The “Old Disney” versus “New Disney” debate is a tale as old as time. With the exception of the highly nostalgic Girl Meets World, most millennials who grew up on Disney Channel have since abandoned the network. But Disney’s newest series, Andi Mack, should most certainly not be cast aside by former fans — especially if they now have kids of their own.
Andi Mack comes from Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky, who told MTV News that she “wrote the show specifically for today’s kids, tweens, and their families.” Minsky also emphasized the show’s appeal for old Lizzie fans, some of whom are parents now. The show’s classic, coming-of-age vibe will definitely inspire kids and parents to watch together.
Andi Mack doesn’t include a laugh track.
Eric McCandless/Disney Channel
Many Disney series from the 2000s, like Phil of the Future, didn’t use laugh tracks, which allowed the subtle humor to speak for itself. No shade to Hannah Montana, but sometimes a laugh track can make comedy feel forced.
Andi Mack is a single-camera show, which means we actually get to follow the characters around in a type of 360-degree angle. A multi-camera setup on a show such as The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is part of the basic sitcom formula, but it often makes viewers feel separate from the characters. A single-camera setup arguably makes watching the show a more personal experience.
The show is also serialized, meaning we’ll need to “tune in next week” to find out what happens. Basically every single Disney Channel show in existence has avoided this format, focusing instead on one-off episodes.
There are strong Lizzie McGuire vibes.
Fred Hayes/Disney Channel
This seems like a no-brainer, since both shows share the same creator, but still: There are a lot of similarities to be found in early episodes. Both shows open with their respective protagonists at the age of 13, each equipped with two BFFs: one girl and one boy. Both girls have somewhat overprotective moms and clueless dads, and crush on the cutest boy at school. There’s also something about how Andi and Lizzie view the world that really sticks out — though Andi doesn’t have an animated alter ego like Lizzie did.
“The characters and stories in Andi Mack are for today yet still honor the time-tested themes and values kids, tweens, and parents want,” Minsky explained. (But she confirmed there aren’t any Lizzie Easter eggs. Womp womp.)
Andi Mack isn’t afraid to take risks, and that’s important.
Craig Sjodiin/Disney Channel
The show’s subject matter offers a major step forward for Disney Channel. At the end of the pilot, Andi learns that her cool older sister is actually her mother, which means her “mother” is actually her grandmother. Yep, Disney is doing a show about teen pregnancy, and it works. It’s another revolutionary move for the network, which last made headlines after depicting its first lesbian couple on Good Luck Charlie. However, Minsky states her show isn’t simply about “the twist,” but instead “a story about a young girl finding her place in the world.” Minsky also believes that today’s kids will relate to Andi Mack‘s authenticity, just like Lizzie fans did.
Andi Mack‘s pilot channels earlier unconventional Disney Channel episodes — such as That’s So Raven‘s episode on racism and Lizzie McGuire‘s on eating disorders. Millennials (myself included) grew up with a Disney Channel that wasn’t afraid to take risks and didn’t talk down to its impressionable audience, choosing instead to give them more adult-themed content that was still geared toward kids. Andi Mack revives that tradition for a new generation (or an old generation that still wants to watch).
*This article originally appeared on MTV.com written by Stacey Grant