Update: September 18, 2020 – As rumored for months, DC Universe will shut down its movie and TV show streaming options on January 21, 2021. On that date, the service will get a slight name change to DC Universe Infinite, and will only have online comic books from the DC Comics library of titles. The movies and TV shows, including the DC Universe originals, will transfer over to the HBO Max streaming service.
In 2018, Warner Bros. decided to launch a new streaming service dedicated to its DC Comics library of superhero characters and stories. In addition to offering access to thousands of digital comics, and classic DC movies and TV shows, DC Universe also launched several animated and live action TV series that were exclusive to the service.
However, the service never caught a lot of traction in terms of subscribers. In September 2020, just over two years after the official launch, the company announced that DC Universe would be losing its video content to HBO Max, and would concentrate on offering digital comics.
What is DC Universe and how does it work?
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television hinted at a new streaming service as early as April 2017. Managed by Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group, the service would stream exclusive live-action TV shows. Other goodies included access to older live-action and animated movies and TV shows, a huge library of digital comics, and exclusive access to a members-only shop.
Anxious fans could pre-order the service in July 2018 and participate in a beta test the following month. DC Universe opened to the masses on September 14, 2018.
DC Daily (one season, canceled)
As the name indicates, this was a DC-focused news program with a variety of hosts. Each episode typically lasted 20 minutes. The series was canceled in June 2020.
Doom Patrol (two seasons, season three coming soon to HBO Max)
This wacky show follows a group of misfit heroes as they search for their missing mentor, Dr. Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton). The team initially includes Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Negative Man (Matt Bomer) , Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), and Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), with Cyborg (Joivan Wade) joining the search eventually. If you’re in the mood for farting donkeys that open portals into another dimension, Doom Patrol is the show for you.
After two seasons on DC Universe, Doom Patrol will return for a third season as an HBO Max exclusive. You can watch the first two seasons of the show right now on HBO Max.
Harley Quinn (two seasons, third season coming to HBO Max)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) voices the title character in this very adult animated series. Now out on her own, Harley Quinn joins Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) as they wreak havoc on Gotham City. The show was created by the team behind NBC’s live-action Powerless series.
As with Doom Patrol, Harley Quinn will come back for a third season as an HBO Max exclusive. You can watch the first two seasons on that service right now.
Stargirl (one season, second season coming to The CW, and later to HBO Max)
Actress Brec Bassinger takes the role of Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl in this series. She’s a high school sophomore juggling friends, family, and education while managing a team of young heroes. Her powers stem from a cosmic staff she “borrowed” from her step-father, a former sidekick.
The first season was shown on both DC Universe and The CW network. The second season will be shown only on The CW, and both seasons will eventually be added to HBO Max.
Swamp Thing (one season, canceled)
This was possibly the best original series on DC Universe. It follows Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), a CDC doctor who’s called home to investigate a deadly virus. She teams up with local scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) to investigate the source in a local Louisiana swamp. One thing leads to another and you have a plant-based hero and a very strange romance. Warner Bros. killed Swamp Thing before he had a chance to grow.
While the series is canceled, the shortened first season will be shown this fall on The CW. It will be coming to HBO Max at some point.
Titans (two seasons, season three coming in 2021 to HBO Max)
Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) keeps his Robin outfit in a briefcase. He’s no longer Batman’s sidekick. Instead, he’s Detroit Police Department detective moonlighting as a vigilante. A case leads him to Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft), a girl with demonic powers that he must now protect. They’re eventually joined by shape-shifting Gar (Ryan Potter), AKA Beast Boy, and Starfire (Anna Diop). Titans is violent. It’s bloody. It’s not the silly Teen Titans gang you remember from Cartoon Network.
Two seasons streamed on DC Universe, and both will be transferred to HBO Max. A third season is coming, and it will be an HBO Max exclusive.
Young Justice Outsiders (three seasons, fourth coming to HBO Max in 2021)
This is technically the third season of Young Justice. This animated series originally aired on the Cartoon Network for two seasons. It wasn’t renewed for a third due to poor toy sales, which helped funded production. The show follows a group of sidekicks and teenage heroes, including Robin, Kid Flash, and Superboy. The subject of season three focuses on metahuman trafficking.
