So you’ve signed up to Disney+. At first you weren’t sure that you really needed another streaming service, but the prospect of not going outside for the next four months forced your hand, and now you’re wondering where to start. Luckily, we’re on hand to help – here are the films, television shows and documentaries you should watch on Disney+ first.
Obviously a lot of the content on the platform is geared towards kids, and there’s a wealth of stuff out there that this probably isn’t the right platform to talk about if the appeal of CBBC is starting to wear thin. Instead, we’ve focussed on the shows that might appeal more to adults – as well as one or two nostalgic childhood favourites.
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If you haven’t already pirated it, this is the obvious place to start. The Star Wars spin-off follows a mysterious bounty hunter tasked with protecting an infant creature officially called The Child, but known to meme fans everywhere as the impossibly cute ‘Baby Yoda’. The series has already been out in other territories for six months, but UK fans will only get access to the first two episodes at launch, with one per week coming out after that.
Marvel movie marathon
There’s never been a better time to blitz through pretty much every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the exception of the two Spider-Man movies, which were co-produced with Sony, Disney+ has every blockbuster entry in the series, from 2008’s Hulk to 2019’s Endgame – although the latter might strike a bit close to home at the moment. As it stands, it would take more than two straight days to watch them all back to back, so if you just want the highlights, check out our definitive ranking of all the best Marvel movies.
The new trio of Star Wars movies have lurched between the sublime and the ridiculous, but for all the special effects and loving throwbacks, the disjointed plot left many viewers feeling short-changed. By far the best of the bunch – and arguably one of the best Star Wars movies in the canon – is Rogue One, which follows a group of rebels on a daring heist to steal the plans for the Death Star, just before the events of A New Hope.
Part of a slate of content from National Geographic, Free Solo made a huge impact when it landed in late 2018, introducing audiences worldwide to rock climber Alex Honnold, and his quest to perform an unassisted climb of El Capitan – the iconic granite rock face in Yosemite National Park. The film is beautifully shot, dizzying, and vertigo-inducing look at one of the most incredible athletic feats of all time.
The good Simpsons episodes
Streaming services have given 90s classics like Friends a new lease of life, introducing them to a younger generation of viewers and spawning a million TikToks. Could Disney+ do the same for The Simpsons? The show is still limping along like a wounded lion, pushing out new episodes that are a shadow of its former self. But at its best, it’s so, so good – and the launch of Disney+ offers the perfect opportunity to revisit some of the classics, from ‘Cape Feare’ to ’22 Short Films About Springfield’. You could get weeks of laughs without even touching anything produced in this century.
Lady and the Tramp remake
As conscientious objectors to the new wave of childhood-destroying CGI remakes of Disney classics it pains us to recommend this, but it is one of the few things on Disney+ that hasn’t been released anywhere else, so it’s worth a look. You know the drill by now – pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but with uncanny valley characters replacing loving hand animation, and some of the more problematic sequences quietly shelved. The spaghetti scene isn’t quite as romantic when you add actual fur to proceedings.
Toy Story 4
The third Toy Story film wrapped up things fairly neatly, so another entry in the series was perhaps a bit unnecessary, but it’s well worth a watch if you grew up watching the original and missed this one in cinemas. The action starts when Bonnie, who becomes the custodian of Woody and the gang at the end of third film, fashions a new toy out of a plastic spork and some googly eyes – we’ve all been there – before losing him during a road trip. The toys then hatch a plot to rescue him, with predictably emotional results.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
In these stressful times, what could be more relaxing than watching languid actor Jeff Goldblum (best known for playing Dr Malcolm in the Jurassic Park films) shrug his way through a series of short documentaries about different subcultures and industries? “I know nothing, that’s the premise,” he says in the trailer, which just about covers it – expect lots of shots of Goldblum at trade shows and in factories and saying ‘wow’ a lot. Perfect escapism.
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