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Disney+ Shows and Movie Reviews: What to Skip and What to Watch

Right now, Disney+ is mostly about old-school movies, but what about the new stuff? Here's a breakdown.

Disney

As of right now, the streaming game has seemingly been irrevocably changed by Disney+. Though the Disney+ offering of shows and movies will, initially, mostly consist of “library content” like old animated movies from the Disney vault, Star Wars movies, and assorted other live-action Disney classics, the platform is also poised to churn-out a whole bunch of original stuff, too. In the longterm, this means a lot of cool Marvel TV shows (like Loki and WandaVision) and a few Star Wars shows starring familiar faces (the Obi-Wan show and the Cassian Andor series.) But for now, at the launch of Disney+ on November 12, the original programming is just getting started.

So, of all the new Disney+ shows and movies which ones are worth watching and which ones should, you skip? Fatherly has seen a handful of the new shows ahead of time, so here’s our verdict on what to watch and what to skip come November 12.

NOTE: There are no spoilers below for any of the new Disney+ TV series or movies. 

The Mandalorian

We’ve seen it and, even though this was poised to be the next dark and gritty Star Wars was thing it’s really not that dark. If you wanted a Star Wars version of Ray Donovan; look elsewhere! The Mandalorian has heart and some huge surprises. It’s not the greatest thing in the world, but the twist ending of “Chapter 1” made the whole episode.

Skip it or watch it? WATCH IT

The extreme secrecy on the show combined with the twists makes watching it worth your time for the water cooler discussions alone.

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Encore!

This is a show about Kristen Bell rounding up adults who were once theater kids in high school, and forcing helping them to put on a new production of high school musicals they starred in when they were much younger. If you weren’t in or around the drama kids when you were in middle school or high school, this premise might sound a little weird, and if you were, you might find it to be grating. And yet, something about the genuineness of the series is watchable. It’s rare that a reality show isn’t about competition or freak-outs. This one is literally just about old friends getting back together and doing something pretty absurd.

Skip it or watch it? WATCH IT

Kristen Bell is endlessly watchable and the premise of the series is heartwarming enough to keep any cynic watching. At the very least, watch the show so you can understand your former-theater kid friends better.

Forky Asks A Question

The DIY spork toy from Toy Story 4 returns in a series of 3-minute-ish shorts in which he interrogates concepts that are actually kind of hard to explain to children. To be clear, this is not Ask the Storybots, it’s more like, a show in which Buster from Arrested Development asked child-like questions about money and friends. It’s cute. It’s also weird.

Skip it or watch it? WATCH IT

As Forky, Tony Hale continues to be the greatest comedy celebrity who is somehow now a children’s icon. Are the answers to Forky’s questions answered satisfactorily? Nope! But, when you’re having this much fun, it hardly matters.

Marvel’s Hero Project

This documentary series is all about kids acting as real heroes in their own communities. Produced by Marvel and Disney, this show is clearly designed to leverage the superhero brand and remind children that it’s not all about killing purple bad guys from outer space.

Skip it or watch it? WATCH IT
It’s not the most riveting show for adults to watch in their free time, but Marvel’s Hero Project has a lot of heart, and if parents were smart, they’d enthusiastically sit-down and watch this with their kids who are already Marvel fans. Sometimes it’s hard to sort of parse-out real-world messages from superhero epics, but this series does it brilliantly, and with real kids.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Did you watch High School Musical when it was on the Disney Channel? Nope, neither did I. Clearly, this is an example of Disney playing the base, which in this case means people obsessed with anything Disney puts out. I suppose high school kids might like it, but because everything about this show is so fake and cloying, maybe we should prevent high school kids from watching it?

Skip it or watch it? SKIP IT
Imagine a world where Glee was super-charged and really annoying. That’s this.

