Disney Plus has a phenomenal selection of TV shows, from exclusive originals like Star Wars: The Mandalorian and WandaVision to classic animated series including Duck Tales 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 WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel among the latest additions. And now all the live-action Marvel series from Netflix – including Daredevil, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones – are on Disney+ too.
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, which has had an uneven first season, or Obi-Wan Kenobi which is close but no cigar – but well worth watching if you make it through the rest of our ranking.
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.
There are two seasons so far, with a third on the way in February 2023, and multiple spin-off shows 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.
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.
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.
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.
One of JJ Abrams’ earlier TV shows, Alias is an unhinged spy drama that kicked off Jennifer Garner’s career, set the groundwork for Lost’s mad mythology, and somehow secured a two-part Quentin Tarantino cameo.
Across five seasons Alias built up an increasingly extravagant backstory and mythos, but it’s the strong central cast and reliably entertaining Mission: Impossible-esque spycraft that really make it worth working your way through.
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. It’s confirmed to be getting a second season 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.
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, so there’s no better time to revisit it.
Star Wars: Clone Wars
But wait, I hear you ask – didn’t Clone Wars already appear on this list?
Yes and no. Dave Filoni’s long-running CGI series is great, but before that came Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D shorts, billed on Disney+ as ‘Clone Wars 2D Micro-Series’.
These stunning shorts explore smaller skirmishes and bits of backstory in bite-sized pieces – initially just a couple minutes each, with longer 12-minute episodes in the second season. They’re no longer considered canon, but don’t write them off – this is among the best Star Wars has ever been.
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, and a new Disney+ show for the pair on the way).
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.
There’s good odds you’ve never heard of Terriers, a single-season FX show that never found its audience.
But this off-beat crime dramedy, anchored by Michael Raymond-James and the phenomenal Donal Logue, was a critical darling and always deserved better.
Fans have long held hope for a follow-up movie or revival series, but for now the best you can do is simply take advantage of having all 13 episodes on Disney+.
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 in Japan, 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. Each running 10-20 minutes, expect to veer between cutesy stories of sci-fi rock bands and operatic tales of sibling rivalry on a galactic scale – with a few of the wildest lightsabre battles yet dotted around.
Disney has confirmed a second season is coming in 2023, so take the hint and watch the first series now.
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.
The only downside is that season 3 is still missing from the UK Disney+ for now, but it should be on the way before long.
Tech Advisor's Deputy Editor, Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.