One of the big selling points of Disney Plus when it launched was its vast back catalogue of movies, but the platform also delivers when it comes to TV. Having launched big with the Star Wars action of The Mandalorian, the roster of the best Disney Plus shows has now expanded to include three new entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: WandaVision, The Falcon, and the Winter Soldier, and Loki.
And there are plenty more great Disney Plus TV shows to fill the hole until big new shows from the MCU (Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk) and that galaxy far, far away (The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor) make their eagerly anticipated debuts.
When it comes to classic TV, the jewel in Disney Plus’s crown is undoubtedly 31 seasons of The Simpsons – meaning that arguably the most binge-worthy series ever made is at your fingertips. You can also hit some nostalgia buttons with animated shows like DuckTales and the classic X-Men animated series from the 1990s.
Ready? We’re about to take an exciting journey taking in Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, the Muppets, and Jeff Goldblum as we list the best Disney Plus shows you can watch right now.
(If you’re reading this outside the US, you have access to Star, which features many adult-oriented shows you won’t find on this list. Instead, we’ve stuck to shows universally available as part of Disney Plus, wherever you’re reading this.)
One of the most popular villains/antiheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe embarks on his own adventures in space and time. In Loki, Thor’s brother is taken into custody by the Time Variance Authority – a bureaucratic organization on a mission to keep history playing out as it should – and ends up encountering multiple versions of himself. Mixing elements of Doctor Who with a mismatched cop comedy (Loki’s double act with Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius is wonderful), it takes the MCU to places it’s never been before – though you can’t help feeling that setting up future Marvel movies is a higher priority than continuing Loki’s own story.
Monsters at Work
It’s not surprising that Star Wars and Marvel shows attract the biggest headlines, but the animation geniuses at Pixar are also producing exclusive new TV shows for Disney Plus. Monsters at Work is essentially a workplace sitcom – think The Office, but with bigger teeth – set after the events of the original Monsters, Inc. It’s centered on Tylor Tuskmon, a new recruit who topped his Scaring class at Monsters University, but finds himself having to adapt after laughter overtakes frights as Monstropolis’s number one source of power. Monsters, Inc leads Mike and Sulley (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) reprise their roles.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Continuing the story of The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch is the story of Clone Force 99, a team of elite but unconventional Troopers who were introduced in the earlier show’s final season. After Order 66 turns the Clones against the Jedi, not all of the Bad Batch are affected, leaving them to forge an existence under the radar in a galaxy quickly falling under the Empire’s control – all while protecting Omega, a young female Clone on the run from her creators. Despite its potentially dark subject matter, The Bad Batch is tonally similar to its predecessor in being appropriate for younger viewers – and it’s just as beautifully animated.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The second MCU show to land on Disney Plus, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier follows Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in the turbulent aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, as the world picks itself up after the return of all the people who’d been disappeared by Thanos’s infamous finger snap. Will Sam take up the mantle of Captain America? That’s the big question at the center of this series, which is a little muddled in its plotting and overloads itself with villains, but is still well worth a watch – especially for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All six episodes are now available.
The first Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show is also the best – so far. WandaVision is an oddball show featuring Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), each reprising their roles from the Avengers movies. While the show is presented as a sitcom – or, rather, a series of sitcoms, with each episode riffing on the comedies of different decades – secrets about the true nature of the heroes’ new home lurk beneath the surface. It’s an unusual start for the MCU on the small screen, but a worthy and interesting effort to explore grief in an inventive way.
