DEADPOOL, US advance poster, Ryan Reynolds, as Deadpool, 2016. TM & ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved./Courtesy Everett Collection; ROBIN HOOD, Robin Hood, 1973, Everett Collection

(Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; ©Walt Disney/Everett Collection)

The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox stockholders voted at the end of July to approve Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. For Disney’s movies, this means they now have access to Fox’s Marvel properties like X-Men and Fantastic Four. Disney will now be the home to the Avatar franchise and classic Fox titles.

For television, Disney gets 20th Century Fox studio, FX Networks, National Geographic, and more. The actual Fox network is not part of the deal. Fox splits off and becomes “New Fox,” which includes Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Fox TV station group, Fox Sports and Fox News.

What this means for movie fans is more clear: for one, Marvel fans hope Wolverine can finally join The Avengers, and now that Disney owns the studio that released Star Wars: A New Hope and its 1997 special edition, maybe they can restore the unaltered theatrical edition.

To find out what this means for TV fans, Rotten Tomatoes interviewed current Fox Television CEO Dana Walden, FX CEO John Landgraf, and prolific creator on both networks Ryan Murphy, and found 7 big ways TV fans win in this Disney–Fox deal.


1. NEW FOX WILL KEEP THE SHOWS THAT SCREAM FOX, EVEN IF IT COSTS THEM.

The Simpsons (Fox)

(Photo by Fox)

Television production arm 20th Century Fox Television produces shows on all networks, like This Is Us on NBC, so they’re not going to pull Fox Television shows off of New Fox just because they’re splitting from the network.

Fox Television currently produces Fox’s The Simpsons, 9-1-1, The Resident, The Gifted, The Orville, and this season’s The Cool Kids, Rel, The Passage, and Proven Innocent. And New Fox will fight to keep the shows that define the Fox network.

The Simpsons is so much a part of the brand,” Walden said. “There are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox. We have a couple years of episodes already in progress on The Simpsons.”

That’s also good news for anyone pitching animated shows to Fox. Look how The Simpsons has anchored Sunday night animation on Fox.

“There’s been such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night,” Walden acknowledged. “Keeping quality shows that help define a network’s brand — there are reasons aside from financial you keep producing shows.”


2. NEW FOX WANTS TO BE HOME TO THE BEST THE STUDIOS HAVE TO OFFER.

Big Bang Theory (Monty Brinton/CBS)

(Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS)

New Fox may be losing 20th Century Fox Television as an in-house creator of shows, but the split frees them to select from the best new shows all the TV production studios offer. That can still include Fox Television, but also the television arms of Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Lionsgate, and more.

“What makes New Fox new: It will be the only network to operate with complete independence,” Walden said. “It will have the ability to pick up the best shows from any production company with no studio agenda. We see this as an opportunity to get vibrant, independent studios back on broadcast.”

Sony and Warner Brothers aren’t hurting — Sony produces NBC’s The Blacklist, ABC’s The Good Doctor, Netflix’s The Crown, and YouTube Premium’s Karate Kid sequel Cobra Kai, while WB produces CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and all The CW’s Arrowverse shows. Walden just wants first dibs.

“We want to be their first choice among the big four networks,” Walden said. “Last season 90 percent of our development came from our own studio. This year we’ll reduce it to 50 percent, with the other half coming from outside.”


3. ROBUST STREAMING.

(Photo by Buena Vista)

Disney is planning to launch its own streaming service next year, which will include a new live-action Star Wars series as well as catalogs of Disney-owned series and movies. The New York Times reports that National Geographic programming is likely to be added to Disney streaming, though it is still unknown whether Fox’s catalog will be combined. If it were, that would include movies like Avatar, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, and other major franchises and TV classics (M*A*S*H, L.A. Law, and The X-Files, to name a few), and you get a robust streaming environment with familiar titles that appeals to a broad base

And if Fox content doesn’t appear on Disney streaming, Hulu is still available. When Fox’s share of Hulu is added to Disney, Disney will own two-thirds of Hulu. Analysts predict Disney can beef up Hulu with Fox shows that are maybe too edgy and adult for its family friendly Disney service. Empire, 24The Orville, and others may go better with The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock than animated movies.

Disney also owns ESPN and their ESPN+ app, and FX+ is available for $5.99 a month for more options.


4. RYAN MURPHY FANS GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse keyart (FX)

(Photo by FX)

Even before the Disney–Fox merger was appoved, Ryan Murphy signed a new deal to develop shows for Netflix, where he’s doing Ratched, a show based on the Nurse Ratched character from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

He’s still got four shows on Fox and FX: American Horror Story, American Crime StoryPose, and 9-1-1. He’s going to keep those going for Fox and FX, while still creating more shows for Netflix.

