Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 21st, 2010
When Jim Henson had finally finished up with The Muppet Show, it was time to take his puppet creations in a slightly different direction. Fraggle Rock, like The Muppet Show before it, was originally produced and aired outside of the United States. With the Muppets it was England that gave the guys their break. This time it was CBS in Canada. The show did quickly find a home in the United States, this time on cable. HBO was just beginning to stretch its legs and break out of its reputation as merely a place to watch movies after their box office run was completed. The network also had a bit of a reputation as more of an adult network. Fraggle Rock was the perfect opportunity to expand on both fronts. The show developed a cult following, but never achieved quite the reputation and numbers that the Muppets had done. Still, it was a staple on the cable network for 5 years.
Fraggles are furry little animals that live underground. Each Fraggle is unique in many ways. They all have their own color and look. They pretty much live a simple life of socializing and having fun. In the world of the Fraggles, there is also a family of giant troll-like creatures called Gorgs. The Ma and Pa Gorgs considered themselves the King and Queen of the land, but Junior was the only other Gorg in the kingdom. He loved to try and catch the Fraggles, who would often raid his garden for their favorite food, radishes. There was also an entrance to Fraggle Rock in the workshop of Doc and his dog Sprockett. Doc was blissfully unaware of the Fraggles living under his home. But, Sprocket was always trying to alert him to their presence. In the final episode, Doc finally learned of the existence of the creatures.
Meet the Fraggles: Wembley was an innocent Fraggle who was easily frightened. He was such an easy mark that to panic was consider to “Wembley” in Fraggle terminology. His best friend was Boober. Boober was a beatnik-like fraggle with long hair that covered his eyes. He was a rather mellow Fraggle. Adults in the audience could have easily thought of him as a stoner. Red was the girl of the group who hung out with Wembley and Boober. In the nearby woods there was a living trash heap who was the all-wise oracle of Fraggleland. Gobo was the smart one of the group. He was often away on expeditions to map the unknown areas of the world.
This Halloween-themed release features three episodes from the original live-action series.
Boober attempts to test the Wembley’s beluvious. This is an organ on a fraggle’s tail that flairs when they get scared. Wembley is not too happy that he was frightened, so he sets out to return the favor. Each practical joke backfires on him, until finally he thinks that he’s blown Boober up because he was too frightened.
The Terrible Tunnel:
Superstition is the theme of this episode when Wembley scoffs at some of the Fraggles’ urban legends. He finds himself face to face with the mythical Terrible Tunnel.
The Dark And Stormy Night:
Gobo decides to map the Gorg’s castle when he learns that the family is off on vacation. When he tells the gang of his plans, he neglects to mention that the castle will be empty. So everyone begins to marvel at his bravery, until Red finds out the truth. The rest of the Fraggles decide to teach him a lesson. But, they are all in for a surprise when Junior is left behind to guard the royal jewel.
Each episode is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Unfortunately, this show does not appear to be very well preserved. The episodes are in pretty bad shape. Colors are very weak. Detail is pretty much non-existent. The stuff looks like a bad video tape dub.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is pretty much there for the dialog and songs. It sounds much better than it looks.
Wembley And The Bemak: (12:15) An episode of the animated version of the show.
Fraggle Rock Sing-A-Long: (2:44) Follow the bouncing shield.
Jim Henson’s: The Animal Show: (24:52) A live-action episode with tarantulas and moles.
Unfortunately, this is not going to be one of the better scary releases in animation leading up to Halloween. I would suspect it might be fine for younger kids, who just won’t really get the holiday tie-in. This is really only for the fans who remember the show fondly from their own childhood years. It might be called Scared Silly, but there’s far more silly than scare to be found here. If you get nightmares at all, don’t blame this innocent release. It must have been something you ate. “Maybe Ma was right about garlic popcorn.”