The 25 best Disney Channel Original Series of all time
Ranking the Disney Channel Original Series
Starting with Flash Forward in 1995, the Disney Channel has created 50-plus sitcoms, cartoons, reality series, and game shows under the originals banner, some of which have helped make household names of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and even some non-musical stars (Shia LaBeouf, looking at you). Here is our definitive ranking of the top 25.
25. Jonas (2009-2010)
The Jonas family series was the perfect show to launch Disney Channel’s new Saturday block of original programming — a traditional sitcom with a live studio audience that featured the Brothers Jonas on the cusp of their massive stardom. The comedy only lasted two seasons, but it gave teeny-boppers a chance to feel like they were part of a family... albeit a very talented, super hot family. —Lynette Rice
Jonas is available on Disney+.
24. Liv and Maddie (2013-2017)
Liv and Maddie harkens back to favorites like The Parent Trap by showcasing the impressive talents of Dove Cameron, who plays a dual role as identical twins who are anything but the same. The show is made all the more fun because characters occasionally break the fourth wall and talk directly to viewers. —LR
While not available on Disney+, Liv and Maddie is available to stream on Netflix and to buy digitally on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.
23. American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007)
Puberty is tough enough, but learning about the body’s changes is all the more complicated for Jake Long, who also learns he can transform into a dragon. While not the best of Disney’s animated offerings, the series was an admirable attempt to tap into the Saturday morning variety of cartoons in the mid-2000s, with its fun mythology and cool action, even if it tried to make skateboarding in Manhattan seem like a sensible idea for children. —Jonathon Dornbush
While not available on Disney+, American Dragon: Jake Long is available to buy digitally on iTune
22. Cory in the House (2007-2008)
A delightful spin-off of That’s So Raven, the sitcom starred Kyle Massey as the son of a chef who snags a job in the White House. Although not quite as great as the original, the comedy did see Raven-Symoné as a guest-star and an appearance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as himself. —LR
While not available on Disney+, Cory in the House is available to buy digitally on iTunes.
21. Jessie (2011-2015)
Although many Disney Channel Original Series are about families, none are quite as eclectic as the Ross family — shepherded by nanny Jessie (Debby Ryan). Jessie, a small town Texas girl transplanted to NYC, is a character in herself, but throw in movie producer parents, four strong-willed children, an excitable butler named Bertram, and a 7-foot water monitor lizard, and you have the makings of a zany family sitcom. —Dalene Rovenstine
Jessie is available on Disney+.
20. The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011)
How do you keep Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse in the family after their hit show The Suite Life with Zach and Cody runs its course? Give them a spin-off, natch. The series took the twin brothers to the high seas via the SS Tipton, on which they attended the Seven Seas High School and hung out with folks who managed the ship. Although the original show's Maddie, played by Ashley Tisdale, didn't make the move to the sea, the nautical version did introduce us to Jessie's Debby Ryan. —LR
The Suite Life on Deck is available on Disney+.
19. Austin & Ally (2011-2016)
The sitcom about breakout singer Austin Moon (Ross Lynch) and his stage-shy songwriter Ally Dawson (Laura Marano) began with a cheesy, totally early 2010s premise: He’s a viral video phenom. She’s a timid talent. How will they ever get along?! But even if the show about pint-sized showbiz won’t be remembered as a House of Mouse classic, Austin & Ally’s winsome leads, infectious soundtrack, and goofy-but-lovable sidekicks helped deliver four endearing, sweetly funny seasons about how sometimes, you just can’t do what you want without someone else. —Shirley Li
Austin & Ally is available on Disney+.
18. Gravity Falls (2012-2016)
Gravity Falls made its mark on Disney Channel as the network’s first animated mystery series. Creator Alex Hirsch packed the animated show with enough jokes, pop culture references, and Easter eggs to inspire a cult fandom versed in the mythology of the quirky little town of Gravity Falls. When the show moved to sister channel Disney XD in 2014, the fans followed, and the Gravity Falls finale scored the highest ratings in Disney XD history at the time. —Dylan Kickham
Gravity Falls is available on Disney+.
17. Flash Forward (1995-1997)
Did any show make you yearn for a next-door best friend to call on your tin-can phone like Flash Forward? Young Ben Foster and Jewel Staite star as Tucker and Becca, lifelong pals who find their friendship changing as they enter the scary, crush-filled world of eighth grade. The show didn’t air long enough to really get its due, but for those of us who remember it, it ruled. —Isabella Biedenharn
While not available on Disney+, Flash Forward is available to buy digitally on iTunes.
