Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter
Created By: Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns
Studio: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television
A team of young superheroes come together for prevent the coming of the end of the world, becoming a family along the way.
I’ll be the first to admit that upon watching the first teaser trailer for “Titans” I was definitely not impressed. Throwing the f-bomb out and name-dropping Batman are things that don’t impress me and I was instantly turned off. To be honest, after that I wasn’t expecting much from the show but shortly after that I received a presser for a rough cut of the first three episodes of the show for review. After the first episode and with the preview of the second one, I was pretty much sold on the show.
First of all, the casting for Dick Grayson and Raven was spot on. The jury is still out on Starfire for the time being but we’ll see how it goes. Dick has a rough exterior but he definitely has the heart of the character from the comics. And while he isn’t off in Bludhaven, Dick has still gone out on his own after putting up with enough of Batman’s crap to discover who he actually is deep down inside. Raven is tragic and innocent but a dark evil festers right below the surface. Teagan Croft plays both parts well as Raven is torn between innocent teenager and evil demon spawn ready to annihilate mankind.
In the first episode simply titled “Titans”, the three main characters of Dick, Raven and Starfire have separate stories that eventually begin to intertwine as all signs lead to them encountering each other. After tragedy strikes Raven and her mother, she goes on the run from a mysterious person or group that is after her and eventually ends up in Detroit where Dick Grayson has transferred to as a police officer from Gotham. Raven knows of Dick’s tragic past before she even meets him and when they do finally meet Dick seems more annoyed and agitated at her appearance than helpful which leads to Raven being abducted by an accomplice of the mysterious person/group. Dick eventually finds her but after it’s too late and her evil within is released in order to protect her from the mysterious man’s clutches.
Episode 2 is titled “Hawk and Dove” and, you’ve heard it correctly, the comic duo appears in nearly comic accurate costumes and manages to kick ass in a very vulgar and visceral way as Hawk ends up getting captured and nearly castrated before Dove saves the day and violently takes the thugs out. The appearance of Hawk and Dove is one of the unexpected highlights of the show so far as not only do they have great chemistry together but the show makes them very believable and capable being street-level crime fighters. There is also a bit of history and backstory between Dick and Dove as well as the threesome fighting alongside each other much to Batman’s disapproval. Going forward, I’m confident that any future cameos from the comics will be handled well.
In episode 2, Dick looks to have Hawk and Dove watch over and take care of Raven since he has no idea what to do with her and currently doesn’t want any involvement in her situation. But as expected, trouble follows Dick and crew as a group of drug-induced psychopaths called the Nuclear Family beat the snot out of Dick and crew, nearly killing Dove in the process as they manage to get away with Raven in tow.
Episode 3 is titled “Origins” and, while I can’t spoil much, the title pretty much explains itself. You learn more details regarding each of the main three and you also get a nice little introduction to another Titan hopeful.
What I really like about “Titans” is that while it isn’t anywhere near comic accurate in Teen Titans origins or lineups, it truly feels like the George Perez/Marv Wolfman New Teen Titans-era comics. The show has a dark tone and feel too it overall but there is still an air of comic book silliness and humor apparent. Starfire may look like a Vegas hooker but when she goes full on cosmic power, she glows gold and fires green and yellow waves of fire energy and her character it not only witty but overall she’s quite the badass. Raven is still full of youth and hasn’t yet realized the burden that she will have to bear but when she goes dark side…it’s full on “The Shining” stuff. Dick Grayson is a hard ass at first and has one hell of a brutal and violent fight scene as Robin, but as he’s discovering that he doesn’t need to be the loner and outcast all of the time, he begins to realize that he truly can help these new characters that he has met. And as for the fourth “Titan”, he’s in the promo art! You know that once Beast Boy arrives on the scene full-time, things are going to be a lot more light-hearted.
With a full season ahead for the show, and if the first three episodes are any indication of what’s in store for the viewers, there are going to be quite a few surprises as well as unique look at one of DC’s flagship comic book teams. If the plethora of upcoming content on the DC: Universe follows suit with the quality of “Titans” then you’ll surely be getting your money’s worth out of it.
Bottom Line: A dark and gritty take on the Teen Titans that focuses on the humanity of the characters all the while giving us the bold flavor of the comic books.