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Best Disney Plus Shows: Top Originals and Classics

The Mandalorian
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Disney Plus (opens in new tab) just launched on Nov. 12, and it's kinda hard to know where to start, as Disney's opening up all of its vaults to bring days of programming to audiences around the world. So, we at Tom's Guide decided to put together a list of the best Disney shows we've already seen and the most anticipated arrivals.

Of course, we'll be adding to this list over time, as new shows appear and under-appreciated classics return to the conversation. From Mr. Sinister terrorizing the X-Men to Mr. Goldblum explaining it all, we've created a guide for what to binge-watch. And if you're looking for longer features, be sure to check out our guide to the best Disney Plus movies

If you're trying to watch all of the MCU films on Disney Plus when you take a break from binge watching these shows, check out our How to watch the Marvel movies in order guide. We've got lists of the films in release order, chronological in-story order and sorted by Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Check out our What's New on Disney Plus? (opens in new tab) guide for the full schedule.

Disney Plus gift subscriptions: 1 year for $69.99 (opens in new tab)
Beyond the popular Star Wars series The Mandalorian, Disney Plus packs a ton of Disney's back catalogue, including Pixar films. You also get The Simpsons (though Disney's taking until 2020 to fix their cropping issues).

The Mandalorian (2019) 

The Mandalorian is shaping up to be Disney Plus’ flagship launch show, and for good reason. With a gritty story set after Return of the Jedi, a mysterious bounty hunter lead in Pedro Pascal’s The Mandalorian, and Jon Favreau at the helm, what’s not to like? 

The Mandalorian’s eight-episode debut season promises to explore a murky corner of the Star Wars universe we haven't seen in live-action before, and features an all-star cast that includes Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Taika Watiti (who will also guest-direct an episode). - Mike Andronico

Check out our The Mandalorian review to see what we thought of episode 1.

The Mandalorian (2019)

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The World According to Jeff Goldblum (2019)

Yes, it's not even out yet, but I'm practically sure National Geographic's new show The World According to Jeff Goldblum is going to be the feel-blissed-out hit of the year. If you're unfamiliar with the bizarre renaissance of Mr. Goldblum, know that he's more than just the amusing 60-something who stole scenes in Thor: Ragnarok. 

He's also this constantly smirking man-about-town whose episode of Hot Ones (a YouTube series where guests digest spicy chicken wings and handle equally spicy questions) is an instant classic thanks to his overall je ne sais quoi-level of charisma that led many a fan to say they'd pay to watch him read the phone book. To that point, National Geographic and Disney Plus have hired him to explain everything from barbecue to gaming, from denim to swimming pools. It might be weird, but it also sounds utterly unique.

Disney Plus (opens in new tab) is live and available either in the pretty-cheap $6.99 standalone package — which nets you the whole Disney vault and The Mandalorian — or with a $12.99 bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN Plus.

X-Men (1992)

If you're anything like me, the theme song from the 1992 X-Men series has been stuck in your head for almost three decades. But catchy music isn't the only thing this groundbreaking Saturday morning series had going for it. There's the unforgettable cast, from the stoic Cyclops, to the wise Storm, to the hotheaded Wolverine. 

There's the strong sense of continuity, which saw season-long battles against some of the X-Men's deadliest villains, such as Dark Phoenix and Apocalypse. There's also the fact that the showrunners adapted many X-Men comics with as few alterations as possible. X-Men asked tough questions about prejudice, civil rights and even religion, which is pretty cool in a show that's perfectly suitable for seven-year-olds. - Marshall Honorof

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

The Star Wars prequels had their ups and downs, but I think it's fair to say that they had a big "tell, don't show" problem. If Anakin and Obi-Wan loved each other like brothers, where were all of the friendship-forging adventures they shared? The answer is in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that kicked off with a standalone movie of the same name. 

The show starts off as a series of vignettes about various Jedi during titular conflict between Episodes II and III, but it grows into an intriguing character study with strong continuity from one episode to the next. Anakin in particular gets the character growth he sorely needed in the movies as he mentors fan-favorite Padawan Ahsoka Tano. - Marshall Honorof

Star Wars Rebels (2014)

Once you’re done binging The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels should be next on your list. A continuation of the Clone Wars story set between Episodes III and IV, Rebels follows the adventures of young Force prodigy Eza Bridger, Jedi Kanan Jarrus, captain Hera Syndulla and the rest of the rag-tag Ghost crew as they evade the fledgling Galactic Empire and witness the formation of the Rebel Alliance. 

