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Posted by TheAmazingSpidey (17684 posts) - - Show Bio
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TAS Reviews: Titans S01E01

Ever since the critical and commercial success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, we've seen an influx of adaptations of beloved properties that imitate the darker tone of those movies, but without the storytelling sensibilities, substance and restraint that made those movies work and with a vital misunderstanding of why that tone was so befitting of the Batman property, and the story Nolan was trying to tell.

Which is what Titans, based on the marketing, appeared to be. Especially when you have Robin saying "Fuck Batman." Once again, Titans was shaping up to be another property that apes The Dark Knight's grittier approach to a beloved property, but would instead come across as juvenile and lacking in anything of substance. Time will tell whether or not Titans will shape into anything of substance, but based on this pilot, we're off to a good start!

A good pilot should, most importantly, satisfy me with a compelling set up and characters, all the while leaving me curious of where the characters and story will be heading next. The first episode of Titans is a success because, in spite of it's flaws, it accomplishes those two important aspects. The show moves at a solid pace, and I don't feel as if we're slogging through the boring set-up to get to the more interesting ones.

This is, in most part, due to the shows focus on character. Characters, above all things, are what determine whether or not invest time in a series, and Titans lays the groundwork with a couple of interesting characters, each of them having their individual storylines that intertwine. The MVP for me, is easily Starfire (shocker, right?!) There's something so riveting about Anna Diop's performance, and she does a great job carrying the audience throughout the mindset of her character and the emotions she is experiencing (I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it).

Surprisingly, and here's where I disagree with critics, I loved Raven in this episode, and I found her storyline almost as riveting as Starfire. Sure, there's a gap in talent between Teagen Croft and the rest of the cast, but I'm sure that will come with age and experience, and I thought she did a solid job. Brenton Thwaites also gives a great portrayal of Robin, and I thought he did a praiseworthy job portraying the duality of the character in and outside of the mask.

I also really liked what we saw of Beast Boy, but I can't say much about him, and you'll understand why, when and if you've seen the episode. What makes these characters and storylines interesting thematically is that they're all lost in one way or another, which in my opinion, makes for the most compelling type of storytelling. I look forward to seeing these actors grow even more comfortable into these roles, and make them their own.

From a technical aspect, there are some rough effects, but for the most part, nothing distracting. The character designs, in my opinion, are solid and befitting of the tone established and the story being told. The show has good production values, and some great shots throughout, but if you struggle with the darker visual aesthetic of DC properties, you probably won't like this either, but I personally really dug it and thought it worked!

It isn't a perfect pilot, and there are some concerns to be had. First off, Robin is incredibly violent in this show, and Batman is alluded to as being even more extreme. In fact, even as someone who doesn't hold comic accuracy in high esteem and is open to different interpretation, I thought the violence was excessive and discomforting at times, but I'll reserve judgement for later episodes to decide whether this level of violence is justified, or indulgent. There are some pacing issues here and there, and the editing can be rough at times, but overall, this isn't a major issue, as the episode maintains it's laser-focus on character and plot progression.

Overall, I really loved this premiere. Is it perfect? No. But it gave me everything I could expect from a great premiere: interesting, well-acted characters I want to spend more time with, an intriguing set-up, good production values, and potential for improvement and a great series to emerge out of it. I'll definitely be tuning into the second episode, and I recommend that others check it out, even if you weren't moved by the trailer.

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#1 Edited by deactivated-5c6600594117e (22316 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice work, another review I read echoed some of the same sentiments you presented here.

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#2 Edited by mrmonster (15633 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm definitely watching this, but not immediately. I'll wait to buy DC Universe until at least December so I can watch the whole first season at once.

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#3 Posted by The_Badman (2725 posts) - - Show Bio

This gives me some hope. I was gonna watch it anyways, but now I'll do it with less scepticism.

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#4 Posted by Heatforce (6293 posts) - - Show Bio

I was actually surprised I didn't hate starfire. I think Robin being excessive sort of grounds the street lvl fights or maybe I just like well choreographed hardcore fights lol. He did tell the goons he was specifically after the one dude so they had their chance ;)

Also, I did not feel bad for the guy he was after (abusive father). Those photos pissed me off.

