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Previews

Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow Preview 

Photo Credit: Sergei Bachalov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

I think it’s all Jason Segel’s fault because he successfully revived The Muppets on film a few years back before they returned to TV this year, but I’m boggled, and thrilled, that 2015 has marked such a big resurgence for Jim Henson. Lifetime is getting in on the fun with Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow, a new family film based on original characters and a story written in 1968 by Henson and his longtime writing partner, Jerry Juhl.

The archival, previously unproduced property has been updated by frequent Muppets collaborator Kirk R. Thatcher, who also directs, and co-writers Chris Baldi and Tim Burns. The first picture below is of Henson’s daughters, Lisa and Cheryl, with the the original Turkey Hollow puppets in the woods of Greenwich, Connecticut in 1968.

Photo Credit: Jim Henson
Photo Credit: Jim Henson
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime

Turkey Hollow follows the story of the Emmerson family, recently divorced father Ron (Benched‘s Jay Harrington) and his kids Tim (Graham Verchere) and Annie (UnREAL’s Genevieve Buechner), as they head to the quaint town of Turkey Hollow (aka Vancouver) to spend a rustic Thanksgiving at the farm of Ron’s eccentric Aunt Cly (Mary Steenburgen). Suddenly cut off from their cell phones and the Internet, Tim and Annie get swept up in tracking the “Howling Hoodoo,” an elusive monster that, up until now, Turkey Hollow residents have long dismissed as mere legend. The  holiday threatens to take a bleak turn when a scheming neighbor frames Aunt Cly for theft, but the fractured family teams up with some surprising new friends to save the day. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges goes to town as the on-screen narrator of the story.

Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime

It’s a sweet, family-friendly film that’s got a little bit more edge than you’d expect to find in standard holiday fare, which may be why it ended up on Lifetime. It wouldn’t have been wholly out of place as a companion to the sneaky fun R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour series that ran for a while on Discovery Kids. I love seeing Steenburgen this way after she went really dark on the final season of Justified, and nobody does puppetry quite like the Hensons. Set your DVR now.

Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow premieres Saturday night at 8/7c on Lifetime and repeats throughout the month. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.

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