16. Good Luck Charlie (2010-2014)
How do you help your teen children adjust to the birth of a younger sibling? Get them involved in the child-rearing! While the Duncan parents work full-time, the older kids Teddy (Bridgit Mendler), PJ (Jason Dolley), and Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry) help raise their younger sister Charlie (and later, second baby Toby). Each episode of Good Luck Charlie was told through Teddy’s video diary to her baby sister, in which the family wishes her “good luck” surviving the family. And although their brand of comedy teetered on the absurd, the Duncans eventually became about as familiar as the Matthews. —DR
Good Luck Charlie is available on Disney+.
15. Sonny With A Chance (2009-2011)
This is the show that launched Demi Lovato! The sitcom told the story of Sonny Munroe (Lovato), who becomes a cast member of the live comedy program So Random. If you think that conceit sounds familiar, you would be correct: Disney Channel launched two other shows-within-shows: The Famous Jett Jackson and Shake It Up. Sonny ranks somewhere in the middle of those two other efforts. —LR
While not available on Disney+ yet, Sonny With A Chance is set to join the streaming service beginning April 3. For now, it is available to buy digitally on iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play.
So Weird (1999-2001)
So Weird, or as we like to think of it, The X-Files for the Zoog Disney set, was a brilliantly weird sci-fi show starring a curious teen named Fi (Cara DeLizia), who explores paranormal phenomena in different cities while on tour with her rock star mom (Mackenzie Phillips). Fi was tech-savvy at an early age, too, documenting her finds on her own website, and relying on message boards and strangers for info. Unfortunately, between the left-of-center subject matter and Fi’s departure in season 3 (replaced with “family friend” Annie, played by Alexz Johnson), So Weird didn’t get the mainstream love of shows like Lizzie McGuire or Even Stevens — but it still holds a special place in our weird little hearts. —IB
So Weird is available on Disney+.
13. Bug Juice (1998-2001)
In the ‘90s, the adults (read: teens) had The Real World and the younger audiences had Bug Juice, a reality series following a group of campers through their sometimes-magical, sometimes-emotional summer away from home. The G-rated series had all the hallmarks of reality TV — documentary-style filming, low-stakes drama, standout cast members — but was the innocent relative to the more exploitative and occasionally vulgar shows that would end up emerging from the genre. At its best, reality TV shows its audience how others live, and that’s exactly what Bug Juice did. —Ariana Bacle
While not available on Disney+ or any other service, Bug Juice, My Adventures at Camp is available to buy digitally on Amazon Prime Video.
12. Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015)
Phineas and Ferb was a childish cartoon in the best version of both terms: colorful, energetic, playful, curious about the world and its wonders. Most episodes follow the inquisitive young Phineas teaming up with his quiet stepbrother, Ferb, in their constant quest to avoid boredom on summer vacation. This often manifests in outsized scientific inventions like a backyard roller coaster or a time machine, all in service of their eternal quest for fun. The show itself (which also features a superspy platypus) maintains this sense of optimism and humor throughout. —Christian Holub
Phineas and Ferb is available on Disney+.
11.Girl Meets World (2014-2017)
Probably the most highly anticipated series to premiere on Disney Channel, Girl Meets World had enormous shoes to fill as the successor of the beloved ‘90s sitcom Boy Meets World (which aired on sister network ABC). Thankfully, the story of Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley, keeps the humor and heart of the original series alive for a whole new generation of viewers. —DK
Girl Meets World is available on Disney+.
10. The Famous Jett Jackson (1998-2001)
A different spin on the dual-life concept that became most popular on Disney with Hannah Montana, Jett Jackson focused on the titular actor (Lee Thompson Young) as he attempted to bring normalcy to his celebrity life as the star of hit spy drama Silverstone. Though Jackson would jump between its more grounded focus and occasionally fantastical subplots, it was still believable and relatable thanks to Young’s central performance. —JD
While the series is not available to watch on Disney+ or any other service, you can rent and buy digitally the Jett Jackson: The Movie on Amazon Prime Video or buy digitally on iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play.
9. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005-2008)
Cruise ships are cool and all, but the original Suite Life had a vibe all its own. Thanks to its colorful cast of characters, which ranged from the twins to eternally helpful bellhop Esteban, the original adventures of Zack and Cody put a new and memorable spin on the classic Eloise fantasy of living in a hotel. —CH
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody is available on Disney+.
8. Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)
Before Selena Gomez couldn't keep her hands to herself, she had her hands in a lot of magic. Magical teens Alex (played by Gomez), Justin (David Henrie), and Max (Jake T. Austin) lived with their parents above the family sandwich shop on the notable NYC street. But what was more notable: The sandwich shop had a portal to a wizard’s lair, which is where the Russo kids trained to become the only standing family wizard. With almost a Punky Brewster spunk, Gomez infused the family — and the show — with a personality that made it endlessly fun. —DR
Wizards of Waverly Place is available on Disney+.
7. Phil of the Future (2004-2006)
The family sitcom got a wacky upgrade with Phil of the Future, a sci-fi comedy about the Diffy family, who find themselves stranded in the previous century — a.k.a. the early 2000s — following a time machine mishap. Much of the kooky humor comes from typical fish-out-of-water scenarios made atypical because, well, the Diffys are very different fishes in very different water: Aside from the fact that they’re used to the luxuries of post-2100 living, they’re also just a weird-but-wonderful group dealing with their new environment in sometimes strange ways. Disney’s crack at sci-fi might not be on par with, say, Star Trek, but it did give younger viewers a fun, non-threatening introduction to the genre. —AB
Phil of the Future is available on Disney+.
6. The Proud Family (2001-2005)
The Proud Family’s basic setup was in keeping with the classic Disney Channel formula: an independent young female protagonist finding her way in the world, a bumbling father, ditzy friends. It was the first animated Disney Channel Original Series, however, and this helped enhance certain elements to outrageous proportions, such as in the impossibly larger-than-life Suga Mama. But above all else it was a warm tale of a family sticking together despite all their frustrations. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the theme song was by Destiny's Child. —CH
The Proud Family is available on Disney+.
5. Hannah Montana (2006-2011)
Before Miley Cyrus was twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards and riding a wrecking ball to her single of the same name, she was acting out a double life onscreen as pop star Hannah Montana and normal teen Miley Stewart alongside Emily Osment, Mitchel Musso, and real-life dad Billy Ray Cyrus. One of Disney’s best-known shows, Hannah Montana launched Cyrus and gave her a platform to show off her comedic chops and major pipes with the like of “Nobody’s Perfect” and theme track “The Best of Both Worlds.” It even spawned a feature flick, Hannah Montana: The Movie, which didn’t fare well with critics, but hit the right notes for the HM obsessed. —C. Molly Smith
Hannah Montana is available on Disney+.
4. Kim Possible (2002-2007)
Speaking of teens living a double life, this animated gem centered on a young crime fightress, Kim Possible (voiced by Even Stevens alum Christy Carlson Romano), a “basic average girl,” who’s “here to save the world,” with BFF Ron Stoppable (Boy Meets World’s Will Friedle), his naked mole rat Rufus, and web wiz Wade (Smart Guy’s Tahj Mowry) along for the ride. The show was fun, action-packed, and beloved by fans. —CMS
Kim Possible is available on Disney+.
3. That's So Raven (2003-2007)
If you could gaze into the future, you might think life would be a breeze... or you might get a taste of what it’s like to be psychic Raven Baxter, played hilariously by Raven-Symoné. The program focused on Raven’s visions and the misadventures she and friends, Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) and Eddie (Orlando Brown), experienced upon trying to alter the future; it's an eccentric, comedic standout in a long list of Disney’s funny fare. —CMS
That's So Raven is available on Disney+.
2. Even Stevens (2000-2003)
As one of the network’s earliest original series, Even Stevens set the bar for the popular high school-set comedies that made Disney Channel so beloved in the early-to-mid-2000s (think Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven). Even Stevens was never afraid to go all out for its constant string of gags and jokes, led by Shia LaBeouf as the immature prankster Louis Stevens. His sister Ren, played by Christy Carlson Romano, was always trying to kill the fun. Not to mention that it had the best musical episode of all time. —DK
Even Stevens is available on Disney+.
1. Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)
Before The Hangover, Lizzie, Gordo, and Miranda were the three best friends that anyone could have: The trio proved that with the right buds, you can get through anything — or at least the hell that is middle school. The three tackled relatable teen problems like secret crushes and crushing heartbreak with wit and whimsy, sometimes with help from an animated version of the main character that popped up to voice Lizzie’s inner monologue. Nothing was ever easy on Lizzie McGuire, but that was the point: Neither is life. As the catchy theme song explains, “If you believe that we’ve got a picture-perfect plan / We’ve got you fooled / ‘cause we only do the best we can.” Luckily for us, the best Lizzie McGuire could do was pretty damn good. —AB
Lizzie McGuire is available on Disney+.