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The Top Movies and Shows on Disney+ to Watch Right Now (January 2022)

Check out The Book of Boba Fett, Eternals, Encanto, and more

liam-mathews-headshot2.jpg
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Liam Mathews, Tim Surette
Temura Morrison, The Book of Boba Fett

Temuera Morrison, The Book of Boba Fett

Lucasfilm Ltd.

There's more to the best shows and movies on Disney+ than Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. Those powerful stones in Disney's Infinity Gauntlet all have great offerings on Disney+, of course, and plenty of them are represented on this list, though maybe not the ones you're expecting. But Disney+ has a ton of worthwhile shows and movies that aren't on the home screen of the app, too. The streaming service has one of the deepest libraries of stuff that's hard to find anywhere else, including old movies from the Disney and Fox vaults, a ton of DCOMs (for the over-35s, that's Disney Channel Original Movies), and National Geographic documentaries that are so old you'll be surprised they were even able to digitize them.  

Our list of what to watch on Disney+ tries to avoid the obvious titles (we know you've seen The Empire Strikes Back), so we're digging a little deeper with movies like the new National Geographic documentary The Rescue, or the underrated 1999 family movie The Straight Story. But if something is big, new, and worth watching, we won't ignore it, so The Book of Boba Fett and Eternals, the big Marvel ensemble movie that just hit Disney+, are on the list, too. 

This is a list of the best movies and shows to watch on Disney+ right now. To keep things relevant, we're specifically highlighting the best recent releases (whether they're new to the world or just D+), Disney+ originals, and some of our own personal favorites. 

Looking for the best movies and TV shows to watch on Disney+ this month or the best Christmas movies on Disney+? Or more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.

Last updated Jan. 12; newer additions are at the top

Eternals

For fans of: Marvel, Marvel schadenfreude

Eternals

Eternals

Marvel

If you didn't go see Eternals in theaters last fall, you may have heard all about how it underperformed at the box office and with critics and audiences, and that it's the first unsuccessful Marvel movie since Thor: The Dark World. But now it's on Disney+, so you can watch it at home and decide for yourself whether it works or not. Maybe now that the stakes of its franchise-launching theatrical release aren't so high, director Chloe Zhao's superhero epic can be watched through new eyes and evaluated on its own merits. And maybe it still won't be very good. It's up to you! Either way, it's hard to not be intrigued by a movie whose cast includes a Snow, a Stark, a Hayek, a Jolie, and the creepy kid from The Killing of a Sacred Deer. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]



The Book of Boba Fett

For fans of: Waiting 40 years for a character you like to get the spotlight 
Seasons: 1

Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen, The Book of Boba Fett

Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen, The Book of Boba Fett

Lucasfilm Ltd.

The original Mandalorian finally gets his own story in this spin-off of The Mandalorian. Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), the bounty-hunting clone who delivered Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt in The Empire Strikes Back, sets off on an adventure of his own, alongside sharpshooting mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). The series unfolds on two timelines, one showing what happened to Boba Fett before he popped up in The Mandalorian Season 2, and the other what happened after. The show starts with Boba Fett escaping from the Sarlacc pit he fell into in The Return of the Jedi, a moment willed into existence by Patton Oswalt on Parks and Recreation, and then follows him on a journey of survival to get his armor back. And in the show's present, the re-armored Fett and his right-hand Shand work from Jabba the Hutt's old throne room to secure their places as the most powerful and respected figures in the galaxy's criminal underworld. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]



Encanto

For fans of: Lin-Manuel Miranda, animated adventures, family

Encanto

Encanto

Disney

Disney's latest animated movie hit Mickey's streaming service a month after it premiered to positive reviews in theaters. Encanto is another Walt Disney Animation Studios musical, featuring all-new songs from tunesmith Lin-Manuel Miranda that tell the story of a family in Colombia who are bestowed with magical powers. Well, all except for one of the daughters (Stephanie Beatriz), who must work to bring her family back together when their powers begin to disappear. Is it as good as Moana? Probably not, but nothing is. -Tim Surette [Trailer




Diary of a Wimpy Kid

For fans of: Coming-of-age stories, "the cheese touch"

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Disney+

Jeff Kinney's best-selling books get another film adaptation — three live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies have been made already — this time in the simple stick-figure animation style of the books but blown out in 3D CGI. Yeah, it looks slightly creepy, but it also fits the potty humor of the comics as Greg Heffley navigates kids who shave, gross bathrooms, and playground cheese in his first year of middle school. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




