On February 23, Disney Plus (opens in new tab) is getting Star – a new entertainment 'brand' that brings a payload of adult-friendly TV shows and movies to subscribers of the service. Disney has now revealed what the first wave of this content will bring viewers, and confirmed that the addition of Star will double the amount you can watch on the streamer.
The launch line-up includes TV shows like 24, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Atlanta, How I Met Your Mother, The X-Files, Prison Break and Black-ish, with a 'selection' of Die Hard movies available, too. Star Originals will also be part of the offering.
The only downside? The price of Disney Plus in the UK will increase to £7.99 per month or £79.90 per year as of February 23 (as explained by this help page (opens in new tab)) – though existing subscribers will keep the current £5.99 monthly/£59.99 annual rate until August 23, 2021, according to Disney (opens in new tab). The company revealed this back in December. That might make this a good time to grab the annual rate if you're a monthly subscriber, so you won't have to pay the new price until 2022.
Disney has also confirmed that the first two Star Originals – that is, exclusive content you won't find elsewhere in the UK – are crime thriller series Big Sky and well-reviewed high school drama Love, Victor. In the US, these already released on the ABC network and Hulu respectively.
You don't have to do anything to get Star content on Disney Plus in the UK – it'll be automatically added to the app. Like Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, Star will have its own navigation tile you can explore from the streaming service's homepage.
Disney says Star will become home to "thousands" of hours of TV and movies from the likes of Disney Television Studios, FX (home of Fargo, Sons of Anarchy and the upcoming Alien series), 20th Century Studios and 20th Television. Disney owns a lot of stuff – so the number of exclusives we'll see on the platform is likely to creep up over time.
To help parents deal with the new mature content on February 23, Disney Plus says parental controls will separate the whole platform between 'me-time' and 'kid-time' to help keep things family-friendly, if preferred. A content ratings and PIN system will lock off mature-rated shows and movies from younger viewers.
Disney says hundreds more titles coming to Star are yet to be announced – still, on February 23 we'll know what the future of the service looks like.
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Why this is good news (particularly for adults)
This is going to be a huge year for Disney Plus. If the upcoming big-budget Marvel shows like WandaVision (opens in new tab) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (opens in new tab) didn't make you want to stay subscribed for another 12 months, a payload of extra stuff to watch is surely a nice incentive to carry on.
Will the £2 monthly price increase be worth it? This first slate of confirmed content is promising – they're the sort of library favourites that we've seen doing the rounds on Sky, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for the past few years, but if Disney Plus gives them a permanent home, that makes the price increase seem pretty reasonable.
The other potential win, of course, is that Disney Plus offers 4K streaming for no extra cost – so hopefully we'll see some of these Star titles available to watch in Ultra HD. This wasn't mentioned either way in Disney's press release on Star, but we've asked about it, and we'll update this if we learn more about what'll be available in 4K.
Hopefully, too, we'll see the library expand over time, not just with older shows and movies, but with big originals. Hopefully Big Sky and Love, Victor are just a small sample of what's coming up.
What's on our wish list for Star? Disney owns the likes of American Dad, Alias, Bob's Burgers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and it'd be nice to see those make the cut. We also hope future FX exclusives like the previously mentioned Alien TV show from Fargo creator Noah Hawley (opens in new tab) will land on Disney Plus first, since the US cable network has made many of the best TV shows of the past two decades.
Star should answer our long-time criticism of Disney Plus for its lack of adult-friendly content. The idea that we'll see The X-Files next to Lilo and Stitch on the service from February 23 is oddly exciting, after almost a year of watching animated family movies.