With the excitement over The Muppet Show‘s debut on Disney+, the biggest questions on everyone’s mind is, “Yeah, but will it be ALL of The Muppet Show??”
As many of us know, the DVDs of the show’s first season came with a few missing pieces, thanks to certain music rights issues. And as we’ve pointed out in our Muppet Show reviews, some episodes contain content that would be considered problematic. Hence our uncertainty about what to expect.
We spoke with representatives at Disney+, and they came to us with some good news and some less-than-good news.
The good news: Over 100 of the episodes that will appear on Disney+ are completely unedited. That means no cuts due to music rights issues, no missing UK Spots, and no trimming the size of the screen to fit modern TV sets. Every episode is complete in length and in their original aspect ratios.
The bad news: Not every episode is available at launch. Our contacts at Disney+ assured us that only two episodes will be left out. Those episodes are:
The first missing episode is Brooke Shields. Despite being previously released on the (non-Disney) Time-Life “Best of The Muppet Show” set, there were music rights issues that kept it from appearing on Disney+. Since Disney chose to remove the episode entirely rather than release an edited version, we’re holding out hope that they’re continuing to try and secure the rights so it may be added at a later date.
The second missing episode is Chris Langham. While Disney declined to comment on their reason for excluding this episode, we presume it’s due to the problematic past of the guest star. Although the episode itself is a particularly fun one, we can’t ignore Langham’s personal history, and we understand why it won’t be available on Disney+. For more on our thoughts, please see our official review of the Chris Langham episode.
Here in the US, we’re missing the Kaye Ballard episode, which has been previously cleared for release on The Muppet Show‘s season 1 release. (UPDATE: The Kaye Ballard has been added to Disney+! Crisis averted!) Our friends in Europe have reporting missing the John Denver and Spike Milligan episodes. Again, we’re hoping this is just a mistake and will be remedied.
In addition to the episode cuts, we’re already hearing reports of missing segments. Despite being assured that the episodes will be presented in-full, there have been various cuts throughout the series. Thanks to eagle-eyed Reddit user Itachilshtar, here’s a seemingly complete list of edits:
- Bernadette Peters: “They Call the Wind Maria” and “I’m Five” missing
- Don Knots: “Lullaby of Birdland” missing and all scenes referencing it
- Cheryl Ladd: UK Spot “There’s A New Sound” missing
- Danny Kaye: UK Spot “Jogging” missing
- Roger Miller: UK Spot “Down at the Old Bull and Bush” missing
- Anne Murray: “Dancing on the Ceiling” missing
- James Coburn: UK Spot “Bird Walk” missing
- Tony Randall: “Ti-Pi-Tin” missing
- Hal Linden: “If I Ruled the World” missing
- Wally Boag: “The Ying Tong Song” missing
- Buddy Rich: UK Spot “A Transport of Delight” missing
- Marty Feldman: “Sesame Street Theme” missing
Since many of the above segments were either previously cleared for the old DVD sets or the UK spots (unseen in American edits), we’re holding out hope that most – if not all – of these will be reinstated into the episodes.
The good thing about streaming is that these episodes can always be updated. Unlike the DVDs (which were also missing a handful of segments), Disney has the opportunity to amend this mistake.
Yes, this is disappointing. We’re coming so close to getting the full series, with just two measly episodes outlying. On the bright side, we’re getting over 97% of The Muppet Show, which is way better than the 60% we previously had from the season DVD sets. It’s a bit of a punch in the arm, but not one we can’t handle. And we can certainly still be grateful for the 118 episodes we are getting.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com