Disney’s catalog runs deep. As deep as the ocean. As deep as the Mariana Trench!! When you don’t know what to watch, a safe bet is to head for the House of Mouse. Let this massive media conglomeration cradle you in its loving arms with both your favorite nostalgia binges or today’s hottest movie franchises.
In even more heart-warming news, you can float away into this endless sea of Disney content while still supporting women in Hollywood! Some of the best and most popular shows on Disney+ were created, written, directed, and/or produced by female-identifying creatives. We’ve compiled our favorites below in no particular order so you can fully submerge yourself in top-notch TV. No need to hold your breath!
After the high-octane events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, the people were clamoring for more Marvel-y goodness, and 2021’s WandaVision delivered, albeit with a twist. We’d last seen Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, when she was forced to kill her own husband Vision (Paul Bettany) in an attempt to keep Thanos from, well, destroying half the universe. When WandaVision begins, the Scarlet Witch is suddenly living in a ‘50s sitcom, and her husband is very much alive. What gives?
WandaVision is a stylish, mind-bending puzzle that takes its time, making it a unique entry in the action-packed MCU. Created by Jac Schaeffer (Black Widow), this mini-series focuses not on the world ending but on one person’s grief. Of course, this person does happen to be one of the most powerful beings in all existence, but grief is grief, and WandaVision resonated a whole lot with viewers who were feeling the effects of the pandemic in a major way.
2. The Owl House
Teenager Luz Noceda (voiced by Sarah-Nicole Robles) doesn’t fit in. So when she has the opportunity to skip a summer camp all about conformity and instead sneak off to a magical fantasy world with flying brooms and adorable demon dogs, you bet your butt she’s going to take it! Under the tutelage of an irreverent wacky witch named Eda the Owl Lady (the inimitable Wendie Malick), Luz attempts to learn to use magic herself, and starts the adventure she’s always dreamed of having.
The Owl House, created by Dana Terrace (Gravity Falls), is a cheeky, zany comedy that’ll charm the whole family. What’s more, the series has been lauded for its LGBTQ representation. It was the first Disney project with a same-sex couple in leading roles!
3. Obi-Wan Kenobi
What was our favorite Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, doing for all those years in between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode I: A New Hope? Turns out, a lot more than just sitting in that cave! Though he starts the series hiding from Imperial Inquisitors (Jedi hunters), stalking a 10-year-old Luke Skywalker, and moping about the desert, he eventually leaves his Tatooine hideout to rescue a young Leia, kidnapped in an attempt to suss out his own location. (Yes, yes — It’s a trap!!!)
Obi-Wan Kenobi, directed entirely by Deborah Chow, is both soulful and exciting. It has classic Star Wars lightsaber battles and whimsical gags, but it also sets itself apart with its thoughtfulness, using Kenobi’s relationship with Darth Vader (née Anakin Skywalker) to explore the aftermath of betrayal.
4. Ms. Marvel
Credit: ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
If Marvel Studios’ ongoing Phase Four has been defined by big swings, Ms. Marvel‘s may be the biggest.
The coming-of-age story follows Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani American teen, who calls Jersey City home. This is Marvel’s take on the magical realism of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, with Kamala’s inner life expressed visually on the screen as she contends with overprotective parents, high school life, and squaring her traditional Muslim upbringing with her modern teen existence. Also, there are superpowers.
Created by Bisha K. Ali, Ms. Marvel stands out among other MCU fare for taking the time upfront to dive deep with its central characters, and for doing all of that through the perspective of an in-universe superhero fan. Kamala, for all the uniquely individual elements that shape her daily life, is just like the rest of us. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter *
5. Diary of a Future President
Created by Ilana Peña and executive produced by Gina Rodriguez, Diary of a Future President is a warm and charming series about a 13-year-old Cuban-American girl who dreams of being the President of the United States. Though we are told through flash-forwards that she eventually achieves her goals, she needs to learn a few life lessons first here in the present. This delightful series has been praised for its diversity, its talented cast, and its inspirational tone.
