It’s finally time: The Muppet Show will be added to Disney+ tonight. If you’ve never seen Jim Henson’s 1970s variety show before, or just want to rewatch a classic show whose availability has been spotty, at best, for decades, now’s your chance.
This first Muppets series didn’t introduce the concept of a Muppet, and some of the classic characters, including Kermit and Rowlf, had existed for years before the show’s first pilot premiered in 1974. The Muppet Show did introduce some of the most beloved and important members of the gang, though, and established the show-within-a-show concept that would define most future Muppet productions. It’s also a great example of Henson and Co.’s approach to all ages comedy: it’s broad and goofy for the kids, but also clever and insightful enough to entertain adults. If you enjoy the various Muppet movies made over the last 40 years, you’ll probably dig this show; if you like the several short-lived Muppet TV series that have come and gone since the original, you’ll now be able to see why networks keep trying to come up with new Muppet shows.
The Muppet Show has been rerun in the past, and has been partially released in various home media formats. It’s a true variety show, meaning there are multiple musical performances per episode, and so music rights issues have long complicated home releases. Those musical performances were often embedded into comedy sketches and wedded to the Muppets’ trademark irreverence, meaning some of the show’s best comedy hasn’t been readily available for years. In fact, multiple episodes from the show’s last two seasons were never released on home media in any format. It’s not clear yet if Disney+ will feature the full unedited episodes, but you’d think if any company could afford to straighten out all the music licenses, it’d be the one that has seemingly gobbled up half the entertainment business.
Expect the episodes to go live on Disney+ at 12 a.m. PT, or 3 a.m. ET. And expect more on The Muppet Show from us here at Paste over the next several days.