The entertainment industry is changing and Netflix is leading the way. More people are consuming movies and television online through streaming and it has made Netflix one of the richest companies in the world. Disney is preparing for the future by creating its own streaming service which will compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu and I am excited about it because it has the potential to be the kind of thing I’ve always wanted: unlimited access to Disney’s back catalog of film and TV.
I am a huge Disney geek. I wrote an entire ten-part series of blogs about the history of the company back in 2017. But there are still many things made by the company that I have yet to see. It would be really convenient if all I had to do to see Ward Kimball’s Oscar-winning short It’s Tough to Be a Bird was type it in a search bar instead of hunt down one of the rare DVDs that contains it.
For the record, this is my wish list for the Disney streaming service:
The first cartoons made by Disney in 1922 were a series of fairy tale shorts based on Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and others. I would binge-watch all of these in a single night. While we’re at it, give me the very first cartoons Walt Disney made in Kansas before he started his own company back in 1921. There were only four but hopefully they still survive.
- Alice Cartoons
There were over 50 cartoons made starring the little girl called Alice who interacted with animated characters in a cartoon world. These cartoons were mainly simplistic in story and humor but it would be interesting from a historical standpoint to observe the combo of live actors and cartoons in the twenties and how far the technique has come since then.
- Mickey Mouse and Beyond
I would love it if you could search every short not only by title but by release date. If I only wanted shorts from 1930, a combo of 20 Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse shorts would come up, that way I could watch every short in chronological order. Not only would I want every Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Silly Symphony and True Life Adventure ever made. I would want every war-time and educational short Disney made beyond the eye of the public, some lesser known standalone shorts like Fun with Mr. Future (1982) and Oilspot and Lipstick (1986), obviously all the Pixar shorts, and maybe even the segments from package features like Fantasia and Make Mine Music as separate shorts available apart from their respective movies of origin.
I want every short to be unaltered from their original versions, which is why every politically incorrect cartoon should have an introduction from someone like Leonard Maltin to warn people of the insensitive material. Actually, Leonard Maltin should just run the whole website.
- Walt Disney Pictures
Obviously I would want every animated and live-action Disney feature film released in theaters, but a list of their TV movies would also be appreciated. Including some Wonderful World of Disney and Disney Channel originals. Plus Song of the South, which is a great movie that deserves more viewers but is largely unavailable in America, and ideally all the Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies would be here too.
- Walt Disney Anthology Series
Possibly the thing I want the most is every episode of Walt Disney’s anthology series which spanned both ABC and NBC in its run and often put a spotlight on the magic behind Disney’s movies and theme parks. Walt Disney himself remains as charismatic as ever and is possibly the best TV host in history.
- Straight-to-video Movies
This website would not be complete without the inclusion of the many films Disney made for home video such as The Return of Jafar and the Tinker Bell movies. It doesn’t matter that most of these movies are unnecessary and on average not as good as the company’s theatrical output. They are a part of the company’s history and some are actually better than you would expect.
- Touchstone Pictures
They should also include the Touchstone film catalog. Although they have struggled to produce a hit lately without the help of other companies like DreamWorks, their film library overall is impressive. A list of Disney films would be incomplete without Splash, Pretty Woman and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Disney Television and ABC
Many binge-worthy television series exist in the Disney TV catalog. I would be disappointed if they did not include the entire Disney Afternoon (DuckTales, TaleSpin, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, etc.) in addition to shows on ABC, Disney Channel, Freeform, Disney XD and Disney Junior. Some retro Disney Channel TV shows from the eighties like Dumbo’s Circus and Welcome to Pooh Corner could even make an appearance. And ABC’s Lost is the perfect example of a binge-worthy show. The entire Touchstone Television library is just as valuable as Disney Television’s animated offerings.
- The Muppets
I know The Muppets are getting a Muppet Show-style original series for this service, but they need to include the original show as well. Season 4 has yet to be released on DVD and I don’t know what the hold-up is. Also would like to see Muppets Tonight, the original Muppet Babies and every Muppet movie and TV special included. I might spend more time digging through the Muppet library than I do on Netflix! Would also be surprised if any future sequel or spin-off of The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth didn’t appear here too, given that Disney owns both The Muppets and Lucasfilm.
- More Risks
The thing about Disney having what is essentially their version of Netflix and HBO is that like those networks, Disney’s streaming service will have more freedom to take risks on stories and ideas that they may be hesitant to put on a giant screen. For example, if Disney ever had a lesbian princess, it is more likely she’ll be introduced on their streaming service than in a theatrical film. I hope they take advantage of the less judgmental streaming audiences because if Disney lets its fans know there is a difference between the web and the silver screen, consumers are more likely to show up.
This streaming service has the potential to celebrate Disney’s past as well as propel it into the future. I will still subscribe even if my wish list doesn’t come true, but maybe there’s a chance The Blue Fairy is reading this?