“Weird Al” Yankovic – Milo Murphy, Beek
Sabrina Carpenter – Melissa Chase
Mekai Curtis & Aaron Daniel Jacob (singing) – Zack Underwood
Dee Bradley Baker – Diogee Ex Machina Murphy, Perry the Platypus/Agent P
Dan Povenmire – Vinnie Dakota, Dr. Heinz “Doof” Doofenshmirtz/Professor Time (season 2), Colonel Niblet
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh – Balthazar Cavendish, Major Francis Monogram, Mantel, Lieutenant Tennant, Cavenpuss, armory security guard
Milo Danger Murphy (“Weird Al” Yankovic, after original choice Noah Jones was too busy with his own show, Pickle and Peanut) was a 13-year-old boy who was born under a family curse: every male member of his family was condemned to live their lives as embodiments of Murphy’s Law, which states that anything that can go wrong, will. Essentially, Milo was a bad luck magnet who tended to unwillingly alter probabilities around him to cause chaos from the simple (missing the bus) to the massive (causing the school’s yacht to be shipwrecked). Despite all this, Milo was a very cheerful, kind and good-hearted person who found his curse made life exciting. This led him to remain calm, be quick to improvise (courtesy of the never-ending supply of stuff he kept in his backpack), and be inspirationally positive in the face of absolute disaster. Milo was generally well-liked by his community—although they were quick to stay out of his way.
Milo lived with his family in the Jefferson County section of the fictional city of Danville (named for Povenmire), the setting of Phineas and Ferb (which has led fans dub the shows as “The Dwampyverse”). His father, Martin (Diedrich Bader), shared in Milo’s curse and used it in his work as a safety inspector; letting his bad luck test any safety measures to their fullest. His mother, Brigette (Pamela Adlon), was an architect who frequently tapped into her personal experiences to deliver helpful advice when needed. Milo’s older sister, Sara (based on Povenmire and Marsh’s friend, Sara Katz-Scher, voiced by Kate Micucci), was very close to and protective of Milo and shared his love of The Doctor Zone Files (an amalgam of the shows Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files); however, she did tend to worry that Murphy’s Law would ruin her important life moments and ended up making it a self-fulfilling prophecy by ruining those moments herself in the process. Milo’s dog was Diogee (pronounced as if you were spelling “dog”) Ex Machina Murphy (Dee Bradley Baker). Living up to his name, Diogee often casually got to Milo’s side in time to help him and his friends out of predicaments.
Milo’s best friends were Melissa Chase (based on Provenmire’s daughter, voiced by Sabrina Carpenter) and Zack Underwood (Mekai Curtis, with Aaron Daniel Jacob providing his singing voice). Melissa befriended Milo in the first grade and enjoyed when Murphy’s Law shook things up (frequently betting with other students on the outcomes). While intelligent to the point that her grades propagated the majority of her self-confidence, she was also a little scatterbrained and tended to forget her personal belongings everywhere. Zack just moved to town at the beginning of the series and met Milo on a disastrous trip to school. While serving as the voice of reason for the group, he also enjoyed the adventures Murphy Law’s tended to bring about; however, he kinda wished Milo wouldn’t constantly be the one solving the problems that arose. Zack had previously belonged to a lumberjack-themed boyband initially called The Lumberzacks, but renamed themselves The Lumbermaxes (after new lead singer Max, voiced by Tyler Alexander Mann) when Zack quit from embarrassment of being in the group. He eventually formed a new band with Milo and Melissa, accidentally naming themselves “Just Getting Started”. While the other two played guitar, Milo played the accordion like his voice actor.
