ABC recently posted a trailer on their website about a new show that is called The Muppets, and it is exactly what you think it is. This marks another return to prime time for the Muppets, but this time it will have a contemporary, documentary style. The show seems to want a more adult-oriented type of show made for those adults who remember watching them as kids, and it will focus on "both home and at work, as well as romances, breakups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires".
CNET reports that The Muppets comes from Bill Prady and Bob Kushell the co-creators of The Big Bang Theory. The show's documentary format will imitate other popular shows such as The Office and Modern Family, and the trailer shows Gonzo mocking a mockumentary. It is actually a good fit for The Muppets to be in this format, as their original show was a mocking of the variety show, which was timely back then. Now, The Muppets are back to satire what television is doing now, using the mockumentary to create forced drama.
The trailer shows some interesting facets to the show like Fozzie dating a human and how the girl's parents react to it. It also shows an interesting development between Kermit and Miss Piggy, as it looks like Kermit is no longer with Piggy, but is now dating a younger pig.
Those sound like some pretty mature plotlines for The Muppets, but usually the Muppets always had an adult appeal to them. So far, the Muppets have never drifted into raunchy humor territory like animated shows such as Family Guy and South Park have done infamously. For some reason, I don't think that type of humor would fit the Muppets given their past careers.
When Jim Henson managed to bring The Muppet Show to prime time, it was kid-friendly, but a lot of the guest stars and musical numbers would more appeal to adults than kids. At the time, kid's television was limited to PBS shows, and The Muppet Show really brought those worlds together.
After the show went off the air, there were three movies including The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Jim Henson then worked on other projects, and NBC then aired The Jim Henson Hour until his death of pneumonia in 1990. The Muppets were then bought up by Disney and made two more movies The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) and Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and attempted another Muppets series with Muppets Tonight on Disney's ABC. Eventually, the Muppets left the Disney and made one more theatrical release of Muppets From Space (1999) before nearly fading into obscurity.
Disney then bought the rights to the Muppets again and released The Muppets (2011) with the help of actor/writer Jason Segel, who created an interesting love-letter to the Muppets as well as a decent film that could successfully restart the franchise. Muppets Most Wanted (2014) also kept the Muppet desires going, and now they have ended up back on TV again.
The Muppets will join ABC's new fall schedule and will air on Tuesdays at 8 PM. Personally, with its attempt at aiming at an adult audience, I would go for a 9 PM time, but that is dependent on how the humor goes.