One of the most popular series in existence is The Simpsons, which has been around since 1989. This animated sitcom stars The Simpson family, which comprises Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. There are over 600 episodes available, with over 30 seasons on offer. It streams on Disney Plus, as the company purchased 20th Century Fox and therefore the rights to the show.
Overall, the show acts as a parody of American culture, plus humanity as a whole. It was created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company and is now the longest-running American sitcom and longest-running American scripted primetime television series. There is a movie which came out in 2007, simply called The Simpsons Movie, which managed to gross more than $527 million.
The Simpson family is made up of Homer Simpson, a simple man who works at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and is married to typical US housewife and mother Marge. The pair has three children – a troublemaker called Bart, a highly intelligent daughter called Lisa and a baby called Maggie. Throughout its time on air, The Simpsons has never shown Maggie talking, but she is seen loudly sucking on a pacifier.
It is clear the family is dysfunctional, with Homer and Bart often getting up to no good and Lisa regularly feeling neglected, while Maggie frequently rolls away in her pram due to neglect from her parents or siblings. There is a huge community of residents in Springfield who complement the Simpsons, from Chief Wiggum and Ned Flanders to Barney Gumble and Seymour Skinner.
Cast and characters
- Homer Simpson
- Marge Simpson
- Bart Simpson
- Lisa Simpson
- Maggie Simpson
- Mr Burns
- Ned Flanders
- Edna Krabappel
- Nelson Muntz
- Barney Gumble
- Principal Skinner
- Waylon Smithers
- Fat Tony
- Ralph Wiggum
- Krusty the Clown
- Grampa Simpson
- Comic Book Guy
- Groundskeeper Willie
- Santa’s Little Helper
- Troy McClure
- Dr Hibbert
- Martin Prince
- Miss Hoover
- Sideshow Mel
- Kent Brockman
- Helen Lovejoy
- Chief Wiggum
- Reverend Lovejoy
- Todd Flanders
- Rod Flanders
- Maude Flanders
- Mayor Quimby
- Agnes Skinner
The concept of The Simpsons began when James L Brooks was working on The Tracey Ullman Show and decided to insert animated sketches on either side of the commercial breaks. As he had seen the Life in Hell comic strips from Matt Groening, he asked Groening to pitch an idea. He initially wanted to present an animated version of Life in Hell, so he quickly came up with another idea in Brooks’ office lobby while waiting for the pitch meeting. He drew together a dysfunctional family who would become the Simpsons, with each family member named after his own.
To begin with, The Simpsons were part of The Tracey Ullman show as shorts, with only basic sketches submitted to the animators from Groening. However, his assumption that the animations would be cleaned up was incorrect – in fact, the animators just re-traced his drawings. It was Georgie Peluse, a colorist, who decided that the characters should be yellow. In 1989, The Simpsons was turned into a half-hour series for Fox.
Episodes and reception
Each season of The Simpsons has roughly 20 episodes. The Simpsons is known as the first series from Fox to become one of the most highly rated shows. 1990 saw Bart Simpson become one of the most popular characters on TV, and he was prominent on various merchandise. Famously, The Simpsons once aired at the same time as The Cosby Show on NBC, and the cult phenomenon was known as the Bill vs Bart rivalry. However, while the first episode which aired alongside the NBC title was in receipt of a lower Nielsen rating, the number of viewers overall was an impressive 33.6 million.
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When Disney Plus first launched, it was subject to technical issues which prevented many users from accessing key pages to sign up. However, these issues were resolved by engineers and a tweet was sent out by the company citing high levels of demand. Since then, Disney Plus has amassed over ten million new subscribers and enjoyed high levels of success with new original series such as new TV show The Mandalorian. After falling in love with Baby Yoda, memes began to gather online of the cute character sipping tea and blasting music.
Despite its success and enviable library of content, Disney Plus has also experienced criticism due to issues such as needing to acknowledge ‘outdated cultural depictions’ on titles such as Jungle Book, Dumbo, The Aristocats and Lady and the Tramp. Fortunately, our Disney Plus reviews section acknowledges these factors, plus looks at streaming service shows, studios and titles such as The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Toy Story, Star Wars films, Force Awakens, New Hope and Marvel Studios. The level of original programming available for just 6 99 per month means the Disney Plus streaming service is pretty much like Netflix, with some unique bonuses to boost the streaming platform experience.
