There’s no questioning that Disney Channel sitcoms aren’t what they used to be. While they’ve done well to move on from some terrible shows in the last decade or so, the sad truth is, there are just some classics that today’s ones even at their best can never truly can never top. They’ve had unique world building, charming characters/actors, clever jokes, and enjoyable plots. And these aspects allow them to appeal well outside their demographic. This article counts down the top 5 best Disney Channel sitcoms. And bear in mind NONE of this is true it’s my strict personal opinion so don’t get too upset if your favorite isn’t on here or your unfavorite is here…even if you are 100% wrong.
Honorable mention #1: Suite Life on Deck
While this spin-off definitely wasn’t as good as its sister show, it still has some of the heart and humor from the original. The returning characters (Zack, Cody, London, and Moseby) still shine for the most part. And while not everyone from the original could make it to this show, they did guest star on occasion and when they did, they proved to carry their charm and building a stronger foundation of a relationship. Unfortunately, the new characters are sadly hit or miss and the drama involving Cody and Bailey breaking up did cause the show quality to dwindle a bit in the last season. But overall it does have enough of the Suite Life spirit to enjoy.
Honorable mention #2: Good Luck Charlie
Admittedly this came around the time I started to grow out of Disney Channel in general. But I noticed in recent years the show was getting a bit more of a following so I decided to take a look at it. And while it did take some time, the Duncan family eventually managed to ease their way into becoming a legitimately funny and overall enjoyable family that while it isn’t always my cup of tea, I can see the appeal in it.
5. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
This one is lowest on the list because compared to others on this list it doesn’t have that much in the way of heartfelt moments (which is not to say it has none it definitely has its fair share). It’s just much more of a comedy. But as far as Disney Channel comedy goes it’s pretty darn good! There’s a one of a kind charm to Zack and Cody’s mischief and a colorful cast of various hotel employees including Moseby, Esteban, Maddie, London, Carey, and Arwin that can spawn enjoyment from kids and adults alike. Thanks to all these characters combined with a nice slice of life in each episode, this show has a unique colorful vibe that makes it everlasting.
4. Phil of the Future
While some of its humor is dated and is derived from the typical fish out of water scenarios it draws its uniqueness in just what kind of world the Diffy family is from and the ways they deal with being stuck in the past. With a strong lead performance by Raviv Ullman and a combination of satire and exaggerations of society, its strengths shined visually and narratively alike in a manner unlike any Disney Channel sitcom (or any children’s sitcom for that matter). And while it only lasted two seasons that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a classic.
3. Wizards of Waverly Place
This show is the definition of a kid’s sitcom with a gimmick done RIGHT. The show’s greatest strength lies in the performances rather than the gimmick itself. All the main cast have a legitimately special companionship together that gives the show a comedic and heartfelt charm in all of it. The characters feel like a legitimate loving family with all the teasing, one-liners, and overall relationships. Very rarely does anyone feel out of place of awkward and even when it does the performances do well enough to overshadow it. This combined with the wizard world they’ve built over the course of four seasons makes for fun magic shenanigans, engaging multi-episode arcs, and the culmination of the Wizard Competition which makes this a magical sitcom.
2. That’s So Raven
While the show was a tad formulaic with Raven having a psychic vision and trying to prevent it causing her to misinterpret and things going as planned, the show was well done in wackiness and eccentricity. And whether Raven and her friends’ actions made a situation better or worse this show makes for an excellent standout thanks to its execution and Raven Symone’s great comedic timing.
1. Lizzie McGuire
One aspect that makes this show for me is that it didn’t need an annoying laugh track compared to the majority of Disney Channel sitcoms. Even when a Disney Channel show is good that can be irritating. Instead you had the animated Lizzie interludes which while a tad irritating doesn’t distract too much. And despite not meant to be so much a comedy it still got a few laughs. The trio of Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo proved to be an iconic one. Each of them (as well as the other characters) had a pleasant and relaxed vibe and while they didn’t have much in common it didn’t prevent them from genuinely having fun with one another. Despite its zaniness it did give a sense of honesty to various teenage issues. This show has a balance of comedy and heart that never felt it had to try too hard to achieve. With a Disney+ reboot coming hopefully it can do the same.
There are a few modern Disney Channel sitcoms that will no doubt go down as classics just like these ones have. But there’s just such a colorfulness, vibrancy, and energy that seems to have left the network in terms of the majority of them. What are your favorite Disney Channel sitcoms? Any you disagree with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!