Well, it’s still a relatively new year, which means it’s time for all Muppet fans to think about what we’d like to see in 2023… and to hope that we don’t end up frustrated and disappointed, of course!
Ah, but I should be more optimistic than that. Sometimes when a new year comes around, we have no idea if there will be anything new on the horizon. But this time, I can think of at least TWO projects that I’m genuinely excited about! So let me get right to it: Here’s what I’m hoping 2023 brings.
Fun, Groovy Times with The Muppets Mayhem
The awkwardly-titled new Disney+ series, which will premiere sometime in 2023, is probably the one thing I’m most excited about in 2023. Muppet-wise, anyway. There are a few other things I’m excited about… I’m looking forward to several new movies in 2023, not to mention eating a lot of French fries.
But we’ve been waiting eagerly for Muppets Mayhem for what feels like a long time now. I hope it has some great songs, I hope it’s funny, and I hope it feels like we’re watching the Electric Mayhem guys we know and love, even if they expand on their characterizations a little bit to tell the story they’re telling.
Not to mention Lips! The Mayhem’s appearance at D23 included a moment when Lips spouted off some gibberish in a somber tone. So what’s the deal with the “new Lips?” We’ll find out soon! But first we have to find out when the dang show is actually going to premiere!
An Announcement for Another New Muppet Project
Explanation: I wanted to use an image with a question mark for this entry, because I don’t know exactly what kind of new project to hope for. So I checked our image archives, and this one came up. I am not necessarily hoping for a new project starring Captain Pighead from Muppets Tonight.
Anyway, it feels like people — and I mean all kinds of people, not just us nerds! — have been pretty excited about Muppets lately. With the wave of praise and good will surrounding The Muppet Christmas Carol‘s 30th anniversary, the buzz for The Muppets Mayhem, and “Muppets” showing up as a trending topic on Twitter multiple times in 2022 (see below for a more cynical take on that), it’s clear that many human beings have positive feelings about those funny puppets.
So if Muppets Mayhem is a hit, I’m going to wait impatiently for a new Muppet something-or-other to be announced. Mayhem season two? A new series? A new movie? As long as we can scrutinize it and debate its merits, we’ll take it!
A Thrilling Return to Fraggle Rock (Again!)
This is the second thing I’m really excited about! When Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock was first announced, I was just hoping it wouldn’t be bad. In fact, it wasn’t bad. And in fact, it was really good! How did they do that?!
Now we know there’s going to be a second season, and we know they’ve already been shooting some of it, which is great! I don’t know how long post-production takes on a show like Back to the Rock, but considering it’s only January, I’d like to think that we could see new episodes appearing on Apple TV+ by the end of 2023.
I look forward to more funny Fraggle comedy, more entertaining musical numbers featuring new and classic songs, and more meaningful stories. I also hope so see the return of Jamdolin’s friend Coop, the little dancing critter who stole the show in the “Night of the Lights” special. Not too much of him. Coop should retain some mystique. But let’s see him dance one more time.
More Fraggle Merchandise
Isn’t it fun to pay money for objects that are related to a television show you’re enthusiastic about? A lot of fans have been hoping for some Back to the Rock merchandise, and the upcoming action figures of Red, Gobo, Uncle Travelling Matt, and Cotterpin & the Architect from Boss Fight Studio are a good start. Before 2023 is over, I hope we get confirmation that the remaining Fraggles will also be released… and dare we hope for a Junior Gorg to scale?
I hope they don’t stop there. There could be dolls, puppets, a Doozer construction building kit, a Boober nightlight with a glowing tail, a reusable, BPA-free Doc & Sprocket water bottle… and how about some garbage bags with the Trash Heap on the box? The possibilities are endless as they are unlikely!
A Bright and Secure Future for New and Classic Sesame Street
When we’ve done articles like this in recent years, we’ve expressed optimism for the Sesame Street movie. But it’s been a long, long time since we heard anything about that project, so it’s pretty hard to express much of anything for it.
There’s also the matter of the HBO Max mess. HBO Max incurred the wrath of Sesame Street fans in 2022 by deleting hundreds of classic episodes and the entirety of The Not Too Late Show with Elmo from the service. By the end of 2023, HBO Max will be on the verge of ceasing to exist, as it’s going to be absorbed into a new streaming service, which might be called “Max” and which promises to feature all the stupidest reality shows from the Discovery Channel.
Is there even a place for Sesame Street on such a service? Perhaps the future of Sesame Street lies elsewhere, on yet another new platform run by executives with greater respect for creative work.
And yet, as I say that, I can’t help but feel the nagging reminder that Sesame Street isn’t the show it used to be. They seem to have decisively de-prioritized being a funny comedy show that appeals to parents as much as kids, and the choice to start making specials featuring the familiar Muppets as animated characters is a disorienting one for those of us who love their puppet incarnations. The world is better with Sesame Street in it, of course, but it’s hard for a lot of us grown-up fans to muster up the same enthusiasm for it that we used to.
That’s a lot of words, so what’s actually my hope for Sesame Street in 2023? I guess I’ll just say that it would be great if, this time next year, instead of saying “Hmmm, what are they doing with Sesame Street…?” I found myself saying “Wow, these new Sesame Street ventures, including but not limited to the new season of the show and additional side projects, sound really good and entertaining for viewers of all ages!”
An End to the Undying “Cast Everything with Muppets” Memes on Social Media
Hey, look at me! I’m cranky and curmudgeonly and I want people to stop having fun talking about Muppets!
Look, I’m not saying the general population of Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and what-have-you should stop talking about Muppets. I like seeing people talking about Muppets! I would just love it if the world could take a break from those social media posts that are almost always the same (“Pick a movie, keep one actor, the rest are Muppets” OR “Hear me out: They should remake _____ but with the Muppets”), and yet somehow always seem to go viral. Is there anyone left on Earth who spends a significant amount of time on social media who hasn’t already seen this pop up multiple times?
On the other hand, if all the repetitive posts cause Disney to take notice and realize that they should keep making Muppet stuff — and they should make smart use of social media to promote it — then something good will have come of it! And then I’ll be slightly less cranky and curmudgeonly.
Another Excellent Year for Tough Pigs
Yeah, we say this every time we do one of these articles. But it’s always something we hope for! We posted a ton of funny, insightful, and thoughtful articles in 2022, as well as so many great podcast episodes that even I can’t always stay caught up with them! So I hope we keep it up in 2023, perhaps with some more cool interviews, reviews of whatever new stuff there is to review… and maybe even some retrospective looks at a TV series that’s turning 40. Here’s to a tough and piggy 2023!
Click here to share your hopes and dreams on the Tough Pigs forum!
by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com