The “headlining event” on Disney Plus right now may be WandaVision, but plenty of classic shows and movies continue to be added to the streaming service and many of them are more than worth checking out. One area of the Disney empire that’s been getting its Disney Plus section beefed up lately is that of Jim Henson’s creations. Best known for creating the Muppets, Henson revolutionized puppeteering for T.V. screen media and his influence is still felt all around the entertainment industry to this day. The Muppets Show has been so requested by Disney Plus users, and it’s now been revealed that it’ll be available on the streaming platform on February 19th, 2021.
Perhaps the two most famous Jim Henson productions are Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. The former isn’t actually owned by Disney and doesn’t have any presence on Disney Plus besides cameos from its characters in other projects (Sesame Street’s streaming home is HBO Max) but the latter is coming to Disney Plus in just a few days. What makes this extra-exciting is the fact that this will be the first time Seasons 4 and 5 of the series will be officially available for home viewing.
The Muppets Show is coming to Disney Plus on February 19th
But The Muppet Show isn’t the only Jim Henson show to make its Disney Plus debut in 2021; the 1990’s sitcom Dinosaurs was added to the service’s catalog on January 29th. While the show didn’t premiere until the year after Henson’s death, he was involved in planning the series prior to his passing and the show tackled various social topics that he had wished it to.
Dinosaurs was part of ABC’s famous Friday night “TGIF” block than ran throughout the 1990’s, but doesn’t get as much attention nowadays as the likes of Full House, Family Matters, and Boy Meets World (the latter of which is also on Disney Plus) so its arrival is a big chance for the show to be introduced to a new audience.
Plenty of Henson-helmed content has been on Disney Plus since its launch day back in November 2019, most notably six of the eight theatrically-released Muppet movies. The entirety of ABC’s 2015 sitcom The Muppets is also on there, as is the Disney+ original series. But the soon-to-be easy accessibility of the original Muppet Show has seemed to light a spark amongst Henson fans. This is the project most of them point to when trying to tell people what the Muppets are all about, and now millions of people will have all five seasons of the show at their fingertips.
Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs is also on Disney Plus
Ever since Jim Henson died in 1990, the status of the Muppets in the cultural zeitgeist seems to have entered into a sort of cycle; they’ve always remained highly recognizable figures in popular culture, but they seem to be unable to actually hold the spotlight for an extended period of time and keep needing to make a “comeback” once or twice a decade. They’ll have one very successful project like The Muppet Christmas Carol in the 90’s or The Muppets in 2011 (not to be confused with the aforementioned TV series that came out a few years later) and then kind of flounder a bit in maintaining relevance for subsequent ventures, eventually fading into the background and going on a sort of “hiatus” for a while until their next big comeback.
It is quite noteworthy that the imminent release of The Muppet Show on Disney Plus is getting more buzz than Muppets Now ever did. The classic series being refreshed in the minds of old fans and introduced to new ones will surely remind everyone of why these characters are such cultural icons, and provide the Jim Henson Company with a potentially golden opportunity. This would be the perfect time to develop and announce a new Muppet movie – and possibly the best shot for the franchise to break the rut it has found itself frequently falling into over the past few decades.
The Muppet Show coming to Disney Plus is really getting people talking
Frequent complaints and concerns about a lot of the more recent Muppet projects (and really, nearly every Muppet production since the early 80’s) is that some elements that made The Muppet Show – which is widely considered the crown jewel of Muppetdom – work so well have been lost. While some of those elements won’t be able to be revived in future work (RIP Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, and Jerry Nelson) and the idea of a spiritual successor series to The Muppet Show has been attempted a few times over the decades (including when all the aforementioned Muppeteers were still alive) creators and fans alike will now be able to easily access the original series and take a look at the style of the comedy and characterization of the Muppets themselves to be able to pinpoint what exactly makes for peak Muppet Mania.
Even if the cycle ends up just continuing as usual, it’d still be nice to have a new Muppet movie to check out. In a way, the Muppets have become like extended family in the pop culture world; even if we haven’t seen them in awhile, it’s nice to catch up with them every once and awhile and be able to pick up right where we left off.
What do you make of this feature? Are you looking forward to watching The Muppets Show on Disney Plus? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!