It has been a week since Disney+ has released and changed our lives for the better. With their original shows coming out on a weekly basis, I decided to give you some bite sized reviews about how the original shows are coming along so far and if we think they are worthy of being on your watchlist.
Let’s start with the BIG ONE.
With The Mandalorian being the first live-action Star Wars show, there was very little doubt that it wouldn’t perform very well on the platform.
With two episodes having been released so far, The Mandalorian, in my opinion, is FANTASTIC. Starting back with Rogue One, I’ve been interested in what happens between the episodic films in the Skywalker Saga. The Mandalorian, which takes place a little after Return of the Jedi, gives us a look at a bounty hunter, not Boba Fett, and his mission to track down this highly sought after bounty. Just so happens that this bounty is not what he thought it was.
In the Disney era for Star Wars, many have complained saying that there is just too much of it and too much of a good thing could sometimes make people get tired of it. While I do agree with that statement, The Mandalorian is fresh and exciting. The episodes aren’t super long like many shows of its kind. This isn’t a show where you go on your phone while you’re watching it. This show sucks you in, grabs your attention, and doesn’t let it go until after the credits have rolled.
If you haven’t seen the show yet, what are you waiting for! The bounty that the Mandalorian is seeking will make you even more excited for the next episode and for the rest of the series. it leads to an exciting journey and an internal battle for the Mandalorian. I’m sure you have seen the picture of a baby Yoda on Twitter or else where on the internet. If that doesn’t make you want to watch this show immediately, I don’t know what will.
The Mandalorian is definitely the best show on Disney+ right now.
Not far behind The Mandalorian for Best Show is…
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Ok, hear me out. While I wasn’t a HSM stan back when the first movie came out in 2006, I did enjoy the trilogy for what it was. I did not watch the Sharpay spin-off that went direct to DVD in 2011, but I don’t think anyone watched that.
Fast forward to D23 2019 where the cast of HSMTMTS took the stage and sang “We’re All In This Together” and stole the hearts of many in the crowd (including mine). Right from that moment, I knew that people would sleep on this show and not give it the time of day.
Now that I’ve actually seen the first two episodes available…
I stand by my statement, this show is AMAZING.
While I’m not fully drawn in by the East High students just yet, the drama teacher (Miss. Jenn) makes this show amazing. She mentions that she is a background dancer from the original movie and she is now the drama teacher for East High. She found it insane that East High has never put on High School Musical as their schools musical.
Miss Jenn obsesses over the original movies which causes a funny reaction from the students. The way we know their reactions? This show has the same style as The Office, where they have the confidentials to the camera and often share humorous facial expressions in the middle of the scene.
While there isn’t much singing in the show as of yet, their is an original song in the second episode that is amazing. The show does include some high school drama mostly based on the relationships between Nini, Ricky and EJ.
Nini and Ricky used to date, that all ended with Nini told Ricky she loved him and he didn’t respond with the same three words. While Nini was at theater camp, she met EJ who she is now dating. When it came time to cast the musical, Nini was cast as Gabriella and Ricky was cast for Troy, even though EJ was a shoe in for the role.
This show is definitely worth a watch and I look forward to this show releasing new episodes every Friday.
The third original show that I find fascinating is The Imagineering Story.
This show gives us a behind the scenes look at how Disney Parks were created. Using behind the scenes footage that many people have never seen before, this show brings us along on the journey that Walt and WED took to bring Disneyland to life in the first episode, along with the beginning plans of Walt Disney World, and their adventure to bring a Disney park to Japan.
This show will teach you so many things that you may have never known and it will introduce you to the masterminds that have brought you the rides and experiences that you love in Disney. Whether you are a huge Disney fan like myself, or you enjoy your Disney vacations when you take them, this show is informative and downright amazing. The behind the scenes footage will really blow your mind. You’ll get to see so many clips of WED looking at locations in Florida, building a prototype for the Space Mountain track, making the costumes for It’s a Small World. This show is super fascinating.
One scene in the first episode that made some Disnerds (Disney Nerd, like myself) tear up is when the original designer of the Matterhorn, Bob Gurr, takes us inside of the ride he was the creator of. Inside of the ride was a tiny basketball court, along with a wall filled with signatures of cast members past and present. When asked if Gurr ever signed the wall, he replied that he had not. He then changes all of that by signing the wall. To many people, that doesn’t create a reaction within you, but for a Disnerd like myself, it was a beautiful moment.
If you are interested in how Disney brings magic to the parks, you will absolutely LOVE The Imagineering Story.
The fourth show that I have watched so far is The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
With Mr. Goldblum blowing up as an icon in the past few years, it only makes sense that we dive deeper into his unique personality and get his point of view on certain topics in culture today.
With the first two episodes being about Shoes and Ice Cream, we see Jeff meet several people that have been in their respective industry for their entire lives. Whether its at a sneaker convention where someone is selling their shoe collection for an unspeakable amount of money, or its Jeff creating his own flavor of ice-cream after rummaging through the forest, we get a look at these topics that we might’ve never had previously.
Whether you enjoy the topic of each episode or not, Jeffs whimsical personality and mannerisms make this show fun and interesting to watch. You may learn something about these topics for the first time or already be keen on a topic and you might even learn more about it. I think those might be some of the goals that this show sets out to accomplish.
