10 Best Disney Channel Sitcoms, Ranked

Disney has been a leader in children’s entertainment for decades, bringing viewers some of the best animated and musical films of all time. After establishing its own television network in the early 1980s, the House of Mouse began producing exclusive content for the small screen that became iconic and attracted generations of fans.

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The success of the first original Disney Channel series, Front flash, launched a series of live-action sitcoms beginning in the late 1990s. Since then, Disney has created over twenty comedies, each with a different concept that appeals to their large population.

ten Austin & Ally Continued Disney’s Success With Musical Sitcoms


Austin and Ally

After their success with musical sitcoms, Disney Channel created Austin & Ally, which is a series about the relationship between two teenage musicians who join forces to produce their own music. Ross Lynch and Laura Marano play Austin and Ally, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy, respectively, completing the main cast as the couple’s best friends.

Austin & Ally lasted eighty-six episodes and an hour-long crossover with Jessie, ending in early 2016 after four seasons. Walt Disney Records has released three soundtrack albums compiling all the songs in the series, including Lynch’s “Can’t Do It Without You”, which serves as Austin & Ally ‘s theme song.

9 Phil from the future, a perfect blend of iconic Disney sci-fi and comedy


Phil from the future

In 2004, Disney mixed science fiction and comedy to produce Phil from the future. The series follows a family from the future who got stranded at the turn of the 21st century after their time machine stopped working. It stars Ricky Ullman as the main character, Phil Diffy, and Alyson Michalka as his best friend, Keely.

Phil from the future only lasted forty-three episodes (split into two seasons), but it remains one of Disney Channel’s most original sitcoms. Watching the Diffy family struggle to adapt to the 21st century has been some of the channel’s best comedies. Future Disney stars like Brenda Song and Kay Panabaker also made their first appearances on this show.


8 Girl Meets World was a worthy successor to a classic sitcom


Girl meets the world

A 1993 ABC sitcom spin-off Boy meets the world, the aptly named Girl meets the world follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley (played by Rowan Blanchard) during her time in college. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel return to play their Boy meets the world characters, with singer Sabrina Carpenter as Riley’s best friend, Maya.

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The series was incredibly popular when it aired and received over five million viewers for its first season. It lasted seventy-two episodes and one special set between seasons one and two. Girl meets the world continues some of the best elements of its predecessor, including its more subtle and well-meaning comedy, and its exploration of more mature themes.


seven Jessie had a diverse cast and some of the best Disney Channel crossovers.


Jessie

After his breakout role as Bailey on Life on the bridge, Debby Ryan continued to star in her own sitcom, Jessie. The ninety-eight episode show centers around Jessie and her adventures as a nanny for a wealthy family in New York City. It also stars Peyton List, Cameron Boyce, Karan Brar, and Skai Jackson as the Children of Ross.

Jessie was one of Disney Channel’s top-rated series from its premiere in 2011 until its finale in 2015. It is known for its many crossovers with shows like Austin & Ally and Good luck Charlie, and for the many guest stars who appeared during her run, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and basketball player Chris Paul.


6 Good luck Charlie has followed the adventures of a whole family


Good luck Charlie

In Good luck Charlie, singer-actress Bridgit Mendler plays Teddy Duncan, a high school student who films video diaries for her younger sister, Charlie, several months old, to watch in the future. Unlike other similar Disney sitcoms, Good luck Charlie also focuses on the adult characters of the series and explores different family dynamics.

The show premiered in early 2010 and ran for ninety-seven episodes until 2014. In addition to several crossovers and specials, there was also a 2011 film, Good luck Charlie, it’s Christmas!, which was a road movie set during the holiday season. Good luck Charliethe success of Disney Channel India produced a local adaptation named Good luck, Nikki.


5 Wizards Of Waverly Place brought a new kind of magic to the channel


the Wizards of Waverly Place

Selena Gomez had various small roles on Disney Channel sitcoms before landing the lead role in the Wizards of Waverly Place where she plays Alex Russo, a teenage wizard in training who resides in Manhattan. David Henrie and Jake T. Austin also star as his brothers, Justin and Max, respectively.

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the Wizards of Waverly Place has won various fan-voted awards and even received a Primetime Emmy in 2009. It has received critical acclaim for its writing and cast, with a particular emphasis on the delivery and comedic timing of Selena Gomez. After one hundred and six episodes, one film and one special, the series ended in 2012.


4 Zack & Cody’s sequel life was full of famous guests and great comedies


Zack and Cody's Sequel Life

In 2005, the Sprouse brothers starred as playful twins in Zack & Cody’s Sequel Life. Set in the fictional Tipton Hotel, the series follows Zack and Cody along with their friends and family as they embark on multiple adventures. It has been nominated three times for the Emmys and lasted for three seasons.

Zack & Cody’s Sequel Life had several notable cameos from popular Disney stars and Nick, including pre-Musical High School Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, and Victoria Justice, and Daniella Monet. The show’s popularity led to an equally successful spin-off, Life on the bridge, which followed the life of the cast of the set on a cruise.




3 Lizzie McGuire praised for her take on teenage relationships


Lizzie mcguire

Hilary Duff officially rose to fame when she played the main character in Lizzie McGuire – a two-time Emmy nominated series about a teenage girl whose inner feelings are expressed through an animated version of herself. The show premiered in early 2001 and ran for sixty-five episodes, becoming the first Disney Channel Original to do so.

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Lizzie McGuire was beloved by critics and fans alike for her down-to-earth approach to friendships and smart comedy. Given the series’ great popularity, Disney also produced the 2003 feature film, Lizzie McGuire’s movie, which served as the series finale despite its debut while the show was still on the air.


2 Hannah Montana started the musical phenomenon of the mid-2000s


Hannah montana

The world of Disney Channel changed forever when Hannah montana graced the small screen in 2006. Miley Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a high school student who leads a secret double life as teenage pop star Hannah Montana and often struggles to reconcile the two. It ran for ninety-eight episodes divided into four seasons, ending in early 2011.

The series was a cultural phenomenon and, with Musical High School, has contributed to the rise of musicals on children’s television. Two years later Hannah montanadebut, Disney released the The best of both worlds cinema-concert. A theater film, Hannah Montana: the movie, was released a year later.


1 It’s So Raven was the first Disney Channel original to reach 100 episodes


It's so Raven

It’s so Raven follows a psychic teenager, Raven Baxter, who has random visions of the future that lead her into all manner of comedic situations. Raven-Symoné had had various roles on television and in the cinema before landing the main spot in It’s so Raven, but her character on the sitcom turned her into a Disney icon.

It’s so Raven was the highest-rated show of its time and was also the first Disney Channel live-action series to reach a hundred episodes. Its four seasons have been critically acclaimed and received many top accolades, including a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children’s Program.

NEXT: 10 Iconic Original Disney Channel Musicals, Ranked

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About the Author

James C. Tibbs