We all have those days where we just want to go home, put on our pjs and watch Lizzie McGuire. It’s a noble desire, until you hit the very real problem of where the hell to find it online. For some reason, all the greatest shows of our youth are virtually non-existent online, until Disney+ came along and decided to bless us with them all. Yep, the iconic streaming platform is home to some of the best TV shows ever made and they’re still dropping more.
If you’ve been looking for somewhere to watch those early 2000’s bangers like Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, That’s So Raven, My Name Is Earl and Cougar Town you’ll find them all here. It also has those brand-spanking new shows everyone’s talking about including The Mandalorian and WandaVision. For these titles (and more) it’ll cost you $11.99 a month for an all-access pass, or a one-way ticket to throwback town as I like to think of it.
Anyway, enough teasing, here are 30 of the best TV shows streaming on Disney+ if you need a hit of nostalgia right bloody now.
The Simpsons (1989)
The Simpsons first aired back in 1989 and is still going hard in 2021 – if that doesn’t speak to its popularity then I’m not sure what does. Seasons 3-9 are argued to be the shows golden age so if you want to skip right to the good stuff, go right ahead. All 30 seasons live on Disney+ so you could take a month of annual leave and just work your way through.
Re-watching this show makes me feel all kinds of nostalgia for the late 90s. I wanted to live inside the clubhouse and dominate the playground with the best of them. As far as cartoons go, Recess was progressive as hell and the world simply could not love it more.
New Girl (1999)
I’m still struggling to believe the first season of this aired in 1999 but hey, we live and learn. Follow Jess as she lives with four very different men in their chaotic loft apartment. Everyone has their own little quirks but you’ll become so unhealthily attached to them as the seasons progress.
Even Stevens (2000)
If you grew up with an extremely annoying sibling, this show will speak to you on a spiritual level. The escapades of this brother/sister duo still hit hard in 2021. The Even Stevens Movie is also on Disney+ as well if you’re looking for a lil’ something extra.
Lizzie McGuire (2001)
Shopping for bras, embarrassing yourself and running up a hefty bill on the family landline? God take me back to a simpler time – Lizzie just gets me. The Lizzie McGuire Movie also lives on Disney+ for that iconic ‘sing to me Paolo’ scene that’ll never die. I lost this movie on DVD years ago and my life has never been the same so having it on streaming is a blessed dream.
The Proud Family (2001)
Another animated classic that brings back all the warm fuzzies of your childhood. This show was also a major step forward for onscreen representation and you know we love to see it. Suga Mama (the grandma with no teeth) made me cackle all the time and still does to this day – if you’re having a bad day just turn it on and kick back.
Kim Possible (2002)
We won’t talk about the live-action remake because it tarnishes the good name of the OG animation, but the legend of Kim and Ron Stoppable live on in our hearts. I’d go so far as to say that this show inspired the whole #girlpower generation we know and love all courtesy of the feisty little redhead in cargo pants.
That’s So Raven (2003)
This is the only, I repeat only show that made me wish I could have superpowers (Spiderman, who?) Raven gets up to the wildest shenanigans and almost always interprets her visions incorrectly but that’s what makes the show so damn good. Her endless supply of fur-lined coats are another standout.
Desperate Housewives (2004)
This show is so dramatic and and so completely and utterly insane that it’ll never age. Just when you think you know what’s going on, a new character or a chaotic incident throws everything into a spin. It may be a lot to take in but my god it’s entertaining. Catch every series on the streaming platform and prepare to have your world rocked by the women of Wysteria Lane.
As far as Disney channel shows go, this is up there with the absolute best. Ashley Tisdale’s fashion is an absolute sight to behold, plus the idea of growing up in a hotel is so wild that you just can’t wait to see what they get up to next. I was also around 20-years old (embarrassing) when I realised that London Tipton was actually a cheeky dig at Paris Hilton – genius.
Prison Break (2005)
Oh me oh my, the eye candy on this show is something else (I’m looking at you Michael Scofield). If you’re in this show for the plot and not the lusty thirst, you won’t be disappointed. This is a standout prison-based show with complex characters, clever twists and two hunky brothers with shaved heads, sorry I had to.
My Name Is Earl (2005)
My Name Is Earl is one of those shows that’s so wrong it’s somehow right. It follows the life of a criminal named Earl who wins an insane amount of money in the lottery but somehow loses his winning ticket. He then decides to make a huge list of his previous wrongdoings, attempting to make up for them to reverse his misfortunate. As you can imagine it doesn’t all go to plan, in fact it’s nothing short of a shitshow. Entertaining, though? Absolutely.
Bones has recently landed on Disney+ and all you true crime fanatics will be chomping at the bit for it. Each episode focuses on a new FBI case file where human remains may hold the key to solving the case. If you’re not into crime, watch it for the sexual chemistry between Bones and Booth – ooft.
Hannah Montana (2006)
Anyone who watched this growing up will tell you how iconic it was (and always will be). While the idea of a blonde wig somehow concealing Miley’s identity is questionable to say the least but it still makes for great television. Flip between her normal life and the demands of being an international pop sensation. She just wants to have the best of both worlds, guys – is that too much to ask? Hannah Montana The Movie and The Best Of Both Worlds Concert lives on Disney+ as well so there goes about 70 hours of my free time.
