Jim Henson created so much more than The Muppets. Some of the artist’s best work came outside of that beloved, iconic world. This includes 1980s anthology series The Storyteller, which is getting new life in the form of a reboot that has Neil Gaiman at its helm.
I’m not sure when Neil Gaiman sleeps, given that he is also executive producing Good Omens, American Gods, and presumably writing some books, but the writer and creator is teaming up with The Jim Henson Company and Fremantle to bring The Storyteller back to television in a reimagined form.
“In the new series, The Storyteller will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore that have been passed down from generation to generation, designed for today’s co-viewing audience,” says the official press release from Fremantle, which also produces American Gods.
The Storyteller, which originally aired in 1987, retold European folk tales with an enigmatic storyteller played by John Hurt. It was inspired by Jim Henson’s daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and mythology, and the world featured various mystical and magical characters, such as heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions, and human hedgehogs. Henson directed many of the episodes, which featured both puppets and actors, while Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) wrote all the episodes.
“Jim Henson was always ahead of his time,” said Neil Gaiman. “He found ways to retell folk and fairy tales for a televisual generation. The original The Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.”
“The Storyteller has been a longtime favorite for our fans who appreciate the beautiful artistry and faithful visualizing of these classic tales. It has always been a special project for me as well, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. “Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times. It is especially exciting to have Neil’s reimagining of the series brought to life by our Creature Shop, allowing us to share these classic stories with a whole new audience all around the world.”
More news on The Storyteller reboot as we get it.