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Disney+ is only a few months old but it's already a major player in the streaming service game. It's got 50 million subscribers and it hasn't even launched in large parts of the world. Disney+ has also made significant changes to the way streaming series are handled, by launching all of its series, to this point, weekly rather than releasing all episodes at once. However, Disney+'s newest series, Prop Culture, which tracks down various props used in popular films, will change that, when it becomes the first series on the service to see all episodes arrive at once when the show premieres on May 1. Series producer and host Dan Lanigan thinks it's a good choice.
I had an opportunity to speak with Prop Culture's Dan Lanigan this week and I asked him about the decision to go with the binge-watching vs. weekly format. While he told me that, at one point, the plan was for the show to go weekly like other Disney+ series, he thinks seeing the whole series arrive at once will be good, because it will give fans the opportunity to watch whatever episode they're most interested in first, which may hook them on the show. As Lanigan told me...
I think people will probably come to the show quicker by having the whole season drop because they can watch the episode connected with the movie they like, and then if they like the format of the show, maybe they’ll watch other ones, and then watch the movies that we’re talking about.
Each episode of Prop Culture is focused on a different popular film you can find on Disney+, from Mary Poppins to Tron to The Muppet Movie. The official "first" episode covers Mary Poppins, but if you're a bigger fan of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you can jump straight to that one (I did). Each episode is essentially a standalone documentary so there's freedom to jump around without feeling like you're missing something.
While a lot of people are probably fans of Mary Poppins, if you're not, you might ignore the first episode, and then forget to go back in the following weeks. if you had to wait By dropping the episodes all at once you're more likely to give one episode a shot, and then potentially watch more if you like it.
And I think that most people probably will. While the focus of Prop Culture is, of course, the props, each episode is basically a half hour dive into the making of the movie as a whole. The prop is really just the entry point. You'll see not only the objects created for the films, but the locations where scenes were shot and see new interviews with both the crew and the cast that made the movie happen, reuniting actors with costumes they wore or prop builders with things they created. Fans of movie history in general, and Disney movie history specifically, will love the show. That's probably the one down side to getting all the episodes at once. If you decide you like the show, you're going to be out of episodes before you know it.
It's not entirely clear why Disney+ decided to go with the binge model this time around. It could be that the streaming service saw it the way Dan Lanigan himself does, and felt the show had better potential for success going that route. It could be that due to the self quarantine situation, Disney+ just wanted to get more new content on the service as quickly as possible so people had something new to watch. It could be just Disney+ testing out the idea to see how well viewers take to it.
And the props themselves are pretty cool too. Whether you're excited to see a bear's natural habitat, or the mast of Jack Sparrow's first ship, there's a lot of cool monuments to your favorite movies.
Prop Culture debuts on Disney+ May 1.