Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
It's only been a few years since it launched, but Disney Plus has cemented itself next to streaming titans like Netflix and Hulu. It should come as no surprise when you consider its library of content. Shows in the Marvel and Star Wars universes are only the tip of the iceberg. As the platform expands, it's added more content that appeals to all ages -- from romantic comedies to crime-fighting superheroes, Disney Plus is not just for kids.
The sheer amount of content can make it hard to know where to start. Well, we've got your back. Here's our list of the best TV shows you need to watch on Disney Plus.
Star Wars TV shows have been hit-and-miss over the past few years (Obi-Wan, good; The Book of Boba Fett, less good), but it feels like Disney is finally getting a real feel for what works in this universe. Without a shadow of a doubt, Andor is the best Star Wars show to date. It's a show that expands the Star Wars universe in unique and compelling ways. This is a show about fascism and our response to it. Just fantastic stuff.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the best Star Wars shows on Disney Plus, easily. Darth Vader has never felt more sinister, and Ewan McGregor is killing it as a weakened Jedi Knight trying to get his groove back. This is everything I hoped for and more.
Anecdote time: I made my kids watch the original Star Wars trilogy. They hated it.
I made them watch Star Wars: Visions. They loved it. Star Wars: Visions is a collection of anime-style shorts, much like the classic Animatrix collection that took the The Matrix series as a jumping-off point.
There's some absolutely dazzling stuff in here. A must watch for any Star Wars fan. There are nine shorts available in the first season, with more to follow later this year.
The show that launched Baby Yoda into the pop culture stratosphere built its foundations on a base of bountiful action and rich Space Western visuals. The titular lone bounty hunter finds his soft side as he protects his precious green alien baby from those on his tail. For polished episodic storytelling in the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian is bang on. Two seasons are available now, with a third currently airing.
This new Star Wars series is a spin-off of the lauded The Clone Wars. Using the same CGI-animated style, The Bad Batch follows a squad of elite clone troopers who all have genetic defects, which may or may not give them special abilities. From Dave Filoni, producer of The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch even features Fennec Shand (voiced by Ming-Na Wen), from the live-action show. The first season is a more-than-solid 16-episode diversion that should particularly satisfy those partial to delving deeper into Star Wars lore, and the second season is currently airing weekly.
And of course, you have to watch the original and best: The Clone Wars.
Surprisingly, many Star Wars fans haven't taken the time to check out The Clone Wars. They absolutely should. Some of the highlights of Star Wars as a franchise occur in this show. It's not always perfect, but when it's good it's good.
Ms. Marvel makes her live-action debut in this Disney Plus original series. It received rave reviews from folks here at CNET and beyond. It could be the shot in the arm Marvel's growing selection of shows needs at this point.
The first of a barrage of Marvel Cinematic Universe shows, WandaVision, in nine weekly episodes, finds Wanda and Vision hopping through eras of sitcom TV, starting in the black-and-white '50s. Why are Earth's mightiest heroes now a housewife and a suit working a nondescript day job? It might have something to do with a grieving Wanda's reaction to -- spoiler -- Vision's death in Avengers: Endgame. Weird, funny and laden with Easter eggs, WandaVision delivers your money's worth.
Disney's second big Marvel show serves six episodes of much more familiar superhero fare. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier pairs Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, and Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier, in a buddy-comedy globe-trotting adventure. The action, quips and threat to the world are all there, but underneath a touch of social commentary simmers.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's God of Mischief gets his long-awaited solo adventure after his reality-shattering escape in Avengers: Endgame. With a group of time police determined to correct the timeline, Loki must face the consequences over six episodes. The chemistry between actors Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson is key to this show's charm, and Marvel fans will find plenty to love.
Marvel continues its wonderful relationship with TV series Community, tapping stars Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs not to act in but direct episodes of a new documentary series. Over eight episodes, Marvel 616 looks at just how much the comics and movies have influenced culture. From the journey to Captain Marvel and female representation to fascinating versions of Marvel comics in other countries, Marvel 616 is a slice of life fans across the world will relate to.
