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Fraggle Rock Season 3 DVD

Order Fraggle Rock Season 3 for 30% off the regular price. Fraggle Rock Season 1 and Season 2 are also available.
Phillip Chapman (August 31, 2007) - Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock Season 3 will be arriving in stores on Tuesday September 11. As many around the world will be remembering and honoring the loved ones that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, a beloved children’s show with the goal of bringing peace throughout the earth will be released on the same day.

HIT Entertainment continues to lead the pack as the third box sex of Fraggle episodes debut on DVD. The Muppet Show Season 2 was just released in August while Sesame Street Old School Volume 2 won’t see the light of day until November. What sets the HIT Entertainment releases apart is their dedication to great bonus features using extensive archived material and new cast interviews. Will HIT be able to keep up the high expectations with this third box set?

OVERALL PRESENTATION

The menus and discs are colorful like the previous releases. However, unlike Season 2, the characters on the faces of the discs don’t necessarily match with those that are on the menus. You’ll also notice a disclaimer at the beginning of each disc for “HIT Auto Play”. Here you can choose to go to the main menu or if you don’t make a selection after a few seconds the disc will begin playing the first feature automatically.

Each of the twenty-four episodes are uncut and presented in 1.33:1 full frame, along with English Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtracks over four DVD’s (a bonus feature DVD is the fifth disc). Hidden “Easter Eggs” can be found if you hover over each of the Fraggles on the menus (or the compass on the bonus disc). You’ll then unlock an international Traveling Matt segment.

Season 1 included a replica of Jim Henson’s notepad. Season 2 had a replica of the original pitch book for the series. Series 3 may outdo them both with more than 50 early sketches and notes by designer Michael Frith. Michael insists these were never meant to be “art”, but us fans who cherish the show know better.

BONUS FEATURES

While HIT Entertainment has done a fantastic job on previous Fraggle bonus features, several living cast members have been noticeably absent including Kathy Mullen, Michael Frith and Gerry Parkes. Thankfully all three are featured in the bonus interviews on the third season box set. There are many other crew members interviewed here for the first time. Overall, the production values of the new interviews are much higher than the Season 2 collection. The bonus DVD is divided into the following four categories with specific features in each section:

THE CAVE OF FRAGGLE TALES

Karen Prell,
performer of Red

Boober, Red
and Mokey

Jocelyn Stevenson,
Co-Creator and Writer

Season 3 Overview (31:03) – The Fraggle team gives a behind-the-scenes look at nearly half of the episodes of the third season including “The Bells of Fraggle Rock”, “Wembley's Wonderful Whoopie Water” and many others. Interviewed are: Jocelyn Stevenson (Writer), Lawrence Mirkin (Producer), Bob Sandler (Writer), Karen Prell (“Red Fraggle”) and Kathy Mullen (“Mokey Fraggle”).

Scared Silly – Art Imitating Life (9:45) – This segment includes stories from Dave Goelz about Don Sahlin and the practical jokes the cast played on each other during Fraggle Rock. Joceyln Stevenson shares that the episode “Scared Silly” is really about Joceyln overcoming the many jokes that Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire played on her. Tim McElcheran shares a surprise that was played on the cast along with video footage of the actual incident. Interviewed are: Dave Goelz (“Boober”), Steve Whitmire (“Wembley”), Jocelyn Stevenson (“Writer”) and Tim McElcheran (Special Effects).

HBO Promo: Traveling Matt’s Coming Attractions (2:43) – Matt’s exploring a television studio and writes a postcard back to Gobo while being interviewed about Fraggle Rock from a woman off-screen.

HBO Promo: The Minstrels (:30) – Here’s the first of several HBO promos that aired as commercials teasing the upcoming program. While these spots are lower quality and need color correction, it’s great to have them included none the less.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Lawrence Mirkin,
Producer

Marjory the Trash Heap with Wembley, Philo and Gunge

Michael Frith, Co-Creator
and Conceptual Designer

Production Design (12:34) – Michael Frith describes the inspiration for the show from personal events. Attention is also given to the complex set designs for the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs. Interviewed are: Michael Frith (Conceptual Designer), Lawrence Mirkin (Producer) and Bill Beeton (Production Design).

How the Trash Heap Came to Be (4:37) – Michael Frith shares the evolution and character design for Marjory the Trash Heap. The idea for a trash heap that imparts wisdom was actually a character design originally developed for Sesame Street’s 10th season until the CTW producers rejected the idea.

HBO Promo: Doc and Sprocket Sweepstakes (1:59) – You’ve got to love the disclaimer on the screen that says “Offer Expired May 31, 1983” just in case anyone thinks they can still enter the sweepstakes. (I remember sending in my entry when the show originally aired.)

HBO Promo: Capture the Moon (:30) – Here’s another vintage HBO promo.

