The best TV shows on Disney Plus UKon May 3, 2023 at 13:59 Tech Advisor
Disney Plus has a phenomenal selection of TV shows, from exclusive originals like Star Wars: The Mandalorian and WandaVision to classic animated series including The Simpsons and Gargoyles.
That’s not even mentioning decades of Marvel cartoons, all the Star Wars animated series, loads of the best shows from the Disney Channel, a few Pixar spin-offs, and somehow even more besides, with a library that’s grown even bigger with the inclusion of Star, opening up a huge collection of shows from Hulu, FX, Fox, and more.
Luckily for you we’ve watched hours of the stuff, and here are the shows you shouldn’t miss – we’re keeping it updated every month too, with Marvel series She-Hulk and Star Wars show Andor among the latest additions.
The first season of Marvel animated anthology What If…? didn’t quite make the cut for us, and neither has Mandalorian spin-off The Book of Boba Fett or even Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is close but no cigar – but well worth watching if you make it through the rest of our ranking. We also enjoyed Star Wars animated mini-series Tales of the Jedi, but it’s not quite a must-watch.
If you’d prefer a film, then take a look at our picks of the best movies on Disney+. We’ve also rounded up the best TV shows on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Now TV.
Let’s be honest – this is what most people have come to Disney+ for in the first place. The Mandalorian is a live-action Star Wars spin-off by Jon Favreau. If you’d like to see a Western take on the biggest space franchise out there – and watch one of the cutest side-characters ever – then this is one to watch.
The third season has now wrapped up but a fourth feels likely, and multiple spin-off shows are coming too – including The Book of Boba Fett, which is already available on Disney+.
The first original Marvel show on Disney+ is a doozy. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany star as Avengers members Scarlet Witch and Vision, but this time around they’re the stars of their own ’50s sitcom. Which suddenly, becomes a ’60s sitcom, then moves to the ’70s… and why can’t either of them remember where they’re from or how they got here?
WandaVision is weird, wonderful, and not like any Marvel movie or show so far – plus it’s essential viewing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Netflix has Friends, Amazon has The Office, and Disney+ has The Simpsons. In the long run, this’ll be the most popular thing on the platform – and with more than 30 seasons worth of comedy to binge, there’s no chance you’ll run out any time soon. They’ve even fixed the aspect ratio so you can watch old episodes in the original 4:3.
Overwhelmed by the options? We’ve picked out the best Simpsons episodes ever to help you decide where to start.
This Marvel mini-series is another attempt to branch out from the superhero staples.
Newcomer Iman Vellani plays Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager in New Jersey who’s also a superhero obsessive herself. It’s while cosplaying as Captain Marvel that she discovers her own powers, awakened by an ancient bracelet.
The show is both a great exploration of a young, ground-level superhero dealing with small-scale threats, and an amazing look inside a community that’s always been under-represented in American TV. It helps that Vellani is a monumental talent, quickly elevating this to some of the most joyous Marvel output yet.
She’ll also appear alongside Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel this year in big screen outing The Marvels, so make sure you tune into the show to get caught up beforehand.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Dave Filoni’s CGI Star Wars series was always more than the kids’ cartoon it appears to be, but it’s since gone on to become the cornerstone of the modern Star Wars universe.
Not only did it spawn other animated series in Stars Wars Rebels, Resistance, and now Disney+ exclusive The Bad Batch, but characters that Clone Wars introduced are now key to The Mandalorian and its own upcoming spin-offs.
Over seven seasons and an introductory movie the show dug deep into the galaxy’s grandest conflict, building from a childish cartoon to something as intense and emotional as any of the films. It almost makes up for the prequels.
If you want even more, check out Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D shorts, billed on Disney+ as ‘Clone Wars 2D Micro-Series’. They’re a quick watch, but great fun.
Marvel’s strong form on Disney+ continued with Hawkeye, a Christmas-set mini-series that finds Clint Barton’s idyllic family life disrupted by his own past. Luckily he has Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop along for the ride, in a buddy comedy that doubles as a passing of the torch to set up the MCU’s next bow-based sharpshooter.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Like all of our favourite Marvel shows on Disney+, She-Hulk does something a little different. Starring Tatiana Maslany as Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer, this is both a superhero spectacular and a half-hour legal comedy with more than a few nods to ’90s classic Ally McBeal.
If the show has a fault it’s perhaps that it’s (over)stuffed with cameos from across the MCU, but it mostly pulls those off with aplomb, including one big guest appearance late in the first season. Throw in some Deadpool-esque fourth wall-breaking and the result is some of the funniest Marvel material in years, with a welcome feminist streak running right through the middle.
Tom Hiddleston’s Disney+ debut is a six-episode series devoted to his Marvellous take on the Norse god of mischief.
This spin-off follows a Loki captured by the Time Variance Authority – including Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius – and tasked with helping them to catch a killer threatening the safety of all space and time.
Needless to say things are not so straightforward, but across the series’ twists and turns we get a fascinating explanation of a character searching for his glorious purpose, and a whole lot of twisty Marvel lore too. There’s a second season coming soon too.
Another of Disney+’s Stars acquisitions, Atlanta originally aired on FX in the US. This comedy from Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino) follows an up-and-coming rapper in Georgia, but only takes that as a loose set-up to explore race in modern America (and beyond).
