10 Classic Disney Channel Shows, Ranked

If you grew up in the '90s and 2000s, the Disney Channel was probably a staple channel for you. To digress, their bumpers, featuring a rotating selection of their stars drawing the channel logo, were just as iconic and memorable. One would break out the glow stick and pretend to draw the logo, just like they did. As an adult, you realize that you, nor those Disney stars, were able to draw it correctly.

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Like Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel was a part of a healthy diet of a kid’s afternoon. It featured original programming that was not only safe for the kids but was also entertaining. Thanks to Disney+, many of these classic shows from the channel can have a second life thanks to new viewers and old fans.

10) Phineas and Ferb

Their oblong head shapes were quite strange, but despite that, Phineas and Ferb was one of the greatest animated shows the Disney Channel ever produced. The series revolves around Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher, two step-brothers trying to find fun things to do during summer vacation.

In just about every episode, the two brothers would find adventure through their technically impressive projects. Their controlling older sister, Candance, often tried her best to spoil their plans for summer fun. Surprisingly, Phineas and Ferb is a great watch for adults as well as kids, which is a rarity for Disney Channel cartoons.

9) Wizards of Waverly Place

Trying their best to capitalize on the fame that Harry Potter was having in the late 2000s, Disney Channel rolled out Wizards of Waverly Place. The show revolved around the magically inclined Russo kids as they embark on their training as wizards to see which one would retain their powers by the end of it.

While the show made Selena Gomez — who played the main protagonist, Alex Russo — a household name, the show’s other two protagonists, Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) played intricate roles in making this sitcom a long-lasting favorite.

8) Good Luck Charlie

A true family sitcom in every sense of the word, Good Luck Charlie centered around the Duncan family as they try to adjust to the birth of Charlotte “Charlie” Duncan. The show’s main protagonist, Teddy (Bridgit Mendler), decided to make a video diary for Charlie that she can use later in life as a teenager.

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Though it was a bit cheesy and saccharine, Good Luck Charlie was one of those under-the-radar sitcoms that the Disney Channel made from time to time. Even though other shows were more popular while it aired (think Jessie), Good Luck Charlie is a homey comedy that will be a pleasant surprise for those looking to revisit.

7) Even Stevens

It isn’t a stretch to say that Even Stevens was Disney Channel’s first, bonafide, live-action hit. When the series premiered in 2000, the network was having trouble landing a live-action hit. Yes, The Famous Jett Jackson was on the air at the time, but it didn’t come close to the success that Even Stevens would become.

The series, which followed a brother and sister who were opposites of each other, pointed the way for the network in its quest for live-action success, which was fully realized when a certain teenage girl landed her series in 2001.

6) Gravity FallsA still from Gravity Falls

Watching Gravity Falls, it’s still hard to fathom that a cartoon such as this landed on the Disney Channel. It was a complete departure from any animated series seen on the network at the time, with its dark tone and pre-teen storyline somehow, someway getting the greenlight by network execs.

Gravity Falls centered around the twins, Dipper and Mabel Pines, as they visit Gravity Falls to spend time with their grand-uncle (or "grunkle"), Stan Pines. The town, though, is filled with paranormal activity and supernatural creatures that the duo encounters and investigates. It's one of the best Disney Channel shows ever produced, and thankfully, it can be relieved in all of its glory on Disney+.

5) Jessie

With Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life On Deck going off the air, Disney Channel needed a new star to carry the channel into the 2010s. Enter Debby Ryan as the titular Jessie, a teen from Texas who moves to New York City and becomes a nanny to four rich, rambunctious kids.

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Although it’s been six years since the final episode aired, the comedy on Jessie has aged well. This show is a guilty pleasure even among adults who, while swearing off watching the show in public, will secretly grab the munchies and sing along to the theme song when no one else is watching.

4) That’s So Raven

Along with Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven was more than just a pre-teen sitcom. It was an event in the lives of many kids in the pre-social media days. The show starred Raven-Symoné as Raven Baxter, a normal teenage girl growing up in San Francisco who also happens to have the power to see into the future.

Although her “visions” are incomplete, she can use her gift to prevent (or make come true) events that she sees happening. It’s an understatement to say that this show was hugely popular, and would be one of the rare Disney Channel properties to get a sequel, with Raven’s Home picking up with its predecessor left off in 2017.

3) Lizzie McGuire

With Even Stevens landing the network’s first live-action hit, the execs went back to the drawing board to see which series they could create next that would expand on that success. Enter Lizzie McGuire, which premiered in 2001 and quickly rose to the ranks as the channel’s most popular show.

Starring Hilary Duff as the titular character, the show revolves around her and her friend group, Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Miranda (Lalaine) as they navigate middle school. By the end of its run, Lizzie McGuire would change the channel’s fortunes and landscape, and would also become the first series to have a film released theatrically, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which wrapped up the show’s storyline.

2) Hannah Montana

This was the one, the show that convinced the execs at the channel that they could not only mold teen stars but also, pop stars. With Lizzie McGuire gone from the network, Disney Channel found ratings gold in Hannah Montana. Starring Miley Cyrus, the show’s premise was simple: Miley Stewart (Cyrus) was a normal pre-teen girl by day but turned into the titular international superstar by night.

Despite its simplicity (or because of it), Hannah Montana became a massive hit for the network and a marketing goldmine, with merchandise, albums, movies: you name it, it was marketable. There may never be another Disney show out there in terms of sheer marketability quite like Hannah Montana was.

1) K.C. Undercover

While Hannah Montana was, arguably, Disney Channel’s most marketable show, K.C. Undercover was its best when it came to its storyline and production. K.C. Undercover follows a family of spies, and what made it such a great series was thanks to the input of its lead actress, Zendaya. She wouldn't sign on to the project unless she had a large role in its creative process, and she strived to make the series stand out from its network predecessors with its strong, diverse talent.

While the show is wholesome for family viewing, the show had the spice and flair that was missing from its other series, and the storyline wasn't nearly as saccharine as its peers, going for a more serialized pace than one that prioritized individual episodes.

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Kareem Gantt (69 Articles Published)

Kareem Gantt has been covering all forms of entertainment for the past 10 years. His work has been seen in numerous online publications such as FanSided, AXS, and ScreenRant.

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