THE TUNNEL OF FAZ-INATING SECRETS

Tim Milller and Connie Peterson, Puppet Designers

Pa Gorg and
Jim Henson

Tom Newby,
Electro-Mechanical Puppetry

Electro-Mechanical Puppetry (13:17) – Michael Frith discusses the key contributions of Faz Fazakas and how Henson took the new technology created for the Dark Crystal and used it in the magical world of Fraggle Rock. Tom Newby provides an in-depth look at Fazakas’ “Waldo” system for puppetry performing. Interviewed are: Michael Frith (Conceptual Designer) and Tom Newby (Electro-Mechanical Puppetry).

Doozer Design (11:39) – Learn all the secrets behind creating the Doozers and performing the loveable characters. Michael Frith shares some insight into how his drawings evolved into the final characters. Interviewed are: Tom Newby (Electro-Mechanical Puppetry), Michael Frith (Conceptual Designer), Kathy Mullen (“Cotterpin Doozer”) and Tim McElcheran (Special Effects).

Gorg Design (11:52) – The Gorgs were some of the most complicated puppets Henson ever created. It is wonderful to hear the puppet designers describe the challenges of the enormous Gorg costumes. Interviewed are: Tom Newby (Electro-Mechanical Puppetry), Tim Miller (Puppet Designer) and Connie Peterson (Puppet Designer).

HBO Promo: The Terrible Tunnel (:30) – Here’s another vintage HBO promo. Of particular note is Wembley saying “Down at Fraggle Rock” at the end of the spot. This was likely the same scene used as an alternate ending to the theme song in the original broadcast of the show.

THE CAVERN OF TALKATIVE SILLY CREATURES

Gerry Parkes,
performer of Doc

Mokey, Gobo
and Wembley

Kathy Mullen,
performer of Mokey

Michael Frith Interview (13:50) – Michael shares how Jim’s vision for Fraggle Rock went from concept to reality. One of the Muppet mottos is that “in silliness there is hope” and this was part of the basis for the belief that Fraggle Rock could impact the world. Of particular joy is hearing Michael tell stories behind the development of the main five Fraggle characters and their personalities.

Kathy Mullen Interview (11:41) – Contrary to some of the conspiracy theories on the web, Kathy Mullen loves Fraggle Rock just as much as all the other cast members who worked on the show. While scheduling conflicts prevented her and Michael from appearing on the first two sets, thankfully she’s interviewed here and discusses the character development of Mokey Fraggle, the cast and Jim Henson.

Gerry Parkes Interview (6:10) – Fraggle fans get a real treat with a sweet and loving interview with Gerry Parkes. He discusses the audition process, the character of Doc and performing with Sprocket.

HBO Promo: The Challenge (:30) – Here’s one more HBO promo from a popular episode from the first season.

PACKAGING

Advertised in Season 3 is the upcoming CD box set Fraggle Rockin' featuring reissues of the three Fraggle albums and sheet music from the show.

The packaging is similar to previous years with an embossed Fraggle Rock logo on the front of the box. The box opens like a book with each cardboard page holding a disc. The characters pictured on the discs include Wembley, a Doozer, Sprocket, Traveling Matt and Gobo. The Michael Frith sketches are in the back of the book in a brown paper pouch with a Fraggle logo.

Inside is also a flyer advertising other Fraggle products like shirts, plush, calendars and the upcoming collector’s CD box set of Fraggle music. The CD collection is called Fraggle Rockin': A Collection. It contains reissues of the three Fraggle Rock albums and for the minstrels out there, the collector’s set will even include some sheet music from the series.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Throughout the third season, the evolution and character development of the show is what sets this series apart from all others. As the characters among the species continue to learn more about one another as in “Sprocket’s Big Adventure” and “Gunge the Great and Glorious”, it’s obvious the show is moving towards a climax. This was the late Jerry Juhl and his wife Susan at their best as they wrote and finely crafted many of the episodes included in this collection.

HIT Entertainment hopes to release one more DVD box set of the Fraggles next fall. However, sales of Season 3 need to continue to go well. Fan support is the reason the previous three seasons have been released, so we need everyone to continue to buy (and give away) the Fraggle DVD box sets to ensure more releases like the final season and an animated Fraggle box set come to fruition.

For the Season 4 box set we’d love to see more with Gerry Parks (“Doc”) sharing his thoughts and memories on the show. Considering he’s such an important character in the final episodes it would be nice to hear his perspective. Likewise, we would like to hear about the final shows from Jerry Nelson and particularly writer Susan Juhl. The final episodes are the best series wrap up ever by Henson and deserves special treatment in next year’s box set. It would also be nice to see some interviews with song writers Philip Balsam and Dennis Lee. The cast production, “Fraggles Look for Jobs” would also make a great bonus feature.

You can listen to the music of Fraggle Rock from the show’s five year run on Muppet Central Radio.

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