Ugly Betty (2006)
I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been trying to watch this show somewhere, anywhere for the past 5 years. I almost cried tears of joy when I heard it’d landed on Disney+. America Ferrera absolutely nails the role of Betty Suarez, an awkward but hardworking young woman who lands a job at high-fashion magazine, Mode. Her questionable fashion sense and adult braces make her stand out, but her refusal to conform to conventional standards of beauty is very inspiring. We’re all rooting for you, Betty!
Brothers & Sisters (2006)
I know every family have their quirks but this TV family are truly something else. Enter the lives of the wealthy Walker family as they deal with the fallout of their fathers death. They’ll have to band together if they’re going to make it through and continue the success of the family business. It’s got an all-star cast with the likes of Rachel Griffiths, Sally Field and Tom Skerritt.
Wizards Of Waverley Place (2007)
This show is kind of dumb but watching Selena Gomez pretend to be a wizard was pretty iconic while growing up. It’s mature enough that you don’t feel like too much of a baby while watching it, but still embarrassing enough that you wouldn’t suggest putting it on with your friends – the sweet spot.
Private Practice (2007)
Grey’s Anatomy fans hold onto your stethoscopes, because this show is a doozy. Not only is it a medical-drama but it also stars Dr. Addison Montgomery at her new practice, the Seaside Wellness Centre. You might remember her paying a visit to this surgery in some early Grey’s episodes, so this show is a follow-up to that. It’s all about balancing their patients while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life – borderline impossible.
Samantha Who? (2007)
Christina Applegate really is a treasure and this show is no exception. It’s a comedy about a young woman with amnesia who finds out she used to be a dickhead (for lack of a better word). Now that she’s essentially a blank-canvas, she confronts her past and tries to be a better person, even when her old personality tries its best to shine through.
Suite Life On Deck (2008)
Look, I know they say reboots usually aren’t up to the mark but I absolutely frothed this show back in 08′. For some reason Zack’s lustrous blonde hair was a sexual awakening for me – don’t question it. This show sees the twins take the high seas and, you guessed it, cause even more mayhem for poor old Mr Moseby.
Fresh Off The Boat (2008)
There’s a lot happening in this show in the best possible way. Enter the crazy lives of the Huangs, a Taiwanese-American family who have relocated to from Washington to Florida to open a cowboy-themed steakhouse (yes, you read that correctly). While it’s fun to watch, it’s also an important social-commentary on the socio-cultural and socio-economic reality of living in 21st Century America.
2009 Jonas brothers, need I say more? Regardless if you’re a Joe, Nick or dare I say it, Kevin fan – there’s something in this sweet show for everyone. The show focuses on each brother as they work to make it big in the music industry while somehow balancing a normal life. Plus, there’s a lot of young Nick Jonas playing guitar so, give me some of that.
Cougar Town (2009)
This is another show that virtually dropped off the face of the earth when it stopped airing, never to be seen again. Disney+ have truly done us (me) a solid by giving it a home on their platform, so we can continue to watch the antics of Courtney Cox. She plays the role of Jules Cobb, a recently-divorced woman facing the challenges of her life’s next chapter alone.
Make It Or Break It (2009)
If you’re a fan of the movie Stick It, then this is a show you should definitely watch. Enter the catty, competitive world of teenage gymnastics all gunning to compete in the Olympic Games. They’ll have to deal with difficult coaches, pushy parents, boyfriends and betrayal while training at the elite facility known as The Rock. Hoo boy get it on right now.
Bob’s Burgers (2011)
This is one of those shows you can tune in and out of or have it going in the background. It’s a wholesome tale of a family-run burger joint trying to make an honest living. Bob Belcher has to juggle a lot, including his kids and his arch nemesis over the road – Jimmy Pesto, the pasta shop owner. It sounds silly and it is but that’s what makes it a fun watch.
Huge call but this is probably the best TV show that’s been recently added to Disney+. It’s another fateful tale of a standup show being impossible to find online, until now. Enter the apartment of naive and semi-boring June as she moves in with a certifiably insane party girl named Chloe. Sweet June is forced to see things she never thought she’d have to see but a young James Van Der Beek is along for the ride to sweeten the deal. Do yourself a favour and watch it. Like, right now.
If you’re thinking this face looks familiar, you’ll probably recognise Sutton Foster from Younger. This show was a little earlier in her career where she stars a showgirl who makes an impulsive decision to get married and settle down in a quiet costal town. She then winds up teaching ballet at a local dance studio alongside her new mother-in-law. The whole plot is just asking for double.
Young & Hungry (2014)
This is one of those shows that’s so bad it’s good but also still kind of bad. Starring Emily Osment as an ambitious food blogger, she takes a job as a personal chef for a wealthy tech entrepreneur. They end up having a one-night stand despite the fact that he plans to propose to his horrible girlfriend. Drama, drama, drama.
Black-ish has the tick of approval from Barack Obama so you know it’s good stuff. It follows the lives of an upper-middle class African American family as they juggle all of life’s chaos. The show also draws on deeper themes like fitting in and finding yourself while overcoming issues of race and class.
If you haven’t heard of this show by now then please climb out from under the rock you’re clearly living in. Set in the 1950s (and after Avengers: Endgame), it follows the marriage of Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they navigate suburban life while concealing their true natures. It has this eerie undertone of ‘everything is not what it seems’ with a hint of dark, existential crises while somehow still being amusing. A must-watch for 2021.