March 22, 2016
Face it people – old is gold. And unless you were born in the 2000s, or simply possess a taste for excessive canned laughter and shiny, one-dimensional lead characters, you’ll understand why we’re so nostalgic about Disney Channel in “the good ol’ days” all the time. Either that or you’re a badass, alternative Centennial who’d rather watch Star World or Netflix over Disney – to which we say: good choice. (You may proceed to exit this article.)
So what’s the deal with Disney Channel shows these days that frustrates so many ex-fans? Is it the plotlines? The try-hard humour that can only be received with weak “heh”s (hence all the canned laughter so it feels like people actually do find it funny)? Many point towards the lack of relatable characters and realistic scenarios in today’s shows, and rue that Disney has become a sell-out – foregoing authentic, down-to-earth characters and real character development for quick, cheap laughs and shallow but good-looking leads.
While that might sound a little harsh for an international channel targeting tweens, there’s no denying a drop, or turn, in standards of the programmes shown today. And truthfully, a quick watch of some of these newer shows kinda made our stomachs turn. But enough yammering on our side; you be the judge.
K.C. Undercover vs. Kim Possible
We’re a little torn here because #Zendaya, duh. It’s a definite step-up from the incoherent and scream-y Shake It Up that Zendaya starred in with Bella Thorne back in 2010, but the whole “regular-teenager-is-actually-a-cool-spy” storyline seems a little like 2002’s Kim Possible. Oh well, the fact that her entire family are secret agents too adds freshness for sure, though we’d take Ron Stoppable over Zendaya’s dorky little sidekick brother any day.
Stuck In The Middle vs. Even Stevens
Ah, the classic dysfunctional family sitcom. Definitely brings back memories of other family-centric shows like Even Stevens and That’s So Raven, but this time the usual 4-member family gets an upgrade with seven kids – with little Harley Diaz getting what’s probably the worst of Middle Child Syndrome. There’s potential here, even if it does seem closer to Cheaper By The Dozen than a feel-good DC series; still, we’re holding our breath to see how long overacting and big-family gimmicks can stay entertaining.
Liv and Maddie vs. Hannah Montana
Maddie Rooney is a sporty high-schooler in Wisconsin who has to adapt with her twin sister Liz’s return from Hollywood, where she spent four years as a television star. Plot twist? They’re both played by the same actress. Well fine, it’s not exactly unheard of, seeing how Lindsey Lohan singlehandedly fooled us all back in The Parent Trap, but while Dove Cameron may be a pretty face to look at, her exaggerated antics are a little hard to stomach even as just one person – much less two. And we’re not entirely sure about the cutaways to break the fourth wall, though it is different. Also: dual personalities trying to work together, and the struggle of having to live with a famous persona both at home and in school? Sounds all very Hannah Montana-y to us, minus Miley’s natural comedic timing, of course.
BUNK’D vs. Suite Life
A spin-off from Debby Ryan’s nanny gig on Jessie, BUNK’D features three of the four Rosses Jessie babysat, but this time removed from their home in the Upper East Side and thrust into summer camp at Camp Kikiwaka to rough it out. It’s an ensemble cast-type show where the adults take a step back and the events revolve mainly around the teens – which is fine by us, if the actors can hold their own at that age. Possibly one of the most harmless of the lot, the series follows Peyton List’s character (who gives us serious London Tipton vibes, by the way) and her new gang of camp buddies on their summer camp adventure, quickly forming camaraderie in the same way the Suite Life squad did on their escapades. Choose for yourself, but whether it’s On Deck or in the Tipton Hotel, we’ll always be Team Zack and Cody. (And how can you disregard sitcom gold like the PRNDL?!)
Ah well, maybe it’s just us feeling the early ‘00s nostalgia. Not all is lost though – we’ve already started the countdown for when the new animated prequel series Tangled: Before Ever After premieres in 2017. Eek!