What are the coolest box sets and best shows to watch on Disney+ Star channel?
If you haven’t been in a coma for the past few weeks, you’ll know that Disney+ expanded this week with the launch of Disney Star content as part of your subscription. But what are the best shows to watch?
If you’re looking for other box set recommendations you might like these posts:
- 40 Box Sets to see before you’re 40
- 25+ Hallmark movies to see in the UK
- 20 Best Documentaries to Stream this Weekend
- Best 80s movies to watch with your kids
Best Shows to Stream on Disney+ Star
I’ve taken a good look at the Disney Star catalogue, which includes 75 new TV shows and 276 new movies. And today I’m sharing my absolute pick of the best shows to watch on Disney+ Star, because you know that I love a great new box set. And I know that you also love a great new box set.
There are a few weird gaps. Like – if Disney Star is basically taking content from Hulu and putting it on Star, where is the Amazing Race? All 29 seasons are available on Hulu and it would have been amazing to have them finally available on a UK platform. Also – Felicity, one of my favourite early JJ Abrams shows – is available on Disney+ Star in Australia but not the UK. Grrr.
That said there are plenty of top shows and box sets to binge on Disney+ Star and here are what I think are the best shows to watch on Disney+ Star:
Sometimes what you really need is a multi-generational family drama with lots of mafia types and rich people doing glamorous and slightly evil things.
And that’s when you need Trust. Based on the Getty dynasty, this show is a grown-up drama with a stellar cast (Donald Sutherland, Hillary Swank, Brendan Fraser). The story kicks off in the early 1970s with the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and how the family responded. There’s also a cracking soundtrack if you’re a fan of Bowie et al.
If you liked the Godfather (and possibly Downton Abbey), then you’ll love this – season 1 is now available to stream on Disney+ Star.
The Hot Zone
Like many of us, I’ve devoured all the pandemic movies on Netflix.
But now I’m a bit obsessed with the Hot Zone, which is a dramatic retelling of Ebola arriving in the US. It’s another series with a really strong cast (anyone else loved Juliana Marguiles since ER?) and grown-up storylines. The series is made by National Geographic and it’s said to be “inspired” by true events, rather than being strictly factual – which is probably a bonus, because this seems like a lot more fun than Ebola probably was in reality.
If you liked Contagion, then you’ll love this.
Once upon a time, there was no way to see The Fosters in the UK, and I was heartbroken when I watched the first series on US Netflix and came home to find I’d never know what happened next! Argh.
Fortunately, The Fosters has made its way onto Disney Star from Hulu, and this is a fabulous family show. The Fosters tells the story of a same sex couple who foster and adopt a bunch of kids, making for a family. This is very much a show in the mould of Party of Five – it’s warm and reassuring but a bit more up-to-date, tackling issues such as drugs, homophobia, miscarriage and unplanned pregnancy (but in a very 12+ sort of way).
This is honestly one of my all-time favourite comfort watches and if you loved Party of Five then I guarantee you’ll love this show (and the spin-off, too). Side note: the theme tune makes me cry.
If you’ve never heard of Firefly, then it’s easy to look at the photos and think it’s a serious sci fi show. It’s not.
This show came from Joss Whedon in his pre-Buffy days and it’s an anarchic space western. It’s funny and smart and packed with amazing one-liners. I’m not sure how important the story is but it’s about a space transporter ship that needs to move things around the galaxy after a civil war. There’s only one season of the show so it’s also a short commitment.
If you loved Spaced or Buffy, you’ll love Firefly.
Alias is a spy series starring professional goody two-shoes Jennifer Garner as a college student but part-time CIA agent who takes on amazing missions. This fun of this show is the secret life aspect (how do you NOT know your girlfriend is a secret spy?) and seeing Jennifer be a bona fide kick-ass female character.
This show was one of the first made by JJ Abrams and it has that warm feel to it that sits well on Disney+ Star. It’s not overly dark or violent so good for younger teens and hardy tweens. It’s not overly serious or dark – a bit like a cross between Quantico and Dawsons Creek.
The Valley of the Boom
One of the best shows to watch on Disney+ Star is the range of documentaries. This show is a really interesting drama/documentary hybrid that uses real documentary footage alongside a drama with an amazing cast that includes Josh from West Wing.
The Valley of the Boom tells the story of the heady rise of the Internet companies during the dot-com boom, it is a reasonable telling of what I think is one of the most exciting modern business stories. It’s a great show for learning how people like Bill Gates and Marc Andreessen shaped the Internet, and journalism, and content, and communities.