This is a show that’s not afraid to get weird, so expect surreal humour and a pretty loose narrative, but it’s well worth sticking with it.
Rogue One remains the odd-one-out of the Star Wars movies, but at least now it has some company in prequel series Andor.
Diego Luna is back as the eponymous Cassian Andor, here seen as he’s recruited by the Rebel Alliance and begins the journey that will eventually take him to Scarif and the Death Star plans.
It’s a touch darker than other Star Wars fare, but the real achievement here is a crystallised aesthetic, rock-solid casting, and an exploration of sides of the Empire and the Star Wars universe that we genuinely haven’t seen before.
Perhaps best of all, it’s confirmed that it will only run for two seasons in total, so you know exactly what you’re in for.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
A show that needs no introduction.
Disney+ has all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – and now its LA-set spin-off Angel too – and if you can get past some supremely ’90s styling there’s still a lot to love here.
Creator Joss Whedon has since been disavowed by many fans for alleged abusive behaviour, both on this set and others, but Buffy itself stands above that, and the series remains a high watermark for genre TV.
Anyone who’s ever seen Fox’s ‘90s X-Men series is already humming the theme tune to themselves while reading this – it’s impossible not to.
Probably the best thing to come out of the Disney/Fox merger is this – and the similar Spider-Man series – making it onto the Disney streaming service, thanks to its potent mix of golden era X-Men costumes, high melodrama, and totally rad guitar riffs.
Disney is even working on a ’90s-themed revival of the show due later this year, so there’s no better time to revisit the original.
Regular schlub Fry is accidentally cryogenically frozen and wakes up a thousand years into the future, into a world of aliens, robots, and most of the same mundane problems as the 21st century.
Matt Groening’s first show after The Simpsons may not have gone on to quite the same stratospheric success as its predecessor, but Futurama is just as sharp and well-written as The Simpsons’ best seasons – and at least it mostly ended on a high, even when it was revived years after the original few seasons.
All of Netflix’s Marvel TV shows have now moved to Disney+ – including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders – but the best of the bunch is clearly Daredevil.
The series that kicked off Netflix’s grim ‘n gritty corner of the Marvel universe, and so far the only one to survive (with both Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdoch and Vincent D’Onofrio’s antagonistic Kingpin appearing in recent MCU entries Hawkeye and She-Hulk, and a new Disney+ show for the pair on the way soon).
That makes it required viewing for the Marvel faithful, but you should really watch it anyway, as it offers layered characterisation, some interesting themes around faith and guilt, and the MCU’s best fight choreography yet.
For better or worse, Lost changed the face of American network television. It was perhaps the most influential show in the move away from episodic plots and towards serialised shows with arcs playing out not only through a season, but across several.
Yes, it got a bit silly. Yes, the ending was a disappointment. And no, they clearly hadn’t planned all the mysteries out from the beginning. But set that aside and the ride remains pretty spectacular.
Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter was always the best part of the first Captain America movie (sorry Chris, America’s ass earned its keep in the sequels) so it was a treat when she got her own show.
This short-but-sweet ‘50s-set series only ran for 18 episodes over two seasons, but a host of deep-cut Marvel references and James D’Arcy’s Edwin Jarvis make this one of the MCU’s best small-screen outings yet.
And with Peggy earning a new lease on life as Captain Carter in What If…? and Doctor Strange 2, why not revisit the show that made her a hit?
Disney had a bit of a golden age of TV animation in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with the likes of Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck, but our favourite of the era has to be Gargoyles.
This unexpectedly moody, gothic series feels like a Disney take on the same decade’s Batman series, boosted by a voice cast that’s a) great, and b) basically a giant Star Trek reunion for some reason.
Just skip season three, which is pretty pants if we’re being honest.
Welcome to Wrexham
No-one knew exactly what to expect when Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynolds and Hollywood not-quite-superstar Rob McElhenny (don’t hate us, we love It’s Always Sunny too) joined together and bought Welsh National League football team Wrexham, but a docu-series was probably a safe bet.
Welcome to Wrexham is a surprisingly touching look at the once-great team that’s now down in the dumps, helped along by focussing far more on its fans than its millionaire owners – or even the football.
You don’t have to be a fan of the beautiful game to appreciate this look at how much the local team means to the local community, or the optimism that runs right through it.
Star Wars: Visions
Star Wars: Visions is a little unlike the other Star Wars shows so far. It’s an anthology produced by a variety of animation studios.
The first season was made by Japanese animators, resulting in a series of shorts each exploring what happens when you mash Star Wars up against various anime tropes. Given the obvious Japanese influences on the original Star Wars movies, it’s fitting to give some anime masters the chance to put their stamp on the series, and the results are as charming as they are varied.
Season two spreads out even further, allowing studios around the globe to have a go, for an even more diverse spread of styles.
What We Do in the Shadows
When an American TV remake of Taika Waititi’s ace Kiwi horror mockumentary movie What We Do in the Shadows was announced, it was quite obviously a terrible idea. Except, somehow, against all the odds, it’s great. And not just great – better than the film.
A main cast of relative unknowns (Matt Berry excepted) play the central trio of vampire housemates, also joined by a fourth ‘energy vampire’, living in Staten Island and out of step with the modern world – their only link being their human familiar Guillermo.
This is comedy that’s unafraid to be dark, gory, and downright crude – but whip-smart too, and better than it has any right to be.