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More ominous than Skynet, more cutthroat than Lannister vs.Targaryen are The Streaming Wars: an age in which rival mega-corporations fight to convince humans that each has the superior catalogue of "content" — a list of movies and shows justifying a monthly fee of $6.99 or $14.99 or whatever on top of the cable, internet and assorted subscriptions movie lovers have already signed on for.
Apple TV+ just made its underwhelming debut, and now it's Disney's turn. Having taken their toys from Netflix and gone home (or, in the case of still-binding contracts, announced their intention to do so), the company offers Disney+, a streaming service we're told will someday include every single movie Disney has made, along with all of Pixar's output, plus Star Wars, plus all the Marvel films and so on.
But that's a far cry from what's being offered to customers who sign up today. Perhaps worried that fans will be annoyed at what isn't on the service yet — Where's Pixar's Up? And the Captain America films? And was Robert Altman's Popeye as bad as they say? — the company refuses to make it easy to figure out what is on it. They won't give a list to journalists; there's no database you can search. Pressed for information, publicists point to a Twitter gush in which the company tweeted hundreds of pictures, each representing a single film with the kind of squashed-up quasi-posters you scroll through on Netflix. (God bless the graphic designers forced to make these visual atrocities. We know you're better than this, guys.)
A near-infinite scroll like this is a bad idea for everyone. It reminds prospective customers, for instance, why Disney's reputation had fallen so far before Pixar came to turn the studio around. The list gives new meaning to the word "filler," with seemingly 30 or 40 titles like Justin Morgan Had a Horse or Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups for every title you'd actually consider watching.
That infinite scroll also makes it impossible to ignore something else: Especially when it comes to live-action programs, you're looking at a cascade of peachy-white faces, where any occasional actor of color is almost certainly standing behind a smiling white kid. Scroll through it all and you'll see a film with the Rock, one starring Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington's Remember the Titans. But tallying the white stars here against the nonwhite ones would give a diversity activist a heart attack.
Anyway. Let's say you live in a household where not subscribing to Disney+ is not an option. Someone you love is nuts for the personalities of the recent Disney-Channel past: the Jonases, the Montanas and McGuires, the High Schoolers who make Musicals. You've given in. Is there anything on this service that an adult might find worthwhile? Here are 25 options in no special order, culled from every corner of the D+ lineup as it existed at press time.
[UPDATE: When Disney+ went online Tuesday, users noticed they weren't always getting what they expected from the service — and were getting some things they didn't expect, like yet another silly George Lucas tweak to Han Solo's showdown with Greedo. At least one of the picks here, The Simpsons, no longer deserves the recommendation — explanation below.]