If you were born at any time in the 70’s, like I was, Jim Hensen, and some form of his genius creation The Muppets, was probably a staple in your house. It was in my house.
I was born in the fall of 1975 and I grew up watching “Sesame Street,” as did my brother, who was born in 1973. Not only did it have adorable characters like Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch, it was how so many of the kids of my generation learned to count, and to spell, and even learn a little bit of Spanish, which made sense for those of us growing up in Southern California.
When “The Muppet Show” aired it was four days before my first birthday. My brother was 3 and I know my parents made a point of watching the show. By the time I was five in 1980, “The Muppet Show” was in its fifth, and final season, and we watched it every week, religiously. As my father was exceptionally tech savvy, and very involved with my elementary school and helping its educational programs, he had permission to take home their brand new, hulking VCR to record educational TV shows, like NOVA, and the original Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan.
That also meant, we got to use the VCR for our own home use, and we recorded a lot of the fourth and fifth seasons of The Muppet Show on VHS. My absolute favorite episode was the one with Christopher Reeve. Superman had just come out in theaters and my brother was kind of obsessed with Superman. I, much like one of the show’s stars, Miss Piggy, was obsessed with the man who played him.Christopher Reeve and Miss Piggie on The Muppet Show
When my family became one of the first families we knew who got cable, I became an avid fan of Jim Hensen’s newest show “Fraggle Rock.”
However, the year before Fraggle Rock aired on the brand-new cable channel HBO, The Jim Hensen Company released “The Dark Crystal” in theaters on December 17, 1982. I don’t actually remember seeing it in the theater, though I know I must have. I do remember seeing it on TV, specifically on cable because there were no commercials. It quickly became one of my favorite movies along with other iconic Hensen movies, like The Labyrinth, and of course The Muppet Movie.
Fast forward a couple of decades when Live Journal was a huge thing, long before Facebook and Instagram. I had a favorite avatar that I would use when journaling online, especially when I was not in a good frame of mind, which was quite often. I was taking care of an ailing mother and always broke even with her social security and my full-time job. One of my best friends sent a present to my office. It was the greatest gift I’d gotten in ages. I ripped open the package and geeked out! I remember running around the office with this gift, telling everyone and anyone who would listen that I’d gotten a Fizzgig!!!!
There was only ONE person on my entire floor of about 50 people who knew what it was! My friend Zenay was the only person who was as excited as I was. She was the only person I worked with who had ever seen “The Dark Crystal!” How could this be??? I wasn’t the oldest person I worked with by a long shot, but I could find only one person who had seen all the epic childhood movies that I had seen. It was, frankly, a little unnerving!
A couple of years later I would find an entire group of nerds who all shared my passion for the amazing geeky shows that I (and they) grew up with, and boy was I thankful! I know many of us wanted sequels to our quirky, muppet and human, fantasy movies, especially “The Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal.” We will never get “The Labyrinth” sequel we all wanted because of the still too recent death of its star, David Bowie. But this year, we are finally getting the sequel the children of the 80’s have been waiting for with “The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance.”
While it’s actually a prequel to the 1982 movie, it’s still a second film that delves into the fantasy world of Thra created for the original movie, and while the info on it is scarce, it gives us a first hand look into the Skeksis’ grab for power. I’m also hoping, as I am sure other fans are, that it explains how the crystal broke and why the separation of the Skeksis and the Mystics happened in the first place.
The Netflix original series will follow three of the elf-like humanoid Gelflings, Rian, Brea and Deet as they undertake a quest to find the secret to the Skeksis’ power, start a rebellion, and save the world. We even see that some of the original characters from the 1982 film, such as Fizzgig (or at least another creature from his race) and the oracle Aughra will be making appearances.
The cast has some amazing actors joining them, such as Catriona Balfe of “Outlander” fame, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Izzard, Mark Hamill, Keegan-Michael Key, Natalie Portman, Harvey Fierstein, and Simon Pegg, to name a bunch! With talent like this attached to it, I have a really good feeling about this series and its success.
The series is set to premier on August 30, 2019. I know where I’ll be. Sitting in front of my TV with my Fizzgig plush, watching Netflix!!!!
Jackie Zwirn is the recent author of the critically acclaimed “Onion” Best Seller Show Me Where Spock Touched You and other heartwarming tales of Trekkery as well as the author of some of the most popular How-To manuals: Crab Walking Downstairs While Possessed and The Hitter, Hacker, Grifter, & Thief 101 Manual. She also authored the biography of Dean Winchester, When I Was a Demon: Rock Salt, Shot Guns and a Lotta Liquor.
She currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her husband, and two cats Mozart and Falcor.
And she never forgets her flash drive. Ever. Bazinga.