The Muppet Show starred a bunch of wacky puppets who worked together to put on a weekly program for television. Each Muppet was iconic. The antics backstage were the meat of the program. The majority of the acts were done by Muppets. The guest stars, while notable, were secondary to Muppets themselves. That was the magic of the show and what has sustained the Muppet brand for decades.
That Puppet Game Show comes across as something invented by someone who saw The Muppet Show once as a kid, decided to cash in on the Muppet revival, and created a soulless copy. That's not to say the show doesn't have its charms. As a game show program it's not bad. It's when they try to emulate The Muppet Show that it all goes horribly wrong.
The first episode of That Puppet Game Show had Jonathon Ross facing off against Katherine Jenkins in a series of silly games. And it mostly works. The speech game went on a bit long, but it was generally funny. But then there's the rest of the show.
First off, we have the grumpy score keeper. This character is clearly meant to be "the old men in the box" type character. He's rude, grumpy, and is up above the stage. The problem is that where the old men were funny, smart, and fun, the score keeper is simply boring.
Then we have the boss figure. He actually does work. He reminds me of the supervisor dinosaur from Dinosaurs. I actually liked him. The "Kermit" of the bunch was completely bland. In fact, other than the crazy scientist guy who was clearly a rehash of Dr. Phil Van Neuter from Muppets Tonight and Ian the Armadillo, they were basically lifeless. Out of the bunch, the only one I can even recall the name of was Ian. Despite being a 45 minute show the other characters left so little an impression that I just cannot remember their names.
Anyways, the backstage plot was that the company needed to save money so someone had to be fired, and the boss lady puppet had to pick who it would be. This led to puppets explaining why they shouldn't be fired, but since I had no idea who any of them were, I didn't care. Of course no one was fired, it's a happy ending, and apparently there's a love interest or something. I stopped paying attention.
The show comes across like a glitzier but poorer version of The Muppet Show. The game show parts were good. The rest was bland and boring. The puppets themselves look great as they are Henson Workshop creations, but they lacked the magic and the character that made the Muppets what they were. It's a shame, as a game show setup would be perfect for the real Muppets. Ah, well.