Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Season Two Too?: Part 1 (The Muppet Show)

It has been just 35 days since “The Muppet Show – Season 1: Special Edition” DVD box set hit store shelves, and already fans are asking “what’s up with season 2?”. The four disc set of the complete first season became an instant best seller and surpassed expectations of fans and set producers alike. With such high sales (many stores reportedly sold out of their initial orders half-way through its premiere date, causing Disney not only to scramble to ship more, but also to print more), it would seem obvious that Disney would want to invest in the production of the next season set. I’ve been told by some of the people working on the DVDs that planning and work is underway on “The Muppet Sow –Season 2: Special Edition” DVD box set.

You are probably wondering when we will see such a product, and the simple answer is “we don’t know for sure”. In fact, Disney does not know for sure yet. The producers do not want to rush the release – not only to protect the quality of the sets but also to sustain the market. They do not want the market will become over flooded in new Muppet DVDs; this would not only overwhelm fans and consumers (two came out in August, and four more will be out in November), and they would practically end up competing with themselves. Plus they want to make sure everyone who wants season 1 has a chance to get it and enjoy it before shooting season 2 out at them.

On the other hand, they don’t want to wait too long. The producers are aware that they should “strike while the iron is hot” and keep the sets coming. They don’t want people who bought season one to lose interest in the show, and they know that there is a great demand for more of this show now. With Kermit’s 50th anniversary celebration (which the season 1 set kicked-off) it would only be natural for them to want to ship out another season (or two) in conjunction with big birthday celebration (i.e. sometime in 2006).

So when will season two be released? Well, it is not 100% locked in yet, and until Disney makes an official announcement (which is normally just 2 or 3 months before the actual release of the product) anything could change (heck, they could take all the subsequent seasons off the table completely, if they really wanted). I’ve been told that the goal is to have Season 2 out around the spring of 2006, (March/April/May-ish). However, they may decide to move even later (depending on the overall marketing plan for the series and The Muppets’ work on DVD).

The producers are really feeling out the market for this show, getting feedback on what worked and what needs improvement in the DVD line. Also being that they are doing remastering/restoring along with creating bonus features (Muppet Morsels and whatnot) the sets may take longer than BuenaVista’s other bare minimum slap-it-together season sets (which usually range between 3 to 13 month between sets).

So right now they are predicting a spring release for season 2 (and hopefully season 3 will be here in the fall of ’06; season 6 for Easter ’07; and whole series wrapped-up in time for Christmas ‘07). However this could all change. Nothing is set in stone yet! Nothing has been officially announced or formally released on the subject, this is just their current plan. This could all change!

Aside from “when”, everyone else wants to know “what”; “what will be on the season 2 set?”. Although nothing has been completely locked-in or announced, I have been able to get some information on what is in the works. The producers are remastering and restoring all the episodes (like they did for season 1). So expect a beautiful transfer of video and audio (with UK skits, original openings, ect). I have also been told that they are writing more “Muppet Morsels” (the pop-up triva track), so each episode in season 2 should have a fun flowing stream of information and tidbits for you to enjoy. Rumor has it that the second pilot episode (“The Valentines Show”) and an all new “Jim Henson Retrospective” are under consideration for inclusion too, however this can not be confirmed for sure yet. Also based on form, one would assume that the season 2 promo reel would be included (like the season 1 reel was), however, this is not known for sure. There may be other tricks (and treats) up the producers’ sleeves too, only time will tell what will be on the set for sure. And, as you saw with Season 1, we’ll have to wait until closer to the release for any more solid information.

As many fans will tell you, the season 1 set contained some edits due to legal issues with the music. It is next to impossible to predict what (if anything) would be cut for the subsequent seasons. Disney has stated that they hope to release the show uncut, but in the end some things are just not plausible. Disney does not want to cut the sets, they were upset when they had to do it to season 1 - but it was the only option left. I was insured that they are doing their best to make season 2 uncut, but in the end a lot of stuff is out of their control. Trying to predict if any thing will be cut is impossible (even for Disney) - the final calls on what has to be cut are one of the last decisions made. It would be pointless to start guessing (or even thinking about) what will or will not be cut. But they are working to keep them all uncut (and since season 1 was a success, they may be able to justify a bigger budget to get the other seasons’ needed rights).

So, to summarize everything here: Disney is working on the subsequent seasons; they are coming (eventually). When they will be here for sure is unknown. What all the features will be is unknown at such an early stage. But what we do know is that season 2 is in the works, and the producers are working to give the set the same kind of care, attention, and treatment that Season 1 got (if not better). I’ll keep you all posted and let you know as soon as I hear anything more about this (and any other) Muppet release. Until then, just be patient, and enjoy season 1. As soon as I hear anything more I’ll let you all know, but as of now there is not much more to report on the subject – I’ll keep you posted.

I'll be back tomorrow with "Season Two Too?: Part 2 (Fraggle Rock)".


Dean Onessimo said...

