Netflix releases so many original series for kids these days, it’s easy to miss when one appeals to the whole family. Julie’s Greenroom is something any fan of classic Jim Henson magic needs to try.
Here’s the premise: A drama teacher guides a group of kids through planning, staging, and performing a school musical. She brings in guest stars to showcase different aspects of theater, and the kids learn valuable life lessons.
Ok, so that sounds like anything from Glee to Sesame Street. Not bad, but hardly groundbreaking. The interesting thing about this show is the cast and the production.
The “Julie” of the title is, in fact, Hollywood legend Julie Andrews. The star of The Sound of Music is as amazing as ever, and she’s truly in her element in a show about the stage.
Julie’s Greenroom is her first TV series since 1992’s Julie, and it’s clear that the topic’s closeness to her heart is what brought her back to the small screen.
The kids, meanwhile, are full-on Muppets. As in, created, operated, and voice acted by the Jim Henson Company. Yes, Julie Andrews is shepherding around a group of little puppet people, Sesame Street style.
A Strangely Grounded Puppet Show
The puppets make watching the show an oddly meta experience. Here are a bunch of kids who could only exist on stage, learning about the stage from one of the greatest stage actors of the 20th century, who is not a puppet. The fact that the puppets are meant to be ordinary children, as opposed to monsters or aliens, only makes it more striking.
It’s a very specialized sort of show. I’m not sure there has ever been anything aimed so squarely at “drama kids”.
That said, Julie’s Greenroom is entirely accessible and entertaining for the whole family. The guests Julie brings on each episode include Alec Baldwin, violinist Joshua Bell, Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa from Frozen), and more. They each bring their own brand of humor, and they’re all geniuses in their respective fields.
Julie’s Greenroom is a fascinating undertaking. It’s also a chance to see what the Jim Henson Company can do these days. Other than Sesame Street, most of their projects have been strictly for little kids. Netflix has brought them back into the realm of truly “family friendly”.