Okay, so this list doesn’t date back to the days before Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were rocking the fuck out of denim, or even the days after they parted ways. This list is dedicated to the era of the Disney Channel in which this week’s guest, Tristen Davies, grew up with. Now while my generation may’ve had the Disney Renaissance when it came to their animated movies, Tristen’s got it with the live-action programming because honey, the grasp these shows had on viewers; tight. So let’s take a look at the best of all of the worlds and check out the shows that were home to all of the Disney Channel crushes that 20-somethings today once watched with straight-up dedication.
Austin & Ally
Before he was posting thirst traps from stage and playing one of the most notorious serial killers, Ross Lynch was Austin to Laura Marano’s Ally. Like a lot of shows at that time, this one was about musicians and incorporated a lot of singing and performing. It was big among viewers who still needed to be walked to the bus stop, but wasn’t so much a worldwide phenomenon.
Shake It Up
Yet another show about performers, only ‘Shake It Up’ starred Bella Thorne and Zendaya as dancers. The only good thing to really come from this show was the latter as she went on to have another series and then became, well, one of the most recognizable and beloved actresses on earth. The other became the first person to bank $1 million on OnlyFans. Hey, they’re both doing well and that’s something.
Okay, so I said Disney Renassaince but what I meant to say was that Disney had found that singing stars were fucking lucrative and ran the fuck with that – and it worked over and over again until it didn’t. Nevertheless, Disney grabbed ahold of the Jonas Brothers and stretched their acting skills to play…overdone versions of themselves. Hey, not their fault. The original concept for the show in which they were performers AND secret agents was only scrapped because after the pilot was filmed, the band released so much shit from ‘Camp Rock’ to 3D concerts that the network shifted gears.
Kudos to ‘Jessie’ for not being about the entertainment business. Instead, the titular character was a nanny to a bunch of rich kids in New York City. What made this show really pop was the bevy of talented kids on set from Skai Jackson to the late Cameron Boyce.
Sonny with a Chance
So you take a young YouTuber and toss her on a show that’s definitely a Disneyfied version of Nickelodeon’s ‘All That,’ and you have ‘Sonny with a Chance.’ Starring Demi Lovato, the show got attention but it only lasted a couple of seasons as its star wound up having to take care of personal issues outside of the set.
Good Luck Charlie
No entertainment business here, just a family coming together to raise a child. When the Duncan parents have to head back to work they enlist the help of Charlie’s three older siblings. Along the way, they make a video diary of advice and whatnot for the kid to watch when they can actually comprehend words.
Cory in the House
‘That’s So Raven’ was a bit behind this wave of shows, but was the jumping-off point for the spinoff, ‘Cory in the House.’ ‘Cory’ followed the Baxter brother and father as they went to live in the White House when Pops got a job as a chef there. Yeah, don’t know why mom was MIA or where Raven was but aside from all of that, we got hilarious hijinks from Cory and his new friends. It gave big ‘First Kid’ vibes but with a twist.
Wizards of Waverly Place
By now you have listened to Tristen Davies talk about his Disney Channel crush, Selena Gomez, and how that started with watching ‘Wizards of Waverly Place.’ This show was a huge hit for the network and spanned four seasons, spawned a movie, and even won an Emmy. Plus, it made Gomez a household name.
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
You’re probably like, wait…this above ‘Wizards?!’ Yup. You know why? This show starring Dylan and Cole Sprouse was so good that when they were nearing an end, Disney was like…how do we keep these two going? They tossed them on a boat and introduced ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ for three more seasons. Out of all of the shows listed, Zack and Cody had the longest Disney Channel run and that, I gotta tip my hat to.
When you think of that time period and the Disney Channel, ‘Hannah Montana’ is what comes to mind. For one, it had Billy Ray Cyrus. I mean, that had some pull…maybe? Okay, what really sold this show was that yes, it was entertainment-based but I’d argue it had the best plot of them all. I am ranking it at the top of my list for a reason. Hannah Montana was a superstar but on her days off, we got to see the life of everyday teen, Miley Stewart. It truly was the best of, well you know the story.