The Rescue

For fans of: Riveting documentaries, heroism

The Rescue

The Rescue

National Geographic

National Geographic's acclaimed documentary on the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue from Free Solo directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin is now on Disney+. It tells the thrilling stories of the divers who risked their lives to save members of a boys soccer team and their coach who were trapped in an underwater cave system. (The stories of the survivors were locked up by Netflix, which will air a miniseries about their ordeals next year.) This is one of those documentaries where knowing how it ends does nothing to diminish the power of the story. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Hawkeye 

For fans of: Rennerness, thinking Die Hard is a Christmas movie
Number of seasons: 1

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye

Marvel Studios

The latest Marvel series (I might not ever get over how quickly and thoroughly Disney+ and Marvel flooded the zone and made these MCU shows feel like they'd always been around to the point of exhaustion) is a particularly fun one. It's about Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the Avengers' regular guy archer, battling baddies in New York City at Christmastime while reluctantly mentoring Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), an enthusiastic young woman who wants to be a world-saving archer just like him – literally. She's wearing his old costume. Renner and Steinfeld have great chemistry, and the action sequences are satisfying. A show where the redshirts are called "the Tracksuit Mafia" knows how to have a good time. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




The Mandalorian 

For fans of: Star Wars, Westerns, cute puppets
Number of seasons:

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian

Disney+

At this point in our nation's history, it's possible that The Mandalorian is a little bit underrated. Everyone knows it's massively popular and loves Grogu and has seen all the memes. But we don't always acknowledge that The Mandalorian is better than any other show currently on TV at reformatting the mission-of-the-week episodic structure of television's past for the heavily serialized streaming present. When everything else is trying to be a ten-hour movie, The Mandalorian is proudly a TV show, giving every episode its own beginning, middle, and end in addition to its place in the overarching series-long story of the titular bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) and his journey to deliver Grogu, aka "the child," aka "Baby Yoda," to people who will take care of him. It's the best Star Wars project of the Disney era, with more soul in just the way the camera shoots Mando than in the whole sequel trilogy. It's so big, it already has its own spin-off with The Book of Boba Fett, which some are calling The Mandalorian Season 2.5.  -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

For fans of: High School Musical, musicals, high school
Number of seasons: 2

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Disney +

Look past its uninspired name and you'll find one of the best shows on the Disney+ platform. Winner of the Outstanding Kids & Family Programming category at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series takes everything you loved about the films and condenses it into half-hour long episodes. Olivia Rodrigo (who outside of the show has become one of the world's biggest pop stars), Joshua Bassett, and Matt Cornett put on incredible performances, and with the series officially renewed for Season 3, now is the best time to catch up on the action. -Jon Bitner [Trailer]



Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles

For fans of: Billie Eilish, SoCal, orchestras supporting pop stars

Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles

Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles

Disney+

Singer/artist/pop star Billie Eilish plays the entirety of her 2021 album Happier Than Ever in sequential order on stage at the famed Hollywood Bowl in this concert film that branches out from Disney+'s usual fare. Sometimes Eilish is on stage with just a drummer and guitarist for her more intimate songs, sometimes she's joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the grander songs. In interstitials, she's even animated almost like a Disney princess as she drives along the coast, and drones tower over Los Angeles to give a birds-eye look at the city. Watch it as a superfan or throw it on in the background during your cocktail party and you'll be fine. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Edward Scissorhands 

For fans of: swoonworthy romance, gothic imagery, topiary sculptures 

Johnny Depp, Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp, Edward Scissorhands

Director Tim Burton was inspired by the popular drinking game Edward Fortyhands when dreaming up this classic romantic fantasy film. While growing up in the suburbs, he watched his classmates tape 40oz bottles of malt liquor to their hands, which made him imagine "what if instead of bottles, the hands were scissors?" All right, that's a joke – Scissorhands came first, not Fortyhands – but still, the drinking game shows the cultural impact and legacy of the 1990 film. It stars Johnny Depp as the titular Frankenstein's monster, a sweet, sensitive young man who's isolated from society because he's different but just wants to love. Depp and Winona Ryder, who plays Edward's love interest Kim Boggs, were at the peak of their powers, as was Burton, whose sense of gothic whimsy was perfected here. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




The Beatles: Get Back 

For fans of: John, Paul, George, and Ringo

The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles: Get Back

Apple Corps Ltd.

