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National Streaming Day Proves a Major News Day for Disney+, Hulu, & ESPN

With everything going on in the world these days, you would be forgiven if you hadn’t realized that today, May 20th, was National Streaming Day. However, with three separate streaming services to sell and a landscape that is growing more competitive by the minute, Disney decided to make sure you didn’t forget the “holiday” this year. Early this morning, their various social media accounts began advertising a mysterious list of first looks, announcements, and interactive opportunities all geared around their various streaming services. Lucky for you, we were paying attention so you didn’t have to. Sadly, there was no Marvel or Star Wars news to announce or sneak peaks to be had. Below, take a look at all the news Disney did break today regarding Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+… 

New Muppets’ Unscripted Original Series Muppets Now Will Premiering This Summer on Disney+. Airdate: 7/31 

Since Disney+ was first announced, Disney has managed to find a way to generate exclusive Disney+ content from all the major, family-friendly franchises under their corporate umbrella. We had docuseries about Marvel (with a now delayed slate of MCU miniseries still on the way), Pixar shorts like Pixar in Real Life and Forky Asks A Question, and, of course, Star Wars’ The Mandalorian and the final season of The Clone Wars. Conspicuously missing from Disney+ was any new content from Disney’s lovable, felt stepchildren The Muppets. There had been news last summer about a new series starring Frozen’s Josh Gad, but that project was later cancelled. Today, we finally learned that Disney+’s new Muppet series Muppets Now, which was filmed last spring and will feature Kermit the Frog and Gonzo improvising, has a premiere date. Look for the first season of the series, consisting of six 10 minute episodes, on Disney+ July 31st. 

Trailer Released for the Second Season of Hulu’s Golden Globe Award Winning Comedy Ramy. Airdate: 5/29 

Not to be out done by its corporate sibling, Hulu grabbed the mic next to drop a trailer for the second season of their critically acclaimed and award winning series, Ramy. The live-action comedy is in the vein of FX’s Atlanta (whose first two seasons can be found on Hulu). The series, written and created by star Ramy Youssef, follows Ramy as he navigates his relationship to his faith, family, and friends as a millennial caught between worlds. Season 2 features a supporting performance from two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. 

ESPN+ Announces Peyton’s Place Season 2 with a video from Peyton Manning. Airdate: Unknown 

Next on the Disney tap came a special video announcement from former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. He let fans know that the second season of his ESPN+ series Peyton’s Place is on its way. Details were sparse on this one, and, due to his reminder that all of season one’s episodes are currently available to stream on ESPN+, this announcement may have been more of a stealth ad for the first season of the ESPN+ original than a meaningful bit of news. For fans of the show, it’s still exciting to know that, sometime in the future, they will have more Peyton to look forward to. 

Trailer Released for Hulu’s Taste The Nation with Padma Lakshmi. Airdate: 6/19 

Moving back to Hulu for a moment, the streamer also debuted a trailer for their high profile new travel/cooking series Taste The Nation with Padma Lakshmi. The series will follow the Top Chef host as she travels America, exploring all of the different cuisine from the various cultures that come together to form our nation’s melting pot. The series premieres next month on June 19th. 

Trailer Released for Disney+’s Artemis Fowl. Airdate: 6/12 

The rest of the news belonged to Disney+. First up is a new trailer for Disney’s Artemis Fowl, the feature-length adaptation of the beloved YA book series of the same name. This film, directed by Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh and starring Josh Gad, Colin Farrell, and Judi Dench (among others), was originally slated to be released in theaters last August before being pushed to this spring. Once COVID-19 shuttered movie theaters in the US and around the world by late March, Artemis Fowl was removed from Disney’s theatrical release schedule, ultimately shifting to a direct to Disney+ premiere date of June 12. Today’s trailer release is being branded as a “special look” at the film, and includes a few more characters and details from the film than previous trailers have provided. 

Episodes of The Simpsons Will Be Available in 4:3 Aspect Ratio. Airdate: 5/28 

This one may seem like an odd, technical announcement to include in such a flurry of series announcements and trailer releases, but it may actually be the most exciting bit of news to break all day from Disney. For those who are not honorary members of the Springfield Stonecutters, The Simpsons was originally aired in a 4:3 (also known as Full Screen) aspect 

ratio during the first decade it was on the air, before eventually moving to a Wide Screen aspect ratio which is more standard for modern viewers. When the series was remastered in HD, they adjusted the aspect ratio on those old episodes, requiring editors to literally crop the images that appeared on the screen. As a result, lots of on screen gags and even some meaningful story elements are missing from this version of the show. When The Simpsons was available via their former streaming home over on the FXNow app, viewers could toggle between aspect ratios, choosing between the authentic experience or the one that fit better on their wide screen, high resolution TVs. When The Simpsons packed up and moved to Disney+ this fall however, fans were outraged that they were stuck with the cropped version of the old seasons. Disney promised to right their wrong, but they never announced a firm time table. Now we know. Look for the authentic Simpsons experience on Disney+ next week! 

The 2012 Simpsons’ Oscar Nominated Animated Short “The Longest Daycare” Coming to Disney+. Airdate: 5/29 

More good news for Simpsons fans as Disney+ also announced that the day after fans get the Full Screen formatted episodes of their favorite classic episodes they will be getting exclusive access to The Simpsons’ 2012 Oscar Nominated Animated Short, “The Longest Daycare.” This short film originally ran in theaters back in 2012 in front of Fox’s animated feature film Ice Age: Continental Drift before eventually being rereleased during Oscar season in front of Fox’s Life of Pi. Though the short ultimately lost to Disney’s own “Paperman” (which was Disney’s first win in the category since 1970’s “It’s Tough to Be a Bird”), it was the first time The Simpsons was ever honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A landmark achievement like that deserves to be a part of The Simpsons corner of Disney+, and it’s welcomed news that it will be able to finally be found sitting comfortably next to this year’s Simpsons’ short “Playdate with Destiny,” which originally ran in front of Pixar’s Onward in theaters earlier this spring. 

Disney+ Provides First Look at Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. Airdate: Summer 2020 

The final bit of news today came from the release of two still images serving as an exclusive first look at the previously announced Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. This film, which will take place prior to the properties’ 2015 series finale, was announced at last year’s D23 event. At the time, its release date was still unknown, but this past fall we learned that we should expect to see it some time this summer. Despite the exclusive first look, fans will have to wait a bit longer for an actual release date for the film. However, at least they have this small trinket to hold them over as they wait for more substantive news on the long awaited sequel to 2011’s Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, which originally aired on the Disney Channel but can now be found on Disney+ alongside its Disney Channel original series counterpart. 

Alex Marcus
Alex Marcushttps://anchor.fm/CinemaJoes
Alex Marcus is The Pop Break's Podcasting Director and host of the monthly podcast TV Break as well as the monthly Bill vs. The MCU podcast. When he's not talking TV, he can be found talking film on his other podcast Cinema Joes, a podcast where three average Joes discuss the significant topics in movie culture. New episodes debut every other Thursday on Spotify, Overcast, Apple Podcasts, and more!

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