Outside of normal, everyday shenanigans, the show had a bit of a sci-fi twist going on as well. In the background were the operations of the Bureau of Time Travel (B.o.T.T.), an agency that frequently manipulated the time continuum on a global scale. The agency was founded sometime after former Phineas and Ferb villain Dr. Heinz “Doof” Doofenshmirtz (Povenmire) invented time-travel. Their primary objective was to prevent the rise and conquest of the Pistachions: a race of sentient pistachio plants led first by King Pistachion (Rhys Darby), and then by his son, Derek (Jeff Bennet). The main agents on the job were Vinnie Dakota (Povenmire), a laid back and carefree individual who enjoyed the simple pleasures but could become all business when needed, and his partner Balthazar Cavendish (Marsh, using a British accent), who was serious and stuffy to the point of being condescending and rude, but often became a mess when situations became serious. Often, they found their missions interrupted by Murphy’s Law (to the point they thought Milo was an enemy agent) and had to deal with the fallout from that. Other members included Mr. Block (Mark Hamill), the hard-nosed leader of the agency; Savannah (Ming-Na Wen), a first-class agent with an arrogance that caused her to look down on anything and anyone that didn’t relate to the mission; and her obnoxiously arrogant partner Brick (Brett Dalton), whose short temper always flared up when things don’t go his way or he has to deal with other agents (Ming-Na and Dalton had also starred together as fellow agents on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). In the second season, Dakota and Cavendish end up fired and banished to the present where they’re hired to Paranormal Investigation Group’s Purgers of Intergalactic Garbage division (P.I.G.), an agency that cleaned up extraterrestrial litter run by Block’s ancestor, Bob (also Hamill).
Other characters included the student body and staff of Jefferson County Middle School, such as Amanda Lopez (Chrissie Fit), Milo’s classmate and love interest who was a perfectionist and became the manager of his band (and was made Hispanic at the request of Disney’s desire for more diversity); Mort Schaeffer (Greg Cipes), the spiritualist drummer of Milo’s band; Lydia (Alyson Stoner), Amanda’s enthusiastic and energetic best friend; Bradley Nicholson (Vincent Martella), an arrogant student jealous of the attention Milo gets (originally intended as being Milo’s extremely-lucky antithesis and miserable because of it); Kyle Drako (Michael Culross), a teacher with a Romanian accent that often exhibited the traits of a vampire; Ms. Murawski (Sarah Chalke), a science teacher with an unhealthy love of her desk; Nolan Mitchel (Kevin Michael Richardson), the football coach who took the disappointment when his team wasn’t good enough to heart; Elliott Decker (Christian Slater), the volunteer crossing guard obsessed with safety and took an offensive stance with Milo and the chaos he caused; and Elizabeth Milder (Mackenzie Phillips), the principal who actively worked against Murphy’s Law and often relayed inconclusive “I knew a kid” stories as warnings.
Outside of school there was Zack’s parents, Marcus (Phil LaMarr) and Dr. Eileen (Vanessa Williams); Melissa’s fireman father, Richard (Adrian Pasdar); Scott (Scott D. Peterson), a member of the Undergrounders: construction workers long trapped and who live under the city in their community, Subterranus; Orton Mahlson (Jemaine Clement), the actor who portrayed Doctor Hankry Zone; Time Ape (Sophie Winkleman), Doctor Zone’s sidekick who was an ape with a clock for a head; Trucker Ted (Bob Bowen, one of the series’ directors), who usually drove various cargo around town that ended up getting commandeered by Murphy’s Law; Tobias Trollhammer (Peter Stromare), Milo’s favorite action movie star that starred in the long-running Krillhunter movie franchise; and Neal (Maulik Pancholy), a comic book and Doctor Zone lover who served as Sara’s love interest. And then there were the Octalians; a race of cephalopods from planet Octalia (whose names were all taken from the parts of an octopus). They took an interest in the “negative probability ions” emitted by Milo that empowered Murphy’s Law as a means to save their planet from a cosmic storm comprised of them.
Milo Murphy’s Law debuted on Disney XD on October 3, 2016 after originally planned for a 2017 debut; however, story segments were swapped between it and the second episode. The majority of the episodes were comprised of two story segments, although there were a few full half-hour and hour-long specials here and there. The series was written by Povenmire, Marsh, Peterson, Kyle Menke, Dani Vetere, Joshua Pruett, Jim Bernstein, Martin Olson, Valerie Breiman and Marja Adriance. A bonus of having “Weird Al” starring in the show was getting him to perform the theme song, as well as other song numbers in various episodes. The rest of the series’ music was by Danny Jacob. Animation duties were handled by Elliott Animation, Synergy Animation and Wang Film Animation Studio, Ltd. Leading up to the series, a promotional video called “We’re Gonna Do It Again” was released. It featuring Povenmire and Marsh rapping about the show and showing off some of the cast and crew; most of whom were Phineas and Ferb veterans.
