As DC Universe moves into 2019, the past is becoming their greatest inspiration.
A New Platform
Not unlike the early days of the WWE Network, DC Universe seemed like a pretty risky experiment. Though there was no lack of content at launch, it felt like something was missing. Undoubtedly, DC was waiting for a reason to add more.
They got it.
Titans, the flagship original series, started to some mixed reviews (we love it). Regardless of anyone’s criticism, the show has grown steadily since it’s launch. As Titans grew, Aquaman hit theaters. Since it’s release in December, it has become the highest grossing DC film ever, even beating out the still revered The Dark Knight. While Aquaman and Titans are certainly triumphs to hang their hat on, an intriguing source of DC’s new found momentum can be embodied in one of DC Universe’s star properties.
Young Justice first debuted on Cartoon Network in the fall of 2010, months before the controversial New 52 relaunch. Things were not great in the industry at this time, but Young Justice played off of the strengths of the post-Zero Hour DCU. The entire show is based around the idea of legacies, with the Justice League introduced as a long functioning entity. Characters appear without fanfare because the audience understands the premise and didn’t always need explanation. Even the young heroes have been so for awhile, and find themselves transitioning into a new role. Within the first half of Season 1, audiences are even introduced to the idea that the Justice Society preceded the League. Young Justice is grounded by respect for its audience and the past. After garnering a devoted fan base, Young Justice was cancelled for low toy sales. Seriously.
A Little Older, A Little Wiser
By early 2016, both seasons of Young Justice hit Netflix and its fanbase began to grow again. Rumors started that a third season would be heading to the king of streaming platforms. In November of 2016, the return was confirmed but no platform was named. A strange parallel in timing to DC’s successful and popular Rebirth event, which re-established much of the history of the comic book DCU. Eventually, it would be announced that the new season would be going to DC’s coming streaming service. This was not only an exciting announcement, but a nice tip-off to the mentality that the service would be driven by.
With Titans and Young Justice rolling, DC Universe has just promised to double their comic book content, finally fulfilling the promise of the platform. Let me mention that this is well curated too and, as a longtime reader, I’m quite impressed by what I’ve seen.
I also have a firm belief of why this is succeeding. Like WWE Network and Young Justice, DC Universe has shown a devotion to their past while still moving forward with content. Just watch an episode of DC Daily. Though their certainly is a bit of contrived cheesiness, there is also a respect and love for all of DC’s media. They even have a curated introduction to Batman and Robin. No playing favorites, this is about allowing your audience to love what they love.
Young Justice returned on that note and DC Universe is taking that into the future.