Henson and BBC developing "No Strings Attached" TV series

mo

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*ahem* A JHC Puppet show in Britain. WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!! I knew being UK bound would pay off eventually!!!

Bea:zany:{Persnickety, yes, but also EXCITED!}regard
sorry! was reading another article whilst typing and said 'muppet show' by accident.




sorry...
 

Beauregard

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Haha! Don't be sorry, I'm just being picky. Also, to add to the confusion is the fact that all the news articles herald this as the new Muppet Show AND there IS talk of a real new Muppet Show too, so its all very confusing in general!
 
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Luke

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here is the latest on this :

No Strings Attached w/t (pilot) – A brand new cast of Jim Henson puppet characters will invite two celebrity guests to enter their world. The guests will go head to head in a series of unique games run by the cast of characters and take part in a variety of sketches, in what will be a warm, cheeky, family affair fuelled by a healthy dose of off-the-wall, madcap fun.
The creative team behind the show includes Brian Henson as lead puppeteer and Danny Baker as lead writer. The puppets have been created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in Los Angeles.
Channel: BBC1
Producer: BBC Entertainment / Jim Henson Company
TX: TBC
Source: BBC press release
 

Beauregard

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will it be the original muppets?
It will be something separate to the original Muppets. I imagine it will be with some of those new stylized JHC human puppets (the ones with the big heads), but I'd also love for it to have a load of randoms -- sort of like the Hot-Dogs, the Goat, and strange items similar to their improv shows.
 

mo

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I hope it's gonna be good...I just don't want something like this to be cancelled!
 

Luke

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its early days yet .. just a pilot.

But its got all the right elements - Brian and Lisa (awesome brians puppeteering), baker coogan. More puppetry talent there than you can shake a stick at!

Danny is cool too, dont think he's wrote for puppets before but i think its pretty clear he's a huge henson fan.
 

Scooters Jacket

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Ok guys, I saw the show this evening. Here's what I can remember:

First, the show was pre-recorded and we were watching that recording so that they could get realistic laughter/applause for the show. It was a bit of a disappointment, but we did get a live appearance from the host - Gregory Peckory. I didn't recognise the puppeteer and there were no end credits, but I bet it's a name I know.

Gregory is a humanoid puppet who after I first saw him I thought looked like a cross between Guy Smiley and Wayne, but now I'm not so sure. He has Wayne's colouring, but a fairly unique head shape. The idea behind him is that he's a fairly washed up TV presenter having another crack at the big time, but that came across more in the preshow chat than the show itself. For the Brits amongst us, his voice was very Tony Blackburn and his hair was very Wogan. His chin was certainly from Bruce Forsythe! He was mostly the straight man when on screen.

The show was titled Games Inc. although it was announced as No Strings Attached by BBC staff so either it's morphed into this or this was a trial for the games part of that show.

The show was a good mix of backstage action and onscreen happenings and felt like a cross between TMS and MT in that sense. I thought the balance between the two was about right.

The show starts with a backstage scene with the two cleaners (Fish - a fish and Hot Dog - a hotdog) wishing they could be on the show. It transpires that one of the stars of the show has just been fired by the as yet unseen Mr Hogarth and there happens to be an opening so they get hired by what I assume is a producer/director and they're in! All they have to do is come up with a game. The producer/director (I didn't catch what her job role was exactly) was a blue puppet along the lines of a large Fraggle crossed with a flat head Scooter. I thought she was a lot of fun. Also, we meet our two guests; Dara O'Briain and Charlotte Church in this scene and they have a couple of funny lines about why they're on the show.

Cue opening credits.

The opening felt very Muppety. They have a resident singing group (Lips Inc.) who provide the opening song, but the sound wasn't great and everytime we clapped we couldn't hear the audio so I have no clue what the song sounded like. But, the best bit for me was that the stars of the show come out and stand under arches. I'm not sure if it was an homage to the Muppet Show opening, but it was a very nice touch for this Muppet fan.

Gregory comes out and has a bit of spiel and then introduces the guests and chats to them.

Throughout the show there are various cuts to humorous happenings backstage. I can't remember the exact order of all of these scenes, but I'll try to cut them in. At this stage we see Fish and Hot Dog who have devised a game around a one of a kind bottomless fish bowl.

The format of the show is that there's a giant flashing circle with sections for 6 different puppet characters. If the light stops on a particular character then they come out host a game for our celebrities to compete in. There are 6 names on the board and 4 games get played. One of the characters who didn't play was called ID. There were two characters backstage that didn't come out so I guess he was one of those. One was a caveman, the other an alien who looked like the "You are my sunshine" guy from Hugga Wugga, but with tentacles.

