This show, which featured an array of colorful characters who lived in and about a system of natural caves, was one of the first examples of original programming to be presented to American audiences on a pay TV network. It was produced in partnership with TVS, a British broadcaster, and CBC.
The series was notable as being accessible by a wide range of age groups, as well as presenting stories that attacked serious issues such as racial and religious prejudice with integrity and in a youth oriented manner, without being overly preachy. It was musical, fun, and warm in it’s approach. Due to it’s general nature, and the avoidance of overly topical material, it remains relevant and watchable.
It sparked a short lived animated spin-off, Fraggle Rock: the Animated Series, which appeared for one season on NBC in 1987. More recently, a second spin-off series, The Doozers, appears on Hulu. A feature film adaptation has been in the works for several years, but at this time, has no scheduled filming or release date.
A total of 96 episodes were produced during the series’ run from 1983 – 1987. Episodes were aired in a total of 95 countries. After it’s run ended on HBO, it resurfaced in syndication on TNT in the late 80s, then on the Hallmark Channel predecessor Odyssey Network. It was dormant through much of 90s and early 2000s, but reappeared on Boomerang in the summer of 2007. Additionally, it has been available on streaming providers Hulu and Amazon Video. The series was released on DVD beginning in 2005. Previously, it had been made available on VHS. The DVD collections also feature commentary as well as a typical array of extras.
HBO will be re-airing the series in HD starting later this year. Fraggle Rock’s return to the network comes after the network started showing first-run episodes of children’s staple Sesame Street, which also features various puppets (Muppets) created by Henson.