Season 2 of ‘Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock’ shot in Calgary

The second season of the rebooted Fraggle Rock franchise premiers March 29 on AppleTV+.

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock season 2 was filmed inside the Calgary Film Centre.

During Global News Calgary’s exclusive tour on set, we got to see the world of fraggles, gorgs and doozers come to life in real time.

John Tartaglia is a writer and executive producer on the show. He’s also the puppet captain and plays a number of characters, including Gobo fraggle and Sprocket the dog.

He felt the pressure to deliver on season 2, after a very successful season one that got a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and awards from the Directors Guild of Canada, Canadian Cinema Editors Awards, PGA Awards and Children’s Family and Emmy Awards.

“It’s still the beautiful show that we love and the fans love, but we’ve just kind of upped the stakes a little bit,” Tartaglia says.

The original Jim Hensen Fraggle Rock series debuted in 1983 and was filmed in Toronto.

Both seasons of the rebooted franchise were filmed in Calgary.

Tartaglia says it was so important to come back to Canada.

“There’s something about the heart of the show that’s always had a Canadian feel to it, and I think that’s really important to capture here.”

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Calgary crews were used throughout production, too, including prop master Kesar Lacroix, who got to create all the vehicles and tech for the doozer characters in season 2.

“Everybody in our department has grown up with Fraggle Rock, period. It’s part of our childhood, and we all became prop makers and prop builders and prop on-set technologists in order to get the shot of hopefully doing a show like this, and we’ve had the best time doing it.”

This latest series is another notch in the belt for Calgary’s film and TV industry, which continues to grow and grab the attention of Hollywood.

The Calgary Film Commission says between 2021 and 2023, $1.2 billion was spent on production, nearly 15,000 jobs were created and more than 750,000 square feet of studio and production space was built. It’s got big plans for 2024, including building a website to recruit, train and retain talent.

Jordan Lockhart, the puppeteer and voice for Wembley Fraggle, grew up in Ottawa. He believes Canada is gaining a foothold on the market.

“Things have come a long way from when I was in high school, dreaming of being in film and television.

“There’s amazing talent here in Canada.

“Toronto and Vancouver are touted as being the hubs, but having been here now for two seasons in Calgary, I’m so impressed by the crews out here.”

Karen Prell has been the puppeteer and voice for Red fraggle since the original Fraggle Rock series more than four decades ago. She’s thrilled to see star power like Ariana DeBose, Brett Goldstein, Adam Lambert and Catherine O’Hara join for guest appearances in Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock season 2.

She also says outside of the cold and snow, Calgary is a magical place.

“I love Calgary. It’s just beautiful. I love the people here, I love the scenery. I love running along the river. I’ve made several trips to Banff.”

As for what to expect in the latest Fraggle Rock series, executive producer and writer Alex Cuthbertson says they keep Hensen, the original creator, in their minds.

“We knew we wanted to stay with the elements of the Earth because that feels so connected to Fraggle Rock. So, we decided that wind was a really cool way to explore the season. We used wind as a metaphor to talk about change that is both scary and exciting.”

“It’s hope punk. It’s making hope cool again,” Tartaglia said. “This family of characters can speak to a new generation of kids and hopefully make the world a better place.”

You can watch Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock season 2 on AppleTV+ starting March 29, 2024.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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