The Pitch Reel for Jim Henson’s Cyberpunk Muppets TV Series

The pitch reel for Jim Henson’s cyberpunk Muppets TV series just looks flat out freaky. I say that not with disdain but with true and genuine surprise since most of the Muppets looks so comical that they’re easy to accept and like. But those devised for this segment, which never took, are just flat out creepy looking. The music was good, the idea was sound, but it’s not much of a surprise that it didn’t take off like Henson wanted to. In many ways it was a spoof show designed to parody the many different upstart cable shows that were coming out around this time. I would imagine that the network that was hosting the Muppets didn’t want to rock the boat and just said no to the entire idea.

It’s not as though the Muppets really needed another gimmick to stay popular. They might have had a lull now and again in their audience but usually people have come right back after a while out of nostalgia or because they’re kids get into it when they’re young. The Muppets are an American favorite that have never really gone out of style thanks to the fact that Henson managed to create some very memorable characters that people have come to relate with and enjoy throughout the years. For a long time the show has been host to some of the most famous personalities in Hollywood and has always managed to mount a comeback in the slow times.

The cyberpunk angle looks as though it was meant to keep up with the changes in the TV atmosphere and little else. It was a decent attempt but it wasn’t really needed since the classic Muppets are what people still love and would rather see. While the Muppets might be a little dated they’ve at least been renovated and updated throughout the years in order to keep them somewhat hip and in step with the latest trends in American culture. That’s the wonder of working with puppets, they’ll adapt so long as the writers and puppeteers do.

The idea of the cyberpunk show was sound enough. A guest would find themselves drawn into the TV and could only escape by making their way through several awful channels that they would have to find some way to escape.  This is what might have led to a few problems with other cable channels since it would parody a number of channels and programs throughout each episode. You can be sure that such a thing now would be handled with care but back then there’s really no telling just what Henson and his team had planned.

The bottom line is that the Muppets didn’t really need to change to keep their popularity. It was an interesting idea that Henson wanted to implement but it didn’t wind up going anywhere. It would seem that sometimes things are just better off being left as they are so that people can enjoy what they’ve gotten used to. The Muppets are funny enough all on their own.

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