Warning: Some minor spoilers ahead for “Titans.”
DC’s “Titans” doesn’t feature the fun group of teens fans of the cartoon series know. Instead, this live-action adaptation follows the familiar group of superheroes as (mostly) adults in a gritty and violent world.
Robin (Brenton Thwaites) has left Batman’s side and ventured out on his own, keeping his identity hidden and serving as Detective Dick Grayson in Detroit. Raven (Teagan Croft), known only as Rachel at the beginning, is living with her mother in Traverse City, Michigan and is unaware of her powers or what causes them. Starfire (Anna Diop) wakes up in Austria with no memories of who she is. And Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) is in Ohio using his ability to transform into creatures to steal video games.
Somehow this group of strangers manages to come together, but they aren’t a unit right away.
Why you should watch: It’s DC’s first show exclusively for their streaming platform.
DC launched its streaming service, DC Universe, for fans who want access to DC shows, movies, comics, and merchandise.
“Titans” is DC’s first show exclusively for the platform, which means they are in charge of everything. There are no cable rules to adhere to, so the series can be as explicit and violent as it likes, which results in graphic fight scenes and mature content. The series has been renewed for a second season ahead of the premiere.
The series tosses together the familiar crew from the cartoon, minus Cyborg, and they will also meet up with other characters like Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Dove (Minka Kelly), as well as the Doom Patrol, which has already been granted its own spin-off for the DC platform.
Fans can pay $US7.99 a month for access to everything on the site.
What’s hot: The dynamic between Raven and Robin is strong.
The first three episodes show Raven as the series’ main focus. Played by newcomer Teagan Croft, who seriously nails her performance, Raven is the reason the team comes together. She’s the daughter of a demon, but that background and her abilities are unknown to her and that mystery terrifies her. It also pushes the series forward. She forms a bond with Robin over their shared experiences and internal struggles, and he becomes a sort of protector for her.
The series trailer received a lot of attention for Robin’s utterance of “f— Batman,” but after watching the first few episodes, the context makes sense. Robin is alone. He’s angry at becoming like his mentor, a ruthless and violent fighter, and is struggling to find his place in a world where he’s only recognised as Batman’s sidekick. The later introduction of Jason Todd, Robin’s replacement, looks to be an incredible relationship to explore.
Starfire is also an incredible part of the team. Though she may not have any memories to start, she isn’t afraid of fighting for answers or sticking up for people who may need defending. There’s one particular diner scene on an early episode where her actions will make viewers scream with glee and wish they could do the same.
Though the show is extremely violent and dark, it does have some lighthearted and humorous moments thanks to Beast Boy. Even though he’s not in much of the first three episodes, he quickly establishes himself as the lively one in the group. Additionally, the villainous Nuclear Family is perfectly cast.
What’s not: The pacing is a bit slow.
“Titans” is slow. There’s no denying that the pacing of the series can kind of feel like a slog. Every one of the team members is separated at the start of the series, and they don’t come together for some time. Between their own internal struggles and the prevalent mystery surrounding Raven, there are a lot more questions asked before they are answered.
It’s a completely different series from the cartoon, and if that’s the dynamic you’re after, then this isn’t the show for you.
The bottom line: It’s not for everyone, but there are thrilling elements.
By focusing much of the series on Raven, the story provides a horror element to the superhero genre. It’s slightly spooky and extremely violent but features some much-needed light with some witty one-liners. Teagan Croft brings the character of Raven alive with an impressive performance.
Beast Boy’s humour is also a necessary and welcome addition to the rampant darkness.
There are more questions asked than answered early on the series, but hopefully the characters’ backgrounds will be explored more as the show progresses.
The series won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the comics and pay for the streaming service, you should give it a try.
“Titans” will be available to stream Friday, October 12, with episodes dropping weekly on Fridays.
Watch the trailer below.
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