Disney+ is gearing up to be a great place to watch nearly every Disney movie under the sun, but you can’t forget the television. Within the first year of its launch, Disney+ will have so much original television programming–that’s previously aired on their network and is original to the service–you won’t be sleeping for awhile. Thankfully, we’ve waded through the list of shows to pull out the ones you devote your time to.
For more of our coverage on all things Disney+, check out the links below, followed by the Best TV Shows Coming to the streaming service this November and beyond:
- Ewan McGregor’s ‘Obi-Wan’ TV Series Finds Its Director in ‘The Mandalorian’ Alum Deborah Chow
- The Best Movies Coming to Disney+
- Could Jon Favreau Be Developing a ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ for Disney+?
- ‘She-Hulk’: 11 Actors Who Could Lead Marvel’s Upcoming Disney+ Series
- Disney+: Classic Marvel Animated Series ‘X-Men’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Iron Man’ & More Rumored
The Mandalorian (2019)
The Mandalorian was one of the most heavily promoted new series at this year’s D23 Expo and it’s not surprising why. Creator Jon Favreau compared it to both a “space opera” and an old-time Western with its story of a lone gunfighter (played by Pedro Pascal) traveling through the outer reaches of the galaxy. The series is set to take place five years after the events in Return of the Jedi and showcase how the galaxy is doing in a period of relative lawlessness. The first trailer makes the series look like an amazing mix of John Ford Western and Star Wars futurism. Add to that a cast that includes Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito, and Werner Herzog and you have the makings of a series that not only Star Wars fans will gravitate to, but those looking for engaging drama.
So Weird (1999)
Disney isn’t just aiming for new fans of their programming but all those still living life like it’s 1999. So Weird was a three-season show that focused on the adventures of Fiona “Fi” Phillips (Cara DeLizia) who, along with her rock-star mom, investigated supernatural phenomenon. Often called The X-Files for kids, So Weird garnered a legion of fans during its three seasons though it hasn’t been on television screens since 2003. The series starred not only DeLizia, but real-life Hollywood royalty Mackenzie Phillips as Fi’s mom and Disney’s original ‘90s dreamboat Erik von Detten. It’s great that Disney is sharing nearly everything from their catalog, including the television shows only a select few probably remember.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (2019)
In 2006 Disney dropped the first High School Musical film. The tween version of Grease was a monster hit, becoming the fastest-selling television movie of all time when it was released on DVD later that year. A year later the sequel, High School Musical 2, was the most watched television show in history at the time and gave the network enough faith in a theatrical release for the third feature, High School Musical 3: Senior Year. That film, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing musical of the time and another cog in an industry that saw ice shows, merchandise, and Billboard hits.
So it’s amazing that it’s taken this long for a series to be developed but, have no fear, because we have High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Yes, the title is silly and it seems like Disney is in on the joke. The series tells the story of the students of the school where the High School Musical movies were shot doing their own rendition of the movie that started it all. There are so many meta-loops it’s enough to make you go cross-eyed but the premise sounds inventive enough to be compelling and the first trailer is humorous. There are obvious comparisons to Fox’s Glee to be drawn which it will be interesting to see how the fans of that series do or don’t respond to this. The trailer’s jokes seem to skirt the line of tween and adult, too, which might be enough to draw in fans who absolutely hated the High School Musical franchise.
Diary of a Female President (2020)
Since her Golden Globe-winning role as Jane Villanueva in Jane the Virgin, Gina Rodriguez has used her platform to promote Latinx stories, with Latinas especially. With her series ending in 2019 audiences were desperate to know what Rodriguez would be doing next. In January it was announced that Disney had picked up her 10-episode series, Diary of a Female President for Disney+. The series follows a 12-year-old girl named Elena (Tess Romero) as she navigates middle school while writing in her diary plans to become the President of the United States.
With Elena’s youthful narration acting as bridge the series will combine her life as a child with her as an adult (played by Rodriguez) as she hits campaign trail to make her presidential dreams come true. Disney+ showed a brief trailer for this at D23 and it looks like it’ll give you all the feels. Watching Elena’s story will relate to tween girls going to middle school but also inspire them to tackle the real problems of the world and hopefully strive for something more. Who knows how this will play next year, especially with the Presidential election coming up.
