The 30 best shows on Disney Plus

Clarisse Loughrey
null

Disney Plus has arrived! Whether the new streaming service can compete with Netflix remains to be seen, but it sure is coming out strong. The doors to the Disney vault have been thrown open, with the service offering a potent mix of nostalgic throwbacks and recent hits from throughout the company's history. Whether you’re a parent wanting a break from parenting so are turning to the television for help, or you’re a disenchanted millennial looking for a solice – Disney Plus has got you covered. You can get your fill of Boy Meets World and Star Wars Resistance, all in one hit.

There’s so much content – from animated shows, live-action sitcoms, to National Geographic documentaries – that it might feel a little overwhelming at first. Luckily, we’re here to guide the way, with our picks for the 30 best shows on Disney Plus. Of course, the service will also be offering brand new (and exclusive) programming like The Mandalorian and Encore. But it’s far too early to tell which ones will be worth your time, so we’re just sticking to the shows that have already released full seasons. Without further ado, these are the 30 best shows on Disney Plus right now.

You can sign up to Disney Plus here, complete with a seven-day trial.

30. Tangled: The Series (2017)

best Disney TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: It doesn’t look like 2010’s Tangled will be getting a sequel anytime soon, but fans can still discover what happened after the “happily ever after” thanks to this Disney Channel animated series. We pick back up with Princess Rapunzel and her boyfriend Eugene Fitzherbert (formerly known as scandalous thief and irresistible flirt Flynn Rider), as they explore the great mystery of why a young woman would end up with a 70-foot long braid of hair endowed with magical healing powers. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The series has acquired a pretty active fanbase of viewers both young and old, largely because its storytelling is so much more compelling than you’d expect. There’s a great addition in the character of Cassandra, Rapunzel’s lady-in-waiting, who starts off as a dear friend but is slowly corrupted by bitterness and jealousy. It’s a far cry from the cheap, half-hearted TV adaptations that we’ve come to expect. The art direction is beautiful, while Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi even reprise their original roles. Tangled: The Series means business. 

29. Great Migrations (2010)

best Disney TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: We all know that Disney acquired a frankly terrifying amount of properties when it snapped up 20th Century Fox. Included in the deal was National Geographic, which conveniently means that Disney Plus will now be able to offer a lot more than just cartoons and hyperactive teen stars. Great Migrations, for example, is a seven-episode miniseries which follows the dangerous, awe-inspiring journeys undertaken by creatures both big and small – from delicate butterflies to gargantuan whale sharks. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Great Migrations has long been one of the jewels in National Geographic’s crown. At the time, it was the largest scale enterprise the channel had ever launched and some have even argued that it’s better than the BBC’s Planet Earth. It’s a bold, but not totally unjustified claim, particularly when it comes to the show’s experimental finale. It features zero narration, meaning viewers can immerse themselves completely in all the wonders of nature. 

28. Wizards of Waverly Place (2007)

best Disney TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: It’s Harry Potter scrubbed of all its darkness and dramatic tension, basically. We follow three wizard siblings – Alex, Justin, and Max – who all live in New York City’s Greenwich Village. For some, seemingly arbitrary reason, they inhabit  a universe where each family can only have one magical member, meaning the siblings all have to compete and prove their worth. If this were FX or HBO, we’d be in for a deathmatch, but the worst they do here is throw out a few sarcastic one-liners. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The thing is, Selena Gomez’s Alex isn’t actually a typical Disney Channel heroine. She’s sort of rude and, honestly, quite selfish at times. She sees magic as more of a shortcut to getting what she wants than anything else. That’s about as edgy as these shows tend to get, but it’s still refreshing in its own way. Wizards of Waverly Place is also less aggressively silly than usual, while the siblings’ frequent romantic entanglements with vampires, werewolves and angels even gives it a touch of Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

27. Elena of Avalor (2016)

best Disney TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Anyone who’s a casual Disney fan will probably have seen Elena popping up more and more of late. Sure, she’s not one of the official Disney Princesses yet, but neither are Frozen’s Anna and Elsa. And Elena certainly has her fans. She's a 16-year-old princess who was trapped in an amulet for 41 years, before being unleashed just in time to save her kingdom from an evil sorceress. She wants to rule with a fair and compassionate hand but, as we soon discover, that isn’t always so easy. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Elena is very much a modern Disney princess. She’s a leader, a fighter, and has a really great wardrobe. She also happens to be Disney’s first Latinx princess, hailing from the fictional country of Avalor, created to be a blend of Latin cultures and beliefs. For example, we see her celebrate the Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos. An incredible amount of thought and care has gone into this series, which is why it can stand tall next to the likes of Brave or Moana. 

26. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988)

best Disney TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The reason there’s a “new” in the title is because the show follows on pretty directly from the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (and the handful of shorts that came after it). Inspired by A.A. Milne’s stories, it follows our beloved bear as he wanders aimlessly through the Hundred Acre Woods, doling out zen catchphrases and getting his curvaceous behind stuck in various burrows and tree stumps. Everyone’s favourites are here, from Eeyore to Tigger, while it remains the only series to regularly feature Christopher Robin as a character. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The series is a near-perfect continuation of the stories we all know and love. It just has such a calming presence. It’s like a big hug from someone wearing a fuzzy jumper or a cup of tea on a blustery day. In fact, Winnie the Pooh was giving us hygge long before it was popular.

25. The Incredible Hulk - Series (1996)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The Incredible Hulk may have only lasted for two seasons, but it certainly didn’t skimp on action. We start off with Bruce Banner on the run from General Ross, while also in search of a cure so that he can finally separate himself from his big, green, and angry alter ego. By the time season two rolled around, however, She-Hulk’s role was beefed up and the show’s named was changed to The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. That coincidentally makes it pretty good homework for those wanting to study up before Disney Plus drops its own live-action She-Hulk series.

Why it’s worth a watch: The Incredible Hulk is a fairly faithful translation of the source comics, not only in its look, but in the many cameos from familiar heroes. We get appearances from Iron Man, Thor, War Machine, Doctor Strange, and the Fantastic Four – all characters that even the most casual of Marvel fans are now sure to recognise. The cherry on top, however, is Lou Ferrigno’s returns as the voice of the Hulk, having famously played him in the '70s live-action series. 

24. Timon & Pumbaa (1995)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Set after the events of The Lion King, the series follows the pair on a whole new host of comical misadventures, with Simba occasionally dropping by to set them back on the straight and narrow. If he’s not available, you might get Rafiki, Zazu, or the hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed) instead. While most of the action takes place on the African plains, the show is notable for sending them out on a number of international tours, with stops in both Canada and Antarctica. Although Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella initially returned to voice Timon and Pumbaa, Lane was later replaced by Kevin Schon and then Quinton Flynn. 

Why it’s worth a watch: As this year’s live-action remake of The Lion King showed, Timon and Pumbaa are absolute scene-stealers. The show works as a Disney-branded riff on the Looney Tunes, leaning heavily into slapstick comedy and surreal logic (how do you think they got to Canada?). It also serves as a mini-precursor to the Lion King 1 ½, a deeply underrated sequel.

23. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Riverdale fans will already be familiar with one of the stars of Suite Life, Cole Sprouse, who here got his start alongside his twin brother Dylan. The duo play Zack and Cody, while the basic premise of the show revolves around the question, “How cool would it be to live in a hotel?” The answer is very cool, as it allows you to get up to all sorts of hijinks. The show also features a Paris Hilton parody in the form of Brenda Song’s London Tipton and a role for High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale. 

Why it’s worth a watch: It’s unashamedly goofy, fulfilling the childish fantasy of having no rules and no limitations. These kids run riot. It’s like the hotel turns them into non-murderous, sugar-fuelled little Jack Torrances. It’s definitely miles away from Jughead “I’m a weirdo” Jones, but it’s the kind of fluff that is pure Disney Channel. 

22. Muppet Babies (2018)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Now, admittedly, this is not the Muppet Babies of the '80s. We’re talking a CGI reboot that even adds a brand-new character, Summer the penguin. But the concept is still the same, with young versions of the classic Muppet characters all living together in a nursery. They’re cared for by Miss Nanny, whose face we never see and who never seems to let them go anywhere (or see their parents). But the Muppet Babies use their imaginations to travel far from the boundaries of their playroom, on grand and exciting adventures. 

Why it’s worth a watch: As different as it might seem from the original show, the new Muppet Babies still holds on to the two most important features: the doo-wop theme and the overbearing sense of cuteness. Every generation deserves their own Muppet Babies, especially since the Muppets at large could use a little boost in popularity at the moment – Disney Plus has already announced it’s cancelling one of its planned series with the characters.

21. Star Wars Resistance (2018)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: While the animated shows of the past have focused largely on the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy, Star Wars Resistance takes place right before, and then runs parallel to, the new sequels. Its protagonist is Kazuda Xiono, a pilot recruited by the Resistance and asked to spy on the comings and goings of the First Order. Although it’s got a whole new cast of characters, there are still appearances from familiar faces like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), and BB-8. 

