Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fraggle Rock's New Spinoff: The Doozers

I may be the only TV critic around who actually visited the set of the original made-in-Toronto series Fraggle Rock.
Let's see that would be way back in 1983 when I was riding high at the Toronto Star which then had four TV critics merrily covering the most popular part of the entertainment world.
In those long ago days CBC-TV was making programs deemed great enough to be shown worldwide.
Another CBC hit of those days Kids In The Hall ran late nights on NBC to great acclaim.
A lot of big CBC directors toiled on the original FR show including Norman Campbell , Eric Till and George Bloomfield --and I remember chatting up the series lead the fine character actor Gerard Parkes who played the inventor Doc along with his dog Sprocket.
Parkes always played guys older than his real age --he's still around these days, now aged 77.
British TV used a different wraparound starring a sea captain --these have since been wiped and no longer exist.
Lisa Henson who is now CEO of The Jim Henson Company says the tiny Doozers of the original also became so poppular on their own that she often discussed with her late dad the idea of giving the litttle green engineers their very own show,
But CBC isn't the network it used to be. And this time the  spin off has gone to TVOntario which is very serious these days  about its own line up of quality kids fare.
In these Doozers there are a Pod squad of four youngsters (voiced by actual kids): Daisy Wheel, Spike, Molly and Flex.
Animation techniques are well advanced and each of the 26 episodes looks at various science and technology challengers with help from the adults when the youngsters fail.
Co-producer is DHX Media of Canada which maintains a high standard.
The series goes weekdays at 9 a.m. on TVO and can be watched by adults as well as preschoolers.
I hear there's a Fraggles movie currently in the development pipeline to be co-produced by Ivan Reitman.

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