The Art of Darkness

Underappreciated TV: The Storyteller

October 13th, 2014 by Cobwebs

In 1987 Jim Henson launched an unfortunately short-lived TV series called The Storyteller, which was a mix of human actors and puppets from Henson’s Creature Shop. Each episode featured the Storyteller (played by John Hurt), accompanied by his dog (played by Brian Henson), telling a traditional European folktale.

The StoryTeller series was originally conceived by Jim Henson’s daughter Lisa after talking a folklore class at Harvard University. Jim was enchanted by the idea of a television series that remained true to the subtlety and metaphoric richness of ancient stories. He and Lisa brainstormed the concept of the series, basing all of the episodes on authentic folk tales. The result of a strong literary research team joined with the magical visual effects and animatronics produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, The StoryTeller is a rare combination of ancient tradition and modern technology artistry.

The Muppet Wiki

Although the show is suitable for older kids, the puppets are definitely more Labyrinth than Muppet in appearance and the storylines can be a little bit weird and dark.

There were 9 episodes in the original series (according to the Wiki it also spawned a four-episode spinoff of Greek myths); they’re available on DVD and on several streaming sites, but YouTuber TheMiserarium has also posted them all.

Here’s the first one, “The Soldier and Death:”

The others were:

Hans My Hedgehog
A Story Short
The Luck Child
The Heartless Giant
The True Bride
The Three Ravens

It was a fun show; I’m sorry it didn’t run longer.

(via Laughing Squid))

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