It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights. The original run of Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show, which was a television sensation from 1976 to 1981, is coming to Disney+. All five seasons and 120 episodes will be available starting February 19th, joining the service’s fairly wide selection of existing Muppets movies..
The Muppet Show was Henson’s breakout hit, following worldwide exposure for his work on the live action segments of Sesame Street and several commercial campaigns. The show was an instant hit, thanks to its eye-popping practical effects, high-profile guest stars, and accessible absurdist humor. Kermit, Fozzy, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo remain cultural icons nearly 50 years later.
The show spawned a movie franchise starting with The Muppet Movie, as well as various television shows and specials that continue to this day. Disney bought the Jim Henson Company and the Muppets franchise in 2004, and retains the rights to its original productions, as well as Disney-produced films and TV shows before that. Disney created two new movies in the last decade (The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted), as well as a short-lived TV revival for ABC. A Disney+ exclusive series, Muppets Now, began last summer.
If you want to binge the full Muppets catalog on Disney+, you’re out of luck. While the original Muppets Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppets (2011), and Muppets Most Wanted are available, The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and Muppets From Space (1999) are both currently owned by Sony. The Disney+ selection is also missing The Muppets Tonight TV show, a two-season ABC/Disney Channel revival from the 1990s.
Disney’s press release notes that seasons 4 and 5 of the original Muppet Show have never before been released on home video. Check out the show if you’d like to see the origins of some of your favorite Muppets characters (why does Gonzo have a romantic attraction to chickens, for example?). The original episodes also work great as a time machine to the 70s, heavily featuring some of America’s biggest names in movies, television, comedy, and music from the time.