The day is finally here! The general-entertainment section, STAR, is now live on Disney+. I’ve taken the time to comb through the service, exploring every nook and cranny, and here’s what I think.
I. The UI
The UI is the same Disney+ we know and tolerate; not too exciting; nothing drastically different. The horizontal scrolling lists are slightly monotonous and relatively inoffensive. I would’ve liked to see the number of thumbnails shown on each screen match with the number of hubs available on Disney+, i.e. 6 rather than 5, but it’s just nitpicking at this point. The UI is just completely, totally, fine.
II. The Content
The amount of content is great! There were, naturally, a lot of things I wanted to watch and rewatch, and the selection of Originals is pretty solid for the time being. We’ve got reviews of those posting every week so stay subscribed! I like some of the editorial choices within the STAR brand page, and I’d like to see some more collections once the service finds its footing with international streaming rights.
There are some very nice surprises or, as some people call them, “unannounced airings”. Shows like Futurama were confirmed for other regions but not the UK, so it was nice to see that on the service. It’s also amazing that, not only do we have a streaming home for Family Guy in the UK, we’ve got every single full season of it. Same with American Dad.
I do, however, wish that Disney made more of an effort with its Originals offerings in the early days, i.e. more series or movies to really show people that they mean business. With a show like Solar Opposites, they really could’ve put all episodes on at once - something even more relevant when you consider the second season premieres in full on Hulu next month, before ours ends.
III. The Parental Controls
The entire backbone of the STAR launch is the parental controls, which are by far the most comprehensive I’ve seen for a streaming service -- second only to Netflix. Using the default Disney+ catalogue, i.e. 14+, still gives you access to a lot of STAR content. I think it’s a bit confusing, however, that some shows are rated as 12+ when they weren’t on Disney+ until now. What’s even more baffling is that Family Guy is rated at a 12+ when it so clearly should be a 16+.
Still, though, I attribute this to teething problems and not entirely an accurate representation of the service as a whole.
The ability to set a PIN is great; fear not, child-less or parents with older children, you don’t have to set a PIN if you don’t want to, though it looks like Disney will send periodic email reminders to nudge you to do so. Let’s see how annoying they get in a few weeks.
The value-proposition for Disney+ just got a whole lot better. Yeah, there’s a price increase, but only for new subscribers. Considering most people who unsubbed due to a lack of adult-oriented content would’ve probably resubbed for WandaVision, this won’t affect them. It also won’t affect anybody who signed up to a year of Disney+ when it launched last year. Though there is scope for any service to improve, the arbitrary barrier that stymied Disney+’s growth is no longer there. As a result, we’re all better off for it.
Until then, happy streaming!