After a hard morning yesterday of having my iPhone repeatedly passive-aggressively autocorrect “baby Yoda” to “baby Yoga”, I have put “The Mandalorian” behind me. This is how you survive in the thin air at the summit of Peak TV. You argue about a verdant mogwai lookalike for five hours, and then you click over to watch something else.
So with over 600 movies and TV shows available on Disney+ after yesterday’s launch, what did people watch? Hard numbers on streaming services are very few and very far between — according to Variety, data from research firm Apptopia reveals that the Disney+ mobile app was downloaded 3.2 million times, but there are a couple big caveats to that number; it’s ultimately an educated guess. With everything up in the air until Disney decides to release some numbers itself, I set up an informal poll among the team at IndieWire to see what they watched next on the service.
In my own time, the shows I watch for fun fall neatly into two categories: “British spies” and “vicars getting murdered.” (There is the occasional overlap between these two categories, and yes, I do watch a lot of “Midsomer Murders.”) After my mandatory “Mandalorian” viewing, I put on the closest thing that Disney+ offers to either of my favorite genres: Nat Geo’s “Stonehenge Decoded: Secrets Revealed.” Neolithic Druid ritual murder is just adjacent to my sweet spot.
Here is what the rest of the IndieWire TV staff watched on Disney+ after they finished “The Mandalorian” — and why:
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say the first thing I searched for amongst the reams of nostalgia porn on Disney+ wasn’t ‘Flight of The Navigator.’ A sci-fi movie likely greenlit in the wake of ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,’ ‘Flight of The Navigator’ had everything a space-obsessed nerdy kid in Miami could want: a South Florida setting (shot in and around Ft. Lauderdale), a “love” interest way out of the protagonist’s league, and a cool alien spaceship voiced by Pee Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens. I mean, what child doesn’t want alien technology to fill the unused portions of their brain to hide alien knowledge? Also, bonus points for an amazing Alan Silvestri score.” —Creative Producer Leo Garcia
“The very first thing I did upon successfully logging in to Disney+ was to jump around and watch my favorite bits of “Avengers: Endgame.” I’m Martin Scorsese’s worst enemy and found the conclusion to the first era of the MCU to be strangely emotional and deeply cathartic. Then I rewatched the brilliant 2019 Pixar short “Kitbull” and sobbed for roughly 15 minutes. Good times!” —TV Awards Editor Libby Hill
“‘Forky Asks a Question,’ even at three minutes per episode, is the defining Disney+ launch event — Forky’s purity carries the educational would-be webisodes over their corporate paywall, even when the first entry embraces the capitalist hang-ups associated with the new service by explaining the very concept of money! There is a rainbow sticker on Forky’s popsicle stick foot. How did it get there? Is Forky an ally? I will watch every episode to find out.” —Critic and Deputy Editor TV Ben Travers
“Outside ‘The Mandalorian’ I’m not remotely interested in any of the Disney+ launch originals, so I’ll be spending my time on the service catching up on some of the big movies and TV shows I’ve skipped over the last few years. I somehow missed out on ‘Inside Out’ when it was in theaters and ‘Zootopia’ also looked pretty fun. I wasn’t much of a ‘The Simpsons’ kid growing up, so I’ll probably take some time to check out some episodes from the show’s glory days.” —TV Business Reporter Tyler Hersko
“Unlike maybe most of America, I haven’t seen every live-action and animated Marvel universe film and TV series; nor have I seen every “Star Wars” film. So now that Disney is starting to make them readily available on a single platform, I’ll probably binge what I’ve missed, if only to catch up, ahead of future film and TV series releases from each franchise.” —Staff Writer Tambay Obenson
“As a native Vermonter, trips home always entail mountain drives, hikes with dogs, and imbibing in a certain fragrant plant that is now perfectly legal in the Green Mountain state. The colder months, which are most of them, also include getting stoned and watching animated Disney movies with my oldest friend. Where we previously were limited by which VHS tapes we could dust off, I am looking forward to rediscovering the deep cuts that Disney+ has made available to stoke our childhood nostalgia. Like any good munchie craving, sometimes you have a hankering for a sexy fox (1973’s “Robin Hood”), a Bob Newhart-voiced mouse (1977’s “The Rescuers”), or the only take on Sherlock Holmes that rivals Benedict Cumberbatch’s (1986’s “The Great Mouse Detective”). The best part? It’s all perfectly legal.” —Associate Editor Jude Dry
“Because I am a no-good millennial — which I accept and embrace— I am going to watch all of the DCOMs (that’s Disney Channel Original Movies) I possibly can. Well, all the DCOMs I possibly can pre-2006, as I have never seen a “High School Musical” and I will never see a “High School Musical.” (Really, I’ll probably just watch “Brink,” “Smart House,” and “Cadet Kelly” on a loop.)” —Writer LaToya Ferguson
“The gold standard in Saturday morning cartoons. It’s not just that Recess’ takes advantage of a basic “Breakfast Club, but 4th grade” premise. It’s that when every other animated series tries to make something that entertains kids and has something for the parents too, no other show has been able to make a shared sense of humor quite like the one here. “Recess” is the perfect handshake between a younger crowd starting to soak up the rhythms of pop culture and older viewers who want something that doesn’t feel like it’s pandering to them. Start with the “Teacher’s Lounge” episode as a way into a world of elementary school wonder and chase it with “The Substitute” to see what happens when someone tries to tear the core six apart. (And then go to “Dodgeball City” and the Robert Goulet episodes for something on the delightful, weirder side.)” —Associate TV Editor Steve Greene
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