Muppets Now on Disney+ might be its biggest hit since Hamilton. But is it enough to save this streaming service?
Disney’s Muppets Now is the latest reboot of a classic franchise that stretches back to the mid-1970s. The latest reimagining is likely geared toward capturing the attention of kids watching on tablets instead of on TV. The series deftly casts its characters in situations that reflect modern-day TV viewing. (This contrasts the stage-show setting of The Muppet Show from 1976-1981.) While Muppets Now is a successful retelling of those puppets we all grew up with, is it enough to make its mark on Disney+? And will the show’s target demographic, young children, embrace the show?
A New Muppets on Disney+
I know I was excited to hear about Muppets Now, and I don’t even have Disney+. Who didn’t love watching The Muppet Show on TV back in the day? I know I did, and so did my brother. In fact, we almost got grounded from watching it because we would go absolutely bonkers whenever the opening theme song played. Jumping off the couches and shouting at the top of our lungs didn’t make for a quiet evening after a long hard day at work.
Muppets Now is an era-appropriate re-imagining of the classic TV show. They traded in the stage show trope for a variety show that seems like something you’d see on YouTube. (This is where a lot of kids get their programming.) Miss Piggy has a beauty and wellness show, Beaker and Professor Honeydew have a science-experiment show, and Kermit has an interview series. There are cooking shows and a variety of other topical segments as well.
It looks like Disney+ is counting on inspiring today’s youngsters with the zaniness of Jim Henson’s famous felt puppets. But will it work? Will today’s kids go berserk over Muppets Now the way my generation embraced the franchise? Maybe not because…
…There Might Not Be Enough on Disney+
There’s one slight problem facing Muppets Now. It’s the lack of the show. What do I mean by that? It’s simple. The first season of this series has only six episodes. What will happen when those kids binge-watch all six episodes in as many days or less? They’ll likely move on to something else that’s more available. The only other Muppets-related shows on Disney+ are The Muppets (2011) and the update of Muppet Babies cartoon (2018).
But that’s assuming they even watch it in the first place.
Re-imaginings and remakes are hit-or-miss propositions. Sometimes, favorites from previous generations can strike a chord with younger audiences. Other times, those old concepts are gigantic flops. There are enough examples just within the Marvel movie universe to prove both of those theories. While Muppets Now might look good to me, that doesn’t mean kids everywhere will embrace it. Only time will tell because that’s the nature of streaming.
Disney+: My Overall Thoughts
I think I’ve said it before, but I’m not big on Disney+. My feelings on it aren’t as strong as our blogmaster, Stuart Sweet. You might remember him roasting the streaming service in a previous post. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not quite worth the monthly price tag. That opinion isn’t set in stone, though. There could come a day where some compelling original content might cause me to change my mind. Until then…