Forky Asks a Question (2019)
Pixar will be well-represented on Disney+ between Lamp Life, a short film explaining where Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts) has been in-between Toy Story 2 and 4 as well as Monsters at Work detailing the life of a fledgling Scare Floor member whose life changes when the company transitions from screams to laughter. And then there’s Forky Asks a Question, a series of shorts that blend Tony Hale’s charming voice work as Toy Story 4’s scene-stealing character Forky and education. In each episode Forky will posit a question to various Toy Story characters and have them answer it as simply and completely as they can. D23 showed audiences an early episode wherein Hamm (voiced by John Ratzenberger) explains what money is to Forky. It was a perfect blend of humor and information that should keep small children entertained and please older fans of the Toy Story franchise.
The release of Avengers: Endgame earlier the first volume in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with the groundwork laid the studio is now able to branch off into new and unique territories. And there’s nothing more new and unique than what the studio’s cooked up with Marvel’s What If? Creating one episode for every movie in the MCU, What If? is an anthology series with the premise of what the movies would be like if one single thing was changed. What if Captain America (Chris Evans) had never had his body enhanced and fought Red Skull with his average Steve Rogers physique? What if What if Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was the one to wield Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) hammer? It hasn’t been confirmed but a great storyline would be what if Mary-Jane Watson was bitten by the radioactive spider and not Peter Parker? The animation style, shown to D23 audiences, looks rich and kinetic that, coupled with its Twilight Zone-esque premise, makes What If? something special indeed.
Boy Meets World (1993)
Whether you watched it or not, you couldn’t be a ‘90s kid and not know about Boy Meets World. The series, launched in 1993 and running for seven seasons, followed the exploits of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) as he navigates life, friendship, love, family, and the transition from middle school to high school, college and beyond. The show was well-regarded at the time for focusing on serious issues affecting teenagers such as sex, child abuse, sexual harassment, and drinking. When the series was syndicated and re-runs were aired on the Disney Channel several of these episodes were not released because of their heavy themes. In 2012 the show received a spin-off, Girl Meets World, about the daughter of Cory and his wife Topanga (Danielle Fishel) which ran for three seasons before being cancelled in 2017. Thankfully you can visit the complete oeuvre on Disney+ as both Boy and Girl Meets World will be available to stream.
One of the more mysterious and exciting projects coming to Disney+ is WandaVision, a Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off. Not much is known about the series outside of a shadowy teaser cobbled together for D23 using footage from the 1961 sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show. Black and white scenes of the series are interspersed with strange noises and talking, implying a fractured state between the 1960 happiness and reality. Later announcements imply the series is based on the 2005 Marvel Comics series “House of M” wherein Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) creates a fictional world based on 1950s sitcoms to give her and Vision (Paul Bettany) the happy ending they deserve. Unfortunately, Wanda’s precarious mental state leave the world fragile and unstable. Kathryn Hahn will play an unnamed nosy neighbor while Randall Park will reprise his role as Jimmy Woo in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Kat Dennings will return as Darcy Lewis from the Thor features. WandaVision will also act as a lead-in to the other Marvel spin-off, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Lizzie McGuire (2020)
In January of 2001 Disney premiered Lizzie McGuire. Lizzie (Hilary Duff) was a 13-year-old girl dealing with the typical pratfalls inherent in middle school, from boys to her desire for popularity. Along the way were her two best friends and an animated version of her conscious that showed what Lizzie on the inside was thinking. The show was a success on the Disney Channel with Duff becoming a star in her own right and the characters being plastered over every piece of merchandise possible. In 2003 Disney greenlit and released The Lizzie McGuire Movie following the characters on a class trip to Rome. The movie came in #2 behind X2: X-Men United despite mixed to negative reviews. The series ended in 2004 despite Disney’s plans to transition to ABC; Duff’s representatives were said to have salted negotiations.
Eighteen years later, Lizzie is back with both Duff and original showrunner Terri Minsky returning. This new take will follow Lizzie as a 30-year-old woman navigating jobs, love, and friends in New York City. It’s unclear who from the original cast will be returning alongside Duff. And while you have to wait until 2020 for the new Lizzie McGuire, you’ll be able to watch all 65 episodes of the original series on the first day Disney+ opens.
