Once upon a time, the Disney Channel could be depended on to release a series of kid-friendly made-for-TV films at the breakneck speed of one per month. Sure, they varied in quality, but they were all unique in their own way and for some reason had a strange reliance on random semi-obscure sports.
Seriously. There were Disney Channel Original Movies (affectionately called DCOMs) about horse-racing, surfing, rollerblading, motocross, bowling, and even Soap Box Derbies.
Was this some ploy to try to keep the millennial generation active before abruptly switching over into movies that exist in a world where everyone is a singer/actor/dancer? Possibly. Who knows.
But as silly as it seems, these movies were more or less must watch television for those Disney fans who hit their preteen years during the late 1990s and early 2000s. And while there are some pretty terrible DCOMs floating around out there (Cow Belles? Looking at you), there are also some absolutely delights.
One really has to admire Disney's work ethic in cranking these out month after month, and despite everything, there are some childhood gems in the mix that are definitely worth remembering...
10. Teen Beach 2
Yeah, one of the sequels that every mildly successful DCOM gets actually made it onto the list. Because in a lot of ways, Teen Beach 2 surpasses the also pretty decent Teen Beach Movie.
The first film showed the story of two modern teens who get sucked into a 1960s beach movie musical, where all of their problems are...well, they're still there, but they're set to upbeat pop music, so they seem slightly less devastating. Teen Beach Movie 2 features all of the characters from the movie-within-the-movie, who are suddenly forced to contend with the real, modern world.
Which means a painful journey to self-awareness for the 1960s beach movie's handsome but super dumb male lead, and the fast track to empowerment for the female lead. Because really, when this movie isn't preoccupied with the men who seem to be constantly moping around, it's all about feminism. Lela learns that she isn't just Tanner's girlfriend, but that she can be smart and take charge and be the heroine of her own story.