Disney+ Is Live! ...Again!

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This is a big day for the Walt Disney Company, and for what feels like the first time in Bob Chapek’s tenure as CEO, it’s for a good reason. The Disney+ streaming service launches today in a big chunk of Europe, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

That’s the good part. Of course, as you’ll see if you scroll through the replies, there are a number of big countries, such as France and Mexico, that are still missing out. The head-scratching part comes once you realize, per some very frustrated commenters on Twitter (I know, I know, it’s shocking that anyone’s ever frustrated on Twitter), that Disney+ is staggering the release of The Mandalorian in these markets. Just the first two episodes are available right now.

This approach makes me think of how, when I revived my reviewing career (such as it is) in 2012, I would have to constantly clarify to the local PR folks in Phoenix that the people who would read my reviews didn’t…live in Phoenix. Treating the Internet like it’s local as opposed to global is baffling. Thus, treating the release of The Mandalorian like it hasn’t been parsed to death online over the last four months is baffling. It’s likely a one-season blip — now that these countries have Disney+, there’s no reason for them to have to wait for season 2 of The Mandalorian once it arrives. But even for now, Disney’s kind of shooting itself in the foot.

Your Recommendation for Today

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(Note. If you’re wondering what this is about, check out my Twitter thread here inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine. The upshot: each day, I’m recommending one title on Disney+ for you to watch.)

March 24 is a banner day for Disney because it’s the birthday of one of the most important people who ever worked for the company: Ub Iwerks. You may not know his name as well, but Ub Iwerks should be as synonymous with the company as Disney himself. He was the co-creator of Mickey Mouse, animating and co-directing many of the early shorts including the first Mickey short that was released: Steamboat Willie.

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You no doubt know the image of Mickey at the wheel of the steamboat, whistling his damn fool head off. You’ve seen it one way or another. But you should stream this delightful 1928 short on Disney+. It’s the shortest recommendation I’ve given so far, and one of the most charming. Until Disney+ adds a lot more of the older Mickey shorts — and spoiler: that’s a topic I’m going to discuss here a lot — this will have to do.

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