I've noticed that whenever a series has run for quite a long time, and has gone through different eras and phases, fans generally like to break down said eras to distinguish them from one another, they're usually refered to by precious metals, such as the first era is refered to as "The Gold", the second "The Silver", the third "The Bronze", the fourth "The Copper", and whatever comes after that. SST, being on the air for 44 years has obviously gone through a number of different phases and eras during its run, but I'm curious, because everybody here seems to have a difference of opinion on how to break it all down (especially when it comes to just when, exactly, the Old School era ended), how would you classify and identify each of the different eras? My breakdown is as follows: The Gold: 1969-1989. Some say 1989 was the end of the Old School, though I disagree... but, it's clear that 69-89 is most definitely Old School, no matter how you look at it. This era, although it changed and evolved over the years, such as shifting from vignetted street scenes to actual storylines, as well as the death of Mr. Hooper, this era has a lot of the same kind of charm during this twenty year period, which is all definitely in part of the creative genius of Jon Stone, Jim Henson, Joe Raposo, and others. The Silver: 1989-1992. I personally consider this the tail-end of the Old School era, it still mostly has the same feel as the previous season, though in a sense, there are changes in the air you can sense. We lost Jim and Joe, though Jon was still at the helm, so it still had its grit and urban vibe. Mr. Handford is now in charge of Hooper's, and newer characters such as Gina and Savion were growing more prominent in their presence on the street. This particular phase also holds special places in my heart and mind since it was what I was first exposed to. The Broze: 1993-1998. Around the Corner. No secret this is an era all its own. The street was brightened up, the street itself was expanded, several new characters (both live and Muppet) were brought in, we ended up losing the heartbeat of the show when Jon Stone was fired, all of the sudden competition from other shows (mainly Barney), it was certainly a strange and confusing time for a lot of people. Depending on when you were born and grew up, ATC is seems to be a Love It Or Hate It kind of thing... personally, I hated it. The Copper: 1998-2001. In my opinion, this is when the show was "born again"; ATC was ultimately dismantled and done away with, and the show itself seemed a lot more reminsicent of its earlier incarnation. Elmo's World came along, which seemed like a great idea at the time, and Elmo's popularity continued to grow, though he wasn't quite the overkill then as he later became, there was still a lot more exposure of long-standing characters like Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, and others. I loved Season 30, but I recall starting to lose interest, and dare I say "outgrow" SST during Season 31, so I don't have a lot of memory of it... but that changed by Season 32 when after seeing the A&E special and seeing all the behind the scenes footage that inspired me to be a puppeteer, I fully returned to SST in full force. Whatever Comes After Copper #1: 2002-2008. Most people don't like this era too much, though I personally don't mind it at all... in fact, Seasons 34, 36, and 38 are among some of my favorites. I can see, though, why most don't like it, because this is when it all changed even more drastically than ATC: the entire format of the show was changed from it's original magazine format to a new block format which tested well with target preschool audiences, but alienated more grown-up fans (though I didn't mind the block format too much). At the same time, however, it seemed as if, like Drtooth once pointed out, that during this time, the writers and producers weren't exactly sure if they knew what they wanted to do, and there was a lot of back-and-forth disturbances, mostly with the set (the doors and windows of 123 turning red then back to green, the carriage house receiving an overhaul only to return to its former appearance, the Mail-It-Shop replacing the Fix-It-Shop only for the Fix-It-Shop to return a few years later) - that's where it's comparable to ATC, because it too was of some confusion for some people. Whatever Comes After Copper #2: 2008-present. I honestly can't give too much of an opinion about the current era of the show since I don't get to see too much of it, but it seems to me (from what I HAVE seen, and from what I've read and heard about) that it's continuing to struggle... I've said before, it seems like they're relying way too heavily on celebrity guests and using that as a gimmick to keep viewership up, not to mention the concerns from some that the educational goals are becoming too advanced and complicated given how young the target audience has become (engineering). Oh yeah, and the street itself has gone through some more gentrification - replacing the Fix-It-Shop once again with a laundromat, turning Hooper's Store into a convenience store, replacing Gina's vet clinic with an auto garage, and such.