While not as much of a household name as "The Muppets", Jim Henson's "Fraggle Rock" still has a fond place in the hearts of anyone who grew up in the 80's. Each episode invited viewers to come down to Fraggle Rock, a wild and wonderful system of caves that reached under the house of Doc and his loyal pooch. Deep in the tunnels live the Fraggles, colorful little creatures who go about their daily business underground, having adventures and learning new lessons.
Although the show largely focused on a group of fraggle friends: Gobo (whose Uncle Traveling Matt spends time exploring the far reaches of the outside world), Boober, Wembley, Red, and Mokey. Each of the group has their own individual personality, but they get along well together and compliment one another well. Additionally, other supporting fraggles were also worked into the proceedings and two other sets of creatures also added to the fun: little dozers, who were always hard at work in the caves; and the giant Gorgs - Ma, Pa and Junior - who live in a crumbling castle not far from the fraggle caves and give chase to the fragles when they visit the Gorg garden.
The series manages to be about tolerance, understanding and other important lessons, yet smoothly weaves the messages into the overall story. Never does the series seem to stop so the characters can go over what they've just learned. The stories are clever and imaginative and the songs are still surprisingly catchy years later (although some of the music behind them may seem a little dated, although that's understandable.)
Family entertainment that's wholesome and still marvelously entertaining for both adults and children is rare these days, so it's wonderful to have these DVD sets introduce "Fraggle" to a new generation. A "Fraggle Rock" movie is in-development for 2007.
49 The Bells Of Fraggle Rock 12/24/1984
50 Red-Handed And Invisible Thief 1/7/1985
51 Boober And The Glob 1/14/1985
52 The Grapes Of Generosity 1/21/1985
53 Blanket Of Snow, Blanket Of Woe 1/28/1985
54 Pebble Pox Blues 2/4/1985
55 Home Is Where The Trash Is 2/11/1985
56 Believe It Or Not 2/18/1985
57 Wembley And The Mean Genie 2/25/1985
58 The Secret Society of Poohbahs 3/4/1985
59 The Beanbarrow, The Burden, and The Bright Bouquet 3/11/1985
60 Gobo's School For Explorers 3/18/1985
61 Scared Silly 3/25/1985
62 The Great Radish Caper 4/1/1985
63 Born To Wander 4/8/1985
64 The Battle Of Leaking Roof 4/15/1985
65 Playing Till It Hurts 4/22/1985
66 Bored Stiff 4/29/1985
67 The Cavern Of Lost Dreams 5/6/1985
68 The Incredible Shrinking Monkey 5/13/1985
69 A Dark And Stormy Night 5/20/1985
70 Gunge The Great And Glorious 5/27/1985
VIDEO: "Fraggle Rock" is presented by Hit Entertainment/20th Century Fox in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality, considering the age of the series, is enjoyable. Sharpness and detail are not exceptional, but the picture at least remains consistently clear and looks like it did when originally broadcast.
The picture shows a few slight instances of artifacting at times, but otherwise appears clean, with no edge enhancement and very few flaws on the elements used. Colors look bright and accurately presented, aside from a few minor instances of smearing.
SOUND: "Fraggle Rock" is presented in stereo audio here and sounds quite good, with the audio remaining crisp and clear throughout.
EXTRAS: The bonus disc offers a lengthy set of featurettes, promos and interviews. Many of the original cast and crew return to discuss the show in these pieces. A "Season 3 Overview" (nearly 32 minutes) starts things off and features the creators looking back at the stories and production issues in the third season. We also get the "Scared Silly: Art Imitating Life" featurette, which runs just under 10 minutes. Two HBO promos round out the "Cave of Fraggle Tales" section of the bonus disc.
"Under Construction" offers up a "Production Design" featurette (12 minutes) and a "How the Trash Heap Came to Be" piece, as well as a pair of HBO promos. "The Tunnel of Faz-inating Secrets" boasts a fascinating featurette on "Electro-Mechanical Puppetry" (13 minutes), as well as a pair of design featurettes that run about 11 minutes each ("Doozer Design" and "Gorg Design"), as well as an HBO promo. There's also "The Cavern of Talkative Silly Creatures", which boats interviews with Michael Frith, Kathy Mullen and Gerry Parkes, as well as an HBO promo.
Final Thoughts: "Fraggle Rock" is an awful lot of fun - the sweet series offers great stories for kids and adults and mixes in welcome messages without seeming too heavy-handed. The DVD set offers fine audio/video quality and a nice set of extras. Highly recommended.