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#5 Posted by foxerdes (10262 posts) - - Show Bio

Great episode. Even the f***k Batman line was actually good with the surrounding context.

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#6 Posted by the_stegman (40247 posts) - - Show Bio

It was a really solid premiere. And it for me intrigued. Consider me in.

Also, the F Batman line made sense in context, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

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#7 Posted by GateOfBabylon (4417 posts) - - Show Bio

Where are people watching it? I don't see it out on Netflix yet.

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#8 Posted by MarvelandDCfan24 (7566 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool

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#9 Posted by RavenVice01 (4444 posts) - - Show Bio

@gateofbabylon: the beta version of DC universe is out for subscription. Speaking of Netflix, iron fist cancelled the continuation of iron fist. His story will now serve as a side bar for other heroes like daredevil, Jessica Jones and more likely luke cage.

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#10 Posted by Shadowwaker (2495 posts) - - Show Bio

It's interesting how they decided to play around with starfire. It makes a lot of since when you decide to take her story through that route. Another cool is that that normally it takes 10 secs for parents to die. In this one it took 3 minutes, so it's not as dark as people said. I also like the music, it was baller. No shade, but I hate that cliche soundtrack where you hear someone screaming about ballroom dancing. The soundtracks for movies wouldn't be so bad if it was different, but i'm sadly going to hear some weird screaming.

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#11 Edited by mrmonster (15633 posts) - - Show Bio

@gateofbabylon said:

Where are people watching it? I don't see it out on Netflix yet.

Here in the US, the pilot has premiered on DC Universe.

If you live outside of the United States, I have what could either be good news or bad news depending on your point of view. Good news is that you don't have to get DC Universe, you'll be able to just watch it on Netflix. Bad news is that Netflix probably won't stream it until season 1 has fully aired on DC Universe, which won't be until mid-December.

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#12 Posted by Super_ninja (3600 posts) - - Show Bio

i like the show so far, Starfire is the most interesting character to me.

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#13 Posted by The Impersonator (8485 posts) - - Show Bio

Is this show separated from CW's DC Universe?

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#14 Posted by TheAmazingSpidey (17684 posts) - - Show Bio
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#15 Posted by The Impersonator (8485 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16 Edited by beatboks1 (10063 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_impersonator said:
@theamazingspidey said:
@the_impersonator said:

Is this show separated from CW's DC Universe?

100%

We'll be hearing a lot of references then.

What do you mean? Its 100% Separate. DC universe has produced it specifically for their new streaming site and are denied rites to CW shows due to the excusivity CW gave to Netflix for a few years

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#17 Posted by beatboks1 (10063 posts) - - Show Bio

I love how Hawk is the one that finds Robin extreme and a "psychopath"

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#18 Posted by Veshark (10499 posts) - - Show Bio

This is the only live-action superhero show that I'm actually looking forward to every Friday. I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable the season's been so far. Great action scenes, superb costume design, and overall solid casting. I think the limited season order helped the writers to construct a much tighter narrative like the Netflix Marvel shows, rather than the longform plots of the CW shows that can occasionally feel meandering. Yes, Titans does have a grimmer visual style and a "darker" story, but it never shies away from the more comic-booky elements either, and never sacrifices too much fidelity for the sake of "gritty realism".

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#19 Posted by The Impersonator (8485 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_impersonator said:
@theamazingspidey said:
@the_impersonator said:

Is this show separated from CW's DC Universe?

100%

We'll be hearing a lot of references then.

What do you mean? Its 100% Separate. DC universe has produced it specifically for their new streaming site and are denied rites to CW shows due to the excusivity CW gave to Netflix for a few years

I'm talking about DC characters who can't appear in Titans, since they already appear in CW's DC Universe. That's what I mean about references. For example, Robin will reference Batman, but he won't be appearing in the show.