You can watch all three seasons on DC Universe, and those seasons will transfer to HBO Max in the near future. The fourth season, which will be titled Young Justice Phantoms, will be an HBO Max exclusive when it is released in 2021.
Movie and TV show library
Until it shuts down in January 2021, DC Universe provides old and new seasons of DC Comics-based live-action and animated TV content. Not available are recent shows based in The CW’s Arrowverse. These include Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning, and Batwoman.
Here are a few examples of the live-action TV content:
- Adventures of Superman (Syndicated, 1952 – 1958)
- Aquaman TV Pilot (The WB, 2006)
- Birds of Prey (The WB, 2002 – 2003)
- Constantine (NBC, 2014 – 2015)
- Krypton (SyFy, 2018 – 2020)
- Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman (ABC, 1993 – 1997)
- Shazam! (CBS, 1974 – 1976, restored and enhanced)
- The Flash (CBS, 1990 – 1991)
- Wonder Woman (ABC, CBS 1975 – 1979)
Here’s a sample list of animated TV shows currently streaming on DC Universe:
- Batman: The Animated Series (FOX, 1992 – 1995)
- Batman Beyond (The WB, 1999 – 2001)
- Justice League (Cartoon Network, 2001 – 2004)
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series (Cartoon Network, 2011 – 2013)
- Super Friends (ABC, 1973 – 1985)
- Teen Titans (Cartoon Network, 2003 – 2006)
It’s likely that most, if not all, of this content, will be transferred to HBO Max in the near future.
DC Universe currently boasts over 20,000 digital comics. To help navigate this massive library, the platform provides three categories: Get to Know, Storylines, and Showcase. As an example of Storylines, Batman: Death of the Family groups all 29 comics together spanning across Batgirl, Catwoman, Suicide Squad, Batman, Teen Titans, and more.
Here are a few of the 111 storylines you’ll find on the service:
- The Dark Knight Returns: The Entire Saga
- Infinite Crisis
- Final Crisis
- Superman Red Son
- The New 52: Futures End
- Crisis on Infinite Earths
- Batman: Knightfall
- And more!
The Showcase category doesn’t cover storylines. Instead, it groups comics together within a specific theme. For example, Batman vs. Superman points to the Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 comic book series. Twelve other listed comics pit the Kryptonian against Gotham’s masked billionaire in various storylines.
You can read them from within the DC Universe app – no third-party comic app needed — on your mobile device. You can read these comics on a desktop or laptop using a web browser.
The future: DC Universe to turn into DC Universe Infinite
As we mentioned, Warner Bros announced in September 2020 that DC Universe will no longer offer any video streaming content as of January 21, 2021. The service will get a new name, DC Comics Infinite, and will continue to offer access to thousands of digital comic books. New print issues of DC Comics titles will appear on the service six months after they are published. It will also be the home for digital-first comics and comics that will only be available to read on the service.
DC Universe Infinite will continue to offer subscribers special access to fan events. It will also offer discounts and special deals from the online DC Shop, and chances to win prizes in sweepstakes.
What platforms will DC Universe Infinite be available on?
The service will be offered on its own web site, as well as new apps for iOS and Android devices. Before the launch, the current DC Universe apps for smart TVs and set-top boxes, including those made for Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV devices, will no longer be supported sometime in December 2020.
Where will it be available?
The service will relaunch in the US at first, but there are plans to expand it to other countries starting in the summer of 2021.
What will the price be for DC Universe Infinite?
The price will remain the same as the current service; $7.99 a month, or $74.99 for an annual subscription.
What can current DC Universe subscribers expect in terms of offers?
Current subscribers are being offered a chance to also sign up for HBO Max at an additional price of $4.99 a month. Combined, that’s still about $2 less than HBO Max’s current normal price of $14.99 a month. That offer will last until October 30, 2020.
Additionally, any current DC Universe subscriber or those who join DC Universe Infinite during a special pre-order window will get a promo code for the DC Shop. Monthly subscribers will get a $10 voucher, while annual subscribers will get a $25 voucher. The code will be sent out on February 1, 2021.