Pros and cons
- Affordable pricing. Disney+ has entered the market with a price range that challenges others in the industry. Notably, the standalone service is several dollars cheaper than the premium plan per month and per year for Netflix.
- Home to desirable content. Disney Plus is a new hub for the entire Disney content library, all rights reserved, and the shows and movies haven’t been available in a single location before. Whether you’re on Disney Canada, in the UK, New Zealand or Australia, this service also hosts movies and shows from National Geographic, Pixar and Marvel.
- Suits multiple audiences. The range of Walt Disney TV shows and new movies from Star Wars, Marvel and more is so broad that it will suit everyone, from young children to adults. Both older and newer Disney movies will appeal to kids, from The Little Mermaid to Frozen. Plus, adults are being reeled in with news such as a Lizzie McGuire reboot taking them back to their teenage years.
- Platform interface. Since its launch, Disney Plus and its new app have been subject to a number of technical issues. When it first became available to consumers in the US, technical issues prevented many from signing up. A little further down the line, engineers needed to remove the ‘resume watching’ feature in order to fix it.
- Only a few major content sells to start. The main selling point when Disney Plus launched was The Mandalorian, which has had people tuning in weekly for the latest episode. Apart from this, few other new movies or shows seem to be drawing in the same level of intrigue.
- Not all Disney content will be available for a while. Before the decision to create Disney Plus was made, licensing deals were struck with competitors such as Netflix so they could offer Disney movies to stream. As many won’t expire for a few more years yet, it will be a while before there is an intact library present on Disney Plus. Some Star Wars, Pixar Marvel, Disney Pixar, National Geographic and other TV show titles may not be present just yet.
Types of content available
Perhaps the biggest perk viewers benefit from with Disney+ is access to the entire Disney library. Not only is it possible to watch Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and The Lion King, more recent Disney favourites are on offer, such as Moana and Frozen.
Beyond the classic Disney titles, you’ll find over 500 movies and more than 7500 TV shows on Disney Plus – and that’s just the initial offering. You will be able to enjoy content from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic. Some may want combos such as Pixar Marvel, Disney Pixar, Star Wars only, just new shows, animated series, tv show only and so on, and this is all possible.
Top Disney Plus TV shows and movies
This American space Western TV series, based on Star Wars, has proven to be more popular than Netflix smash hit Stranger Things. It takes place five years after the events which unfolded in Return of the Jedi and tracks the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter as he navigates the outskirts of the galaxy – a long way from the New Republic’s authority.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Created by George Lucas and produced by Lucasfilm Animation, this animated TV series is set in between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The previous animated TV series was titled similarly, as it was called Star Wars: Clone Wars. It aired in 2003 and was in 2D, whereas this 2008 series is 3D CGI.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
This mockumentary is based on the High School Musical film series and is set in a fictional version of East High School – where the original took place. A group of teenage theatre fans take part in a production of High School Musical: The Musical.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
Premiering on November 12, 2019, this documentary series sees Jeff ‘explore the world’ and look at topics such as video games, sneakers and sweet treats. Each episode includes such elements as chats with influencers and experts who specialise in the subject. Goldblum apparently researched as little as possible on the topics for each show while the series was filming.
Marvel’s Hero Project
This documentary series chronicles the heroes making change in their communities by demonstrating acts of altruism. Each kid has their own Marvel comic created, with Marvel Entertainment saying: ‘In life, it doesn’t take wearing a suit of iron, carrying a mythical hammer or swinging from spider webs to be a real hero. Sometimes the person who can make a positive difference in the world is the person who simply sees a problem and has the passion to find a creative solution.’