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#20 Posted by beatboks1 (10063 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_impersonator: just because they cant use the CW versions doesnt mean they cant (if they really want to) create their own versions. Given that the CW flash show is the second Flash TV show and that there is a version of Green Arrow also in smallville (by another producer) plus a few characters that have appeared in CW verse have also appeared in Gotham I seriously doubt any of them have signed exclusivity of the characters. They likely wont (because I'd guess they want to use the shows when the Cw Netflix deal expires PLUS I suspect the reason they are giving netflix the rights to Titans outside the US is probably a trading piece to get rights to CW DC sooner) hut theres no guarantee of that

Loved the Doom Patrol appearance last week though. Clearly a previee of its series coming next year

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#21 Posted by Aros001 (3671 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_impersonator: just because they cant use the CW versions doesnt mean they cant (if they really want to) create their own versions. Given that the CW flash show is the second Flash TV show and that there is a version of Green Arrow also in smallville (by another producer) plus a few characters that have appeared in CW verse have also appeared in Gotham I seriously doubt any of them have signed exclusivity of the characters. They likely wont (because I'd guess they want to use the shows when the Cw Netflix deal expires PLUS I suspect the reason they are giving netflix the rights to Titans outside the US is probably a trading piece to get rights to CW DC sooner) hut theres no guarantee of that

Loved the Doom Patrol appearance last week though. Clearly a previee of its series coming next year

I think a big difference though is that I don't think we've ever had two live-action versions of the same major character going on at the same time, save for CW Flash and DCEU Flash. It was a decent number of years after Smallville ended that we got Arrow and many more years between the two Flash shows. There was no overlap between the two Green Arrows or the two Flashes. Even if it's not a matter of confusing the audiences, there still might be the problem of overexposure and redundancy. The more you use a character, the less stories you can tell with them that people are still going to find interesting or fresh.

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#22 Posted by beatboks1 (10063 posts) - - Show Bio

@aros001 said:
@beatboks1 said:

@the_impersonator: just because they cant use the CW versions doesnt mean they cant (if they really want to) create their own versions. Given that the CW flash show is the second Flash TV show and that there is a version of Green Arrow also in smallville (by another producer) plus a few characters that have appeared in CW verse have also appeared in Gotham I seriously doubt any of them have signed exclusivity of the characters. They likely wont (because I'd guess they want to use the shows when the Cw Netflix deal expires PLUS I suspect the reason they are giving netflix the rights to Titans outside the US is probably a trading piece to get rights to CW DC sooner) hut theres no guarantee of that

Loved the Doom Patrol appearance last week though. Clearly a previee of its series coming next year

I think a big difference though is that I don't think we've ever had two live-action versions of the same major character going on at the same time, save for CW Flash and DCEU Flash. It was a decent number of years after Smallville ended that we got Arrow and many more years between the two Flash shows. There was no overlap between the two Green Arrows or the two Flashes. Even if it's not a matter of confusing the audiences, there still might be the problem of overexposure and redundancy. The more you use a character, the less stories you can tell with them that people are still going to find interesting or fresh.

Cw Arrow and Fox Gotham have current alternate versions of Ras al Gul at the same time.

I'm not counting movies. Of course there is always an exclusive license when producing something for the big screen. the cost of producing a good superhero movie means NO ONE would invest that sort of money if they thought anyone else could steal their thunder on the big screen and impact their productions return. Millions of dollars are spent on a single movie, for the price of such a movie you can almost produce a full season of hour long episodes on the small screen (where special effects usually aren't quite a good being a lot more green screen and less CGI - added to which usually lesser paid actors are used)

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#23 Posted by DannyPhantom (226 posts) - - Show Bio

@aros001: arrow began literally the next year after smallville ended, and I don’t think WB/DC is worried about overexposure. they’ve said before that they like having different versions of the same characters because of the fact that it opens up more stories and doesn’t tie one version down from the other, whether that’s a good idea or not is a completely separate debate

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#24 Posted by Aros001 (3671 posts) - - Show Bio

@aros001: arrow began literally the next year after smallville ended, and I don’t think WB/DC is worried about overexposure. they’ve said before that they like having different versions of the same characters because of the fact that it opens up more stories and doesn’t tie one version down from the other, whether that’s a good idea or not is a completely separate debate

Oh! My apologies. I did not know that.

Also, how the hell are the first person on this site to have that username?! I love Danny Phantom!

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#25 Posted by MAZAHS117 (12747 posts) - - Show Bio

D O O M P A T R O L