When the lights are flashing we sometimes cut to a chimp riding a bike under the set (powering the machine). His bits were quite funny and very silly. They do slow the show a bit, but I thought he was good fun and nicely surreal.

The first game host was a scientist with a name I can't remember. It was something like Dr. Asismus. There was mention to his name kind of rhyming with litmus. He was very eccentric and while he wasn't a copy of Bunsen Honeydew I could see him inventing edible paperclips for sure. He looked very Seussy so I wouldn't be surprised if he was reused from that, but I've never seen that series so I can't say for sure. On that subject, I didn't really spot anyone I already knew, but there were lots of animals used and I can't imagine they were all made new for a pilot. His game was seeing who could blow out 100 candles fastest.

The games were all very low tech (i.e. cheap), but again this is to be expected at this stage.

We then cut to a family sat at home (Mum, Dad, Boy, Girl, sleeping Granny) who have a little joke or two about wax and bees. This family was the only bit that didn't work for me. The material was funny enough, but the comedy timing wasn't there and it slowed the show. They could lose this straight away. Why do I want to see a family watching TV when I'm with my family watching TV? It reminded me of when we'd see Statler and Waldorf on MT. They came up several times through the show and as I say the material was ok, but it just didn't click the way the rest did.

The next game host was a blond female called Halli. She was very dippy and spiritual and she had a spirit guide who was an armadillo called Nagunda Cahunga. Her game was that the players had to look into her portal (oo er missus) and say the name of a planet. When the cursed planet was mentioned the game was over and that person lost. Whenever a correct answer was given Nagunda Cahunga (I hope I'm remembering this right) would pop up out of the portal and say something funny.

The scores were kept by a tortoise called Abacus who I think could become a fan favourite as he seemed very popular with the crowd. He had a funny bit about wanting to be a girl.

Meanwhile there were a few backstage moments with the caveman and the alien and a couple of well-to-do pot plants that live in the corridor. We also meet Mr Hogarth who is a Tiki God statue similar to the one in "Little Help From My Friends" crossed with the one from SNL (whose name I've forgotten). He has a fun little scene with the producer gal and also at the end. He is a real scene stealer.

The next game is hosted by Bingo a Vulture type bird who has gone a little nuts. He's portrayed as a loony old man. His game is a fairly basic spelling game; however when the contestants are asked to define the words Bingo comes up with an awful pun (Neuroses are what you buy on Valentine's Day for example). The jokes are corny, but are done so well, with a couple of little critters providing some extra cornball humour, that I think this was one of my favourite parts.

In amongst all of this we see that Fish has accidentally broken the bottomless fish tank and they now have no game. If they can't come up with something then Mr Hogarth will fire them for sure. Hot Dog mentions that his family who have come to see him will be sad and that they all like to sing. This gives Fish an idea....

Needless to say, Fish and Hot Dog are selected as hosts of the last game. Their game is a lot of fun. Each of Hot Dog's relatives (Mr. Hot Dog, Mrs. Hot Dog, second cousin Martin etc.) sing a few words of the first line of "It's Not Unusual" when squeezed with BBQ tongs and then jumble themselves up. The contestants then take it in turns to try and squeeze them in the right order. The game is a huge success and Fish and Hot Dog get their moment in the spotlight.

The final round is a quick fire quiz based on things that happened in the show. All of the main cast are back under their arches for this. Once a winner is crowned that's the end of the show except for one final scene where Fish and Hot Dog meet Mr Hogarth and he says they did well and can stay on the show! Hurrah!!!

All in all I really enjoyed the show.

I’d give it a solid 8 out of 10. There was very little I’d change.

For me the best thing about it was that it felt very Muppety and reminded me of why I loved the Muppets in the first place. There was star guest entertainment, backstage shenanigans and characters that were simply trying to put on a show. If this is a hit, Disney should be kicking themselves that they didn’t launch a new Muppet Show sooner. If this show was hosted by Kermit and the games were being run by Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo this would be a smash. I hope this makes it.

On the subject of the Muppets, the characters or Fish and Hot Dog reminded me of Gonzo and Rizzo. They weren’t really similar characters, but they had that buddy vibe with a hint of underdog that I often get from those two. I think as they get the “story” in episode one they will become big favourites. Who doesn’t love a talking hotdog?

If anyone has any questions I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, I'm not a member on any other Muppet forums so if anyone wants to repost this then go ahead - just give me a credit!!!!
 
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