As for the earlier “spin-on” statement, Milo Murphy’s Law ended up being a continuation of sorts for Phineas and Ferb. The titular characters, step-brothers Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (David Errigo, Jr., replacing Thomas Brodie-Sangster who was busy with other projects), their sister, Candance (Ashley Tisdale), their pet platypus/undercover secret agent, Perry (Baker), friends Buford (Bobby Gaylor) and Baljeet (Pancholy), and reformed evil scientist Doofenshmirtz, all joined Milo and his friends in stopping the Pistachion invasion in the second season premiere (originally intended to be an isolated special event episode). After that, Doofenshmirtz, whose lair was destroyed in the process, became a regular character on the show by taking up residence on Milo’s couch. Perry also made a few more appearances, primarily to keep an eye on his old foe Doofenshmirtz, as did some other minor Phineas and Ferb characters. Doofenshmirtz would also be enlisted in taking part in the Disney Channel’s “Theme Song Takeover”, where supporting characters from their respective shows would sing their own version of their theme songs. Additionally, Melissa had a fear of rollercoasters that stemmed from the time when tracks fell into her backyard and destroyed her science project, which came from the first Phineas and Ferb episode, “Rollercoaster”.
Unfortunately, the series didn’t find quite the same success as its predecessor. The uphill battle began when it was placed on Disney XD instead of Disney Channel proper. Disney XD had struggled to find a sustained audience since its inception, being an additional channel people had to pay for in their cable packages. To lure audiences there, Disney would often begin a show on Disney Channel then move it to Disney XD in the hopes the viewers would follow; although that rarely happened in any significant fashion resulting in many XD shows lasting between 1-2 seasons. MML barely reached 1 million viewers each episode. Reruns did air—albeit infrequently—on Disney Channel (and for those who caught them, they’d find that Dakota and Cavendish were edited into the background of early episodes to allude to their future importance in the plot). For the second season, it was broadcast on both Disney Channel and Disney XD, airing in the earliest timeslot on the former. Ratings improved significantly by the time the season (now series) finale approached, making it the highest-rated show in its timeslot. The finale itself earned over 100,000 more viewers than the series finale of the much more watched Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
Then there were the delays. After the first five episodes aired, the next new episode, originally planned for November, didn’t air until March in 2017. Then it was delayed again until July. The season finale aired in September, with two holiday specials following in their associated months. The finale was meant to lead into the crossover that April, but it wouldn’t air in the United States until January of 2019 as the season 2 premiere (poked fun at on Twitter by Yankovic). Conversely, in Japan the crossover was treated as a big summer event with a special promotion and merchandise. 15 out of the 20 second season episodes ended up making their global debuts outside of the United States in countries like Japan, India, Germany and Spain. Unlike the crossover, the 2nd season finale did receive some promotion and was led-up to with a marathon of Phineas and Ferb and all the prior MML episodes. However, that was the only time season 2 episodes saw any kind of rerun.
Although Disney hasn’t officially cancelled MML in any fashion, the MML crew was allowed to disband outside of those working on the second Phineas and Ferb film, Candace Against the Universe (which featured a cut Milo cameo, a Trucker Ted cameo, and a Lumberzacks song). Povenmire began work on his next Disney show, Hamster and Gretel (said to also be set in the “Dwampyverse”), while Marsh was working on Pete the Cat for Amazon Prime through his own Surfer Jack Productions. Both have stated they would love to do more with MML, but it would likely depend on how successful the series was on streaming service Disney+. As of May 2021, audience demand for MML was 4 times as much as the average TV series, and was ranked #77 in the top 100 series on Disney+. Marsh stated that Disney has since apologized for their poor promotion of the show, which had managed to rack up 2 Annie Awards (the first 3 months after it began) and 2 Daytime Emmy Award nominations. In addition to Disney+, various episodes and clips have been uploaded to the official Disney XD YouTube channel.
“Going the Extra Milo / The Undergrounders” (10/3/16 & 10/10/16) – Newcomer Zack meets Milo, whose bad luck gives them one heck of an adventure on the way to school. / Getting stranded in the subway leads Milo and his friends to meet construction workers who’ve been trapped underground.
“The Phineas and Ferb Effect” (8/10/18 JP, 1/5/19 US) – Milo, Zack, Melissa, Phineas, Ferb, Candace, Buford and Baljeet work against Murphy’s Law to stop the Pistachion invasion while Dakota, Cavendish, Orton Mahlson, Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry try to prevent it in the past.
“Dr. Doofenshmirtz Theme Song Takeover” (4/19/19) – Dr. Doofenshmirtz attempts to sing the theme, but discovers it’s more difficult than he planned.