There’s some stiff competition, but Fraggle Rock might be the weirdest thing to ever come out of the Jim Henson Company. It’s also one of the best, so the show’s revival on Apple TV + comes as welcome news.
Unlike the original series, Fraggle Rock: Rock On! is a short-form project – the first episode, available now to stream for free, is just five minutes long. And instead of whatever video equipment they used in the ’80s, the new series was shot entirely on iPhone 11 phones by puppeteers and producers sheltering in place in their homes across the country.
These technical changes are big, but the spirit of the original show is intact.
In the first episode, the denizens of Fraggle Rock use their Doozertubes – communication systems that look like potatoes strung up in Dyson air circulators – to have what amounts to a video call.
The first episode opens with two Doozers dropping a Doozertube – a communication device that looks like a potato strung up in a Dyson air circulators – off at Gobo’s cave. He uses it to connect to the spaced-out Mokey, who says “I am now at one with the Doozertube. Our vibrations are totally synched. ”
Red Fraggle is the next to join in, yelling like an old person who does not have the volume on their TV turned up high enough. When he finally hears Gobo yelling over him, he helpfully adds “Well gee Gobo, there’s no need to yell.”
Wembley pulls another old person move – not facing the camera – as he chooses between a shiny Doozertube and an “extra radishy” one. Finally, Boober joins in after waking up, startled, from a nap.
With the whole gang assembled, the second half of the episode is dominated by a song, “Shine On, Shine On Me,” about the magic of singing and friendship — like we said, it keeps the overwhelming positivity of the original.
There’s not a lot of it, of course, but from what we’ve seen so far Rock On! looks to be an easy to watch reboot that keeps much of what made the original worth watching. It’s probably not worth getting Apple TV + just to watch it, but you should definitely check out the first (free) episode now and, if you already have Apple TV +, consider adding it to your regular rotation.
New episodes of Fraggle Rock: Rock On! will premiere every Tuesday on Apple TV +.