Yes, even Disney+ will have reality shows, one of which is the Kristen Bell-executive produced series Encore! The show will spotlight high school theater groups brought back together years after high school ended to recreate an encore performance. As the D23 trailer shows us, the lives of these burgeoning theater stars have taken some serious dips and twirls, from a woman who was Broadway bound only to focus on motherhood instead to a man who was paralyzed in a car accident. The show looks like an emotional blend of musical magic with real human drama that should please fans of Queer Eye or other shows focused on dealing with past issues through future changes (this time with music!).
The Simpsons (1989)
The Simpsons have been an American television institution for 30 years, inspiring everything from catchphrases to merchandise and tackling nearly every hard topic one can think of. As South Park told us, there’s nothing the Simpsons didn’t do first. And as of 2009 the show has officially become the longest-running scripted television show in history and, as of 2018, has the most episodes in any series’ history. As part of Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox this year they also secured the rights to every single episode of The Simpsons, which means audiences can watch the well-over 635 episodes. Despite Disney+ not carrying any R-rated or non-family friendly content they look to be making an exception with The Simpsons which is just fine with us. You can literally watch nothing else but The Simpsons on Disney+ and be completely happy.
Be Our Chef (2019)
Be Our Chef sounds like if Food Network’s Cake Wars was Disney-themed all the time and we couldn’t be hungrier for it. Hosted by The Office’s Angela Kinsey, the series will feature two families cooking dishes both based on “their own traditions” and Disney itself with the final round to create a dish that tells the audience about them presented through “a Disney lens.” The corporate talk is a bit much but the show sounds like such fun and the winning family will have their dish recreated in the Disney parks! The whole thing sounds incredibly playful, even if the premise sounds like it’s way too lost in promoting Disney first and foremost.
Because it’s Disney, several of their original shows hope to blend entertainment and education and there’s no one who inhabits both better than Jeff Goldblum. The actor, who created a scene-stealing performance in Thor: Ragnarok, is the host of Disney+ The World According to Jeff Goldblum. The documentary sees Goldblum finding out more about the things that interest him, whether that’s examining the industry of sneaker trading happened or how tattoo artists create the art they do (there’s nothing more terrifying than watching Goldblum hold a tattoo needle in his hands). Goldblum says he did no research on any of the topics to allow for more discussion and the trailer looks utterly brilliant. It takes everyday things we know and looks to go deeper into their history and development. And who doesn’t love hearing Jeff Goldblum talk about stuff?
Even Stevens (2000)
Another landmark family series for the Disney Channel in the 2000s, Even Stevens was the story of brother and sister Louis (Shia LaBeouf) and Ren (Christy Carlson Romano) Stevens, two opposites who try to deal with being in the same school together. Ren and Louis had a bevy of friends and family hijinks develop over the show’s 65 episodes, from Ren dealing with her best friend’s obsession with BBMak (so 2000) to Louis constantly scheming to become famous by entering a chocolate-selling competition. The series was well-regarded for the chemistry between LaBeouf and Romano, with this serving as LaBeouf’s breakout role. He’d later work for the Walt Disney Company on the theatrical film Holes (2003). The series would end in 2003 with The Even Stevens Movie serving as a series finale. That DCOM, which will also be on Disney+, saw the family stranded on a desert island having to deal with each other to get home.
The Little Mermaid (1992)
No, we’re not talking about the 1989 animated movie but instead the 1992 prequel series it inspired. In the wake of The Little Mermaid’s success Disney decided to craft a weekly animated series following Ariel (once again voiced by Jodie Benson) and her undersea friends. Taking place before the events of the 1989 movie, each week saw Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian deal with various enemies trying to bring harm to the Kingdom of Atlantica, including Ursula the Sea Witch (voiced by Pat Carroll). The series also gave audiences more time with Ariel and her six sisters. The Little Mermaid animated show was a landmark for Disney in 1992 as the company’s first animated feature to transition to a show, being placed in the midst of the network’s popular Disney afternoon block. The show was never sold on DVD in its complete format but now you’ll be able to stream all 31 episodes.