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Happy Henson Holidays: Emmet Otter, The Storyteller, The Christmas Toy and More

From The Christmas Toy to Emmet Otter, dive into some of Jim Henson's best holiday fare. 

By Tara Bennett
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas PRESS

Thirty-three years ago, the world lost creative genius and outstanding human Jim Henson, but his legacy remains everpresent with the incredible library of work he created, and continues to inspire from The Jim Henson Company.

With the holidays upon us, it's the perfect time to revisit some of Henson's shows and specials that are tailored to the season. And if you've got a youngster in the house who has never seen much of Henson's work outside of the traditional Muppet troupe, there's no better time to introduce the next generation to Henson's magic. So SYFY WIRE has curated some of our favorite Henson holiday productions, all of which are currently streaming on Peacock

5 Magical Jim Henson Productions to Watch This Holiday Season

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas has the distinction of being the first standalone Christmas special that The Jim Henson Company produced. An adaptation of Russell Hoban's 1971 book of the same name, this production was an opportunity for Jim and his team to really experiment with ambitious cinematography, mechanized puppetry on water, and a puppet-only story with no human co-stars. What he and his team were able to accomplish with Emmet they used to develop The Dark Crystal (1982). But this special also features the music and songs of Paul Williams, who would go on to co-write "Rainbow Connection" for The Muppet Movie (1979). 

RELATED: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas Oral History: Behind the Scenes of Jim Henson's Holiday Classic

The Christmas Toy (1986)

This holiday special has a bit of a controversial legacy only because The Christmas Toy is an original story written by Laura Phillips and produced by The Henson Company about a child's playroom full of toys that come to life when the room is empty. Sound familiar? Nine years later, Toy Story came out with a very similar premise and mythology. As they say, "imitation is the best form of flattery," and it's very clear that this special is most definitely Christmas-centric. The story takes place on Christmas Eve as the existing toys get nervous about the additions that will come once Santa drops off new toys for the holiday. Featuring an original lineup of characters, Kermit the Frog does appear to bookend the special. 

The Storyteller (1987-1988)

Always looking to innovate the art form of puppetry in contemporary storytelling, Henson and his collaborators created Jim Henson's The StoryTeller anthology series that eventually aired on NBC and as part of the Jim Henson Hour. The concept was to bring classic folktales to life with technologically progressive puppetry, animation, and animatronics. The human StoryTeller (John Hurt) served as a narrator for the nine folktales which he relayed fireside to his loyal dog. The series is a great hidden gem for Henson fans, but also for little viewers who have a love for fairy tales and folktales. 

RELATED: Every Muppet Holiday Special, ranked

The Storyteller: Greek Myths (1990)

The sequel series, The StoryTeller: Greek Myths, was produced after Henson's death, but continued the same premise as the original, just with actor Michael Gambon taking on the the StoryTeller role. The season has four episodes, but they cover much darker tales in keeping with the more adult Greek stories they portray. For those who love English actors, the series features big names like David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Derek Jacobi (Dead Again). 

Farscape: "Terra Firma" (2003)

Did you forget Farscape actually has a Christmas-esque episode? The Season 4 episode "Terra Firma" has Crichton (Ben Browder) and the crew of Moya on Earth 2003. There in Florida, they meet John's dad, Jack (Kent McCord), and some Christmas decorations come out. Definitely a classic to be rewatched this time of year, or a reason to finally binge the show from top to bottom!

Watch all of these Henson specials, along with a library full of holiday treats, this month on Peacock.