FRAGGLE ROCK: BACK TO THE ROCK Season One
Watch your cares away
UK/US Apple TV+, streaming now Showrunners Matt Fusfeld,
Cast Karen Prell, John Tartaglia, Donna Kimball, Jordan Lockhart
There’s a worrying moment at the start of Back To The Rock when the series opens with a song that isn’t the Fraggle Rock theme. The horror! Will this be one of those ghastly reboots that changes everything?
Worry not. This turns out to be a very loyal revival, with many of the old hands from the original Jim Henson series helping to bring the puppets to life. What’s surprising (considering that subtitle) is that this isn’t a sequel but a remake, with episode one introducing the characters and situations as if for the first time.
So we meet the subterranean dwelling Fr aggles, who live in a shared ecosystem with the monstrous Gorgs and compulsive builders the Doozers. Meanwhile, explorer Fraggle Uncle Travelling Matt once more sets off into “outer space” (the human world) to study the silly creatures that live there.
Some will moan that it’s gone all woke, but Fraggle Rock was always unapologetically woke. Henson created the series hoping that its messages of tolerance and understanding could help to end war. The new series simply readjusts to reflect the world today’s children exist in – there’s a great episode about “echo chambers” and a subplot about microplastics – while never talking down to them.
Neil Patrick Harris once wrote “Fraggle Rock isn’t a children’s show at all; it’s an adult show children can follow”, and that’s as true as ever. Subtle CG enhancements give the puppet performances an extra edge. The songs are exuberant. There’s an unobtrusive arc plot about learning to live together. But most of all, the Henson magic is still there. And fear not: the original theme tune is soon returned to its rightful prominence. Phew.
Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl is the only human to share dialogue with a Fraggle here (another guest star talks to a Doozer).