In 1969, a documentary crew filmed the Beatles as they were recording what ended up being their final album, Let It Be, and preparing for their famous concert on the roof of their label's office building, their final live performance, which was documented in the 1970 film Let It Be. This three-part, eight-hour docuseries is built out of the hundreds of hours of unused archival footage from those sessions. The film was painstakingly restored by director Peter Jackson, who cut it into a fly-on-the-wall documentary that simply shows the lads from Liverpool at work. It's the most unvarnished look at the Beatles' creative process ever, capturing them at unguarded moments of interpersonal tension and spontaneous joy. It will test the patience of anyone who isn't a Beatles diehard, but even casual fans will want to check out the complete rooftop concert in Part 3. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




Science Fair/Own the Room

For fans of: Kids who are smarter than you, inspiring stories, STEM

Daniela Blanco, Own the Room

Daniela Blanco, Own the Room

Future of Work Film Inc.

National Geographic hosts a pair of films from directors Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster about kids making a difference in the world that are so delightful you'll want to watch more than one, which is why both are on this list. 2018's Science Fair follows nine kids from around the world as they compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and 2021's Own the Room follows five kids from different countries as they compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. The formula is the same because Costantini and Foster have found one that works well: These precocious kids are doing amazing things and inspiring others to do the same, not from any sense of self-interest, but from a desire to make the world a better place. This is hope for our future in documentary form. -Tim Surette [Own the Room Trailer | Science Fair Trailer]




Dug Days

For fans of: The Pixar movie Up, doggos 
Number of seasons: 1

Dug Days

Dug Days

Disney+/Pixar

Disney+'s forays into expanding the universes of its existing properties have varied in quality, with the most attention and success obviously going to anything Marvel or Star Wars related. But extensions of Pixar's films have been mostly forgettable, aside from Toy Story's Forky Asks a Question and this series of shorts from the movie Up. Dug, the wide-eyed squirrel-chasing pup who can talk thanks to a voice contraption around his neck, is the perfect subject for the five eight-minute shorts, his innocent and naive perspective on the world producing heartfelt moments with his owner Carl (Ed Asner, in one of his final roles) and never overstaying its welcome. Dug Days is just great. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Among the Stars

For fans of: Space, space walks, space everythings
Number of seasons: 1

Among the Stars

Among the Stars

NASA

Dads, did you know that there's dad content on Disney+, too? This absorbing docuseries about astronaut Chris Cassidy trying to get back into space for one last mission is full of eye-popping footage from outside the atmosphere, following astronauts on the International Space Station as they spacewalk around the floating station with nothing but the big blue orb of Earth and the blackness of deep space behind them. But it really shows the hard work that goes into putting a person in space not just from the astronauts, but from the engineers and scientists back home who have to get them there. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Hamilton 

For fans of: American history, Broadway musicals, fake rap

Leslie Odom Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Disney+

If somehow you haven't already seen the concert film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's era-defining Broadway musical, you might as well change that now. It's one of those rare cultural phenomenons that actually lives up to the hype. Don't let Miranda's cringe-inducing lip-biting selfie keep you from experiencing art that really is as good as people say it is. Miranda plays Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who rises from nothing to become one of the most influential voices in the creation of the American government. You've heard all about why it's culturally important, about how it brings hip-hop to musical theater and reclaims American history for people of color. But do you know how good a song "Wait for It" is? -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




Free Solo

For fans of: Heights, people doing things that you would never do

Alex Honnold, Free Solo

Alex Honnold, Free Solo

Jimmy Chin/National Geographic

Disney+ is home to the 2019 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, a white-knuckle thriller following mountain climber Alex Honnold as he attempts the absolutely unnecessary yet oh-so impressive task of free climbing — no harness, no safety net — Yosemite's El Capitan, a 3,000 foot tall sheer face of granite, against the will of gravity. While not for those with even the slightest hint of acrophobia, Free Solo is a mesmerizing character study of a man who has set his mind on achieving the impossible at the own risk of his life. It's not a spoiler to say he accomplishes his feat, either, but the interesting part is at what cost. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

