For fans of shows like “Teen Titans” and “Teen Titans Go!,” the newest DC Universe show “Titans” will come as a departure from the norm, trading a more lighthearted atmosphere for blood and grit.
“Titans” sees Brenton Thwaites’ Dick Grayson — a detective by day and vigilante by night — on the run with a teenager named Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft). Plagued by dark and twisted powers, Rachel finds herself the target of many who seek to use her powers for evil, and it is up to Dick to protect her at any cost.
However, the two are not alone in their journey, as they meet people like Anna Diop’s Kory Anders — an otherworldly woman with super strength and the ability to conjure fire — and Ryan Potter’s Gar Logan — a teenager who can shapeshift into any animal he has seen. These characters grow connected to Rachel and similarly seek to keep her safe. Together, the team poses a formidable force to anyone who comes their way.
Though the show certainly has both an initial fanbase and a premise to bring viewers in, it cannot be denied that “Titans” has its faults. One notable issue is the seeming need to rush through its plot. For instance, during the pilot episode, Dick and Rachel go from not knowing one another to being partners in crime within a matter of a few lines. The show goes through a large portion of its plot with this kind of speed, which makes it difficult for the audience to truly develop a connection to anything in the show when they are rapidly thrust into the next scene.
Another major issue comes in the show’s acting. At some point or another, every actor performs with such extreme melodrama that it becomes hard to take them seriously. This can range from Dick being overly dramatic about how his mentor Batman mentally broke him to Rachel being perfectly calm one moment and out-of-control enraged the next for absolutely no reason. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Teagan Croft’s acting, who delivers most of her lines like she is upset her parents won’t give her a new toy.
It would also be remiss to talk about “Titans” without mentioning its violence. Though it becomes an acquired taste, the show’s blood and swearing — especially coming from such iconically pacifist characters as Robin — is extremely jarring. The show clearly pushed hard to be mature, and it honestly never seems like it needed to do so.
"While the series’ issues may be plentiful — and make it seem like this must be a terrible show — 'Titans' does have an unmistakable charm that keeps you coming back to it."
While the series’ issues may be plentiful — and make it seem like this must be a terrible show — “Titans” does have an unmistakable charm that keeps you coming back to it.
Its acting may be flawed in many ways, but there is a distinct chemistry between all the characters. Undoubtedly, it is in the scenes where characters are together and talking about their ideas and beliefs that the show’s acting truly thrives. With a team-up show like “Titans,” it cannot be stressed enough how important it is that the series manages to nail these connections.
The show’s overall plot is similarly worth mentioning. Although it seems keen on rushing through all its events, “Titans” presents materials about its characters and their backstories in such a way that you want to learn more about them and find out how their past actions will influence their current decisions. Additionally, the juxtaposition between a past character’s struggles and a current character’s struggles — like with Dick and Rachel — helps to deepen the connection between characters, and it makes viewers more curious as to how one character’s decisions may differ from another.
Props should also be given to the show’s fight choreography. Though the blood and swearing may be a difficult pill to swallow, the fight scenes in “Titans” are always entertaining to watch. There’s a fluidity to these scenes that makes you look forward to them, marking another way the show manages to keep viewers intrigued.
“Titans” is certainly a show with issues, but there is an unquestionable appeal that will keep viewers coming back. It certainly will not be for everyone, but for fans of superhero media, the series is more than worth a watch.
Final Grade: C+
Joseph Marz is a TV columnist for The Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.