US syndicated tv series (1976-1981). ITC Entertainment. Pr Jack Burns, Jim Henson. Exec pr David Lazer. Dir Philip Casson, Peter Harris. Writers Joseph A Bailey, Burns, Henson, Don Hinkley, Jerry Juhl, Chris Langham, Marc London, David Odell, James Thurman. Colour. 120 30min episodes.
When Henson offered a series based on his Muppets to ABC, they quickly declined, seeing little possibility for a series seemingly aimed solely at children. Luckily Lord Lew Grade disagreed, and financed the venture, which became extremely popular with children and adults. Set backstage in a vaudeville-style theatre, the series stars Kermit the Frog as the beleaguered MC trying to get a new show together each week. Each episode centres on a human guest star and features a number of musical skits (e.g., Elton John singing "Crocodile Rock" with a band of crocodiles) and comedy variety acts. There are several recurring themes, such as "Pigs in Space", featuring Miss Piggy and other porcine performers as they explore the galaxy aboard the S.S. Swinetrek. From up in the theatre balcony, critics Statler and Waldorf can be counted on for a stream of heckling, all of which Kermit and his performers pretty much ignore.
TMS was notable for its costumes and settings; many skits featured dozens of characters and elaborate spfx. The series enjoyed a long run in syndication, and spun off various movies and the animated series The Muppet Babies (CBS 1984-1992). [BC]
see also: A Christmas Carol.