6. What If…?
What If…? double dips for its Marvel thrills, serving up a series of fan wish-fulfillment stories that playfully redefine our understanding of the MCU while also, in secret, building toward a knockdown finish that ties to the big picture.
The rotoscoped animation is gorgeous to look at, and getting just a few more adventures with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is a real gift. But the biggest victory of head writer A.C. Bradley’s What If…? is how much it becomes a product of the MCU in hindsight, and only by first completely deconstructing what we know about our favorite characters and stories. — A.R *
7. Lizzie McGuire
With a long-awaited reboot currently dead in the water, we’re forced to get our Lizzie McGuire fix the old-fashioned way — rewatching the original! Hilary Duff’s career was launched overnight by this charming Disney Channel comedy about a teen girl navigating junior high’s everyday dramas — while a little cartoon version of herself provides pithy commentary throughout.
Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Miranda (Lalaine) were dream best friends, and Lizzie’s younger sibling Matt (Jake Thomas) was a hall-of-famer, when it comes to annoying little brothers. The series, created by Terri Minsky, radiated warmth and treated Lizzie’s relatively minor problems with the reverence that any teenager would at the time. To this day, it’s a pure delight, through and through.
How to watch: Lizzie McGuire (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Disney+.
8. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Credit: © 2022 MARVEL.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is another exciting superhero origin romp, but it’s also a competent legal comedy that grapples with the real-life consequences of a world where some people have, you know, superpowers.
The always-superb Tatiana Maslany stars as Jennifer Walters, an ambitious Los Angeles lawyer who happens to be Bruce Banner’s cousin. After accidental exposure to Banner’s blood, she develops her own strong, angry Hulk. But, being a woman, she’s had far more experience managing her emotions than her male cousin. Determined to continue her law career despite occasionally turning green, Walters accepts a job as an attorney for superhuman clients. Let the games begin!
Created and written by Jessica Gao and directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, She-Hulk is a bright and bubbly comedy with plenty of cameo appearances and a surprisingly adult sense of humor for both Disney and Marvel.
9. All the Same… Or Not
Carol (Giselle Fernandez) is your typical teenager grappling with big changes in her life. At school, she’s trying to figure out her friendships, her first romantic relationship, and how to be her best self. She doesn’t have time to also deal with her mom’s impending marriage or make friends with her new stepbrother! All the Same… Or Not (aka Tudo Igual… Só Que Não) is a fresh Brazilian comedy-drama based on the book by Luly Trigo, who is also a writer on the series, and produced directly for Disney+. It’s a bright, honest, and engaging series that already has a second season in production.
10. Boy Meets World
One reason Boy Meets World, created by April Kelly and Michael Jacobs, remains such an enjoyable watch is because of its small and relatable stories. Its strength is in its containment. Cory Matthews, played by Ben Savage, isn’t trying to save the world from destruction; he’s trying to survive middle school — and that’s enough!
Alongside his friends Shawn (Rider Strong) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel), and under the tutelage of teacher and neighbor Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), Cory navigates the highs and lows of being a kid, and later an adult, as the show follows him through college. (Quite literally, he is a boy meeting the world.) Originally airing on ABC, Boy Meets World tackles a number of sensitive subjects — bullying, domestic abuse, and racism to name a few — but this truly lovely show never feels like an after-school special. *
11. Jessica Jones
Created by Melissa Rosenberg, Jessica Jones was the first entry in the MCU’s The Defenders origin shows, all of which boast a much darker tone than the current Marvel fare.
Moody, alcoholic, and struggling with past trauma, the physically super-strong Jessica Jones has given up being a hero and now only drinks, sleeps, and occasionally works as a private investigator. Unfortunately, a stubborn moral compass (and a stubborn best friend!) keeps drawing her back into the “saving people” gig, as much as she tries to walk away from it all.
Krysten Ritter is magnetic as the angry and tortured Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss is sublime as her ruthless lawyer, and David Tennant is truly terrifying as the ex-boyfriend from hell. A great watch whether you’re a Marvel fan or you just like a juicy, gripping drama.
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