At the beginning of 2019, the time finally came for us UK DC Comics fans to enjoy DC’s newest live-action TV series; Titans! thanks to Netflix.
The show concentrates heavily on two primary characters; Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson a.k.a Robin and Rachel Roth a.k.a Raven. Both are very dark characters in this show, with Rachel being haunted by nightmares and ‘something’ inside of her, whilst Dick Grayson is fighting against his past, and the pressure of wanting to be a hero but living in the shadow of the Batman.
This show has many great references back to the stories and characters we know throughout the entire season. Titans already seems to be opening up it’s own universe similar to that of Arrow, as we are introduced to characters such as Hawk and Dove which gives us a new story which is equally as dark as the rest of the show, and tells us with the story of the original Hawk and Dove who were brothers. We are also treated to an introduction to Robotman, The Chief, Elasti-girl & Negative Man who make up the DC Comics team known as Doom Patrol – who now have their own spin-off series by the same name. We are introduced to the group through Garfield Logan a.k.a Beast Boy so no doubt he will want to return at some point to meet up for a family reunion, creating the likely event of a crossover event like Arrow has done for the past few years, where it takes both teams to defeat a greater enemy, but we’ll have to wait and see.
One of the highlights for the series is how much of Robin we get to see, specifically Dick Graysons’ story as we watch him battle with his past as he tries to run from it, despite how much it comes back to haunt him. This show is a much darker take on Robin however, for both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, who was introduced at the end of Episode 5, but more heavily explored in Episode 6. Dick seems to be trying to fight against his past which he says has changed him into something else, which we see through his violent actions during his fight scenes where he uses brute force and shows almost no mercy to his foes. Although he still doesn’t kill, which is at least something, but that can’t necessarily be much better than being hospitalised from a sharp R shaped shuriken in the eye, or broken limbs, which make for great cinematic action sequences throughout the series.
As the episodes go on we learn more and more about all the characters, but the season focuses heavily on Dick Grayson and Raven as she attempts to bring her father through into our world, whilst Dick aims to protect her from harm and refrain from bringing her up in a way that Batman would have.
Meanwhile, we also see the stunning Koriand’r a.k.a Starfire, portrayed by the equally stunning Anna Diop (24: Legacy, The Messengers). An alien visitor to Earth who has very little memory of her being here, until towards the end of the season when they discover all of the pieces of the puzzle that fit together to help her remember her mission, which involves Raven. Anna Diop portrays this character very well as both a badass and a troubled, caring mother figure for the group. She aims to protect Raven and often argues with Dick, who becomes the young father figure of the group, all with good intentions.
The production throughout the show is fantastic, and although some of the more heavily CGI scenes seem somewhat lower in quality, there is no doubt that this show is brilliantly made. It has a great cast of all ages that set a nice tone and theme of ‘family’ that makes us sympathise for each of the characters as we see them struggle with their own lives and abilities. We also understand them more as we learn about each of their pasts, to the moments that brought them to where they are now. The cast has a great chemistry on screen and we believe how much they want to help each other, as well as how much they’re hurting when they find themselves feeling lost or unwanted.
The elements of horror, mixed with action and drama makes this show a rollercoaster of emotions. They blend well together, working with one another rather than cancelling each other out as is seen in some shows, where it feels it’s trying to take on too many genres at once, but the writers of Titans have exceeded my expectations with how well this show is put together. From beginning to end, this show gets better and better and whilst it’s not perfect (nothing ever is) it is incredible, and awesome in my opinion. It’s a great take on the Titans, and I can’t to get stuck into season two because this is yet another show for DC fans that opens up a new world with old characters, given new directions in familiar stories.
If you haven’t watched this show yet I highly recommend that you give it a chance. It’s full of lovely little Easter eggs, references and characters that you can’t help but sympathise with and want to get to know more about. I myself do not know much about the Teen Titans from the comics, apart from what I have learned in adaptations such as Teen Titans! animated series, Teen Titans Go! and the DC Animated films such as Justice League vs Teen Titans.
I’m sure that with more seasons hopefully to come, that we’ll get to see a better production budget in order to bring bigger events to the screen and better visuals including some of the costumes and CGI. It has already climbed onto my list of favourite TV shows (I don’t watch much TV as it is so take that as you will) and more importantly one of my favourite DCTV shows (of which I do watch plenty of).
[END CREDITS SPOILER]
This next part is about the scene we get after the credits of the final episode of Titans. If you have not watched this yet then please do not read on unless you are absolutely sure you don’t mind the spoilers.
At the end of Titans, I was told on Twitter by those lucky enough to have watched it on DCUniverse, that there is a post-credits scene at the end of the season finale, episode 11. So I waited patiently whilst I began this review, and I at first I was thinking “I wondered when they’d show us this character” but then that same character, who presumably is Superboy due to the classic S symbol tattooed on his shoulder, and the fact that he’s escaping a lab, then proceeds into a room lit completely green. Inside this room lies a small transparent box containing a lovely looking white dog. The door is pulled from the container with force, as the dog stands up and turns to the camera. His eyes then begin to glow red and if you haven’t figured out before now, it is confirmed in that moment that this is our new live action Krypto the Superdog!
Krypto (or at least the name belonging to a dog) has appeared only once before in live action in the TV Series Smallville, but this new version of the super dog seems to appear as a closer adaptation of the character looks wise and performance wise since the version we saw in Smallville only seemed to have super strength, but none of the other powers. The red eyes in Titans already suggest to us that this Krypto already has heat vision and will most likely join Superboy in helping the Titans defeat Trigon.