Why it’s worth a watch: As the newest of the Star Wars animated shows, it doesn’t quite have the same levels of fandom surrounding it - but just wait and see. It was, after all, still created by Dave Filoni (who’s also behind Clone Wars and Rebels). It’s also interesting in how it diverges from the usual stories about the Jedi Order, meaning that, like Rogue One, we get to see how ordinary people in the Resistance get by. Kazuda’s high-flying antics definitely have a touch of Top Gun to them, too.

Click through to Page 2 for more of the best shows on Disney Plus

20. Gravity Falls (2012)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Created by Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls blends the nostalgic feeling of long summer days with the thrill of the supernatural. So, it’s like Stranger Things, but also nothing like Stranger Things. Twins Dipper and Mabel are dropped off in a remote town in order to spend their vacation with their great uncle Stan Pines (otherwise known as Grunkle Stan). Soon enough, they start unravelling a few of the local mysteries. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Gravity Falls is Disney’s contribution to the modern era of original children’s programming – the kind that’s proven as addictive for adults as it is for kids. It’s a spiritual sibling to the likes of Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball. The show’s success is also partially down to how brilliant its voice cast is, with the likes of Kristen Schaal, Jason Ritter, Linda Cardellini, and J.K. Simmons all on board. And, since it only lasted two seasons, the show actually delivered on an overarching mystery that was conclusively solved by the last episode. 

19. Darkwing Duck (1991)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The avian world’s answer to Batman, Darkwing Duck is set in an entirely different universe to DuckTales, despite there being several crossover characters. Darkwing, the secret identity of Drake Mallard, always does the right thing in the end, but does struggle a little too much with keeping his ego in check. He’s joined by a loyal sidekick in the form of Launchpad McQuack – a lovable, but dimwitted pilot who also happens to Darkwing’s number one fan.

Why it’s worth a watch: Darkwing Duck may have been a staple of Disney’s afternoon lineup in the '90s, but it was also of a slightly different breed to the rest. While DuckTales and Talespin work as broad adventure stories, Darkwing was created as a parody of the pulp heroes and comic book characters of the '30s and '40s. Even the city of St. Canard was clearly based on Gotham City. It’s a silly, light-hearted homage to the past greats.

18. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (2019)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Any streaming service worth its salt is pointless without a good cooking show. It fulfils our base desires to watch delicious meals be prepared, all while we shove fistfuls of Doritos into our mouths and wipe the cheese dust on our sweatpants. Thankfully, Disney Plus is here to deliver. Gordon Ramsay’s globe-trotting National Geographic show sees him travel across the world, from Laos to Alaska, in order to broaden his own horizons as a chef. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Ramsay got a lot of unfavourable comparisons to Anthony Bourdain (who passed away in 2018) for this. Yet, while Bourdain was always an expert in international cuisine, Ramsay presents himself here as more flawed in his learning. He has to deconstruct his own preconceptions and be open to learning from others. He reluctantly eats bugs and struggles to navigate through the harsh environments he visits. For a chef known mostly for yelling at people, it’s the humbling his image needed. 

17. Even Stevens (2000)

best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The legacy of Even Stevens probably begins and ends with the fact that it made Shia LaBeouf a star. He plays Louis, a prank king who’s gross and endearing in equal measure. He often clashes with his older sister Ren, an overachiever with zero time for nonsense. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Your view of the series may have been warped if you’ve caught this year’s Honey Boy, which was partially inspired by LaBeouf’s experiences as a child actor. In later life, the actor suffered from PTSD and alcoholism. But it was always obvious from Even Stevens that he was destined for big things, too: his comic timing is impeccable, even if it’s something he’s never revisited much in his later career. Even Stevens was always one of the Disney Channel’s funniest shows. It’s just a shame that it was cancelled after it passed the 65-episode limit – a weird, slightly nonsensical rule imposed by the network. 

16. Kim Possible (2002)

Best Disney Plus TV shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Life as a teenager is already a lot to handle. It only gets worse when you add in all the responsibilities of being an international spy. Thankfully, Kim is helped along the way by her best friend Ron Stoppable (largely ineffectual, but he tries) and his pet naked mole rat Rufus. She even has her own dedicated arch-enemies in the form of Dr. Drakken and his sidekick Shego. Last year, the show spawned a live-action adaptation and it remains one of Disney’s most popular shows, despite ending in 2007. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Kim has really earned her place as one of TV’s greatest onscreen heroines. She’s smart, she kicks ass, but still faces all the same problems and obstacles that every teen goes through. And she’s a true post-feminist: tough as nails, but still the pretty, popular cheerleader-type. Kim can really have it all – and that includes fighting in a crop top. But the show is also refreshingly funny and self-aware, offering a rare acknowledgment of the huge role the internet had started to play in teens’ lives. 