“Every show that I have established that is running that’s on FOX or FX, my intent is to move forward with them and to keep going with them and to be actively involved with them,” Murphy said while on a panel for Pose.

There won’t be any new Ryan Murphy shows on Fox or FX. Netflix snagged the future of Ryan Murphy, but as long as New Fox and Disney play ball, he’ll keep giving them the good stuff they inherited with the purchase.

“It’s been an interesting transition for me, because in many ways it feels the same,” Murphy said. “I’m still close to everybody at FX and FOX and speak to them almost every day while I’m pursuing my new development. So I’m really excited about the things that I’m developing for Netflix, and I’m also very excited about continuing the properties I have for FOX.”


5. THE FOX CATALOG IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PILOT SEASON.

Alien Covenant (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

(Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Disney is already developing a live-action Star Wars series, thus making its streaming service a must have for Star Wars fans. Via ABC, they’ve also done Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Observer suggests that Disney could turn the Alien franchise into a streaming series too. Think of all the Fox franchises that could open up as series: Planet of the Apes was already a short-lived series, but with today’s technology they can do it right. Or how about the weekly adventures of John McClane? (Our own Comics on TV columnist has been rooting for a Fantastic Four or Silver Surfer series.)


6. FX COULD DO A GROWN-UP STAR WARS SHOW.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Pictures)

(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)

FX CEO John Landgraf hopes his network can contribute to the synergy of the Disney-Fox deal. FX is home to edgy adult shows like The Americans, Atlanta, American Horror Story, American Crime StoryThe Shield, and so on.

“I think you could make a case Disney does G and PG and PG-13 better than any other company in the history of the world, but they don’t do much R,” Landgraf said. “We do that pretty well. So I think there’s a lot of the properties that don’t readily translate themselves into truly adult stuff, but if you’re asking me if there’s IP locked in there that I’d love to get my hands on, yeah.”

Star Wars has never had a problem entertaining fans of all ages, but surely there are some grown-up fans who would appreciate a more adult and mature take on the galaxy far, far away. If Disney would ever allow such an approach, Landgraf is ready.

“I won’t be the keeper of that flame,” Landgraf said. “If somebody gives us an opportunity to do something with it, I’ll be thrilled, but we’ll see.”


7. SHAKING UP THE COMPETITION LANDSCAPE.

GLOW (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Competition is good and a major concern about Disney acquiring Fox is the idea that it’s inching ever closer to an entertainment monopoly. The competitive landscape remains intact even with this merger — it just looks different.

Disney gets more shows for their streaming services, and Netflix will lose all its Disney content by the end of 2019 and will have to come up with even more originals to keep subscribers interested.

Netflix has shown how good they are at creating compelling water-cooler television: Stranger Things, Mindhunter, and GLOW are three examples. The remaining question is: Can they create the next Bambi or Little Mermaid?

 

No longer just fodder for Saturday mornings or weekday afternoons, animation dominates television now at every hour of the day. Whether it’s Fox’s Sunday-night lineup, the Disney Channel’s daytime programming, or Netflix shows you can stream 24/7, it can be overwhelming for animation connoisseurs to take it all in.

Rotten Tomatoes is here to help with this guide to 10 animated series on the air this spring and summer, including continuations of kids’ movies, reboots of childhood classics, and even some great options for grown-ups.


KONG: KING OF THE APES: SEASON 2

What It’s About: After Kong and his human friend Lukas fall into a volcano, they discover even more prehistoric creatures living beneath it.

Voiced By: Alessandro Juliani, Lee Tockar, Viv Leacock, Shannon Chan-Kent, Vincent Tong, Tabitha St. Germain

Where to Watch: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: This family-friendly version of King Kong provides a less scary alternative to Kong: Skull Island in theaters.

Fun Fact: Executive Producer Avi Arad is also responsible for bringing the first wave of Marvel movies to the screen, including X-Men and Spider-Man.

Kong: King of the Apes at Netflix (release date to be announced)


WATERSHIP DOWN

What It’s About: Based on Richard Adams’ novel about a group of rabbits who try to build a new home, but end up in battle.

Voiced By: Gemma Arterton, John Boyega, Mackenzie Crook, Freddie Fox, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, James McAvoy

Where to Watch: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: Visionary director Noam Murro has four parts to tell this complete epic tale (tail?)!

Fun Fact: Sawyer was reading a paperback copy of the book on Lost.

Watership Down  at Netflix (release date to be announced)


SAMURAI JACK: SEASON 5

Samurai Jack season 5 on Adult Swim’s Toonami Block

What It’s About: 50 years after his last adventure, Jack is still looking for a way home and trying to find a way to defeat Aku.

