If you are even casually interested in superheroes, DC Comics and its parent company Warner Bros. are set to unleash a digital streaming service that you're probably going to want in your life.
DC Universe is a digital hub that will house the comic company's television shows (including animated series), movies, comics and exclusive digital content that benefits both casual and super fans. TV Guide got a sneak preview of the service at the DC Universe experience at San Diego Comic-Con, and we've got the lowdown on everything you need to know before it officially launches this fall.
What is DC Universe?
DC Universe is a digital subscription service that will allow DC fans to watch their favorite DC shows and movies and read comics in one place. The service will also have exclusive DC news, encyclopedias for all of the DC characters both in film and on the page as well as a store to buy exclusive DC merchandise.
Be more specific. What's available in the service?
DC Universe will launch with access to a lot of the label's impressive library from classic TV shows like Lois & Clark, Batman: The Animated Series, and The Flash (1990 CBS version — CW shows won't be on the service as long as Netflix has exclusive streaming rights) to movies including Superman I-IV with Christopher Reeve, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and more.
The service will also launch with five original shows. On the live-action side there's Titans, a Greg Berlanti-produced drama about the Teen Titans starting as a superhero team, Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing. Young Justice: Outsiders and Harley Quinn will be DC Universe's first original animated series. Thursday at Comic-Con, former DC exec Geoff Johns announced he was creating a live-action Stargirl series for the service.
On the comics side, thousands of titles will be included in the service with even more available for individual purchase within. The original Action and Detective Comics from the '30s will be available as well as Green Arrow: Year One, Suicide Squad, Superman/Batman and so much more. You can manually scroll through the pages or set the service to automation mode to turn the pages for you. You can scrub through panels — basically comic-book fast forwarding — or zoom in to examine panel details.
When will it be available?
The service officially launches in fall 2018, but you can pre-order a subscription now.
Where will it be available?
DC Universe will be available on desktop, iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Google Chromecast.
How much does it cost?
An annual subscription costs $74.99, which breaks down to be cheaper than Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now or commercial-free CBS All Access. Monthly subscriptions will also be available for $7.99 at launch (but you save $1.50/mo if you go with the annual membership, according to my calculator).
Bonus pre-order information!
If you are reading this from Comic-Con, you can sign up for your pre-order subscription at the DC Universe installation and get a free T-shirt.
For everyone else at home, all pre-order subscriptions made between 9:30 a.m. PT on Thursday, July 19 and 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 22 are also entered into a sweepstakes to attend the Aquaman U.S. premiere in December 2018. Every fan who pre-orders a subscription before the official launch in the fall gets an additional three months of the service free.
Will there be a social component?
Yes! One of the biggest requests from fans when DC was developing the service was to have a place where they could discuss their favorite DC content. Facebook isn't conducive to massive debate and Twitter has a 140 character limit, so DC Universe will have message boards that will allow fans to comment on content, start their own threads, and discuss to their hearts' content. There will also be opportunities for fans to vote on official origin stories for characters and have that deemed the official canon for the DC universe as a whole.
The message boards and interactions will be monitored by official DC team members to ensure that the community remains a safe place for discussion and debate, so consider it a troll-free zone.
What does the service look like?
The beta version of DC Universe that I saw sort of looks like Netflix, with big splash sections to highlight content DC wants users to see. Each content section is laid out on the main page with movies, TV, comics and news highlighted on the main page. There's a menu bar at the bottom that will help you isolate the exact content you're looking for, i.e. specific movies, TV or comics if you get overwhelmed by seeing everything at once.
DC controls what's trending on the main page, but there will be a "My DC" hub for subscribers where they can upload their own backgrounds and avatars. It'll be the home for your earmarked favorite content that can be organized however the user wants.
What were the best features?
Okay, this is really what you came for. The fan-orientation of DC Universe has led to the creation of some really cool functions that you won't find on other services that have to deal with a much broader content range. These were my favorite things they demoed for us:
1. Collections: The main page will also feature DC curated "collections" based on different characters and topics (which can be suggested by users). They showed us the Joker collection, which was basically a hub that gave a brief history of the character with a link to the Joker's DC Universe encyclopedia page. It also includes all movies, TV show episodes, comics and relevant news tagged with the Joker. This is awesome for casual fans who just want to know a little bit more about a character and also for the hardcore fans that want to dive deep and easily find specific content for their research.
2. Lists: Within the My DC hub, DC Universe users can make lists of their favorite content. These lists can be private or public to the rest of the DC Universe so the lists can be used for personal organization or to show off your curation skills to other DC fans. The lists are completely user driven so they can decide the topic, number, and mix media so it doesn't just have to be "The Best Wonder Woman TV Episodes" but "The Best Wonder Woman Content" that includes movies, TV and comics. This is not only appealing to the organizational nerd but makes the service far more interactive than any other digital content service on the market.
3. Reading comic books on TV: Digital comic books have been around for a minute, but DC Universe's TV platforms allow you to display your latest or favorite reads on your living room TV. This not only allows you to see the comics in greater detail than you would on your phone or iPad, but also opens itself up for a group viewing experience. Imagine inviting your friends over to read the latest issue of Batman as if it were a Game of Thrones viewing party. You can read and discuss in the room together, bringing the community aspect of the service into the real world as well.
For more details or to sign up for the service check out DCUniverse.com.