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TV for kids

With the news about Sesame Street going into HBO-first mode and the new Muppet Show, the question i keep bringing up is why do they have to keep making new episodes? I don't mean this (only) in a cranky old man way. But why aren't the Sesame Street and Muppet Show episodes that my generation watched as a kid appropriate for kids today? If Sesame Street is having budget issues, surely making a few edits and cuts to the old episodes is cheaper than producing new ones and would prevent them from having to go to HBO. And if the new voice actors can't get the goddamn voice of Sam the Eagle right (ok, now i'm a cranky old man), why not play the episodes with the original iconic cast?

I've been told that there are Reasons relating to changes in educational theory and that the Muppet Show human guest-actors are out of date, but i'm pretty sure the alphabet is still the alphabet and that kids don't care if they're seeing Mark Hamill and Alice Cooper or Oscar Isaac and Lady Gaga. I can tell you that we just watched the Lord of the Rings cartoons from the late 70s, and they were awful, but when i was a kid they were the most awesome things ever.

Interestingly (and the instigation for this post), Paul O'Brien starts a new topic today to say that they have essentially been doing what i'm suggesting with children's programs in the UK for years.

By fnord12 | September 1, 2015, 9:02 AM | TeeVee


i dunno who Oscar Isaac is. i dunno if you know who Oscar Isaac is.

bring back the Boohbahs!

He was the first name listed on iMDB for the new Star Wars movie! I was going to list Mark Hamill again but i wasn't sure if people would get the joke.

Seasame Street does actually reuse old material. They only make ~13 episodes a year now (will be more under HBO deal), but it airs every weekday. The rest are reruns and compilations of older material. So, any given episode might have some stuff filmed this year, some stuff filmed five years ago, and some stuff filmed in the early 70s.

Muppets is a different case. That's more an instance of wanting to monetize the brand in a way not possible with the old episodes because they use a format no longer familiar to much of the TV audience and relying on a lot of celebrity cameos and jokes that just don't make sense unless you were there at the time. I mean, I was born in the late 70s, and sometimes I don't get some of the jokes/references without looking them up.

The fact that you think the Muppets are for kids is your first problem. I'm too tired to go into the rest.

I am a Muppet fan but I think in their case its about keeping fresh with cultural relevance. A comedy-variety show worked in 1976-1981, they updated it with both the "Muppet Central" elements of the Jim Henson Hour in '89, then in the 90s with Muppet Tonight being more like a late night variety show. This...well I'm not a fan of the new style, but its just keeping relevant to modern audiences. (though the thing that worked for TMS back in the 70s that is probably the key thing people tend to forget: it was a British made show in syndication here; thus they could get their own schedule and not have to rely on the networks! Their type of shows are quirky enough that really only work in places where they can build an audience and not really in the mainstream networks)

As for Sesame Street...eh, that's all about CTW not having the money due to the crap that is going on with Public TV these days and the crumminess of the federal government so won't go into it.