I hope the last disc for the Season 2 DVD set would include these sketches (as extras) cut from the Season 1 DVD set because of music issue rights:

Joel Grey:

Newsman sketches and "Stormy Weather" sung by Wayne & Wanda

Jim Nabors:

"Gone With The Wind" sung by Jim and Danceros act

Paul Williams:

"All of Me" sung by two monsters

Charles Aznavour:

"The Old-Fashioned Way" sung by Charles with Mildred

Vincent Price:

"You've Got a Friend" sung by Vincent with Uncle Deadly and others

Jimmy said...

Sorry, dean, but that will never happen. If they couldn't get the music rights for season 1, they would not go after them to tack onto season 2 (and even if they did go after them, if they could not get them for season 1, they would not be able to get them for season 2 - unless the right holders change). It's just 5 little skits, get over it - I have.

Plus I would not want the five skits tacked on the end of season 2, it would just call attention to and be a reminder of the fact that the season 1 sets are cut up (and Disney wouldn't want to do that). The season 1 set is in the past, get over it. Suck it up!

Anonymous said...

Jimmy, you're being pretty harsh. The best attitude is in the middle -- accept that stupid legal/corporate reasons got in the way of releasing season one completely uncut. But that doesn't mean you can't hope for the deleted footage to be released one day -- why shouldn't it be? Everything Jim Henson and the Muppets did should be available to the fans.

Anonymous said...

Ithink to go along with the muppet show Disney should release a replica of Scooters jacket with The Muppet Show logo on the back and exact replicas of the muppets themselves in plush form.

Dean Onessimo said...

I hope these sketches from the three episodes need to be edited out due to music issues:

Don Knotts:

Song: "Gingerbread Man"

John Cleese:

Song: "Waiting at the Church"

Jaye P. Morgan:

Song: "Old Black Magic"

Exatron said...

It's not just "five little sketches". It's five sketches that will likely never be seen again because Disney couldn't put forth a little effort to acquire the rights.

We're talking about a company that regularly bribes congress to tilt copyright law in its favor at the expense of others. It's ludicrous to claim that a truly complete season set was beyond their ability when they have that sort of power.

The sketches should be restored to their proper places or placed on another set, no matter what it costs Disney, especially after they lied and claimed that the set was completely restored.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice, but some are just not for sale (no matter how much money Disney has).

Aubrey said...

>It's five sketches that will
>likely never be seen again
>because Disney couldn't put forth
>a little effort to acquire
>the rights.

Not true, they are not lost forever. Disney put a big effort towards getting the rights, but in the end some where not possible to get. They did restore the clips (Muppet Morsels were even written for them too), but in the end they could not put them on the release. They are not gone forever. They are just not on the 2005 retail edition; just think how many clips people in 1995 would have said are likely to never be seen again. They are not gone forever, just this release of the episodes. I would rather have Disney released cut episodes, then no episodes. They did try as hard as they could.

It's ludicrous to claim that a truly complete season set was beyond their ability when they have that sort of power.

> The sketches should be restored
> to their proper places or placed
> on another set, no matter what it
> costs Disney, especially after
> they lied and claimed that the
> set was completely restored.

First they did not lie, they never said the episodes were uncut, they said the video was restored and remastered (which it was). They were 100% truthful (although they didn't go out shouting that things were cut, they never claimed that things were not cut). Second, if the rights could not be gotten for season 1, what makes you think that they could get them for another set? The prices are still way too high (or have stupid stipulations attached to the use), or they are not for sale. Disney could not get them for season 1 (they tried very hard), what makes you think things would change that would allow them to get them for season 2?

It is a shame things were cut. I wish the skits were there. But they are not. Disney (which as you said is powerful) did all they could to get all the rights, but in the end they could not do it all and still be able to justify the product (no one, but a very small group of hard core fans, would buy a $75 set of season 1, and Disney would end up losing a lot of money it took to put the sets together - and then there would be no season 2-5 sets - and even still some rights could not be secured no matter what). It sucks, but it is the way it is. They missing skits will not be in this anthology set of the show. They may show up years down the line in some other release or re-release, but not now. Sorry.

Erik said...

On at least one of the seasons, I would like to see recent retrospective interviews with main muppet puppeteers, i.e. Oz, Goelz, Whitmire, Nelson, etc.

Also, I would like to see as much behind the scenes "how it was done" information. That is always interesting. The book 'Of Muppets and Men' is awesome and it would be great to see some of that info on the season sets.

Anonymous said...

I think as other bonus features Disney should put the 10 second spot of the muppets on The Disney Channel

Robert L. Neblett said...

The biggest beef I have about this whole "we couldn't get the rights" thing is that it doesn't ring true to me. Nickelodeon had the rights when it aired them in the 90s. Time-Life had the rights when they released them on DVD (including the UK skits as extras). Time-Life even thought to put scene divisions in the episodes for each skit. How innovative!

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Talia said...

I *KNEW* "You Got a Friend" was supposed to be on the Vincent Price episode! I thought I was just remembering wrong when it wasn't on there. I'd no idea they had to cut things. How sad.

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