Teen Titans: Episode 1 “Final Exam”
Episode 2 “Sisters”
I am here reviewing this show because I’m speaking as the kind of Batman fan that was introduced to the franchise using the animated universe. There are a lot of us, and with a show that has such a gigantic impact on the world of animated television, this must be taken into account when reading this review, and while watching the new Teen Titans series.
In “Final Exam,” the story starts off by introducing the group of super-baddies that will set out to destroy the Teen Titans, by the request of a dark and mysterious man named Slade. Whatever Slade’s plans are, the first step is to get the Teen Titans out of the way. It’s a nice setup, even though the anime-style introduction to a show where the episode jumps into the characters and story without giving any background information is not always a favorite for me. So I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it.
In “Sisters,” Starfire gets a surprise visit from her snobbish sister, Blackfire, who manages to use her knowledge and abilities gained from exploring the universe to impress the other Teen Titans. Starfire’s feelings of neglect are interrupted by a high tech robotic force from outer space that is apparently searching for her. The story was very cute, and the animation delivered it well, but my interest lies more in the mysterious meeting of Slade, in “Final Exam.”
The animation was very nice and fluid, but because of the constant reminders of anime inspiration that the particular style keeps showing, I didn’t always like it. However, it’s still very easy on the eyes, despite the occasional anime-style references that were more direct and obvious. The music also had the same anime inspired elements that I mentioned above, including the theme song. It fits the style of the show, and for that I liked it, but at the same time I couldn’t find much originality.
As the hardcore Animated Batman/Superman fan that I am, I’ll take some time to focus on my particular highlight from both episodes: Robin. Granted, his design is somewhat….creative, but I enjoyed his character in every scene I saw him in. I think Animated Batman/Superman fans will welcome how “Robin-like” he is. I don’t know what the show creators mean when they say they aren’t sure which Robin it is. It may be just a stance to take for safety’s sake, like saying Batman Beyond is only a possible future for the Animated Batman universe, but I saw a lot of Tim Drake in this Teen Titans series and I liked it.
The best thing that these fans can do before watching the new Teen Titans animated series is to implant the phrase, "this is not and will not be Batman: The Animated Series" into their minds. This new series is highly inspired by Anime, and will come off as somewhat campy or goofy to the average fan of the Animated Batman. And that will be the show's biggest worry.
It may all depend on the target audience for the show, so relying exclusively on fans of the animated DCU of past years may not be the plan, but in any case, these fans may not enjoy the Teen Titan series as much as a more general animation fan would. By reason of the DCU animated shows of the past, these fans are very picky and want only what they’ve been getting with their previous shows, and nothing less. And since there aren’t many who listen to what the fans want, they become bitter, and any new show they see becomes less and less attractive. However, what these fans need to remember is this is a series, not a Batman animated series.
Once the fan can accept the knowledge that “this is not and will not be Batman: The Animated Series,” despite its extremely high and sometimes redundant use, there’s still the matter of what he or she believes could or should be in production instead. These fans may say to ditch this show, so the stories of other heroes can be told. Some examples they may bring up are a Green Lantern animated series, or a Flash animated series, to showcase the complicated yet excellent stories that these names have gone through over the years in the comics. That is one worry I don’t have a solution for, because I happen to hold its opinion myself. In fact it’s often the first opinion I have when I see a new show in the fashion of Teen Titans while not having an exceedingly positive opinion of it.
This show needs to be viewed as a new animated series, and not the next installment in the line of incredible and amazing shows in the animated Batman universe. To a Batman fan of my particular type, this show may easily fall flat with its attempts to entertain, because the world of animated Batman/Superman is still stirring in our minds. It’s a nice and mildly entertaining show, but as far as fans of the previously animated DCU are concerned, we don’t really want it.
-Nightwing; WF Mod;
Please speak slowly
My heart is learning
Teach me heartache
Stop this burning