As per usual with DC Comics-based series on the CW, their latest hit Stargirl earned a second season on the network. However, this first season of the show was a joint production between the CW and the DC Universe online streaming service. The news that Stargirl was renewed for season 2 on just the CW has many DC Universe fans worried about the fate of the streaming service. The renewal means that the show will air exclusively on the CW network and it’s free app and streaming platform on the web.
Since last year’s San Diego Comic-Con it seemed that the way forward for DC Universe would be with joint partnerships like this. First, Doom Patrol was revealed to be a jointly financed original series for both DC Universe and HBO Max, both owned by parent company WarnerMedia. Then Stargirl came along as a joint DC Universe and CW production. Finally, the animated Harley Quinn series was licensed to SYFY and, now, also appears on HBO Max.
Still, for a service that promised original DC programming, the exit of Stargirl from the service seems to spell “bad news.” This move leaves Titans and the animated Young Justice Outsiders as the only original series, scripted or otherwise, exclusive to the service. Doom Patrol is currently airing its second season, in partnership with HBO Max. Harley Quinn appears to be completed, with the official social media accounts (spoilers on the other side of the link) referring to the season 2 finale as a definitive ending. Swamp Thing and the reality promotional series DC Daily have both been canceled. Titans and Young Justice Outsiders have at least one more season each on the way.
What Stargirl Being Renewed for Season 2 on the CW Means for the Show
Image via Warner Bros. Television
With the news that Stargirl was renewed for season 2 on the CW, fans can take comfort that the adventures of Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore and friends will continue. How that will affect the show, however, depends on the deal for the budget. The production value of the first season is, arguably, higher in terms of visual effects than a traditional CW series. Not to disparage any of the truly wonderful Arrowverse shows, but Stargirl does look more cinematic than those series.
Like Black Lightning, Stargirl films in Atlanta, Georgia rather than Vancouver, British Colombia, where the rest of the Arrowverse series film. The ratings for the series on CW are consistent with their highest-rated shows, the majority of which are comics adaptations. Whether or not the quality of the series’ look changes will depend on the new budget. However, the quality of the stories will likely remain unchanged now that it’s fully in the CW stable of shows.
The real question comes with streaming rights after the show airs. Until recently, all CW original series end up on Netflix a mere week after the finale airs. However, starting with series that premiered in 2019 (i.e., Batwoman and the now-canceled Katy Keene), HBO Max is their streaming home. Stargirl will likely not end up on either of those services. While the CW has its own ad-based free streaming service, it is possible that the season might end up on DC Universe after it airs on the CW first. Of course, this assumes that DC Universe will still be around more than a year from now. And that’s a question that is up in the air.
Can DC Universe Survive Losing Stargirl?
Image via screengrab
DC Universe is, apparently, an important part of the WarnerMedia “family.” Right now, subscribers to DC Universe can add HBO Max to their subscription for a price point lower than any other subscriber enjoys. Naturally, this leads fan to speculate that the services are set to be combined into one. At first glance, this may seem like a no-brainer. Yet, it ignores the two key benefits DC Universe provides to comics’ fans that the other services do not.
First, DC Universe is meant to be a place that highlights fan engagement. They have online forums, exclusive online presentations with stars, artists, and storytellers, and prominently display fan-created content via their DCYou-branded online series. However, the site hasn’t become the fan-engagement hub that many may have liked. Most folks, it seems, just want to watch their shows or movies and move on to other platforms, like Twitter or Reddit, for engagement.
Second, the best content offered by DC Universe isn’t about streaming. Rather, it’s their massive collection of DC Comics available to read. In my experience, this is the best reason to have a DC Universe subscription. I’ve read series, like Batman White Knight or Before Watchmen, that I wanted to but didn’t get around to picking up at stores. I’ve also found back issues of old comics I loved, including finishing stories I never got the chance to before. (I waited 30 years to find out what happened with Infinity Inc.) So, if the streaming portion of DC Universe eventually moves to HBO Max, the app may have a future as a comics distribution platform.
Comic Years reached out to DC Universe for comment and will update this post if they reply.
What do you think? Does Stargirl being renewed for season 2 on just the CW mean the end of DC Universe? Would you subscribe just for the comics? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Warner Bros. Television
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.