15. TaleSpin (1995)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Look, TaleSpin makes absolutely no sense. It’s just that '90s kids learned not to question it. Inspired by the classic film Casablanca, it casts The Jungle Book’s Baloo (whose full name is now Baloo von Bruinwald XIII) as a bush pilot whose air cargo freight business is acquired by the sharp, hotheaded Rebecca Cunningham. The pair spend their time fighting off air pirates, while maintaining the scintillating chemistry of the screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s.

Why it's worth a watch: It’s TaleSpin’s unabashed weirdness that made it work so well. It had the same appetite for adventure as the likes of DuckTales and Rescue Rangers, while its weirdly precise historical setting (around 1938) did well to sell the idea that this was basically Indiana Jones with talking animals. It’s something we never asked for, but definitely won’t say no to now. 

14. X-Men: Evolution (2000)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Like an X-Men version of the Muppet Babies, the series sees many of our favourite mutant heroes aged down to teenagers (with the notable exceptions of Professor X, Wolverine and Storm). They spend most of their time battling Magneto, as usual, while season 3 has mutants become public knowledge. It lets the show delve into the themes of prejudice that underpin the comics. There’s even a big face off with Apocalypse, who’s looking a lot less surly than Oscar Isaac’s version. 

Why it’s worth a watch: While it’s less fondly remembered than the X-Men series of the '90s, it’s still very much a worthwhile watch. The show actually benefits from resisting the impulse to stay absolutely faithful to the comics. Instead, it has fun. It plays around with the characters and their appearances. X-Men: Evolution also happens to be responsible for the creation of X-23, who soon made her way to the comics and then on to 2017’s Logan. 

13. Hannah Montana (2005)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The genesis of pop star and controversy hoarder Miley Cyrus, the show teases the thrills of living a double life. By day, she’s just your average American schoolgirl, Miley Stewart. By night, she’s top-selling recording artist, Hannah Montana. The show seemed dedicated to building Cyrus’ own brand image, since she basically played herself and roped in her own dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, to star as the show’s patriarch. There’s no doubt about it  it was a wildly successful enterprise. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The idea that people wouldn’t know that Miley and Hanna are the same person, considering the only difference between them is a blonde wig, is downright hilarious. Apparently Clark Kent’s glasses were just too much of a convincing disguise for these people. But that’s the charm of this show. It’s so unabashedly positive, nice,  and silly that it’s no wonder that so many people have admitted to it being a guilty pleasure. 

12. Gargoyles (1994)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: The dark horse of Disney’s afternoon programming, the series imagines that New York’s gargoyles, perched high above the city, come to life at night. In fact, back in the 1st century AD, they all lived freely and happily over in Scotland. Then the humans swooped in, hunted them down, and cursed them to a stony sleep – one they’ve finally woken up from thousands of years later and in a strange new world. As they adjust to the modern pace of life, they find the time to take down a bad guy or two. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Sat side-by-side with the likes of DuckTales and TaleSpin, it’s clear Gargoyles was never going to be as big a hit. Its stories were on an epic scale, drawing from British folklore and Shakespeare’s tragedies, especially Macbeth. Its tone was often dark and gothic. But it’s those same ingredients that have garnered it quite the cult following (director Jordan Peele is a fan and has even expressed interest in directing a live-action version). 

11. Boy Meets World (1993)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: It’s a true throwback to the era when cute boys with curtained hair ruled the world. Fans watched Cory Matthews navigate the perils of high school and make it all the way to college, thanks to the help of his best friend Rider, love interest Topanga, and neighbour and teacher (later principal) Mr. Feeny. 

Why it’s worth a watch: In a way, it was the starting point for Disney’s empire of teen sitcoms. Without Cory and Topanga, there surely wouldn’t have been a Lizzie, Hannah, or Raven. But, more importantly, it’s one of the first teen shows that feels genuinely relatable to its audience. Cory is just a normal kid doing his best to get by. He isn’t particularly smart or popular, nor is he hiding some kind of secret – he isn’t a spy or a vampire behind closed doors. The world around him isn’t always perfect: there are serious discussions of child abuse, poverty, sexual harassment, and alcoholism. And that honesty can mean a lot to a teen looking for a little guidance. 

