For over fifty years, the Jim Henson Company has brought some of the most memorable characters in film and television to glorious life. From the iconic Muppets to the lovable Fraggles, the terrifying Skeksis to David Bowie`s opulent codpiece, the Henson name has brought magic and wonder to generation after generation.
In their latest venture, a collaboration with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer`s New Form Digital, we are plunged into the bizarre world of Oscar`s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures, a children`s show for kids who have never quite grown up.
Starring the delightful Chris Kendall as Oliver Tangolius, the nephew of the eponymous hotel owner, Oscar`s Hotel follows the madcap adventures of the struggling medical student as he unwillingly finds himself taking care of the hotel and its peculiar guests while his uncle is away on “cosmic business”. To help him in his task are an array of eccentric staff including an octopus chef, a pair of balloon doormen and Wiggles the concierge, an unhinged clown reminiscent of Heath Ledger`s Joker.
Fluctuating between laugh-out-loud hilarious and nightmare-inducingly terrifying, the series takes us on a lucid journey through the halls of the hotel as Oliver tries to keep peace amongst the chaos, disarming gun-wielding clowns and reasoning with rebellious vegetables, with each character being brought out of the imagination of creator P.J. Ligouri and into lustrous Technicolor by the Jim Henson Creature Workshop. The result is pretty much what would have happened if The Mighty Boosh had been commissioned to make a live-action version of Foster`s Home for Imaginary Friends.
Much like its Muppetty predecessors, Oscar`s Hotel features some fantastic star turns, from YouTube celebs Hannah Hart and PewDiePie, to Hollywood legends Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart as a pair of “repossession fish” and Elliot Gould as the talking steak Sir Loin. There are even a nice few nods to the original Muppet outings as we come across a rat bellhop (though certainly not as adorable as Rizzo…) and some singing groceries. Jim would be proud.
In equal parts charming and utterly disturbing, Oscar`s Hotel is a Pee-wee`s Playhouse for the YouTube generation. The weirdest and most wonderful piece of pure imagination since Adventure Time first hit our screens, this might just be the best thing you`ll never watch.
Dir: P.J. Liguori
Scr: Louis Grant, P.J. Liguori, Sophie Newton
Starring: Chris Kendall, Andrew Ableson, Mamrie Hart, P.J. Liguori
Prd: Christine Brown, J. Rogers Marquess III, Jack Ferry, Melissa Schneider, Kathleen Grace
DOP: Mark Williams
Number of Episodes: 6
Episode Runtime: 12 mins
Oscar`s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures is out now on Vimeo on Demand