When Netflix first got started, they gained a reputation for saving cancelled shows. This was done to attract some eager, built-in audiences and get them hooked as subscribers. It created a lot of goodwill. That’s not their thing anymore – now they’re committed to producing their own originals. As streaming analyst Julia Alexander expertly put it in her final IGN article – Netflix is not your savior.
But here we are – Disney+ is suddenly in need of original content and looking to continue its race to 200 million subscribers. Why not take a page out of Netflix’s book since it has clearly has been successful? Here are three recently cancelled series that Disney needs to scoop up.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (2020-2021)
This series is an absolute gem. The first season was deeply moving. The cast is extremely diverse and perfect for their roles. Who can say no to more singing from Skylar Astin? Who could turn down more of… this?
After 2 seasons on NBC, the low viewership finally caught up to it. Despite winning USA Today’s “Save our Show” poll 2 years in a row, NBC said nope. Poll victories don’t = money. They did get close to moving it to Peacock for an 8-episode final season, but that fell apart last minute. Seems pretty lame to get that far and then just not make it work. The creator announced he was continuing to shop the series. Last week Deadline announced the cast had been released from their contracts, but that the attempts to save the show had not ended.
Zoey’s Playlist is more mature than anything Disney+ has been streaming – and that’s precisely why the show needs to come. What better way for Disney to show the “50% of subscribers that are adults without children” they’re ready to respect them than by reviving this beautiful show. The series is rated TV-14. Disney+ “allows” this rating (when it’s a Marvel or Nat Geo title) but adding a more mainstream TV-14 series would go a long way in raising Disney+ value and show that TV series are not just a Hulu thing.
Anne With An E / Anne The Series (2017-2019)
After 3 seasons, Netflix pulled the plug. What followed is the largest “Save our Show” campaign in history. Anne’s petition gained more signatures (and celerity support) than any other series. It didn’t matter – Netflix wouldn’t budge. Anne is an incredible show, unlike anything before it. The cancellation continues to be a travesty. Disney actually aired Anne of Avonlea as a Disney Channel Premiere film in 1987. Then, in 1990, they began airing a follow-up series, Avonlea, which ran 7 seasons and 91 episodes! Here’s a classic promo.
I’ve long dreamt of Disney purchasing Sullivan Entertainment and bringing all of the wonderful Anne of Green Gables adaptations under Disney’s purveyance. Disney and Anne are a perfect match. Saving this series would also create a groundswell of love and gratitude from Anne’s massive (but not massive enough, apparently) fanbase. There were other Sullivan Entertainment films that aired as Disney Channel Premieres, including Lantern Hill (1990). Think about it, Bob. Cha-ching.
Julie and the Phantoms (2020-???)
Sooo, Netflix hasn’t technically announced the series is dead, but it released 10 months ago and they’ve been silent. That’s a bit crazy. It deserves better. Julie & the Phantoms is a musical comedy that takes places in high school… sound familiar? Oh, did I mention that Kenny Ortega is an Executive Producer? The guy who basically made High School Musical and Descendants the biggest Disney Channel franchises? Yeah, so this series has no business being on Netflix. To this day the music is still trending on YouTube and Spotify.
There was a lot of potential here. Kenny wanted to do tours. The pandemic screwed a lot of this up but if Disney was smart they’d be working behind the scenes to pull the series off Netflix and lock it in for 3 more seasons. I believe it would get a lot more viewership if it wasn’t lost in the Netflix shuffle. It could be a great series to air in between seasons of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series or even serve as a replacement if people’s speculation that Olivia Rodrigo is leaving HSMTS and it’s getting cancelled come true. I think they’re wrong on both accounts. But if that does happen, Disney could open their checkbook and write Netflix a juicy one.
These choices may be controversial so what would you pick? Or are you smart and you just totally agree with me that therse are the best? I’m kidding, kinda! Let me know what other shows you think Disney should acquire.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.