The Disney+ strategy is simple. Combine a massive library of existing titles — Disney Channel original movies, the MCU and Star Wars sagas, and the fabled Disney vault — and new shows based on proven intellectual property. The Mandalorian is the ur-example of the latter, and we already know that a new Obi-Wan series and a slate of shows based on Marvel characters are already on their way.
What we didn’t know until today was that the Muppets would also serve as fodder for Disney’s plan to wrest the streaming crown away from Netflix.
Muppets Now is a six-episode limited series that’s really a meta-series. Billed as unscripted in the tweet announcing the series, it focuses on Scooter, the longtime stage manager for the gang in films like The Muppet Movie and shows like Muppet Babies, and his effort to wrangle the rest of the gang into filming…a new Muppet series for streaming.
Lights! Music! Muppets! …Unscripted! Get ready to see your favorite characters like never before in #MuppetsNow, an Original Series, coming July 31 only on #DisneyPlus. #DisneyBundle pic.twitter.com/1gLtOx3ckl
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) May 20, 2020
It’s a concept that might be a bit too cute, but it’s hard not to be excited to see Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and other beloved Muppet characters together for the first time since the Muppet Babies reboot for Disney Junior two years ago.
The Muppets Now news comes on the heels of the unveiling of Fraggle Rock: Rock On!, a short-form series on Apple TV+. While both originated in the brilliant mind of Jim Henson, the rights to the Muppets were purchased by Disney in 2004 while the Jim Henson Company retained the decidedly more niche Fraggle Rock. Sesame Street, which Henson didn’t create but did do some of his most recognizable work for, found a home on HBO Max.
What we decided to call the Jim Henson Extended Universe might be fragmented, but the number of new shows coming to streaming is proof that it’s also still going strong.
Muppets Now will be available to stream on Disney+ on July 31.