Click through to Page 3 for more of the best shows on Disney Plus

10. Lizzie McGuire (2001)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: A direct spiritual descendant of Boy Meets World, Lizzie McGuire similarly deals with an average girl who wants more than anything to become popular. The difference here is that we occasionally get to climb inside her head thanks to an animated alter ego, who’s there to rhapsodise about all the highs and lows of tween life. Lizzie McGuire is making a big splash on Disney Plus thanks to a new revival, so expect to hear a whole lot more from her and the tiny person living inside her head. Hilary Duff will reprise her role as Lizzie, now a millennial fashion designer in New York.

Why it’s worth a watch: The animated Lizzie is less of a gimmick than it seems. It helps deepen the character by making her immediately vulnerable – we know that her miniature self is always just seconds away from spilling the beans when it comes to Lizzie’s true emotions. But Lizzie also appeals because of her inherent niceness. It's probably the purest of all the Disney shows, so let's hope the 2019 version follows suit. 

9. Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers (1989)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: What if Indiana Jones and Magnum PI teamed up, but were also chipmunks? It’s a question that no one in history has ever asked except for the creators of Rescue Rangers, who nabbed Mickey’s pals Chip ‘n Dale and made them the owners of a detective agency that specialises in miniature crimes. It made about as much sense as TaleSpin, with the heroes here also going on weekly adventures that seemed to draw from the old adventure serials of the '30s and '40s. 

Why it’s worth a watch: It has the second catchiest theme tune of all the Disney cartoons (hopefully number one is obvious). But, more than that, the Indy-Magnum PI mashup actually works surprisingly well as an odd couple situation. Chip, with his fedora, is the more serious of the two, while Dale is goofier and sports a Hawaiian shirt. Plus, it was really boosted by the supporting characters, including the extremely Australian Monty and quick-thinking Gadget. 

8. Star Wars Rebels

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The story: The series is set five years before A New Hope, at a time when the Empire is ruthlessly hunting down Jedi after the execution of Order 66, all while the first sparks of rebellion start to take form. Ezra, a street urchin with force abilities, comes under the guidance of Kanan. Together they form the crew of the rebel ship Ghost alongside Hera, its crack pilot, and Sabine, a Mandalorian and a former bounty hunter.

Why it’s worth a watch: The most recent Star Wars animated shows have been a massive success thanks to the immense talent and intense geekery of one Dave Filoni – the creator behind Rebels, Clone Wars, Resistance, and the web series Forces of Destiny. He also happens to be directing two episodes of The Mandalorian. In short, he’s a kind of Yoda figure in the fandom. It’s his dedication that makes Rebels feel like such an authentic part of the Star Wars universe. It’s just so rich, from its characters to its storylines. 

7. Recess (1997)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Recess (for UK readers, that means break time) throws together a bunch of misfit fourth-graders, as they struggle against the microcosm of society presented to them on the school playground. It’s a place filled with strict laws and codes, ruled over by the ruthless sixth-grader named King Bob. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Not only are the characters instantly likeable (Spinelli for president), but Recess seems thematically complex for a kid’s TV show. The way the opening titles parody The Great Escape is a good indicator of what the series is aiming for: a smart satire about the suppression of the individual by society. Everyone is broken down into their cliques, from the popular girls to the (possibly) cannibalistic tribe of kindergartners. It’s a place where the biggest rebellion of all is just being yourself. 

6. Phineas and Ferb (2007)

Best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Like many of the shows on this list, Phineas and Ferb is all about siblings hatching up harebrained schemes. In this case, the biggest threat to their success is their sister Candace (this universe appears to contradict the wisdom of “snitches get stitches”, as Candace remains unharmed throughout the show’s entirety). While the kids keep busy, their pet platypus Perry has a sideline career as a secret agent. 

Why it’s worth a watch: The show was once described by its co-creator Dan Povenmire as a cross between SpongeBob SquarePants and Family Guy (he’s worked on both). It blends the former’s silliness with the latter’s love of pop culture. This careful balance is what makes the show such a cross-generation hit. There’s something for everyone, all tied together by the sweet, affecting way Phineas and Ferb’s relationship – as two step brothers – is represented. 

5. That's So Raven (2003)

best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: That’s So Raven is best described as mildly supernatural, hitting a midpoint between Lizzie McGuire and Wizards of Waverly Place. Our hero Raven has psychic abilities but, unlike most pop culture physics, she doesn’t go crazy and start killing verybody. Instead, she mainly uses her powers to help out her family and advance her career as an aspiring fashion designer. 