It’s a really interesting format, mixing drama with cut-away interviews with some of the real people involved in the story, and I think it works very well. Definitely a great option if you’re interested in just how bonkers this period of history was.
I have a bit of a soft spot for stories about people who die or disappear then reappear decades later, and cause chaos. So naturally I am there for it when there’s a show to stream on Disney+ Star.
Resurrection only made two series, which I think you need to know before you start watching because you’ll be left without a definitive answer at the end. If that bothers you, then avoid this one.
Otherwise this is a fairly interesting, slightly sentimental show that takes a more spiritual look at resurrection (as opposed to the more typical alien/zombie perspective). It’s a great sci-fi show that is perfect for you if you enjoy shows like Manifest or The Glitch or the Returned or… you get the idea)
You know how sometimes you just want a show that’s funny (but not necessarily hilarious) and gentle and nothing too shocking or bad or depressing is going to happen?
Raising Hope is that show. It’s stupid and childish but warm-hearted and charming. It tells the story of Jimmy, a new single Dad who has zero clue how to raise a child when he acquires one. Together with his family, they embark on a series of stupid adventures and white trash disasters. Someone described this as like a real-life Simpsons and I get it.
You’ll like this show if you like Malcolm in the Middle and (obvs) the Simpsons.
I wouldn’t ordinarily watch anything that seemed even vaguely Marvel-like, but I actually really enjoyed The Gifted. Set in one of those future worlds where some people have special gifts and are hunted down as a result, this show is about a family with two gifted teens, who have been living quietly in suburbia.
What are the odds? Something unexpected happens and one of the kids needs to use their powers and before you know it they’re all on the run and it’s quite a fun caper. I think the fact that this is about teens makes me like it more than proper superhero shows because teens are all about making stupid choices because this boy or that girl is hot.
If you liked The 100 or Marvel Runaways, you’ll like this one.
Feud: Betty and Joan
I’ve always loved the story of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their utterly bonkers feud. Side note: if you get a chance, do read the book about it by Shaun Considine, it’s amazing.
This mini-series has eight episodes making it very bingeable and tells the story of the famous feud between two of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. Both women are played brilliantly by Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, with a viciousness that you can feel. Amazing one-liners and astounding evil behaviour are perfect Sunday afternoon fare.
If you are at all interested in Hollywood history or women being completely evil to each other, it’s a brilliant watch.
What strikes me most about LA:92 is that although it’s about events that are 30 years old, they feel very current, especially after the BLM protests of 2020.
This documentary looks at the start of the LA riots in 1992, that were sparked by the death of Rodney King. It uses original broadcast and helicopter footage to look at how the riots happened – and how the media reported them. It’s a shocking watch that I’d only watch with older kids, but I think it’s a great entry into discussions around racism, police violence and public demonstrations.
A must watch for anyone with an interest in current affairs and understanding the issues around police racism and violence.
I was intrigued by this show because Ryan Phillipe is in it. And also it comes from David E. Kelley, who has a long history of making really good shows like LA Law and Big Little Lies.
It’s not quite as good as either of those shows but Big Sky takes an interesting look at kidnapping and human trafficking in a small remote town. It’s really pretty to look at and, while it lacks the humour of Big Little Lies, there are quirky small town characters and an attempt at a love triangle. But mostly it’s just a really effective mystery show.
If you and your teens loved the movie Love, Simon then you might want to check out this spin-off TV series that tells the story of Victor, who has come to the school that Simon attended and is also gay.
This show isn’t interested in getting too worried about anything complicated or difficult. It’s really a comforting rom-com-drama teen show with a protagonist who happens to be gay. And I’m here for that, because the point of Love Simon was that not every story about a gay person has to be super dramatic or dark or angsty.
This time around the hero is Victor, living a religious family on the wrong side of town, and the object of his affection, the adorable Benji. What I’d say is that if you go into this looking for a variation on Degrassi or Dawsons Creek then you won’t be disappointed. It’s an easy, comforting but slightly superficial watch.
Brothers and Sisters
Before there were the Randalls, there were the Bravermans. And before that, there were the Walkers.
Brothers & Sisters is a warm, involving family show that focuses on the Walker family. Rich and living in beautiful homes, they’re dealing with love and divorce and bereavement and they’re doing it all with a lovely orange glow and a soothing soundtrack.
Basically if you love This is Us and Parenthood and you haven’t seen Brothers & Sisters, I guarantee you’re going to love this show. It’s one of the best family drama shows on Disney Star (or anywhere).
What are your favourite shows on Disney Star?
So there you have it – my top shows to watch on Disney+ Star this Spring. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed your favourite!