We all know that our options for what we watch on TV are rapidly changing. After decades of broadcast television, followed by cable and other services, we have now entered the age of digital TV in the form of streaming services from outlets like Netflix and Amazon. Enter DC Universe the soon to arrive new player in the digital arena competing for our attention and money in the form of subscription fees.
In April 2017, the comics giant announced plans to launch its streaming service one which it promised would deliver an “immersive experience” designed just for DC fans. The name of the outlet was officially confirmed as DC Universe in May 2018.
As an avid fan of both comics-based series and films along with most other forms of pop culture since I was a kid, I still find myself wondering if we are nearing the point of near over-saturation of this particular sub-genre. That’s a question only time can answer at this point, and the laws of probability would indicate that some of the shows will not be great or last for long, but one thing’s for sure, the current craze of superhero shows and movies are a comics fan’s dream come true.
The big question is what will be available for subscribers? The short version is it’s expected to include as many animated and live-action shows (and possibly movies) as DC can assemble in one place. Like Netflix, DC Universe will make a significant push into original and exclusive content, beginning with all of the titles listed below.
Previously stuck in development hell at cable network TNT, Titans– based on the many and various Teen Titans series that DC has published since the 1960s – the live action series follows a group of young superheroes recruited from every corner of DC Comics.
Dick Grayson / Robin (Brenton Thwaites) “emerges from the shadows” to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire (Anna Diop), Raven (Teagan Croft), Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), Cyborg (still uncast) and others.
DC Universe has ordered 13 episodes of the series. Based on DC characters initially written and drawn by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani, the one-hour drama is described as a re-imagining of one of DC’s most beloved group of outcast Super Heroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief).
The Doom Patrol’s members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them. Picking up after the events of fellow DC Universe series “Titans,” “Doom Patrol” will find these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be. Called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same.
Announced as DC Universe’s second live-action series in May 2018 was Swamp Thing, which has James Wan – director of the Aquaman movie – attached as an executive producer.
The synopsis sounds like it adheres pretty much to the classic story: “When CDC researcher Abby Arcane returns to her childhood home of Houma, Louisiana, to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, she develops a surprising bond with scientist Alec Holland — only to have him tragically taken from her.
“But as powerful forces descend on Houma, intent on exploiting the swamp’s mysterious properties for their secretive purposes, Abby will discover that the swamp holds mystical secrets, both horrifying and wondrous — and the potential love of her life may not be dead after all.”
As DC comics fans will know, Abby Arcane is a key figure in the Swamp Thing mythology and possesses the powers of telepathy, telekinesis, and empathy.
YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS
Warner Bros. Animation is also reviving the popular animated series Young Justice, which aired its last episode on Cartoon Network in 2013, with “passionate fan support” setting the stage for a third season, subtitled Outsiders.
In the new episodes, the team (Nightwing, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and more) faces its most significant challenge yet as it takes on meta-human trafficking and the terrifying threat it creates for a society caught in the crossfire of a genetic arms race spanning the globe and the galaxy.
HARLEY QUINN ANIMATED SERIES
The newest addition to the roster, announced in November 2017, is an adult-oriented (whatever that means) animated series focusing on Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie’s has been approached to lend her voice to the series, though is yet to sign up officially.
Twenty-six half-hour episodes featuring both Harley and her BFF Poison Ivy will follow our anti-heroine as she breaks away from The Joker to define her own identity as the most successful crook in Gotham City.
Set in a time before Superman relocated from Smallville, the planned show will see dogged reporter Lois Lane investigating meta-human crimes, with assistance from none other than Lex Luthor (before his being exposed as a super-villain, presumably). This series had an order but is currently back in redevelopment.
Due to prior contractual commitments, it’s not likey (for now) that any of the “Arowverse shows will appear on the new streaming service. But you never know, things could change, and life is full of surprises you never know who might show up.
The original announcement confirmed that DC’s streaming service would launch sometime in 2018, with Young Justice writer Greg Weisman later predicting a fourth-quarter premiere for the new season.
Assuming that Young Justice: Outsiders will be available on the service from launch, we can surmise that the service will go live in October at the earliest.
DC is yet to confirm pricing for its streaming service officially. It’s possible though that, like Netflix, it’ll offer several different packages at different prices.