DCOMIf you're like me, you grew up watching Disney Channel and looked forward to the monthly Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) in the late 1990's and early 2000's. I watched them regularly, always in search of the next Zenon or Halloweentown to obsess over. Time has not been kind to these films, with the majority of them missing from the airwaves for the better part of the past 15 years. And while a handful of them were released on iTunes about a year ago, most were still unavailable... until now!

Brink!While doing a recent google search for Brink!, a super-90's rollerblading epic from 1998, I discovered that not only had it been added to Amazon's Instant Video service for the low-low price of $5.99, but so had nearly every other DCOM known to man! Obviously Brink! was an instant purchase for me. It stars Erik Von Detten pre-The Princess Diaries, Christina Vidal pre-Taina and Walter Jones post-Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. In other words, Brink! was, and is, everything.

Some DCOMs have become true classics over the years, like the Halloweentown and High School Musical series, but many others were equally iconic. It's amazing to look back on the Zenon series now and relive a future where the only car anybody drives is the New Beetle (not the newest model, but the one from 1997). The Zenon films also invented tablets and Facetime before Apple had even introduced the iPod, so we sort of owe our present to Zenon's vision of the future. Nova, major!

halloweentownSpeaking of Halloweentown, there was a long history of DCOMs with a spooky theme which usually premiered around Halloween time. The first film of the "DCOM" era was Under Wraps where a mummy comes to life. And while Halloweentown and its sequels are the best of the bunch, Don't Look Under the Bed deserves an honorable mention. And similar to how Debbie Reynolds was cast in Halloweentown, Mickey Rooney stars in Phantom of the Megaplex and who could forget Caroline Rhea (Aunt Hilda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch) starring in Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire?

Many of these films are from the era where up-and-coming pop stars would host concerts inside of a Disney Park (remember those?). As a result, DCOMs released around the same time would feature music by the same bands. That's why Smart House features songs by B*Witched and The Luck of the Irish has tracks by Samantha Mumba. And in the earliest days of Disney Channel experimenting with their stars becoming musicians, Alexz Johnson from So Weird sings a song in The Other Me.

QuintsDCOMs of this era also proved to be starmakers for many talented teenagers. Kaley Cuoco (Alley Cats Strike), America Farrera (Gotta Kick it Up!), Frankie Muniz (Miracle in Lane 2), Hayden Penertiere (Tiger Cruise) and Emmy Rossum (Genius) all starred in DCOMs before going on to bigger successes elsewhere. Not to mention all of the stars that made a career out of being a DCOM actor, such as Brenda Song (Get a Clue, Stuck in the Suburbs, Wendy Wu), Ryan Merriman (Smart House, The Luck of the Irish, A Ring of Endless Light), Kristen Storms (Zenon series, Johnny Tsunami), and Kimberly J. Brown (Halloweentown series, Quints).

Kids today don't know what it was like to grow up before the digital era where DCOMs are available digitally the same day they premier. In our time, if it didn't come out on VHS or DVD it was gone for good once Disney Channel phased them out. If you're between the ages of 25 and 35, you probably remember most of these from their daily airings on Disney Channel back in the day. Get ready to hear Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" as you pour over this chronological list of DCOMs from 1997-2005 that are now at your streaming disposal. Zetus lapetus!



I'm so thankful that Disney has finally made these films available again. I can't wait to relive the memories of so many of these DCOMs that helped build Disney Channel into the mega-network it is today. But most of all, I can't wait to see Protozoa sing "Supernova Girl"!