DC Universe

How to live your best streaming life - and for less than $100 per month

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With so many streaming services currently competing for your dollar, how will you decide what to keep and what to cancel? I’ve been trying to decide for myself what to keep and what to sign up for that would all work within my budget.

I would call myself a streamer, not a cord cutter and yes, there is a difference. To me, if you are a true cord cutter, then you live life with just a internet connection or maybe the basic Netflix package. That’s it. Streamers don’t spend money on traditional cable packages, instead subscribing to many different platforms.

This is just a guide to explain what I would spend my money on. The goal is to get everything important to me while spending less than the average American spends each month on TV only. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average American spends around $100 a month on just cable or their satellite bill. Crazy, I know.

So I will try to keep my budget somewhere between 70 and 90 dollars a month. The best part about all of these services is that none of the streaming services come with an annual contract. You can come and go as you please, only subscribing during the time of year that you want to.

Let’s start with the most essential subscriptions first, the ones that I will never consider canceling: Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. The trickiest one for me to put in some sort of category is Amazon Prime because it has so much value beyond just what you get with Prime Video.

What I decided to do is take the yearly cost of 120 dollars and divide that by 12 to get the grand total of 10 dollars a month. Sound good? That puts Netflix and Hulu as my super must-haves.

With Netflix, I have the premium plan for Netflix at $16.00 a month because I have a 4K tv and Netflix has a ton of 4K content. For most people, Hulu isn’t a must-have. But for me, I’ve really enjoyed how quickly it gets shows the day after they finish on broadcast and its original programs have gotten better. Now that Disney owns a huge chunk of Hulu, it will be interesting to see that service’s content over the year to come. That being said, I have the no-commercial plan of Hulu, which runs me 12 dollars a month. I

So for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, I am paying just 38 dollars a month and you could arguably watch anything you really wanted to at that price.

If those services are my top three choices, the next has to be DC Universe. I couldn’t imagine life without it at this point. It provides so much content all the time that can’t possibly all be consumed.

Not only do you get classics like Batman the Animated Series, but also new original content like Titans and the upcoming Doom Patrol with much more to come. I signed up for the promotional rate of $75 dollars for 15 months, which was a crazy no-brainer. It comes out to a whopping five dollars a month. As I often explain on the podcast, I’m a new comic book fan which makes a subscription to DCU mean even more. I probably read about 30 dollars worth of comics a month. For me, that’s an amazing value.

That brings my monthly total up to 43 bucks a month with some services still remaining. With my top-tier services out of the way, there are still several more that can get my hard-earned money each month. To me, all of these services are easily interchangeable and I can come and go as I please.

HBO Now is in this category for me. It’s a crazy $15 a month and I wouldn’t usually pay for it consistently. I also have CBS All Access for six dollars a month. But you can pay $10 for no commercials and the ability to download shows. During the TV season, CBS All Access really shines because you can watch all of CBS’s programming right away. I was going to cancel it at the end of the current TV season, but I’m looking forward to The Twilight Zone so I’m keeping it around. Additionally, I subscribe to ESPN+ at five dollars a month for no real reason other than I enjoy all of the 30 for 30 films and they’re all available. Plus, you get access to a ton of sports.

Including those second-tier services, I am now up to 69 dollars. That gives me all the crazy content I could ever want for less than $75. I’ll add another $10 to my monthly total when the Disney+ service launches later this year. Disney has already announced several shows for the service and it will include all of the Marvel and Pixar movies as well. For someone with a three-year-old, that’s a no brainer and will save me from having to buy the movies.

All of this puts my grand total at $79 per month. Obviously, it could be cheaper for you depending what services you decide are most important. That’s the great thing about streaming — no contracts — and you can subscribe to various services at different points of the year. Hopefully, my example helps you decide how you can manage your subscription life.

DC Universe's Swamp Thing casts its Alec Holland and title creature

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The upcoming Swamp Thing series on the DC Universe streaming service has been slowly building its cast. But of all the actors joining the ensemble, the most recognizable being Will Patton (Halloween) and Virginia Madsen (Designated Survivor), the actor portraying the title character had yet to be announced. That is, until now.

On Tuesday, Warner Brothers revealed that Andy Bean (It: Chapter Two) will play Alec Holland, the scientist fated to become a plant-based monster in a horrible accident. But Derek Mears will suit up as the creature, getting what presumably is the juicier role as the Swamp Thing.

The 6-foot-5 Mears has plenty of experience playing a monster during his career, portraying Jason Voorhees in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake, Moloch in Sleepy Hollow, and the Kree Captain in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That should be a good pedigree for stepping into the large footprints left behind by Dick Durock in two Swamp Thing movies and the 1990s syndicated TV series.

As could be expected on a TV series budget, Swamp Thing will not be CGI imagery on the screen. Writer and executive producer Gary Dauberman told Slashfilm in September that the creature will be created with practical effects, though he promises the physical costume will look less like a man in a suit than Durock’s version of the character did.

Dauberman also mentioned that the DC Universe series will indeed be an origin story for Swamp Thing (as it should be), and Alec Holland’s presence in the story confirms that. What isn’t yet known is whether or not we’ll see more of Bean as Holland in flashbacks throughout the show’s 13 episodes.

Via DC Universe, here’s an official description of the series and its title character:

"Emerging from the swamp with a monstrous physique and strange new powers over plant life, the man who was once Alec Holland struggles to hold onto his humanity. When dark forces converge on the town of Marais, Swamp Thing must embrace what he has become in order to defend the town as well as the natural world at large."

