While Disney has turned several of its popular animated films into live performances, many of its animated TV shows have great potential to receive a similar treatment. Over the years, the company has created vast fantasy lands, intriguing spy adventures, and fascinating school getaways (among other things).
Many of these animated shows continue to be completely iconic, and a whole generation of fans have grown up appreciating the bold visual style and fast-paced storytelling. At the heart of each of these projects are characters who feel like they could really be brought to a new generation, with a new coat of live-action paint.
ten American dragon (2005-2007)
American dragon follows the tale of teenager Jake Long who discovers he has the incredible ability to transform into a dragon. Alongside his elderly mentor Luong Lao Shi who also happens to be his grandfather and an ancient dragon, as well as his dog Fu, the group fight against the forces of evil who are trying to take their power.
Hunters are compelling enemies as the allies Jake surrounds himself with create a world in which Disney has created a fascinating set of lore. It’s a fantastic show that features one of the best dragons on TV and it’s easy to imagine that this rich story actually works in a live-action setting.
9 Kim Possible (2002-2007)
This fan-favorite series sees the incredible titular character teaming up with Ron Stoppable to complete several daring spy missions. Kim possible has countless fantastic episodes that see Kim solving numerous spy problems around the world, making new allies along the way.
There is a great sense of continuity throughout the series, and audiences are rewarded with intriguing character arcs and great enemy rivalry. Of course, Disney has already adapted Kim possible to live action before, but the property deserves a big budget iteration to capture its sparkle.
8 Phinéas and Ferb (2007-2015)
Phineas and Ferb demonstrated that a child’s imagination shouldn’t have filters. The episodes are filled with genuine humor and the witty writing is accompanied by a cast of characters who have been fully fleshed out throughout its many seasons.
The episodes follow a very basic formula which usually sees the brothers and their friends create a crazy contraption that Candace tries to show her mother. It’s a formula that could work on the big screen, with the adventurous nature of the series becoming perfect for a live-action show that hopefully features the same amount of comedy!
7 Fill more! (2002-2004)
Fill more! perhaps a lesser-known show from the Disney archives, but it’s no less exciting than the rest. It follows the main character and his friends, who work as part of the security patrol at their school. The series acts like a parody of crime dramas, but with a coming-of-age touch.
Each member of the department has their own unique skill set, with Ingrid Third starring (apart from Fillmore) thanks to her almost magical photographic memory. It’s the kind of show that could be given extra stakes for a live-action adaptation, combining elements of crime and mystery with the school setting.
6 Recreation (1997-2001)
With a cast of smart and hilarious characters and an odd hierarchy their school follows, every time the bell rings for Recess a whole new adventure begins that is really sold on the dynamics of this set.
Each character brings something different to the table, but they’re complemented by the vast array of student and teacher personalities that inhabit the school. Fans have always been clamoring to see Break come back, but a live-action version might be what is needed to reboot this much-loved franchise.
5 Gargoyles (1994-1996)
Gargoyles is another iconic piece from the Disney Archives and is largely from its time. He has a big fan following today and while there are always rumors of an animated revival, there is potential here for the show to actually work in a live-action setting.
With the gargoyles coming to live in the city and get involved in brutal conflict and dangerous drama, there is a lot of excitement attached to this property. It’s the kind of fantasy series with such a rich tradition that it could easily spawn many spinoff projects.
4 The Owl House (2020-)
A more modern addition to Disney filmography, The owl house Slowly creates some of the best characters in the company, each embarking on a genuinely comedic and emotional journey. In the end, he surrounds the human Luz who finds himself in a fantastic land.
Magic and enchantments roam freely in this land which celebrates hope and love in all its forms. It’s beautifully animated and creates a narrative that can easily work in a feature film format. He manages to balance his drama and adventure in a way that few other kids’ TV shows can.
3 Lilo and Stitch: the series (2003-2006)
Lilo and Stitch is already moving towards a live-action adaptation thanks to the success and attractiveness of feature films. However, many fans will have fond memories of the TV show that really set the franchise apart and introduced audiences to a whole range of new monsters.
The series had a sort of demon of the week vibe, with each monster eventually reforming in their quest to now serve humanity instead of destroying it. It would be fun to see a lot of those elements carried over into a spinoff movie that is much larger and includes more of these fun characters.
2 Elena d’Avalor (2016-2020)
Disney did something unique with this show and created an official princess who was not featured in any of their fairy tales on the big screen. The result was Elena of Avalor which has been celebrated for being one of Disney’s most creative and important animation projects to date.
The series sees Elena saving her own kingdom from evil magic and now has the task of ruling it. This is the part of the story that Disney usually leaves out, but they’ve created a show that appeals to kids and tackles a lot of intriguing issues. Elena deserves her moment on the big screen in one of the company’s famous live conversions.
1 The replacements (2006-2009)
The substitutes sees orphans Todd and Riley receive a special phone from a magazine that allows them to replace anyone they no longer love with a simple phone call. They immediately have new parents, a spy and a daredevil, who both embark on bizarre adventures.
Each episode sees the siblings replacing someone else in their lives, which usually means they have to face the consequences. It’s a concept that really shouldn’t work, but works somehow and could be even more wacky if brought into the real-world realm.
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