Yesterday (May 1) was a big day for DC Comics fans. It was Wednesday, which meant new comics (like “DC Nation #0“), which is always great. But the bigger news was the official announcement of the DC Universe streaming service.
We’ve known about the platform for a while, a way for the increasingly media savvy DC Comics to have its own outlet for original shows (and presumably some legacy content) without having to worry about Netflix or Hulu streaming rights. It’s also a way to launch shows that might not otherwise see the light of day. Two of the shows — Titans and Young Justice – weren’t picked up, or were outright canceled by broadcast networks.
(And as a note, this is an entirely different service from DC Universe Online, the popular game that’s been running since 2011. DC is nothing if not consistent with their naming structures.)
Now, the slate is shaping up, meaning you’ll soon have to decide whether these shows are worth moving money over from your other accounts. Right now, you can only plug in your e-mail for updates; but chances are it’s finally launching, and soon. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what’s coming — and some ideas about what they should announce next.
DC Universe Streaming Service: Titans
What’s it about? A group of former teen heroes and sidekicks led by ex-Robin Dick Grayson fight evil. Presumably they also battle their inner demons or whatever.
Who’s involved? Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven and Ryan Potter as Beast Boy are the main players. The show was developed by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti for TNT, before it moved to DC Universe.
Anything else I need to know? Minka Kelly from Friday Night Lights plays the Dove half of Hawk & Dove! The Doom Patrol will show up in the fifth episode (see more below). And it finishes filming on May 11, so expect it to hit your eyeballs soon…
DC Universe Streaming Service: Doom Patrol
What’s it about? A group of weird heroes do weird things that are often not very heroic, but in fact very weird.
Who’s involved? Jeremy Carver, best known for his work on Supernatural and Frequency is writing/showrunning the series. Though this hasn’t been confirmed, presumably we’ll see some, if not all of the cast that’s being introduced in Titans. So that would be: Niles Caulder (Bruno Bichir), Rita Farr/Elastigirl (April Bowlby), Clifford Steele/Robotman (Jake Michaels), and Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Dwain Murphy).
Anything else I need to know? The show has been picked up for 13 episodes, so barring any disasters it’s almost definitely happening. And I cannot continue to emphasize enough that this isn’t an X-Men riff with heroes protecting a world that hates them. It’s legitimately strange, if done correctly.
DC Universe Streaming Service: Swamp Thing
What’s it about? An avatar of “The Green,” the mystical force that connects all life on Earth, must battle back the forces of darkness.
Who’s involved? The series is being written by Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman, with Aquaman director James Wan producing.
Anything else I need to know? Swamp Thing has a script-to-series order, so DC’s green mean fighting machine will skip the pilot phase and go right to filming episodes. However, it’s not officially picked up — meaning they could film a few, find out it’s not working, and go back to the drawing board.
DC Universe Streaming Service: Young Justice: Outsiders
What’s it about? The third season of Young Justice, baby! After the show was canceled by Cartoon Network, the story — which is an alternate universe take on the DC teen (and often adult) heroes will finally continue.
Who’s involved? Khary Payton is Aqualad, Danica McKellar is Miss Martian, Nolan North is Conner Kent, Alyson Stoner is Batgirl, and Marina Sirtis is Queen Bee. Britt Baron will also join the voice cast. The show is once again written by Greg Weisman.
Anything else I need to know? Probably a lot, but even if you know the comics well I’d highly recommend going back and watching Seasons 1 and 2. The show is excellent, and incredibly dense in continuity. So whatever happens in Season 3, chances are it’ll build on the first two.
DC Universe Streaming Service: Harley Quinn
What’s it about? Harley Quinn aims to become Gotham’s queen of crime, ditching The Joker and teaming up with Poison Ivy in the process.
Who’s involved? The team behind Powerless, so YMMV
Anything else I need to know? The animated series has been ordered for 26 episodes, and is hoping to get Margot Robbie to do the voice.
Also, writer Jimmy Palmiotti shared this promo piece from artist Amanda Conner. The duo are probably best known for bringing Harley into the modern age of comics:
Amanda’s promo piece already shown from the new DC Streaming service show. pic.twitter.com/2k9ZroRZFd
— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) May 4, 2018
DC Universe Streaming Service: Metropolis
When’s it coming? Possibly never
What’s it about? Lex Luthor and Lois Lane team up to solve weird science mysteries before Superman ever lands in Metropolis.
Who’s involved? John Stephens and Danny Cannon, the guys behind Gotham
Anything else I need to know? Well, remember how we mentioned Swamp Thing has a script-to-series order? So did Metropolis, which is now being redeveloped and is off the schedule. So that wait for Superman just got a little bit longer.
DC Universe Streaming Service: What’s Next?
There are two main things DC Universe needs, and one it’ll almost definitely have.
The thing it’ll almost definitely get is DC’s series of shorts and original, Behind the Scenes shows that currently run on the publisher’s YouTube channel. There’s no doubt in my mind those will end up on the platform, if only to flesh out the content.
The thing it desperately needs is DC’s back content. If DC Universe gets the DC movies and animated shows — and someday gets the other live action shows, that would be huge. And I’m not just talking Supergirl and Gotham. I mean Super Friends, and old shorts, sitting right beside Tim Burton’s Batman movies and the new DCEU flicks.
And for the love of god, please have a ton of stuff for kids. Particularly DC Superhero Girls, which is enormous. Don’t make this an adults only platform, because that’s a path to the opposite of success.
The problem is, as always, rights. Rights to the DC movies, from streaming rights to music rights, are all over the place. So this is a little bit of a pipe dream. But at the same time, if they are able to snag some legacy content, DC Universe jumps up immeasurably in value.
The other thing the platform needs is comics. I saw this posted approximately a kabillion times yesterday, but not creating some sort of actual comic book integration, or way to buy comics would be incredibly sad. Could you imagine being able to watch Titans, click on a link on the side, and buy a copy of George Pérez and Marv Wolfman’s “New Teen Titans”… Then go back and finish the episode while your graphic novel downloads?
That would be pretty neat. Pretty, pretty neat.
Also we need to have a Doom Patrol series, a Detective Chimp series, a Metal Men series, and a Batwoman series. Thanks.
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