"Dance your cares away, Worries for another day - Let the music play, Down at Fraggle Rock!
What can I say, but yay! Jim Henson fans must be having a field day at the moment, with recent releases of the Muppet Show, Muppet's Wizard of Oz and now a childhood favourite, Fraggle Rock all coming on to DVD in the last few months. Hit Entertainment has brought us a super 5 disc box set of the first season, containing a whopping 715 minutes of Fraggle fun!
Fraggle Rock was first shown in 1983 and followed Jim Henson's Muppet Show as his most successful creation - it ran for 5 series totalling 96 episodes. Season 1 covered here has 24 episodes. I remembered it being set on a lighthouse, looked after by the amiable Captain (Fulton Mackay) and his trusty dog Sprocket, however it seems that was a British version as the one on this set has a workshop instead of the lighthouse and a different actor playing Doc (the US name of the Mackay role). Apart from that, all else seemed to be the same but it was a bit of a shame as I remembered Mackay with some fondness. Anyhow, living below Sprocket and Doc, were the Fraggles, a strange little bunch, led by the main character Gobo and his friends Red, Mokey, Boober and Wembley.
Gobo was the orange, purple haired Fraggle, Red is the "tomboy" female Fraggle, always full of energy and looking for adventure. Mokey is the hippy Fraggle, who is more sensitive and sensible. Wembley (my favourite) is yellow with yellow hair and is the youngest and funniest of the group, always indecisive and energetic. Boober is the more depressed character - the one with the shaggy red hair and cap, and is a bit of a pessimist.
There are also plenty of interesting supporting characters making up the Fraggle world. There is Uncle Travelling Matt - Gobo's Uncle who has departed Fraggle Rock on his adventures but shows Gobo what's outside in the big wide world by sending him postcards. There are also the Doozers, the cute little green builders, who work in Fraggle Rock building structures and generally getting on with their own business. The bad guys (if you can call them that) are played by the Gorgs, the 22 feet tall chubby beasts that live in the ruined castle just outside Fraggle Rock. There are only 3 left of their species, Pa, Ma, and Junior. Junior Gorg tries to catch the Fraggles when their paths cross, usually on their way to see the Trash Heap. She is a wise, kind, old... erm, pile of rubbish, whom the Fraggles turn to when they are in trouble (as you do!).
Fraggle Rock has something for everyone - each episode has a moral and each creature has a different character that allows for various possibilities and learning experiences for the younger viewers. Like some of the best children's TV, it never preaches, but it allows children to learn how to deal with different situations, whilst still having fun and enjoying the experience (there were over 100 original songs created during the life of this show!). Unlike many of the programs that I remembered fondly from my childhood, this still works well today and gives so much to the viewer, without trying too hard (remember the moral message from the end of the He-Man cartoons?!). I strongly recommend this box set not only to anyone who enjoyed the series when it was on TV but also to those with young children who want something fresh and different that all the family can sit down together and enjoy.
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