Just when you’d got your head around the seemingly endless viewing possibilities that Disney+ has to offer (Soul! Baby Yoda! The Hamilton film!), the mega-studio launches a brand new arm of its streaming platform.
Set to arrive on the service on February 23, Star will focus on more grown-up series and films, hosting programmes and movies from studios now owned by Disney, including FX and 20th Century Studios. It’ll be available to all Disney+ subscribers for no extra cost (and there’ll be parental control options to prevent your 10-year-old from, say, sitting down to watch Desperate Housewives instead of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series).
Here’s our pick of the best the new platform has to offer, from original series to old favourites and critically acclaimed movies…
The latest project from David E. Kelley, the writer behind HBO hits Big Little Lies and The Undoing, will debut on Star in February. Big Sky follows a pair of private detectives (Kylie Bunbury and Ryan Phillippe) as they race to track down two sisters who have been abducted, before the kidnapper strikes again.
A spin-off from the acclaimed 2018 YA movie Love, Simon, this second Star original series follows Victor, a high school student adjusting to a new city and grappling with his sexuality.
Each series of this Noughties thriller, starring Kiefer Sutherland as counter-terrorism operative Jack Bauer, famously consists of 24 episodes, one for each hour of the day. God knows we’ve all got a bit more TV viewing time on our hands than we’d expected this time last year, so why not embrace it and relive one of Bauer’s extremely stressful days in real time?
One of the most talked-about - and mind-boggling - series of the Noughties, Lost follows the survivors of a plane crash who find themselves stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Yes, everything gets a bit convoluted towards the end, but the first few seasons are golden.
With its soapy storylines and a script that ricochets with zingy one-liners, Desperate Housewives is ripe for a re-watch (in fact, it’s genuinely surprising that no one has tried to revive Marc Cherry’s series yet, given TV execs’ collective passion for rebooting past hits).
How I Met Your Mother
There was a time when E4 seemed to be exclusively devoted to broadcasting hour upon hour of US sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which follows Ted (Josh Radnor) in his quest for The One. If you miss those halcyon days, the whole thing - which also stars Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris - will be streaming on Star for your re-watching pleasure.
Another Noughties favourite, Prison Break follows Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) as he gets himself locked up in jail - so that he can help his brother, who is on death row and has just months left to live, to escape.
Offering up another dose of nostalgia, Star will also boast all series of Nineties hit The X-Files, starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully, FBI agents tasked with investigating paranormal phenomena.
Donald Glover’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series is among the more recent offerings that will be available to stream on Disney’s new platform. Glover stars as Earn, a college dropout who returns home to discover that his cousin has become one of Atlanta’s most in-demand rappers.
This acclaimed US sit-com stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson as an upper middle class American couple grappling with bringing up their four children. It’s been widely praised for sparking important conversations about race, has spawned a handful of spin-off series and has earned Ross a Golden Globe.
Ryan Murphy’s lavishly appointed eight-part exploration of the love-hate relationship between legendary actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford is a must-watch for anyone with even a passing interest in the golden age of Hollywood. When the pair are cast opposite one another in camp classic Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, long-dormant professional jealousies are stirred up. Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange are brilliant as Davis and Crawford, larger than life but never veering into caricature territory.
Remember that strange period in the late Noughties, when Glee’s chirpy vocal group covers of pop hits dominated the top 40? Now’s your time to relive those glory days, with all six series of the all-singing, all-dancing comedy drama available to stream on Star. If you can make it through Mr Schu’s raps without passing out from residual embarrassment, though, you are made of stronger stuff than I.
The first 15 series of Shonda Rhimes’s hit medical drama will be making their way to Star (you’ll have to look elsewhere for the two most recent seasons) so prepare to have your heart broken a million times over - this one is a bona fide tearjerker.
Very nice! The first film outing for Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic creation sees hapless reporter Borat Sagdiyev dispatched to US and A to make a documentary. Baron Cohen’s interactions with unsuspecting Americans are by turns hilarious and eye-wateringly uncomfortable.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
As we all wait (im)patiently for the release of the pandemic-delayed The French Dispatch, why not revisit Wes Anderson’s 2013 hit The Grand Budapest Hotel? This millennial pink-hued confection boasts one of Anderson’s best ensemble casts, led by Ralph Fiennes as charming concierge Gustave. Tony Revolori is his young protegé Zero, who’s hopeless in love with Saoirse Ronan’s Agathe.
The Devil Wears Prada
Yes, you can probably recite Miranda Priestley’s speech about cerulean blue off by heart by now, but we all know that won’t stop you re-watching The Devil Wears Prada for the thousandth time. In fairness, it has aged better than a lot of its mid-Noughties counterparts: Meryl Streep is brilliant as icy editor-in-chief Priestley and Emily Blunt is equally good as her acid-tongued, highly quotable assistant.
This anarchic (and sometimes anachronistic) re-imagining of the power struggles at the heart of Queen Anne’s court won Olivia Colman an Oscar. Even if period dramas aren’t usually your cup of tea, this one is a total riot, complete with pitch black humour, racing ducks and brilliant lead performances from Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.
Almost 15 years on from its release, the denouement of Baz Luhrmann’s spectacular spectacular still has the power to reduce us to a weeping wreck. Ewan McGregor plays naive poet Christian, who falls hard for beautiful dancer Satine (Nicole Kidman). From the karaoke-friendly Elephant Love Medley to McGregor’s version of Your Song and the heartbreaking Come What May, the soundtrack is brilliant.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand gives a powerhouse performance as a grieving mother angered by the lacklustre police investigation into her daughter’s murder in this Oscar hit from playwright and director Martin McDonagh.
Romeo + Juliet
Another Luhrmann favourite, Romeo+Juliet sees the director swap fair Verona for contemporary(ish) Verona Beach. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are our star-crossed lovers, and the film’s neon-soaked aesthetic and pitch-perfect soundtrack is still just as striking as it was on release in 1996.