Kermit’s sounding a little different in a new preview for upcoming Disney+ series “Muppets Now”.
Just as James Bond and Doctor Who have gone through many different incarnations, so it is with Muppets icon Kermit the Frog.
Depending on when your golden age of “The Muppets” might be, Kermit the Frog was best voiced by show creator and puppeteer extraodinaire Jim Henson (1955-1990), or his successor Steve Whitmire (1990-2016).
A new vocal talent is joining the Muppets’ TV family through July 31st’s Disney+ addition “Muppets Now”, a six-episode run of 30-minute sitcom skits featuring some of the original Muppets characters.
Whitmire left in 2016 and Matt Vogel provides a take on Kermit’s voice that’s closer to Henson’s original timbre, though perhaps a little less intensely energetic.
Fans got a first taste of the evolved sound in a late June debut trailer.
Vogel has played various supporting Muppets characters since “A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa” as well as Kermit in two 2017 and 2018 live shows either side of the Atlantic, and here incarnates the character for a TV audience as Kermit hosts a teleconferencing call between “Muppets Now” characters and the shiny-eyed weasel Joe from Legal.
The new show is a streaming debut for the Muppets franchise and promises an unscripted, improvisational approach that encompasses lifestyle takes, gameshow segments, interviews, science, and cookery.
Guest stars are in the mix too.
Confirmed for the hotseat are Linda Cardinelli (Wendy Courdroy in “Gravity Falls” and Laura Barton in “Avengers: Endgame”), Aubrey Plaza (Claire Wheeler in “Monsters University”), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa in 2019’s “The Lion King”) and RuPaul (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”, “Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular”).
The show’s first season run begins July 31.
While Disney bought The Muppets from the Jim Henson Company in 2004; Henson’s surviving business has “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” on Netflix and “Fraggle Rock: Rock On!” on Apple TV+.
“Sesame Street” nonprofit Sesame Workshop, whose flagship features puppet characters designed by the Jim Henson Company, has its spin-off “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo” on Warner Bros’ HBO Max.
For completionists, Jim Henson’s friendly lime-green amphibian was also voiced by Frank Welker in 1980s animation “Muppet Babies” and associated outings, and by Matt Danner in the Disney Channel’s 2018 reboot of the same series, with Henson Company regular John Kennedy and “Crank Yankers” actor Artie Esposito subbing in as adult Kermit on select occasions.