6 Thoughts on the First Season of Titans

A kickass, live action Robin? In an actual ongoing TV show? That pays respect to both the character and the legacy? How did it take me this long to finally watch Titans on the DC streaming service?! As a big fan of both the original Teen Titans cartoon, the newer Teen Titans Go! cartoon, and whatever is happening with the Young Justice cartoon, I knew I had to get on board with the darker, grittier, live action version too!

Titans Review List 01

TV Show Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.

I remember that everybody was really unsure about this show when it was first revealed, with a Comic-Con trailer that really threw people for a loop. I was one of the skeptics, I’ll admit. Despite all of these superhero shows over the past many years, I still find it hard to believe that I live in a world where this is common. Where I could get a live action TV show starring a comics accurate Dick Grayson, with both an awesome modern Robin costume, and a complicated relationship with Batman. It doesn’t help that shows like Titans and Gotham continue to refuse to just make a show about Batman, so it’s not yet a perfect world. But this is a good start!

Join me after the jump for my thoughts on Titans! Expect FULL SPOILERS for the first season.

6. I really liked Titans

Titans Review List 02

Why would they not include Cyborg?

Overall, the first season of Titans was solid, entertaining television. It had strong characters, for the most part, a good plot and it told its story very well. It’s also not afraid of its DC Comics lineage, filling the show with tons of references, background and trivia. We now live in a world with a phenomenal live action rendition of Hawk and Dove, for crying out loud. Still hard to wrap my brain around that sort of thing.

Titans had a lot of good episodes, a lot of good, exciting moments, and some solid dialogue. It’s not about to go down as one of my all-time favorite shows, but it was better than most superhero TV lately. I gave up on The CW shows awhile ago for their bad dialogue and plots. And the Marvel Defenders shows on Netflix even went downhill. Perhaps Titans could end up like either of them, but I’d place it more along with Agents of SHIELD, which isn’t a super amazing show either, but it knows how to tell an entertaining and quality story over the course of a season. And each of the characters are portrayed very well, with great looks. I wasn’t a big fan of Kori’s big fur coat, but she can wear whatever she wants. I thought all of the main four characters were pretty great.

5. Could have been tighter

Titans -- Ep. 105

I’m talking about Dick’s jeans

As much as I enjoyed the show, I couldn’t help but feel that the whole thing could have been tighter. I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly what seemed wrong, only that the structure and story felt a little loose at times. Like how the show almost immediately dropped the angle that Dick Grayson was working as a police officer. One mysterious girl lands in his lap, and suddenly he’s out traveling across the entire Midwest, not bothering to check in with his department and not even really worrying that he was supposed to have a day job. And like how his partner was murdered only a few episodes in with no follow up.

Or like how Kori’s story started with her in Austria, somehow entangled with some international mafia. Why was that a thing? How did she go from landing her alien spaceship within driving distance of Rachel, then ending up in Europe, only for her search for Rachel to lead her back to the Midwest? And then we never hear from the Austria stuff again. Also, speaking of searching for Rachel, if the Trigon cult had so many resources to find her, why did they wait until she was a teenager? Was she in hiding that whole time? I thought her birth mother knew her adopted mother? And why create this huge ruse about her mother being in an insane asylum, and that she needed to be rescued? Rachel seemed pretty open to just welcoming her mother with open arms.

And how were both Kori and the Nuclear Family able to find Dick and Rachel at Hawk and Dove’s place? I doubt that was advertised. Would Dick really tell his brand new partner the address of his former vigilante allies, so that the Nuclear Family could torture the address out of her? And how did Kori find them? The whole point of taking Rachel to Hawk and Dove was that it was all secretive…yet everybody and their brother finds out with little trouble.

