticism across the Internet about the Fraggle Rock Complete Series Collection, and at this point, all the complaining seems completely warranted. The first three seasons have already seen separate DVD releases, but the fourth season (in reality, four and five) is only available as part of the complete series. As of now, there have been no announcements about a standalone season four release. Naturally, most people who have purchased three separate seasons already would not want to buy or be able to afford a complete series set that’s going to cost them close to $100. For completists, there is no issue, but to not even offer a separate season four release for everyone else is unacceptable.
Yes, this places the shadow of a huge caveat over the rest of this review, but the set deserves to be judged apart from this information.