Loki shows how Disney Plus is saving TV – and why Netflix should be very worried

Loki is another water-cooler hit for Disney Plus in the making, and it's something to look forward to each week

Disney Plus Loki Netflix
(Image credit: Disney)

It seems only yesterday that I was being told that I should be bingeing on newly released TV shows left, right and center.

Streaming services banged their bingeing drums louder and louder and, encouraged by critics who would pass judgement on entire new series in a matter of hours, bingeing themselves to a series finale before most regular viewers had even watched the first episode, the inevitable took place.

More shows were commissioned and released en-masse, fed in a non-stop stream of increasingly powerless hype, and more and more I (as well as no doubt many others) found it harder and harder to get excited for shows, engage with them, and dodge spoilers and commentary from those who had already binged.

The mixture of more new shows than ever being made, as well as those shows being dumped all at once just made it harder to get involved, as there was always another ready to also offer 10 to 20 hours of viewing.

Crucially, this bingeing culture where every episode of a new show was splurged all at one time by money-flush streaming services accelerated the collapse of actual shared conversation and experience about those shows. When some people have watched every episode of a series, while others have only watched one or two, it's very hard to have a conversation that captures the immediacy of the viewing experiences.

Putting things bluntly, for me a consequence of the streaming wars was that TV needed saving.

But that is where Disney Plus has made a remarkable step forward for TV since its launch and, for me at least, saved my interest in TV. And, interestingly, it is by taking a small step backwards towards a more traditional broadcast TV structure that it has managed it. That's because Disney Plus has managed to bring back water cooler moments – those times where you speak with a friend or colleague about a show you have both just watched.

And Disney Plus has done this by, firstly, making excellent new TV shows and, secondly, making them events by not only trailing them really well in advance of their launch, but also by dropping them on a weekly schedule.

Just look at how the WandaVision TV show earlier in the year became an absolute sensation. Even people who weren't into Marvel or super heroes in general still got sucked in and, at least in my office, this was shared with among loads of team members, both round the real water cooler and around the virtual one on Slack.

And Loki, which has just been confirmed as launching on June 9, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday, just looks like the next continuation of that. Loki on Disney Plus already in my mind looks like the next WandaVision-type old fashioned communal TV experience and it's not going to be last, either. There's already a steady stream of awesome-sounding new TV shows coming down the Disney Plus pipe.

Just look at how the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series is stacking up, with a dynamite cast announced, and the show already shooting in LA – I cannot wait for that, and just like  the other Disney Plus exclusive TV show, The Mandalorian, is going to expand the Star Wars universe in a really great way while also shying away from binge streaming culture.

Now, sure, other streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video also have some shows that drop weekly, however, aside from The Witcher and The Boys, I can't think of any that have had the event-like water cooler factor that Disney Plus is rapidly making itself a master of. And, well, these services need to catch up to this fast or otherwise they will lose even more viewers to Disney Plus.

I said in T3's Disney Plus review that it delivered "out of the world content", and now more than ever it is doing that in the TV space.

Like many working people I don't have much time to watch TV, so the fact that I can look forward to watching shows like Loki and share that experience with others is really enthusing. Roll on June 9!

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for T3.com, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.