The days below have been broken up to reflect the amount of time that these programmes may take to watch… assuming that you’re working from home during this bizarre time. If you have kids around, all are safe to watch together… it is Disney after all.
DAYS 1 & 2:
The first binge-worthy Disney+ series is Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Disney’s first live action series. Jon Favreau (actor, director, writer and producer of hits like Iron Man and The Jungle Book) and LucasFilm have teamed up to create The Mandalorian. If you long for the early Star Wars films and thought that the last three entries were not very good, you’re in for a treat. This series, lovingly directed by Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyima, David Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi takes us back to the wild, wild west frontier of infinite space we fell in love with in the first Star Wars movie in 1977.
According to Vanity Fair, “creator and showrunner Jon Favreau said that he wanted to deliver a story that was simultaneously steeped in the lore and appearance of the past while exploring entirely new territory. Can something be both nostalgic and original? It’s a tricky line to walk – not unlike bringing balance to The Force.”
Favreau succeeds brilliantly. The universal tone that he builds on was set by the first film trilogy, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (1977, 1980 and 1983) and changed the world of sci-fi films. Telling stories chronologically backwards is not new to sci-fi. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series started with a trilogy too, and then prequels, and on and on it went, satisfying readers for decades. Two days will probably be enough to catch this thoroughly enjoyable eight-part series of 45-minute episodes.
After you’ve seen all the episodes of The Mandalorian, stick around for The Gallery. It’s a documentary-style roundtable, where Favreau and others talk about their experiences making the series. It’s a fascinating look at the director’s journey, an insight into their world, and shows from where the generosity and camaraderie originate and beams through the first season.
DAYS 4 & 5:
Next on the list is The World According To Jeff Goldblum (his filmography includes some of the highest grossing films ever, including Jurassic Park and Independence Day). He’s smart, erudite and fantastically interested in the world around him. Who else could make subjects like ice cream, cosmetics and swimming pools must-watch streaming? It’s a comedy; not laugh-out-loud, but really amusing and wry.
American journalist George Plimpton pioneered “presenter as subject” on television in the ‘60s. It can be seen as the germ of the idea that became “reality” television half a century later. Plimpton would take the viewer on a tour of, say, professional wrestling, and then enter the ring himself. He’d train with a major league baseball team and then play in a real game. It’s a style few have been able to imitate, or, build on.
Jeff Goldblum has refined it brilliantly, taking part in some sports that he’s clearly skittish about. That’s part of his charm. There’s no bravado, and nothing fake. Goldblum is authentic, and that comes through loud and clear. He’s a pleasure to watch.
Two days for the series should be plenty.
DAYS 6 & 7
National Geographic documentaries are a must. Even though Foxtel carries NatGeo, there is a superior production quality to the programs on Disney+.
And obviously, Disney’s library is available too. Disney+ also offers the complete catalogues of Pixar and Marvel as well. Unless you have kids, a week of free viewing should do it. But really, it’s $9 a month. Want to relive all the precious Star Wars films or Marvel? It’s all there for $90 a year.
For more information, head to Disney +.