Why it’s worth a watch: That’s So Raven is the undisputed peak of Disney Channel sitcoms. So much so, it convinced the network to finally discard with their bizarre rule of limiting every series to 65 episodes. It’s a winner partially because of the chemistry between Raven Symone and her onscreen friends, played by Anneliese Van Der Pol and Orlando Brown. But, more importantly, Symone herself is a delight in every second she occupies the screen. She can sell goofy physical comedy like no nobody else.

4. DuckTales (1987 and 2017)

best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: We don’t talk enough about Donald Duck’s Scottish heritage. So, thank you to DuckTales for bringing us that reminder in the form of Scrooge McDuck – an eccentric billionaire who hasn’t yet been crushed to death from repeatedly diving into a pool of solid gold coins. He’s obsessed with maintaining his status as “the richest duck in the world”, which doesn’t give him much time to look after his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, foisted on to him after Donald decided to join the US Navy (of course). 

Why it’s worth a watch: DuckTales (woohoohoo!) not only has one of the catchiest theme tunes to have ever been created, but it was also the reliable highlight of Disney Afternoon’s line-up. It’s a series filled with escapist adventures and globe-trotting intrigue. There are vikings, knights, pirates, and ghosts - who knows who we’ll meet and where we’ll go. And it’s great to see that same sense of ingenuity maintained for the new reboot, which will be available alongside the original series.

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Although things were first kicked off with a 2008 feature film, the series has since carried on the story of The Clone Wars, filling in the three year-gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Both Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi feature prominently as characters, as they lead the Republic against the Separatist forces first brought together by former Jedi Count Dooku. Although many thought the show had ended for good in 2014, it’s since been revealed that the seventh and final season will stream exclusively on Disney Plus. 

Why it’s worth a watch: It’s all down to Asohka. It’s pretty astounding that a character from an animated spin-off series has slowly grown into one of the most popular Star Wars characters of all time. She’s a hero with enough of a concrete sense of right and wrong that she’s able to question the very establishment she yearned to be a part of, making the choice to leave the Jedi Order because she no longer believes in the nobility of its practices. It’s an incredible piece of drama and an interesting way to muddy the waters without throwing out the entire concept of the light and dark side.

2. X-Men (1992)

best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Can we call it the ultimate X-men TV series? It’s relatively faithful in copying the look and feel of the comics at the time (specifically those drawn by Jim Lee), while making use of a familiar lineup: Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, and Professor X. Although a lot of the stories are completely original, the show isn’t fraid to dip in and out of the source material – it arguably features the best onscreen adaptation of the Dark Phoenix storyline (sorry, Famke Janssen and Sophie Turner). 

Why it’s worth a watch: First off, it has a killer theme. The animation may have been on the cheap and cheerful side, but it nailed the thrilling action of the comics. It also committed to a more serious tone that didn’t feel overly grim, while also avoiding the kind of cutesy gimmicks that feel like they’ve been created just to sell toys. It was unique at the time for having multi-episode arcs, which not only had a major influence on Saturday morning TV, but even helped pave the way for the live-action movies. 

1. The Simpsons (1989)

best Disney Plus shows

(Image credit: Disney)

The show: Does one of the longest-running and most popular TV shows of all time really need explaining? We know the Simpsons – Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie – well. They’re the ultimate dysfunctional family and a snapshot of American lower-middle class life throughout the decades. Across over 650 episodes, there are very few cultural touchstones that The Simpsons hasn't covered (as famously pointed out by the South Park episode “The Simpsons already did it”). 

Why it’s worth a watch: With it's incredible first 11 seasons being arguably some of the best television of all time, The Simpsons takes the top place on the best shows on Disney Plus. Admittedly, the show isn’t quite the titan that it used to be. Most people would agree that it’s been steadily declining in quality over the past few years (and the recent controversy over the character Apu certainly hasn’t helped to rectify its reputation). But The Simpsons still changed the face of television, ushering in a new era of smart, witty, and adventurous comedy writing. 

It’s more well-known episodes have become integrated into our culture and into our language, to the point that you can barely make it through a day now without someone in your life trying to drop a reference (unless, of course, that person is you). And now it’s all here on Disney Plus, which is a little ironic considering many people reacted to the news of Disney’s ever-expanding monopoly with the line, “I, for one, welcome our new rodent overlords.” 

Looking for more to stream? Then check out the best movies on Disney Plus.