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Don’t miss these two reality TV shows before Disney+ deletes them

Don’t miss these two reality TV shows before Disney+ deletes them
A Baby Yoda doll waves goodbye out a window to all its Disney+ friends that are being deleted this week (Photo by Victor Serban/Unsplash)

Disney+ is following the lead of other streaming services and deleting a bunch of its shows.

They’re doing this to support creators and give viewers the best possible streaming experien—oh just kidding! Of course it’s to save money.

Variety reported that Disney “CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney expects to take a write-down in the June quarter of $1.5 billion-$1.8 billion from removing content from its streaming platforms.”

As part of that cost saving, Disney is removing shows from Hulu, including the competitions Best in Dough and Best in Snow (which seemed like a series smashed into a special).

Among the shows Disney+ is dumping are quite a few unscripted shows and reality TV competitions, including:

Deadline has a full list of shows, though that list has some notable errors, from getting Marvel’s Hero Project’s title wrong to suggesting one of the Disney+ shows below is on Hulu.

Some of these shows could be licensed elsewhere in the future, such as HBO Max’s Fboy Island finding a home on The CW, but many of the shows will just disappear forever.

Here are the two shows I think you should not miss, if you haven’t already seen them—or if you want to give them a second watch before May 26, the day most shows will disappear.

Both originally were on ABC, and then moved to Disney+, so they’ve had rough lives, but are still excellent TV.

Encore!

Kristen Bell, Coy Middlebrook, Encore, ABC
Kristen Bell and director Coy Middlebrook on ABC’s Encore. (Photo by Matt Petit/ABC)

Encore! was born as a one-off special on ABC in late 2017, and it was wonderful—so the fact that ABC basically burned it off with no promotion in December was disappointing.

For the show, a group of high school classmates who did theatre together reunited after 20 years to once again put on a performance of “Into the Woods.”

They were heavily assisted by pros, such as Broadway choreographers, which made the production a lot easier to pull off, and more professional even despite the very limited rehearsal time.

Kristen Bell attending the performance of Annie during episode 1 of the Disney+ reality series Encore.
Kristen Bell attending the performance of Annie during episode 1 of the Disney+ reality series Encore. (Photo by (Eric McCandless/Disney+)

Two years later, when Disney+ launched, Encore! returned, becoming a full series.

Each of the 12 new episodes focused on a different production and reunion, which gave each episode a different flavor, and some were more successful than others.

The classmates reuniting after a shorter period of time were, to me, far less interesting than those who’d had more distance from high school.

Besides different productions—Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, Grease, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast—mentors in each episode also changed, and some are much better teachers than others, which was interesting either way.

For more, here’s my full review: A review of Encore!, the Disney+ high school musical reunion reality series. The short version: highly recommended! Also highly recommended is…

The Quest

Disney+ The Quest

When The Quest aired its first season on ABC in 2014—somehow almost 10 years ago!—I called it that summer’s best new reality TV show because it perfected the hybrid scripted/reality TV competition format that so many other shows had tried.

I think that was in large part due to the creative team, which included The Amazing Race creators Elise Doganieri and Bertram Van Munster; Lord of the Rings producers Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky; and Queer Eye producer Rob Eric. (I interviewed them about how the show was produced.)

Alas, the show wasn’t renewed for a second season—until Disney+ revived it with one major change.

The new season was different in that, instead of approaching every episode like a typical competition show with an elimination, it was more of a season-long arc.

The Paladins explore the woods with lanterns on The Quest season 2
The Paladins explore the woods with lanterns on The Quest season 2. (Photo by Allyson Riggs/Disney)

Perhaps because I liked the reality competition elements of the original—and in general!—I found it to be almost too immersive.

That said, the production and challenge design was incredible, and so was the approach to the story. Later in the season, the reality elements come in more.

I once again interviewed producers Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky, and we chatted about their new approach to the season and storytelling.

I’m sad to see that, after just one year, Disney+ thinks it’s more valuable as a balance sheet write-off than as a show that can stick around to be discovered by families and/or reality TV fans alike in the future.

At least for the next five days, it’s still with us!

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