The Mandalorian is Disney Plus’s breakout hit, and deservedly so. This expensive-looking show has unleashed Baby Yoda upon us – which is a true gift. Iron Man director Jon Favreau created this series, starring Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones’ Red Viper) as a mysterious bounty hunter wearing the box-of-tricks armor first made famous by Boba Fett. Episodes rarely exceed 40 minutes in length, which is a blessed relief in this age of bloated streaming dramas. Its second season is particularly strong, offering high-end fan service alongside terrific new Star Wars stories – we called it the best TV show of 2020, and for good reason.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian
Is it cheating to include both The Mandalorian and a show all about the making of the series in the same list of best Disney Plus shows? Probably. Nonetheless, this insightful documentary series is terrific fun if you’re a Star Wars fan – it’s a bit like attending a dinner party at Jon Favreau’s house while his guests tell their story about being involved with the series. Worth watching once you’ve binged every episode of The Mandalorian.
A new episode has been added that focuses on the making of season 2, too.
This new series of sub-20-minute documentaries focuses on a different member of the Pixar animation team in each episode. If you love movies like Toy Story, it’s unmissably insightful – especially with the new Pixar movie Soul landing on Disney Plus in December.
If you miss The Muppets being on TV, or in movies, or you wondered more generally if Disney had figured out what to do with Jim Henson’s creations yet – with Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar on the Disney slate, the fact they also own Kermit and co is sometimes forgotten – this series is worth a look. Billed as unscripted, but really more like a variety show in a classic Muppets vein, it’s entertaining stuff – even if it won’t take you long to get through the six episodes here.
The Right Stuff
One of Disney Plus’s first shows for adults that isn’t just based on Star Wars or Marvel, this adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s non-fiction book is about NASA’s Mercury Seven crew attempting to go into outer space back in the ’60s. It stars a crew of regonizable faces, including Suits’ Patrick J Adams and Mad Men’s Aaron Staton. While this isn’t exactly prestige TV of the highest order, it’s entertaining enough, and we’re encouraged to see Disney experimenting with shows that aren’t just made for tweens or Marvel/Star Wars fans.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars has finished its seven-season run on Disney Plus, and if you’ve been watching The Mandalorian’s second season, you’ll know it’s well worth a binge watch. This show kept Star Wars’ fire burning between the prequels and Disney’s Lucasfilm buyout, and even though it’s set in the prequel timeframe, it corrects everything those movies got wrong, with weighty stories and great characterization. It’s that galaxy far, far away at its best, action-driven and packed with enough Star Wars lore to fill a space cruiser. With seven seasons of The Clone Wars to chew through – as well as Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance – you won’t be short of Star Wars content on Disney Plus.
Originally a Hulu show, The Runaways finished its third and final season last year. From the creators of The OC, it’s a really sharp Marvel teen drama with an ambiguous place in the MCU canon, but that doesn’t really matter. The characterization in this show is fantastic, and it’s based on one of the best Marvel books of the 21st century, about the kids of a secret supervillain society who decide to go on the run when they discover their parents’ hidden lives.
Forky Asks a Question
The reanimated spork who posed existential questions about the meaning of life in Toy Story 4 gets his own series. Up for discussion are topics as diverse as “What is a friend?”, “What is art?”, “What is time?” and – one of the biggest mysteries of our time – “What is cheese?”. Minds will be blown.
From early groundbreakers like Luxo Jr right up to the present day, shorts have always been a big part of Pixar’s success story. It’s only fair, then, that the studio’s Disney Plus offering includes this series of experimental shorts from new filmmakers. Given Pixar’s track record in pushing the envelope, you’re in for something special.
And if you’re after something even shorter from the house Woody and Buzz built, Disney Plus is also home to Pixar Popcorn, a series that revisits the worlds of the studio’s biggest hits in bite-size form.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum could make reading a phone book sound riveting, so it’s hard to imagine a more charismatic host for a documentary series. Each themed instalment – early episodes are devoted to ice cream and sneakers – features a mix of science, history and unlikely connections, all served with a generous sprinkling of Goldblum. Season 2 is on the way.
The Imagineering Story
As if to prove its new service really is all-encompassing, Disney has even found a way to bring its theme parks into the mix. The Imagineering Story is a six-hour documentary series delving into the history of the vast empire, while showing how some of Disney’s most iconic attractions are brought to life.