Circling back to Bean and Mears’s castmates, Patton will play the bad guy of the story, businessman Avery Sunderland, while Madsen is portraying his wife Maria. The cast also includes Jennifer Beals (Taken) as local sheriff Lucilia Cable, Crystal Reed as Abby Arcane (a very important name to fans of the Swamp Thing comic books), Maria Sten as reporter Liz Tremayne, and Jeryl Prescott, who will play fortune teller and sorceress Madame Xanadu.

Swamp Thing will debut on DC Universe sometime in 2019.

Does it matter if we’re old or new to comics? Aren't we all fans?

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I didn’t grow up reading comic books, as I have said many times on the podcast. I am 100% a newb, if you want to use that term.

In fact, the only reason I got into comics was because Arrow premiered on the CW network. After that, it was The Flash. Once I got into those stories, I started watching Daredevil on Netflix and then I was hooked.

I truly started to embrace my newly created comic fandom when I was able to, as luck would have it, get in on DC’s Rebirth and that’s why I’m more fond of DC characters than Marvel’s. (Don’t get me wrong: the MCU completely blows away the DCEU almost every time.) I haven’t been a lifelong fan; I never went to comic book stores as a kid.

But does any of that actually really matter? It shouldn’t matter how I became a fan or why I became a fan. It should only matter that I am a fan.

No matter what your “ah-ha” moment was, we should support each other because we are all here to believe in something bigger than ourselves. Something that grips us and takes us away from this crazy reality that we live in. Good days, bad days and whatever is going on in your life when you pick up a page or turn on a show for however long it takes you to complete the media you are consuming, you are somewhere else. 

You’re a superhero fighting crime with powers that you cant even dream up. Maybe you aren’t a perfect hero like Batman or Daredevil, but your heart is always in the right place. Are you goofy like a Booster Gold? Or maybe you are Captain America where the good of the country is put above all else. Maybe you’re trying to be a playboy billionaire in an iron suit. Or are you just a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? 

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to be when you read a comic or watch a show. The only thing that matters is that you have your reason and no one can judge you for that. I read a bunch of books, from mysteries to thrillers to biographies, but nothing else I’ve discovered has that crazy ability to take you to a place where you have never been. To visually blow you away with each page turn or swipe, depending on how you are reading your story.

That’s what has been the most compelling part of comics for me, how easy it is to visualize the story. To visualize that you are the one in the suit or you are the one with a cape. My wife can’t seem to get past the whole comic books thing. I keep telling her once you allow yourself to get past that initial stigma, you’ll lose yourself into something that is bigger than you.  

I love the stories, I love the characters and the colors, and I love the fact that at this point I will never run out of material to consume. So please don’t make a big deal over why someone became a fan. Just welcome them into a world that can be fun and amazing if you let it.

I’m grateful to comic books for taking me to places I have never been. Thank you, comics.

Why you should sign up for DC Universe

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If you don’t know what DC Universe is by now, then you probably haven’t listened to the podcast or have been living under a rock since San Diego Comic-Con. Just in case you fall into one of those two categories, let me briefly explain it to you.

DC Universe is a new streaming service that has everything DC from comics to movies to original content and even a fan community. If you are a DC fan or really just a comic book fan in general, then this is the service for you.

I believe that you have to break down DC Universe into two parts: the comic book part and the original content part. I think that’s why I’ll try to break it up and review it as two separate parts once when the original content part launches. So for now, let’s just cover the current content on the service.

By the way, Ian and I spent 40 minutes breaking down the service in detail on our DC Universe special edition.

A bunch of comic book aficionados are unhappy with the amount of content currently on the site. It’s like they expected DC to put every single thing they’ve created on the site from day one. That expectation is completely unreasonable.

DC is instead taking the approach where it will rotate the comics, movies, and TV shows available and will always have new content on the site. I believe the intent is to create a constant stream of content discovery. Always rotating and adding new content while getting rid of the old. That makes the whole thing more fun. It creates a since of urgency to read comics while you can because you never know how long they are going to stay on the site.

That discovery has completely pulled me in and has me hooked. On the podcast, I’ve mentioned plenty of times how I’m new to comics. I don’t know everything that there is; it’s all new to me. I’m not jaded by having read the same book 15 times. I have never read or watched the Death of Superman story arc, so when I was able to tap on the picture for The Death of Superman, it not only showed me the movie but all of the comics I would need to understand the entire story arc.

I thought to myself, that’s it! DC Universe has figured it out. They realized out how to make content discovery and consumption seamless. It shouldn’t be about having to search and search, and just find something. That’s overwhelming, especially with the amount of content DC has. That’s the selling point. You name the topic or character or story arc and the site will show you where to begin.

If you need to learn more about a character, the “Encyclopedia” feature is for you. You need to learn about kryptonite or the Joker or anything DC related, they have a simple place to find out. If you want to connect with people who are just like you and believe in having fun, check out the “Community.” It is 100% about the user. After searching the site, I found plenty of new characters to learn about. 

Batman: The Animated Series was on everyday after school, and I was reminded of my childhood by watching the show in beautiful HD. I don’t think I would’ve ever purchased a Harley Quinn comic on my own, but thanks to DCU I can read multiple books she’s in now.

That’s a great thing. If you don’t like a character normally, well, now you don’t have to worry about spending your money on it. For 5-7 dollars a month, depending on when you subscribed, you get access to everything. Unlimited access. No fear of not liking something. If you don’t, then no harm.

I’ve already enjoyed so many comics and watched things that I would’ve never been able to see normally, all because of this service. Even if all of the original content like Titans and Harley Quinn are a bust, you can’t tell me that you won’t find 5-7 dollars worth of comics and older shows or movies to watch.

Please give DC Universe a try. You will not be disappointed.