The dysfunctional family dynamic between Rebels’ lovable characters is what gives the show its heart, but it also fleshes out Star Wars’ pre-A New Hope lore in some significant ways, with memorable appearances from characters like Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano. - Mike Andronico

The Simpsons (1989)

You don't win friends with salad, but you do with a classic Simpsons marathon! The quintessential American sitcom is back - in streaming form! If you find The Simpsons intriguing and wish to subscribe to their newsletter, you'll be able to stream all 30 seasons on Disney's new service, thanks to the recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox. (Just remember: The Simpsons are an original creation, like Rickey Rouse or Monald Muck.) 

This show follows the misadventures of the upper-lower-middle-class Simpson family as they get into all sorts of trouble in the geographically ambiguous town of Springfield. In theory, you could watch past Season 10 - but in theory, communism works. - Marshall Honorof


(Image credit: Buena Vista Television)

Gargoyles (1994)

On the surface level, the premise of Gargoyles was pretty cool: gargoyles are real creatures, who shatter their petrified granite statue cages and protect New York. As the years passed, I've learned about how this series was pretty dark and complicated for its time, with complex story arcs built around ever-complicating relationships. 

I've never gone back to rewatch Gargoyles (Disney never made it easy), but I'm quite excited that I'm finally getting the chance to binge a series that my younger self didn't entirely grok. Notable voice actors working on this animated series include Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes (both well known for their time on Star Trek: The Next Generation), and other Trek favorites (Michael Dorn, Kate Mulgrew, Nichelle Nichols and Colm Meaney) also showed up in minor roles.

Boy Meets World (1993) 

You don't have to have kept up with the late-life exploits of Boy Meets World's cast (though, wow, there are some stories) to still love this classic 90's sitcom. While its title is technically correct — the show does trace Corey Matthews' life from adolescence to post-college — the series' true value is as an ensemble comedy with excellent guest star casting. 

Corey's constant idiocy is amplified by his older, well-meaning and himbo-esque brother Eric, while his best friend Shawn keeps getting him into shenanigans that get him grounded. All the while, parents Amy and Eric serve as the show's greek chorus, and his teachers — most notably Mr. Feeny try and rein everyone in when they've gone too far. Corey's neverending crush (and subsequent relationship with) Topanga, however, made them Ross & Rachel of a younger set, as she was wise beyond her years.  -- Henry T. Casey

Darkwing Duck (1991)

Equal parts gumshoe noir detective story, silver-age comic caper and family sitcom, Darkwing Duck gave kids a lot to chew on while making their parents laugh in the background. A spin-off of another great show on Disney Plus (Ducktales), Darkwing Duck managed to hit younger versions of the Tom's Guide staff right in the funny bone and the feels in every episode, as Drake Mallard — the mild-mannered man behind Darkwing's mask and giant hat — did his best to take care of his daughter Gosyln each and every week. 

(Image credit: Walt Disney Television)

Major villains include the hilarious bizarro Negaduck and Taurus Bulba (the latter was voiced by Tim Curry!). You can bet we're ready to "get dangerous" all over again. -- Henry T. Casey

DuckTales (1987)

Do you remember when Donald Duck joined the Navy? Well, neither did I, but I do remember the show built on that premise, DuckTales, which saw Donald pass his excitable and mischievous nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie off to the curmudgeonly Scrooge McDuck. Fortunately for all parties involved, Scrooge wasn't raising these tykes on his own, his pilot Launchpad McQuack rounded out the main cast of DuckTales, and these five went on so many adventures that uncle Donald will never hear about. 

Disney Plus is also getting the 2017 revival of DuckTales, a star-studded revival that demonstrated how the original show was highly beloved, with tons of references. The first Disney cartoon produced for weekly syndicated broadcast — it was appointment viewing — brings its 100 episodes to Disney Plus. - Henry T. Casey

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.