While I am not a ‘sneakerhead’ and I’m not a big fan of ice cream, I did find those episodes interesting but I wasn’t fully engaged in either episode. Unless the episode is about something I really am passionate about, I don’t think something would really engage me enough for me to seek out more information once the episode concludes.
One show that I was super interested in when it was announced at D23 is Forky Asks a Question. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what this show is about.
Each short consists of Forky picking one topic and asking questions until he understands what each topic is.
The first video is Forky wondering what Money is. Who else to talk about money, than Hamm? Hamm tries his best to keep Forky focused, while Forky is moving his arms around and doing things with his eyes. In the end of the video, Forky somewhat has an idea of what money is.
For the second video, Forky discovers what a friend is. Hamm is briefly featured in this short, but Forky does talk to a coffee mug that he promptly named, Whaaaat Nooooo, simply because that’s what Bonnies mother keeps saying over and over again when she holds the coffee mug.
It is very funny to have Forky just talk to himself and to this inanimate object. I preferred this video to the Money episode just because it’s Forky being Forky and its hilarious. It does have a somber moment when Forky does discover what a friend is, right before the mug takes a fall and breaks.
Moving forward? I don’t know what they can do to make them more entertaining. I enjoy them but it just makes me want more Toy Story and more Forky. I do wish they were a bit longer or if they create more Toy Story Toons like Hawaiian Vacation or Partysaurus Rex. Either way, I want more Toy Story but I don’t think this is what people ultimately want.
For the next two shows, I will invite my former Disney College Program roommate and my current friend, whose home I crash at each time I’m in Orlando, Austin, to give you his thoughts about them.
Inside Out tells the story of the emotions that run a middle schooler’s brain. Pixar In Real Life allows strangers strolling through Central Park to control the emotions of actors.
The concept of Pixar In Real Life isn’t new by any means. It’s a hidden camera show. They set up a scenario and record the reactions of the people watching the scene. And while it’s supposed to feel genuine, something about it just rubs me the wrong way.
In Episode One, the only episode released on Disney+ as of this article, New Yorkers stumble across a panel identical to the one that controls Riley’s mind in Inside Out. Two performers who are acting as regular people come out and loudly “have a conversation.” The people at the panel can press buttons to make the joyful, angry, disgusted, fearful, or sad. And the conversation changes to reflect the mood.
The folks at the panel are loving the scene that they’re controlling. And honestly, props to the actors for their improv skills and being able to switch their emotions through what I’m assuming is lighting or noise cues not noticed by the subjects.
However, I didn’t love watching it. It’s a short show, more like a segment, and it still feels to go on for way too long. The concept feels a bit silly. As soon as the panelists, so to say, realized they were in on the gag, I was pretty much over it. To me, once they realized what was going on, there was no surprise factor to what was happening. They could make actors change their emotions.
Since the episodes appear to be shorter, I’ll watch the next one. I’m just hoping the next one will feel a little more real.
And the FINAL show in this Week One recap of Disney+ is Encore!
The show is produced by Kristen Bell (Frozen) serves as executive producer of this show, but aside from an on-cam intro and occasional appearance to wish the amateur actors good luck, she is hardly the star. Instead, the stars of the show are everyday people, most of whom once had sky high dreams.
The show gathers former high school theatre students who have long since graduated and moved on to careers or family life, throws them back on stage, and brings in Broadway-caliber directors, choreographers, and musicians to create a show from their past. In the first episode, adults who graduated from a New Mexico high school nearly 20 years ago reunite to perform Annie. The cast includes teachers, a police officer, mothers, fathers, and more. We see the process of creating the show once again from start to finish, with results that make everyone smile.
Encore! relies heavily on nostalgia. We learn about the past relationships of the students, what they were like in high school, what has changed, what they miss, what they regret. It makes you think of your own high school experience. I was in theater in high school. It provided me with some of my best memories. I understand how excited these people must be to return to their school’s stage and have fun with friends they haven’t seen in decades. And that is the high point of the show. It’s seeing how much fun these people are having. It’s seeing the smiles on the faces of their significant other, children, or parents, out in the audience.
Its downfall may be its runtime. Each episode so far is about one hour long. It tends to drag a bit and focus on some unnecessary things. I almost wish it focused on the rehearsal process even more, though we often hear a lot more about couples who once dated who have broken up, or past friends who moved away. While that’s a great aspect of the show and adds to the nostalgia for the subjects, there’s just a tad too much of it for the audience.
Encore! deserves a viewing just as much as the shows with beloved franchises to stand behind. It’s one of the most original of the original programs offered on Disney+. It may make you want to return to the halls of your high school, put on some suspenders, and get stuck in a chocolate river as Augustus Gloop, like I did in my high school’s performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
With week one officially in the books for Disney+, I believe many would agree with me in saying that the original content so far has been very good. There is a wide variety of programming available for viewers of all properties whether it be Pixar, Star Wars or Disney. Marvel fans do have to wait a bit longer in order to get their Disney+ content, but looking at the quality of The Mandalorian, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.
A special thank you to my friend Austin. If you would like to follow Austin on Twitter, this is his Twitter handle: @itsaustindoes
Austin is also the creator of ItsAustinDoes, a YouTube channel that brings you inside Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and much more! Hopefully we can see more of Austin on GoodBadEh in the future.