There were a lot of little annoying plot holes here and there, things that just didn’t add up as well as they should, and seemed to be done just to move things along. Like Beast Boy just happening to turn up where he could bump into Rachel, and then just tagging along with the Titans after that. Neither Dick or Kori comment on the fact that they’ve just be saddled with an entirely new person to worry about in their travels. They were on a mission to help Rachel, having another fully grown teenager jump on board seems like it would be more problematic.

4. Robin is pretty much perfect

Titans Review List 04

Best live action Robin

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, I am a huge Robin fan. I love the legacy of the character, I love the importance of the character, and I love the look of the character. So it has sucked that the only real live action Robins we’ve had have been the 1960s Burt Ward and the 1990s Chris O’Donnell. Neither one is a shining example of how great the character actually is, and instead both have reinforced how most people picture Robin as a weenie.

But Robin is not a weenie! And Titans lays it out perfectly.

Dick Grayson is cool and in charge, clearly a great fighter. He’s got a long, complicated history with a lot of cool people, all of whom seem to like him. And the Robin costume is the best ever live action Robin costume. It’s dark and cool, while staying true to the Robin roots and colors.

The show even went so far as to start the Jason Todd story! How cool is that? I hope they go all the way through to the death of Jason, and perhaps even Tim Drake. Now that would be a dream come true.

3. They should have cast Bruce Wayne from the start

Titans Review List 05

Not good enough

The one place Titans really messed up when it came to Robin was not casting Bruce Wayne, or Alfred for that matter. As such, all of the deeply emotional Robin flashbacks lost a lot of their emotional weight because it was just Dick Grayson or Robin alone in the dark. So you’re telling me neither Bruce or Alfred were actually there to comfort Dick when he needed it most? They just let him notes or food trays or stood in the background in the shadows? When your show uses Dick Grayson’s youth as the emotional core of the character, especially how he related to and interacted with Batman, are you really not even going to have Batman? Is Warner Bros. really so afraid of casting a live action Bruce Wayne for TV? And the show had a ton of flashbacks to young Dick or to Robin. Why have so many flashbacks if you didn’t have the Bruce/Batman to put in them?

2. Hawk and Dove were the best developed characters/relationship

Titans Review List 06

How did Robin come between them?

I find it kind of weird that Hawk and Dove, despite being side characters who only get a few episodes, were easily the best developed characters on the show. Their stand alone origin episode was phenomenal, really getting in depth to who they are as people, what their partnership means to each of them, and how it informs them as characters. There’s also a lot done with their relationships to other characters, from Dick Grayson to Rachel. Hawk and Dove were brilliant in the show. And they got really intricate-looking costumes.

And then the relationships between the actual Titians just don’t feel as strong. With the exception of Robin, none of them got cool, comics-accurate costumes. Dick Grayson’s origin had a lot of development, but like I said before, the lack of an actual Bruce Wayne on the show limited that character development, whereas Hawk and Dove had each other to work off. And then the relationships between the Titans were either nonexistent (Gar with anybody other than Rachel) or developed based on pretty standard tropes, like Dick bonding with the young female teenage Rachel, or Dick hooking up with Kori.

Maybe devote some of that quality character focus to the actual stars of the show in season 2.

1. It better go full Nightwing

Titans Review List 07

It’s what everybody wants

If you check out the IMDB page for Titans, the description calls Dick Grayson “Nightwing”. He obviously doesn’t become Nightwing in the first season, so they best be planning to go there in season 2. They’re obviously not afraid to put characters in elaborate superhero costumes, and they’re obviously not afraid of the whole Robin legacy storyline. So when season 2 rolls around — with rumored appearances by Deathstroke and his family — they had better plan on putting Dick Grayson in a Nightwing costume. Obviously not his first Nightwing costume, with the high collar. But a modern, awesome, realistic-looking Nightwing costume would be cool as hell!

I would also like to see Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven get both costumes and codenames. Just sayin’. If Hawk and Dove can do it, the four main characters can do it even better!


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on February 13, 2019, in DC, Lists of Six!, Reviews, Robin, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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