For fans of: Underdogs, Reilly from Letterkenny
Number of seasons: 1

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

Disney/Liane Hentscher

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers came out during a flurry of television revivals, reboots, and remakes, so you'll be forgiven for dismissing it as another poor attempt by a creatively starved streaming service to mine nostalgia for some quick bucks. But Game Changers is the rare case that understands that a do-over needs to be made for today's audiences as much as those who enjoyed the original. This time around, the Mighty Ducks have become the bad guys, an elitist youth hockey program that has shed the underdog image and only accepts the best of the best. When one boy's dreams of joining the Ducks is crushed, his mom (Lauren Graham) starts a new hockey team full of misfits... which seems a lot like the old Mighty Ducks. The charming show is surprisingly funny for all ages, with a heart in the right place and a great cast of kids. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Purl (SparkShorts)

For fans of: Feminism, knitting

Purl

Purl

Pixar

Pixar has a program called SparkShorts where rising filmmakers at the animation powerhouse use the studio's resources to make short films that aren't traditional Pixar material. All of the SparkShorts are available on Disney+, and they're all worthwhile, but the first one, Purl, is especially good. It comes from writer-director Kristen Lester, and follows an anthropomorphic ball of yarn as she gets a job at B.R.O. Capital, is ignored by her all-male colleagues, changes who she is to fit in with the company's macho culture, and eventually sees the error of her ways and works to make the company inclusive and welcoming to balls of yarn who join after her. It's a resonant story about feminism with funny jokes and clever animation. Kristen Lester is going places. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




George of the Jungle

For fans of: Brendan Fraser, live-action adaptations of old cartoons

Brendan Fraser, George of the Jungle

Brendan Fraser, George of the Jungle

Walt Disney Pictures

This 1997 comedy is one of those movies kids watched over and over again on VHS, and one of the main reasons why Brendan Fraser is so beloved by the internet. Fraser plays the titular Tarzan-type dude who was raised by animals in the African jungle and is brought to San Francisco by Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann), his Jane. It's silly stuff – it's based on a Saturday morning cartoon from 1967, after all – but Fraser sells it with his sweet, wide-eyed naïveté and gift for physical comedy. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]





Bluey

For fans of: Kids, dogs, family values
Number of seasons: 3

Bluey, Bingo, Bandit, and Chilli in Bluey

Bluey

ABC Kids (Australia)

Considered one of the best family shows that adults can watch with their kids, Bluey does the impossible when it comes to programming targeted at youngsters: It portrays a realistic look at family life. No ridiculous adventures, no dumbed-down potty humor, no screaming. Just a family of Blue Heeler dogs enjoying their time together, led by the father Bandit, a dad whose participation in his two pups' lives is nothing short of admirable. That's the charm of Bluey; the kids play like real kids do, and the parents instill moral values in them. It's astonishingly refreshing in its simplicity. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Luca

For fans of: Cute monsters, sweet coming-of-age stories 

Luca

Luca

Disney/Pixar

Pixar's most recent film is one of its lightest. Luca is a gentle, brightly colored romp through Italy in the late '50s from the point of view of Luca (voice of Jacob Tremblay), an anxious young sea monster who dreams of escaping his humdrum life as a goatfish herder and exploring life on the surface. But he's afraid, because he's always been told the surface world is dangerous, because humans want to kill sea monsters. He meets Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), a slightly older sea monster who regularly goes up on land. Alberto lets Luca in on a secret: When sea monsters get out of the water, they shapeshift into human forms. Together, they go on a journey of self-discovery and overcoming fear. Since the movie was released last summer, kids have found a new catchphrase to silence the nagging voice in their head that tells them they can't do something: "Silencio Bruno!" -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




Secrets of the Whales 

For fans of: Undersea mammals, nature documentaries
Number of seasons:

Secrets of the Whales

Secrets of the Whales

National Geographic for Disney+/Adam Geiger

WHIIIeeeeEEEaaaOOOOOOOO. That's whale-speak for "you should watch this fascinating National Geographic docuseries about whale social structure." Beautifully filmed over the course of three years in two dozen locations all over the world, the doc dives deep into how orcas, humpbacks, belugas, narwhals, and sperm whales communicate and organize their communities. If you ever wondered if whales have souls or not, Secrets of the Whales will settle the question for you. It comes from executive producer James Cameron, who recruited his old pal Sigourney Weaver to narrate. It won the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series in 2021. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




Star Wars: Visions 

For fans of: Anime, outside-the-box takes on worn material
Number of seasons:

Star Wars: Visions

Star Wars: Visions

Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars is a tightly controlled franchise, but there's still room for experimentation within it. For example, Lucasfilm, the Disney subsidiary that makes Star Wars, gave seven Japanese studios relatively free rein to make their own Star Wars anime shorts. And these are not anime-influenced – they're straight-up anime. As far as I can tell, this is the first Star Wars project not originally in English, though the English dubs have a pretty star-studded cast, including Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Brie, and Simu Liu, to name a few folks. Visions is an envelope-pushing project that's a lot more creatively interesting than, say, The Rise of Skywalker. If you're a Star Wars fan who's been looking to explore the less mainstream world of anime, this could be your entry point. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




X-Men: The Animated Series 

For fans of: '90s animation, pre-Disney Marvel 
Number of seasons:

X-Men: The Animated Series

X-Men: The Animated Series

20th Television

In the '90s, two animated superhero series stood head and shoulders above all the rest: Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: The Animated Series. They were two of the earliest comic book adaptations that made people say, "you know, maybe we should take this whole superhero thing seriously." The complete run of X-Men: The Animated series, which aired on Saturday mornings from 1992 to 1997, is on Disney+, which will also be home to the revival of the series, called X-Men '97, which is coming in 2023. It will be the first X-Men project produced by Marvel Studios following some sticky rights deals. But before the revival drops, you might enjoy getting caught up on the original series. (Meanwhile, Batman: The Animated Series is currently on/getting revived at HBO Max.) -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




Enchanted

For fans of: Amy Adams, princess parody, New York Frickin' City

Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted

Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted

Disney+

Step out of the usual Disney mold with this rom-com that's a wink and a nudge at Disney's animated classics now that it finally hit Disney+ in late 2021. Amy Adams stars as Giselle, your typical singing and dancing wide-eyed animated Disney princess who gets transported to live-action New York City, where she gets life lessons in reality and New Yorkers get dazzled (or irritated) at her naïveté and innocence. It's appropriate for all audiences, with silly high jinx for the kids and Disney satire for the grown-ups. A sequel, Disenchanted, is due out in 2022. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Jungle Cruise

For fans of: Swashbuckling adventures, a wisecrackin' Rock, totally OK movies

Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson, and Jack Whitehall, Jungle Cruise

Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson, and Jack Whitehall, Jungle Cruise

Disney

Most people subscribe to Disney+ for the Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies, but let's not forget the lot from Walt Disney Pictures. (That's right, John Carter is on Disney+!) The latest big WD movie to hit Disney+ is the 2020 action-adventure Jungle Cruise, which, yes, is based on the Disneyland ride of the same name, but is more than just a guy on a boat making bad puns (though Dwayne Johnson does do an effective extended bit on that). Johnson plays a man with a boat who helps a woman (Emily Blunt) and her brother (Jack Whitehall) go deep into the Amazon to find a mystical place before the bad guys do. It's a family-friendly film that's entertaining but not TOO entertaining. -Tim Surette [Trailer]




Gargoyles 

For fans of: Ambitious TV for children, Scotland
Number of seasons:

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Disney+

This animated series ran from 1994 to 1997, and became a cult classic for its sophisticated tone and storytelling. It's about a group of gargoyles, mythological creatures from ancient Scotland who turn to stone during the day and fight crime by night. A thousand years ago, a curse put them in suspended animation, but now they're awakened in modern-day Manhattan. They're in constant conflict with David Xanatos, the conniving billionaire who brought them out of hibernation and wants to use them for his own ends, and helped in their quest to help people by NYPD officer Elisa Maza. The series draws on mythology and Shakespeare for its storylines, and has great voice acting from a cast headed up by Keith David as Goliath, the leader of the gargoyles. It's a worthy candidate for a reboot or revival at some point in the next few years. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]




The Straight Story 

For fans of: Rural Midwestern life, movies that make you go "WHAT?" when you find out who made them

Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story

Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story

Walt Disney Pictures

A wholesome hidden gem of a movie about an old man named Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) who drives his ancient John Deere tractor 240 miles from Iowa to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother, to whom he hasn't spoken in a decade. The plot is really that simple, with Alvin encountering interesting people who help him along his journey. It's a plain-spoken, kind-hearted slice of Americana that still manages to avoid sentimentality. And the wild twist of this G-rated family film is that it's directed by David Lynch, the legendary autuer behind arthouse freakouts like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. Yes! In 1999, David Lynch made a Disney movie! And it's great! -Liam Mathews [Trailer]