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Exclusive: Lisa Henson on the 'Fraggle Rock' spin-off 'The Doozers'

Lisa Henson is the Executive Producer of the new Hulu Kids series and 'Fraggle Rock' spin-off 'The Doozers.'
Photo by Amy Graves

Kids of the 1980s, rejoice: the intriguing and industrious Doozers of "Fraggle Rock" are getting their very own TV show. Set to premiere in the United States on April 25 via Hulu, the 52-episode series will give parents and their preschoolers a look inside the lives of "The Doozers." The series stars a quartet of pint-sized characters, Spike, Molly Bolt, Flex, and Daisy Wheel, as they work together to solve problems. On April 22, Examiner spoke exclusively with Executive Producer Lisa Henson, daughter of the legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson, regarding the show's aim and what viewers can expect.

How does it feel to be part of the team behind the first original series on Hulu Kids?

We're really excited to be on Hulu Kids. It feels like with the modern look and feel and messages of "The Doozers" that also going out and launching it in this very modern way feels appropriate for the show. And we like the fact that kids will be able to watch whatever episode they want whenever they want, and they can repeat. You know how kids are: they want to watch the same thing over and over again sometimes. It's going to make it easy for them to watch the show the way that they want, and also make it mobile or get it at their convenience.

What makes "The Doozers" a unique series, different from the other shows you work on, like "Sid the Science Kid" and "Dinosaur Train"?

We've been doing shows with science curriculum with "Sid the Science Kid," and "Dinosaur Train" has natural science and biology, but this is where we're getting into the other aspects of STEM, so you have technology and engineering, and we actually have included a lot of art and design in the show. The Doozers are characters that solve a problem every day, and what they do are kind of inventing, creating, making things... The Doozers like to do; they are do'ers, and they really enjoy the process --it feels like play to them-- but what we are actually watching them do is... go through the process of invention, and we model a lot of teamwork, overcoming adversity, having things fall apart and then they put them together in a different way and they make something new. So it's a very different kind of curriculum, but it fits within the... overarching STEM theme of science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEAM, with art included.

So do you think this show will give birth to a lot of little inventors then?

Well, we definitely want to encourage kids to become engineers and designers.... we're modeling a way of thinking and a way of acting and making and creating that should be encouraging to kids. And kids are... so naturally curious and naturally busy and so just to help them direct their energy toward activities that are rewarding. Of course, in our show it's a little bit of a fantasy because kids are driving vehicles and taking ziplines hundreds of feet in the air... it's not actual activities that children an copy, but it's more the way of being and modeling a way of going about things.

The nostalgia appeal of this show is huge, since a lot of the kids from the '80s who loved "Fraggle Rock" are now parents of preschoolers. Was the timing of "Doozers" deliberate or kind of just a happy coincidence?

We're hoping that what you said is exactly what will happen. We're hoping that parents who enjoyed "Fraggle Rock" will encourage their kids to watch Doozers, because the Doozers that were in Fraggle Rock were so fascinating. You watched the show and you'd think 'what are they doing over there? It looks so interesting. They're making something and they've got a whole world, how can we know more about it?' I think if you watched "Fraggle Rock" you would've been curious about the Doozers, and now we're getting to sort of develop that whole world.

"The Doozers" premieres April 25 on Hulu. "Dinosaur Train" and "Sid the Science Kid" air on PBS Kids.

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