It’s 2019 and long gone are the days of basic cable. No longer do you have to pay an exorbitant rate to gain access to the majority of what’s on TV, now you simply pay a small monthly fee for any combination of the seemingly millions of streaming services.
While these services seem to be multiplying like rabbits, it is still hard for many of these upstarts to compete with titans of the industry like Netflix and Hulu. But this hasn’t stopped numerous companies from throwing their hat in the ring.
While it seems like a foregone conclusion that Disney+ with its impressive catalog of all things Disney — including the Marvel and Star Wars franchises —I want to talk about a service that has been flying pretty far under the radar after it launched last year: DC Universe.
At first, the idea seemed interesting; the platform was going to be releasing original shows right at the start and promised to be more than a standard streaming service, giving fans the opportunity to read comics, watch exclusive DC content and interact with other fans. But, now that the service has been around for a while, it is starting to lose some of its shine.
Here are five reasons why DC Universe is just not worth it.
I’ll say this up front, if someone is subscribing solely for the comics, then the service is absolutely worth it. Most comics are insanely expensive. In fact, Marvel’s comic-focused service, Marvel Unlimited, is much more expensive and does not have some of the added benefits that DC Universe has. So, in the case of someone who is a long-standing fan of DC comics, paying for a subscription to read up on the latest adventures of their favorite characters doesn’t sound so bad.
However, I really don’t read very many comics. With the soaring popularity of comic book movies and TV shows, I know that I’m not the only one. Our superhero-centric media landscape has opened the doors of these high-flying adventures to millions of non-comics readers across the globe.
There are plenty of people that love DC’s movies and shows but are either too overwhelmed to read the comics or just aren’t that invested. I would say I definitely fall into the former category. While I’ll occasionally read a comic or graphic novel, I’ve never been able to get fully invested in them the way many people are. As DC Universe exists primarily as a means of distributing comic books, it does not feel worth the money for the casual fan.
2. Original Content
Don’t get me wrong, the DC Universe is definitely creating some interesting original content. However, right now this boils down to two live-action shows, “Doom Patrol” and “Titans,” and the third season of Cartoon Network’s “Young Justice.” Their most recent title, “Swamp Thing,” was announced as canceled in conjunction with the premiere of the very first episode.
While there is talk surrounding the potential for new, original titles, including a more mature show focused around the anti-hero Harley Quinn, they simply just don’t have enough. “Doom Patrol” and fan-favorite “Young Justice” were both well-received, while “Titans,” on the other hand, got some mixed reviews. The DC Universe original programming definitely has potential, but as DC’s attempts to replicate the big-screen success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to fall flat on their face, I’m not super confident in their ability to pull off successful streaming titles.
Also, The CW has been offering DC live action shows for years and years, starting with “Smallville” in 2001, which can be viewed for free on live television. Not to mention most of these shows can also be found on Netflix and a grand total of none of them are on DC Universe. I’m not blaming DC for this, I’m sure there are plenty of licensing issues to work through; however, I can’t help but be disappointed with DC Universe’s roster of original content when I know I can watch original shows I like on TV or on a service that I already have.
3. Other Content
While DC Universe might be lacking in its original content, they’re still a relatively new service. Netflix didn’t just come out of the gates with “Stranger Things” or “Black Mirror,” it took time to develop truly great original content. But in the meantime, how does DC Universe’s library look outside of their originals?
Well, it has 2003’s “Teen Titans,” an incredible show that hasn’t appeared on any of the other streaming services, along with most of their animated shows, quite a few animated movies, and almost no live action movies. And while it’s not exactly a tragedy that I can’t watch “Batman v. Superman” whenever my heart desires, it’s still kind of a letdown.
When DC Universe was announced, I assumed we would be getting these blockbuster films to stream along with some of their older content. Sadly, this isn’t the case, as no films from the DC Extended Universe are on the service. There are multiple Batman movies in the library, most notably the first two Christopher Nolan films, but Batman alone is not enough to justify paying for the service.
In all fairness, at $7.99 a month, DC Universe isn’t the most expensive service out there. It’s cheaper than Netflix and Hulu Premium and is a cheaper comic service than Marvel Unlimited which is $9.99. But when I already have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon the bill starts to add up quickly.
Paying eight dollars for some DC content and a few comics every once and a while suddenly seems like a lot. As a college student, I don’t exactly have the funds to be paying for every streaming service that piques a specific interest of mine.
5. Other Services
Now there are a lot of services out there for movie and TV lovers, so how does DC Universe stack up against the competition? Honestly, it doesn’t. While Netflix is more expensive, it offers such a wide variety of original content and classic TV shows and movies and definitely makes me feel like I’m getting more than what I pay for. Hulu also just has a more diverse catalog. While DC Universe should get credit for trying to do something new and interesting, I simply just don’t want to limit my options to whatever is under the DC umbrella.
It’s hard to talk about DC without discussing their counterpart and rival, Marvel Comics. The Marvel movies won’t be getting their own dedicated service but will instead be a part of the Disney+ library. Even if this service does end up being a bit pricey, the diversity between the Marvel, Pixar, and Disney animated features alone make it much more appealing than DC Universe.
At the end of the day, I can see the value of the DC Universe for someone who is a diehard DC fan. There is also a fan page that subscribers get access to along with exclusive merchandise. But I don’t want to pay for a fan page when I can just get on Amino for free. The comics are definitely the best part of the service and I’d recommend it for any comic lover. But, for people like me who are here for the movies and TV shows, it’s just not enough. Though, I would recommend getting the week-long free trial and binging “Young Justice,” it’s definitely the only DC Universe content that is truly worth your time.