Apple has purchased the rights to the Fraggle Rock back catalog, with an eye toward rebooting the beloved series in the near future for Apple TV+. According to a new report, classic episodes of the series could show up on the streamer as soon as this week. There, it will join Fraggle Rock On, a short-form series that launched recently and seems designed specifically to be produced while the cast and crew are social distancing. Episodes see the characters standing alone, communicating with others via an elaborate communications terminal powered by radishes (the main food of the Fraggle characters).
Developed for TV by the late Jim Henson, Fraggle Rock was intended as a series that would put an end to wars. While the groundbreaking puppeteer and filmmaker acknowledged such a thing wasn't actually possible to do with a TV show, he would argue that there was no sense in not at least trying. The series centered on a three distinct groups of puppet-based characters -- The Fraggles, the Doozers, and the Gorgs -- as well as a human character, Doc, who lived with his dog, also a puppet.
During a recent Muppet Guys Talking live tribute to Jim Henson, which streamed live on the 30th anniversary of his death, longtime Mupper performer Dave Goelz told fans that Apple was "making more of those," regarding Fraggle Rock, in the near future. Of course, the short-form Fraggle Rock Out series made it unclear whether he was breaking news there or just a little confused as to the release timeline of content he had filmed.
Goelz plays the roles of Boober and Uncle Traveling Matt in the series.
In Fraggle Rock, the fun-loving Fraggles have to coexist with the tiny, workaholic Doozers (who recently got their own show on Hulu) as well as the gigantic, Fraggle-hating Gorgs. In the final episode of the original series, Doc learned that Fraggles existed, although it is not clear whether any potential follow-up will be a reboot that reinstates the idea that the Fraggles hide from humans. The characters have rarely appeared outside of their own show, although they have appeared in a Christmas special with the other Muppet characters and Sesame Street puppets. Disney owns The Muppets, but the Jim Henson Company retains ownership of the Fraggles and several other properties that Henson and his associates worked on during his lifetime.
This is actually the second big news out of the Henson camp today, after fans learned that Doctor Strange filmmaker Scott Derrickson is developing a sequel to Labyrinth, a movie Henson directed in the mid-'80s.
Apple, which has not invested a lot of money in licensing existing content, is reportedly not planning to change that philosophy. The Fraggle Rock acquisition is a special circumstance, driven by their plans to reboot the series, and not a sign that they will be competing with Netflix and Amazon for prestige TV back catalogs.