Voiced By: Phil LaMarr, Greg Baldwin, Grey DeLisle, Sab Shimono, Lauren Tom, Tom Kenny

Where to Watch: Adult Swim

Why You Should Watch: After 13 years, the Samurai Jack saga finally gets the conclusion it deserves. Read Rotten Tomatoes’ interview with creator Genndy Tartakovsky and Phil LaMarr here.

Fun Fact: Tartakovsky came up with this idea eight years ago but was busy making feature films until Adult Swim was ready to revisit Samurai Jack.

Samurai Jack new episodes Saturdays at 11 p.m. as part of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block


ROCKET AND GROOT

What It’s About: Two of the Guardians of the Galaxy have their own adventures in a series of shorts as they try to earn enough credits to buy a new ship.

Voiced By: Trevor Devall, Kevin Michael Richardson

Where to Watch: Disney XD

Why You Should Watch: They’re less than 2 minutes each, and they’ll tide you over until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes out.

Fun Fact: Animation studio Passion Pictures also animated the 2011 Oscar-winning short The Lost Thing.

Rocket and Groot shorts are available on Disney XD’s YouTube Channel; all 12 shorts air April 10 at 7 a.m. on  Disney XD


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: SEASON 2

What It’s About: Marvel’s intergalactic space heroes return for a second season of family-friendly adventures.

Voiced By: Will Friedle, Trevor Devall, Kevin Michael Richardson, Vanessa Marshall, David Sobolov

Where to Watch: Disney XD

Why You Should Watch: The Guardians meet The Avengers this season!

Fun Fact: I am Groot!

Guardians of the Galaxy air Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Disney XD


IMAGINARY MARY

What It’s About: Grown up Alice (Jenna Elfman) gets a visit from her childhood imaginary friend Mary, a computer-animated character only Alice can see and hear.

Voiced By: Rachel Dratch as the voice of Mary.

Where to Watch: ABC

Why You Should Watch: Elfman’s return to TV comedy is a must see with or without an animated costar!

Fun Fact: This is the second version of Mary the creators developed. After the first pilot, they redesigned her to be warmer and cuter.

Imaginary Mary premieres March 29 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC


ARCHER: SEASON 8

What It’s About: Sterling Archer takes a trip back in time to solve a film-noir style murder in 1947 Los Angeles.

Voiced By: H. Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, Adam Reed, Lucky Yates

Where to Watch: FXX

Why You Should Watch: Archer is still funny after seven seasons, and seasons like Archer Vice show that new genres only make it funnier.

Fun Fact: Creator Adam Reed told the Murmur podcast he’d planned to end Archer after season 8, but will now make two more short seasons to end after 10.

Archer premieres April 5 at 10 p.m. on FXX


DUCKTALES

What’s It About: Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie have Indiana Jones–like epic adventures with Scrooge McDuck.

Voiced By: David Tennant, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Bobby Moynihan, Kate Micucci, Beck Bennett, Toks Olagundoye

Where to Watch: Disney XD

Why You Should Watch: If you grew up with the original version of this show in the ’90s, that’s why. If this is new to you, how about a former Doctor Who as the voice of Scrooge.

Fun Fact: Disney XD has already ordered a second season of DuckTales before it’s even aired.

Ducktales will air on Disney XD  (release date to be announced)


TANGLED: THE SERIES

What It’s About: After returning to her parents and kingdom, Rapunzel sets off for new adventures with Flynn Rider before she takes the throne.

Voiced By: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Eden Espinosa, Julie Bowen, Clancy Brown

Where to Watch: Disney Channel

Why You Should Watch: It’s the sequel to Tangled! Plus, Disney has a good track record with series based on their movies: Aladdin, Emperor’s New School, and The Lion Guard to name a few.

Fun Fact: Alan Menken and Glenn Slater are back to write new songs for Tangled: The Series.

Tangled: The Series new episodes air Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on Disney Channel


BOJACK HORSEMAN: SEASON 4

What It’s About: Bojack is a has-been celebrity in a world of animal ad human movie stars. Season 4 plans to explore Bojack’s past more deeply than ever before.

Voiced By: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins

Where to Watch: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: The first three seasons have only gotten funnier and more profound.

Fun Fact: You can actually visit the Tumblr of season 3 restaurant critic Samantha.

Bojack Horseman at Netflix (release date to be announced)


SuperMansion: Season 2

What It’s About: Titanium Rex leads a group of superheroes who are totally not The Justice League or The Avengers at all.

Voiced By: Bryan Cranston, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jillian Bell, Keegan-Michael Key, Tucker Gilmore, Zeb Wells, Tom Root, Heidi Gardner

Where to Watch: Crackle

Why You Should Watch: A Community reunion of voices Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash.

Fun Fact: Cranston produces Supermansion with the creators and animators of Robot Chicken, who are able to make the characters look more realistic than the “action figures” of Robot Chicken.

SuperMansion‘s new episodes are unleashed Thursdays on Crackle