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The Best Disney+ Original Shows Of 2021

As you're probably well aware, Disney+ has already reached its peak potential. In a move that nobody saw coming, the streaming service made "Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure" and "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor" available to view at subscribers' leisure. That's right: all 191 minutes of the 1980s' made-for-TV Ewok stories, in one convenient, non-VHS location. You could be watching them right this minute. But you know that already. If you hadn't already watched both "Ewok" movies several times, you wouldn't be looking for something else to check out. You'd be watching both "Ewok" movies and feeling grateful to be doing so.

Luckily, these two cinematic masterpieces aren't the only programs on the menu over at Disney+. The service's enviable smorgasbord of original series has been flowing into the proverbial city for a while now, and 2021 saw new content appearing more regularly than ever. Here's a look at some of the best Disney+ original shows of 2021, while simultaneously putting a pin in our excitement about the Ewok movies. Probably.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

There aren't a lot of things that you can count on in this life. Jared Leto will continue to perplex both his audiences and his co-stars. Mister Golden Sun will, in all likelihood, keep shining down on you for the remainder of your days. Most importantly, a "Star Wars" project will probably turn out alright if Dave Filoni is at the wheel. This year sees the "Clone Wars" and "Mandalorian" mastermind's latest work released on Disney+. "The Bad Batch" opens at the tail end of the events of the prequel trilogy, with that dang old Emperor issuing Order 66. While most clone troopers are more than happy to start gunning down space wizards, the members of the titular Bad Batch — a cadre of genetically deviant clones with distinctive abilities — feel hesitant. As a result, our heroes wind up on the run, minus one member whose behavior inhibitor chip gets cranked to 11 when he displays a very on-the-fence attitude about shooting innocent laser sword monks.

Like most aspects of the franchise that Filoni touches, "The Bad Batch" is getting stellar reviews, particularly from viewers. It currently holds a 92% audience approval score on Rotten Tomatoes.


Statistically speaking, it would be bananas if you hadn't heard the "Agatha All Along" song from "WandaVision" by now. What prospective new viewers might not know, however, is that there's a whole show surrounding the ditty. The Agatha song is the gooey filling at the center of a narrative cream egg. Disney's slate of Phase Four MCU offerings has been throwing fans for a loop since day one, and the king weirdo of the announced projects was undoubtedly "WandaVision." Here, we caught up with Avenger and noted building exploder Wanda Maximoff, living an idyllic sitcom existence with her forever boo, the Vision. From a continuity standpoint, this raised some eyebrows right off the bat, since the last time fans saw Viz, he was missing most of his forehead and staring into the void of entropy through cold, white eyes. Also, most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe hadn't featured a laugh track up to this point. There were questions, that's all we're saying.

Nine episodes later, "WandaVision" landed on its feet — not the feet that fans were probably assuming it would land on, more like a series of previously unseen crab legs that folded out of its torso in a move that screamed "subverted expectations" and, at the same time, "Boehner." Still, critics were pleased, and the show became a staple of conversation in a world starved of MCU content.

Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

So much of the "Mighty Ducks" story had already been told by 2021. The first film taught us that sometimes, drunk lawyers make the best children's hockey coaches. "D2: The Mighty Ducks" showed us that the siren song of celebrity can lead to even the fiercest of competitors losing to Iceland. "D3" pitted the old ways against the new, and "Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series" took the natural next step in the narrative by moving the franchise to a world populated by humanoid ducks with a species-wide culture based entirely around hockey. It was the '90s; everything was a Ninja Turtle, even fuzzy troll pencil toppers.

But that was all 25, 30 years ago. The kids from "The Mighty Ducks" are now older than Emilio Estevez was in the first film. A new entry in the saga of Minnesota's favorite hockey underdogs was well overdue.

Enter "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers," the long-awaited followup to the beloved '90s franchise. Life is funny, and has at this point turned former attorney and Ducks coach Gordon Bombay (Estevez) into a down-on-his-luck, hockey-hating rink proprietor, and the Ducks themselves into elitist Jerk McGurks. Luckily, one dedicated mom (Lauren Graham) takes action when the now-unrecognizable Ducks tell her son that he's not good enough to play for them. This swirling vortex of causality leads to a new team, a fresh approach, and an 89% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

On paper, "The Adventures of Jet Pack Guy and his Metal Arm Co-Worker" doesn't read like compelling storytelling, but the MCU pretty well established its ability to spin b-listers into gold when the Russo Bros made Batroc the Leaper fun to watch in "Captain America 2." And so it came to pass that "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" became one of 2021's best series to date. Taking place not long after the events of "Avengers: Endgame," the show sees the world in a state of political disarray. Following the Blip, world leaders struggle to find a reasonable approach to reintegrating 50% of the world's population. Complicating matters, there's an international association of globalism-driven terrorists, the US government's decision to rebrand Captain America as a guy whose face looks kind of wonky in the helmet, and a rogue batch of super soldier serum getting hot potato-ed around the world.

More than that, the series tackles some fascinating issues, introducing the hugely uncomfortable story of Isaiah Bradley to the MCU and asking whether exceptionalism is inherently dangerous. It's all enough to make up for the fact that Anthony Mackie didn't get to eat very small lobsters, something that really upset him.

Big Shot

"Marvyn Korn." 25 years ago, it would have been hard to convince someone that John Stamos would one day play a character with that name. It's the sort of moniker that casting directors normally save for Joe Pantoliano or Steve Buscemi or, in more recent years, maybe Dane DeHaan. But life is what happens when you're making other plans, and for the 10 episodes of the first season of "Big Shots" on Disney+, John Stamos inhabits the life of basketball coach, estranged husband and father, and temperamental-mentor-with-a-heart-of-gold Marvyn Korn.

The beats are familiar. Korn is fired from his job as an NCAA coach after an outburst on the court, forcing him to take what the world offers him. The world, it turns out, offers him a position coaching high school basketball at an all-girls private school, thanks to the obsession of a wealthy father determined to get his daughter into college on an athletic scholarship. What follows is a redemption parable equal parts comforting and familiar, anchored by Stamos's irrefutable charisma and a cast of female leads, more empowered and inspirational with each passing episode.