Hilary Duff announced there would be a reboot of the popular Disney show Lizzie McGuire, 15 years on. Details so far reveal that Lizzie will be approaching her 30th birthday, living in Manhattan as an apprentice to an interior designer and engaged. But to whom?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Expected to be released in late 2020, this TV miniseries is set after the 2019 movie Avengers: Endgame and is based on the Marvel Comics characters Falcon and Winter Soldier. The series tackles the aftermath of the events from the Endgame film, where Wilson (Falcon) was given the mantle of Captain America.
Hosted by Kristen Bell and Will Gluck, this reality TV series sees groups of kids who were once theatre enthusiasts put back on stage to re-perform the musicals they staged in school. The entire production has to be re-learned and performed in just five days.
Monsters at Work
This spinoff from the popular 2001 movie Monsters Inc follows on from the ending, which sees Monstropolis collect energy from children’s laughter instead of screams. It focuses on Tylor Tuskmon, a mechanic who works on the Facilities Team and dreams of working alongside his heroes – Mike Wazowski and James P Sullivan.
Set after the events of 2019 film Avengers: Endgame, this miniseries is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is based on the characters Scarlet Witch and Vision. It will be released in 2021 and is made up of six episodes.
When you log in to Disney+, you’ll see an interface which is similar to that found with Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. The Disney content is organised into rows and split into sections according to their type.
The top of the screen will provide you with a dynamic banner showing Disney’s five main brands. Within each of these Disney banners you will be able to click through to featured titles produced by Disney. There will also be links where you can click on the relevant brand – such as Pixar or Marvel – to filter content which only comes from this source.
The rows underneath this Disney Plus banner include sub headings such as Hit Movies, Recommended For You, Featured, Live Action Movies, Reimagined Classics, Inspired By True Stories, For Kids and Musicals. You can also search for a Disney title using the search bar, or click onto the download icon to see which Disney Plus titles you currently have available to watch online.
Each of the categories and groupings has been carefully curated by Disney, which results in subscribers being able to find Disney shows and movies they didn’t necessarily know existed or would have chosen naturally. Beyond Star Wars and Disney Pixar, there could be a TV show you love on offer.
However, if you want a more predictable setup, you can look at sections dedicated to Disney TV shows and movies. There is also a drop down menu in these general Disney Plus sections where you can break categories down into genre, such as Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Kids, Drama, Action/Adventure and Shorts. You can also filter content to find titles which play in 4K Ultra HD.
How to watch
Disney+ has ensured that any device will be compatible with its streaming service. Whether you’re on a gaming console, a streaming device or a smartphone, there will be a way to download the Disney Plus app for Disney Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar Marvel, original shows or any combination you desire.
If you want to watch Disney+ on the go, this platform is available as an app to download on Android phones and tablets, plus Apple iPhones and iPads. Those who use Disney+ in a more traditional manner by settling down in front of the TV can use a whole host of smart TVs with the Disney streaming services, such as Android TV devices (including NVIDIA Shield, Mii Box and Sony Smart TVs), LG WebOS Smart TVs, Roku TV and Samsung Tizen Smart TVs.
Another option is to stream Disney+ via games console or set-top box, and your options for gaining access to Star Wars, National Geographic, new original shows ad Marvel titles are Apple TV (4th Generation and above), Roku, Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. The remaining devices compatible for the Disney streaming service are Chromebook, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay, Amazon Fire TV and finally a simple desktop web browser.
Generally speaking, you will need to have an internet connection which is at least 5.0Mbps for HD quality video streaming, all rights reserved, on Disney Plus – which is also known as 1080p. If you can get this without WiFi on your mobile device instead, this is fine, but make sure your 3G or 4G connection doesn’t operate with a data cap. Otherwise, you may find that it runs out very quickly, making it impossible to view Pixar Marvel, Star Wars story shows, Marvel originals and more.
Your data will be used up even more quickly if you want to stream Disney content in Ultra HD quality – 4K. This is because you will generally need a 25Mbps connection to facilitate the playback on Disney Plus. If you don’t have a good internet connection, or it’s unreliable – making it frustrating to stream Disney video – you may prefer to download the titles you want to watch instead. If you do it overnight while you’re sleeping, you can watch the movies and TV shows you’ve chosen the following day without needing to worry about the internet going down or buffering issues with Disney Plus.
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