With another successful season of “Daredevil” behind us (or if you’re still watching, currently streaming), it is clear that Disney and Marvel have made the most of the online streaming in the digital age. So far, both “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” have not only left a footprint on pop culture, but also were deemed critical successes during their runs. This begs the question, should Disney begin to pursue other programming options with the streaming giant?
It shouldn’t hurt Disney XD/Disney Channel programming
The obvious hangup for Disney is that the content created won’t be airing on the Disney Channel or Disney XD. Some shows like the “Guardian of the Galaxy” series have been successful at bringing new viewers to the network. However, a lot of these series release their backlog and Disney Channel original features onto Netflix anyway. Shows like “Fuller House” have proven that traditional sitcoms still have an audience. Disney Channel already utilizes the traditional aspects of a sitcom on many of the shows it creates for kids (such as “A.N.T. Farm”) so why not create similar shows for children and young adults? With so much content available to audiences, it would be beneficial to continue building a diverse content library across various platforms.
Content could be more experimental
Much of the success of Disney channel shows has come when they take new angles on established properties. Perhaps the most notable show of late is the recent incarnation of “Mickey Mouse.” While much of the humor is still centered on a Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse style humor, the animation used was a drastic departure from traditional designs. Even now, the show feels slightly alien for the mainstream Disney fan, with the iconography of the show relatively ignored in the parks despite the fact that the series in question has won Emmy awards.
If Disney wishes, this medium would be an excellent chance to let their animators experiment with the form. By utilizing streaming, the great shows that are created will likely gain a stronger audience than those on Disney XD or Disney Channel, while the lesser shows can disappear without much fuss. It’s a solid way to continue amassing a content library for both companies while giving animators a sandbox to play around in without eating up time on the Disney networks.
Another avenue that Disney could take would be to make prequel shows for upcoming films, or even embrace some of the niche aspects of the Disney fandom. Imagine the possibility of a Haunted Mansion TV show, which could potentially be as creepy or kid friendly as it wanted to be. With the production quality of shows like “Daredevil,” it could certainly be a reality. Even a “Figment” animated series based on the comics, or a “Kingdom Keepers” series could come to fruition.
Spinoffs and Sequels would be easy
One of the things that any child of the 90s could tell you, is that spin-off and direct to VHS sequels were widely anticipated. Even though most signified a decline in quality from the theatrical films they were based upon, they contributed to the cannon of the characters involved. For example, characters like Angelique can be seen in the Be Our Guest restaurant during Christmas, and Iago’s view as a hero, not villain, stems from “Aladdin: Return of Jafar” (the story line featured prominently in “Kingdom Hearts 2”).
Using Netflix as a method to distribute solo films for characters or spin-off series could be a great way to continue the tradition that Disney has established. While a film like “Frozen 2” is not likely to go through this channel, other spinoffs like the recently announced “Big Hero 6” animated show, or even a Wreck-It-Ralph show could work well through this platform. It could also be an excellent location to launch a series of shorts, such as the “Disney Animated Shorts Collection” in bulk. Again, this wouldn’t stop Disney from also releasing these features on DVD or Blu-ray (“House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” both released through these mediums as well), and instead might increase the audience that would find the movie or series. There’s no doubt that a show based on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit could connect with a niche audience through this forum.
Overall, the idea of creating more content for Netflix has got to be appealing for Disney on some level. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be moving full speed ahead on the Marvel Netflix Universe. It’ll be interesting to see if Disney chooses to go this route, but in the opinion of this writer, it’d be a missed opportunity to expand the worlds of various Disney characters. If nothing else, Disney has proven that it can be successful with niche fandoms. This might be the best way to embrace that opportunity.
What shows would you like to see on a Netflix deal? Let us know in the comments!