Six superpowered teens team up to fight against their criminal parents -- that's the intriguing premise of Marvel's Runaways. Eventually the team does some running, escaping their parents as well as Morgan le Fay and other villains. Despite its occasional reliance on standard superhero storytelling over its three seasons, this strong ensemble will grow on you, along with the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe references and general exciting action.
Criminally short at two seasons, Marvel's Agent Carter gave the whip-smart Peggy Carter a chance to showcase her action-hero side. Set after her love Steve Rogers sacrifices himself at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, it reveals Peggy's adventurous life in 1940s New York as she works with genius scientist Howard Stark and his butler Jarvis. Hayley Atwell channels a sense of cheeky fun in this stylish Marvel TV gem.
John Stamos stars in this sports dramedy that hits all the right notes. At the center is a basketball coach -- exceptionally named Marvyn Korn -- whose bad temper sees him fired from the highest level of college basketball. His next gig takes him to a team at a private girls high school. The transition isn't the smoothest or the most original, but it's the performances and wholesome spirit that make Big Shot sweet viewing.
A follow-up to the '90s movies, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers stars Emilio Estevez as the original Ducks coach, Gordon Bombay. A new team of underdogs brings together the rejects. Who do they enlist as their coach? You get one guess. With Lauren Graham helping provide some of the laughs, it's surprisingly layered, packed with earnestness and nostalgia. The first two seasons are available now.
This Disney Channel classic is sadly not coming back for a sequel series, but that takes no enjoyment away from the original wholesome misadventures of teenager Lizzie McGuire and her friends Miranda and Gordo. With creative soliloquies from a cartoon version of Lizzie, the two-season show lets you peek inside its hero's brain as she finds her identity and grows up.
See where it all began for Shia LaBeouf in Even Stevens. The comedy hinges on the dynamic between siblings Louis (LaBeouf) and Ren (Christy Carlson Romano): Louis is the carefree mischief maker; Ren the A-grade overachiever. Delivered with superb comic timing, this is a quintessential family comedy that lets you marvel at LaBeouf's natural talent in front of the camera over three seasons.
If you missed this classic sitcom in the early '90s, it's time to hit it up on Disney Plus. Chronicling the life of middle schooler Cory Matthews, Boy Meets World ran for seven seasons, depicting realistic characters and relationships that branch and blossom into lessons about real life. For a nuanced sitcom that features some of the best '90s curtained hairstyles, this one is a must.
A Disney Channel show with hints of The X-Files? This late-'90s gem is definitely worth checking out. So Weird stands apart from other Disney Channel shows of the time with its dark tone and intricate narrative. It follows teenager Fiona as she tours with her rock-star mom and encounters paranormal activity on the way. With original music and a cult following, this three-season show should be on your radar.
If you're not into the High School Musical film series, then this mockumentary might be a little more your thing. Especially since it's a tongue-in-cheek look at a group of musical theater students putting on a musical inspired by the films in the exact same school the films were shot. Still, it doesn't veer too far from its source material, featuring a romance between its two leads -- Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett. Fans of Glee will find much to get on board with over its two seasons (and two specials), with a third on the way.
With Disney Plus' National Geographic content comes Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a 13-episode follow-up to Carl Sagan's groundbreaking Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the documentary series updates the '80s milestone of scientific documentaries. Stunning CGI aids the storytelling approach to humanity's triumphs and mistakes in science.
Loosely based on the '80s movie of the same name (which was based on the bestselling book by Tom Wolfe), The Right Stuff shows you the gritty side of the US space program's beginnings. Over eight episodes, we follow the Mercury Seven -- seven pilots accepted into the space program -- and the effect the competitive job and media scrutiny have on their families. Though it doesn't exactly tread new ground, The Right Stuff is a handsome, proficient look at NASA in the '50s and '60s.
If you're into fairy tales reimagined for a modern day setting, Once Upon a Time covered a huge range of classics (and Frozen!) over seven seasons. Set in a seaside town with a forest not far away, the story follows Emma Swan and her 10-year-old son. They encounter magical objects, like a Narnia-repping wardrobe, and live-action characters like Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen, who were transported to the real world. It's up to Emma to help them break a curse that stole their memories. Charming, grab-your-tea-and-a-blanket stuff.