Arguably the TV show that set Marvel on its path to big screen dominance, this long-running ’90s cartoon was pioneering in the way it took the serialized storytelling of comic books to kids’ TV. Loaded with familiar characters, surprisingly complex, and delivering new takes on classic X-storylines, it’s a true classic.
Whatever your vintage, Disney Plus will be Spider-heaven, as numerous incarnations of the Wallcrawler swing into action – including ’80s team-up Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, and the classic ’90s serial. This dimension-hopping 2012 series is arguably the pick of the bunch, however – not least because it brought newer Spidey Miles Morales into the mix.
In the ’80s, Disney had a habit of churning out cartoon series with indecently catchy theme tunes (see also Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Chip ’N Dale: Rescue Rangers). The ongoing adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie are the standout, however, especially as three seasons of the David Tennant-starring 2017 reboot are also available.
One of the crown jewels to come out of Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox, all 31 complete seasons are available on Disney Plus. Springfield’s best days may be two decades behind it, but at its best (seasons 3-9, and some of 10), The Simpsons was as smart and brilliant as TV has ever been. It hits the same nostalgic, comfort-viewing buttons as The Office does for Netflix. Having Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie on the platform feels as vital to Disney Plus’s success as Star Wars and Marvel. And which other streaming service has steamed hams? The Simpsons Movie is also available.
Boy Meets World
Disney Plus goes back to school, with this long-running coming-of-age sitcom from the 1990s. Millions of viewers were glued to the onslaught of life lessons faced by teen Cory Matthews and his friends, and all seven seasons are on Disney Plus – along with 2014 spin-off Girl Meets World.
If David Lynch ever made a kid-friendly version of Twin Peaks it might look something like Gravity Falls, as the bizarre Oregon town of the title plays host to a host of paranormal events and weird creatures. It’s nominally a children’s show, of course, but why should kids have all the fun?
As well as owning Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm, Disney also has Kermit and the gang on the payroll. This 2015 series is a 30 Rock-style trip behind the scenes of fictional late-night chat show Up Late with Miss Piggy – with a crew staffed entirely by familiar felt faces. Slightly darker than the standard Muppet offering, but frequently extremely funny.
A couple of decades before it got its hands on Marvel, Disney dabbled in superheroics with this avian superhero adventure. Elements of Batman, The Shadow, The Green Hornet and other classics are all thrown into the mix alongside plenty of comedy and slapstick, as Drake Mallard fights crime under his secret identity, Darkwing Duck.
Big Hero 6
Disney never made a movie sequel to its brilliant 2014 Marvel adaptation Big Hero 6 – it didn’t need to, because this TV show did the job perfectly. Reuniting most of the original cast, this follow-up returns to San Fransokyo to pick up the adventures of teen hero Hiro Hamada and his cute robot sidekick Baymax.
2010 movie sequel Tron: Legacy didn’t quite set the box office on fire, but it did spawn this visually stunning animated series. Elijah Wood voices hero program Beck, battling to save the computer mainframe from malevolent software Clu, while Bruce Boxleitner (star of the original film) returns as Tron, protector of the Grid.
Star Wars: Rebels
This origin story for the Rebel Alliance zooms in on the fertile time period leading up to the original Star Wars movie. With many of The Clone Wars’ creative team on board, it’s four seasons of fan heaven, with an epic storyline, beautiful spaceship designs, and some of the biggest players in the franchise (Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian) back in action.
And here’s one of the worst: Inhumans
Not everything on Disney Plus is a classic, of course, and this short-lived 2017 TV series is proof that Marvel doesn’t always have the Midas touch (though to be fair, this wasn’t from the same part of Marvel that brings you the MCU movie movies). Still, if you didn’t watch it on broadcast, there’s a certain car-crash appeal to watching the trials and tribulations of the Inhuman royal family marooned on Earth.
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