The Imagineering Story

The number one problem with learning anything new about the history of Disney is that Disney itself controls information really tightly. So, on the one hand, The Imagineering Story seems kind of interesting: A six-part Ken Burns-esque documentary series exploring the 75-year-history of Disney. And yet, because this documentary is made by Disney, there’s a whiff of state-sponsored propaganda here. Sure, there are some interesting tidbits, but overall, it’s arguable that the results of the Disney empire are more interesting than its origin story.

Skip it or watch it? PROBABLY SKIP IT

If you want to feel nostalgic about “the good old days” of Disney, by all means, watch this. In fairness, we didn’t see any of the episodes which e into Disney history that is closer to the present day, so who knows, some of that stuff from the ’80s might be interesting. Still, if you want an unflinching look at the history of Disney, maybe grab this excellent history book; A Mouse Divided by Jeff Ryan. You’ll probably finish the book in less than six yours.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Remember how funny it was when Jeff Goldblum first started popping up on Portlandia, like, almost a decade ago? Now imagine that version of Jeff Goldblum has his own low-key documentary series seemingly aimed at children. This is what The World According to Jeff Goldblum is: a series of episodes where Goldblum explores the origins of everything from sneaker culture to ice cream. The show is both deeply weird and oddly tame at the same time. It also comes across as disingenuous: It’s as though we’re supposed to believe Goldblum’s persona on Portlandia or in Wes Anderson movie is now his real personality, and that his unique voice cadence is somehow not-affected and he’s just like that. Watching him narrate this random documentary series is a little like watching the guys from The Trip do Michael Caine impressions, but it’s really Michael Caine, and he’s narrating a weird faux-version of Reading Rainbow. Again, if all of that sounds trippy, it is, but it’s also — somehow — not that interesting.

Skip it or watch it? SKIP IT

If you’ve got grade-school or tween who wants to watch a rando documentary series starring the weird-guy from Thor: Ragnorok, then, by all means. But if you’re an adult wanting a Jeff Goldblum fix, this is uneven and a little bit dull.

Pixar IRL 

This series is like if the show Billy on the Street were for little kids or adult Disney fans and the joke was just that someone has dressed-up as a Pixar character in real life. Oh, look, someone has convincingly dressed-up as the kid from Up. Hey, that seems to be Dash from The Incredibles, but a real kid. This feels like the kind of prank really boring people would think is funny. Hidden camera shows are supposed subversive, but this one just feels like a commercial for live-action viral ad campaigns that played out in real life. To be fair, we haven’t seen full episodes of this yet, but it feels pretty half-baked.

Skip it or watch it? SKIP IT

For now, we say skip it. The whole allure of Pixar is that it’s not in real life. Disney has been making all sorts of mistakes with wanting to turn beloved animated movies into live-action projects; and mostly, adults hate these things. Pixar IRL feels like a low-key way to market test the idea of Disney/Pixar making live-action versions of their best movies. Which, is a little gross?

MOVIES

Lady and the Tramp

This is a live-action remake of the classic 1955 dog cartoon. These days Tessa Thompson is playing “Lady” and Justin Theroux is “The Tramp.” Like many of the live-action Disney ventures, you may ask yourself: Was this necessary? The answer is, of course, no, but this one is charming in a way that the live-action Lion King was not. Somehow, the whole thing feels like a romantic comedy aimed at children, which, oddly is a sort of hard genre to crack. And yet, as with the 1955 movie, this one succeeds. A good snuggler to watch with the kids, or late at night with your significant other.

Skip it or watch it? WATCH IT

You could get cynical about the existence of this movie, but why bother? Unlike the other live-action Disney movies, the stakes feel lower here because you can watch this streaming from the day it is released. And, it turns out, those lower stakes let parents do something else when they’re watching: relax.

Fatherly will add more micro-reviews to this list as more Disney+ shows are released and we get new information. As of now, all these shows and movie(s) start streaming on November 12 when Disney+ launches. Here’s everything you need to know about how to sign-up and which plan to choose.