Last Tuesday, Disney’s long-awaited streaming platform, Disney+, hit the screens of millions of Disney lovers. This new service allows its viewers to rewatch many of Disney’s old creations, from princess movies to Star Wars films to Disney channel shows no one thought they’d ever see again. Think Lizzie McGuire, Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody!
If you’re tired of the old classics, Disney is introducing a variety of new and original content on its platform. Most of the originals are slated to come out in the coming months and years, but seven of them came out alongside the platform’s release.
Unlike many of its competitors, Disney’s series operate more like actual TV shows, with new episodes released on a weekly basis as opposed to all at once. Nevertheless, there is plenty of content that you can watch right now on Disney+ if you’re in need of a break from the endless studying of midterm season.
I may not be a Star Wars fan myself, but everyone I know who has seen the films has been anticipating this new installment in the saga. The summary on Disney+ is a vague one, stating simply “after the fall of the Empire, a lone gunfighter makes his way through the lawless galaxy.” Given this show takes place later in the Star Wars storyline, it likely won’t be one to watch if you’ve never seen a Star Wars movie (so exactly none of you if I had to guess). But if you, like the vast majority of the population, are a superfan of Star Wars, this series is one you won’t want to miss.
High School Musical: The Musical (the Series)
I don’t know if I’ve fully wrapped my head around the concept of this show, but from what I can gather, it’s a fictional story about students attending the high school where High School Musical was filmed putting on a production of High School Musical. It’s full of the high school drama that will undoubtedly keep us all riveted on our screens each week and features a cast of fresh faces, as many of the actors are making their first appearances in a TV show.
A friend of mine described the first episode as “Glee meets the Office,” which I know may seem like a somewhat strange combination. Still, I promise this works and is accurate. I was certainly wary when I first heard about this show: why would anyone touch the perfection that was High School Musical?
However, based on the first episode, it really seems like it’s only the set of the show that matches the film trilogy. This series stands on its own and will provide the perfect lighthearted distraction from the stress of exams.
Lady & the Tramp
“Lady & the Tramp” obviously isn’t a new story in itself, but its live-action counterpart has officially made its debut on Disney+. I never did see the original animated film, but it should be interesting to watch another live-action movie with animals at the forefront given the disappointment that was The Lion King (they didn’t give the lions facial expressions! That was what made the original so much fun!).
“Noelle” is Disney’s addition to the seemingly endless list of Christmas movies coming out this season, like Last Christmas, Let it Snow, and Frozen II to name a few. It centers on Santa’s daughter Noelle Kringle (Anna Kendrick) and her journey of attempting to find her missing brother Nick (Bill Hader) before Christmas Eve.
“Noelle” looks like a wholesome Disney comedy that will bring smiles to those in the Christmas movie mood. I was getting serious “Elf” vibes while watching the trailer given Noelle has to venture into the real world for the first time in order to find her brother. While “Elf” is without a doubt a Christmas classic hard to beat, “Noelle” may provide a refreshing and entertaining parallel.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
In this docuseries presented by National Geographic, Jeff Goldblum tackles a different object or phenomenon each week and delves into the science and history behind it. He discusses facets of the items or practices that we likely never stop to consider. For example, the first episode centers on sneakers and the second on ice cream. The show isn’t supposed to be academic or scholarly; instead, it’s an exploration of curiosity and what we might learn by going down the rabbit hole every time we wonder about something. Its tone appears to be lighthearted and witty, with Goldblum learning alongside the audience as opposed to lecturing the viewer. In other words, it seems like the kind of educational content that might actually be enjoyable for a study break even when you feel like all you want is a break from learning.
Disney adds a reality series to its lineup with “Encore,” a show hosted by Kristen Bell and featuring guest appearances by other Broadway stars. Throughout the show, she and her guests travel across the country to “reunite former high school classmates [...] to re-stage the musicals of their youth, years after they originally performed them.”
It’s surely going to be an emotional series packed with reminiscing and nostalgia, and if you’re into theater, you’ll undoubtedly have a blast watching this. Even if you aren’t much of a theater person, though, this show seems like it will make us all reflect on our time in high school (which may be a good or bad thing) while also providing all the good and hopeful feels as we watch the various casts come together and re-forge their bonds to put on a production on a very tight schedule.
The Imagineering Story
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of designing and building Disney’s renowned theme parks? This series gives viewers a peek behind the curtain of what’s always been a mysterious aspect of Disney’s enterprise. It goes through both the history and process of Imagineering, detailing what the profession entails as well as why it’s so essential to Disney theme parks around the world.
I’m personally very intrigued by this show. Imagineering has always seemed like a secretive career path, with even the job title feeling dusted in Disney magic. While getting to see the reality certainly might take away a lot of the mystery and sense of magic that shrouds imagineering, it should also be a fascinating look into a key part of how Disney operates.
There truly is something for everyone on this list, and these originals are just the beginning! Watch out for much more new content, including many Marvel shows, a Phineas and Ferb movie, and a day in the life of Disneyland employees, coming to Disney+ in the future.
Thumbnail courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.