In the opening theme of the original Fraggle Rock, the camera pans in through a window of some kind of workshop, zooms past a dog puppet and a human man, heading into the wall where we follow a Fraggle into his world. What's a Fraggle? Great question, and we'll get to it in a moment. For now we want to bask in the joy that is the return of a childhood favorite. Yes, Fraggle Rock is getting the reboot treatment. What can we expect, and what in the world is a Fraggle Rock?
OK, what is 'Fraggle Rock'?
Fraggle Rock was yet another creation from the dazzling mind of Jim Henson, he of the Muppets, and while we're thinking about the '80s — Labyrinth. It's fair to say Jim Henson shaped the childhoods of millions of children, from Sesame Street to The Witches. And somewhere in all of that, Fraggle Rock was born
Describing it is like trying to tell someone a dream you just had, as pieces of information slip away while you're trying to explain what happened. The show debuted in 1983, with Henson describing it as "a high-energy, raucous musical romp. It's a lot of silliness. It's wonderful," per Jim Henson The Works: The Art, The Magic, The Imagination. It's bonkers and strange and filled with creatures snatched from the imagination of Henson, plus music!
The Fraggles themselves are colorful and wacky, with an aversion to being serious and a desire to always have a good time. In contrast to them are the tiny Doozers who love to work, and look down on the Fraggles for their easy breezy approach to life.
The Doozers spend all day constructing buildings, the materials for which the Fraggles love to eat. It's really a kind of The Ant and Grasshopper scenario, with the strict Doozers playing the part of the ants while the fun-loving Fraggles are the grasshoppers, singing their days away.
The reason why the Fraggles love the Doozers' buildings so much is they make the material from crushed up radishes foraged from the garden of the Gorgs, who are massive giants forced to spend their time guarding said gardens. The garden is also home to an anthropomorphized trash heap who acts like a sort of oracle to the Fraggles, dispensing wisdom and advice as needed. She's waited on by two rat servants.
Finally, there's a mysterious place called Outer Space inhabited by strange beings called Silly Creatures. In Fraggle Rock, Outer Space is where the humans live and we are the Silly Creatures. Fraggle Rock really knows how to put us in our place. Each episode features original songs and lovely life lessons all hidden beneath the untamed world of the Fraggles. It's truly wonderful to see this show return.
What can we expect from the 'Fraggle Rock' reboot?
The title, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, is as faithful to the original as a reboot title can get. Disney may own almost everything under the sun, but it has yet to get its Mickey Mouse gloves around Fraggle Rock, which still belongs to the Hensons. Based on the trailer, it looks pretty similar to the original, with obvious updates in technology buffing out some of the harsher edges.
The characters all look, and even sound, remarkably similar to their earlier versions. The humor we grew to love in Fraggle Rock is still in Back to the Rock, and it's the kind of humor that walks a fine line between children and adults. Kids will get what they get, and the rest will be left for the grownups. Everyone wins. And while there are subtle differences in this new iteration of Fraggles, there's one thing we'll all be able to agree on: Ya gotta dance your cares away down in Fraggle Rock.