Topic: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I'm creating a new thread for this universe. I've watched three episodes now, and I can't see it being a part of the Arrowverse. I think it is so much more than the Arrowverse, in terms of writing, acting, cinematography, music... Everything. Whereas I couldn't force myself to watch the three episode Arrowverse crossover in one sitting this year, I found myself compelled to keep watching more Titans.

The characters are troubled, weathered, broken people, but they're all uniquely so, and it's not written in a shallow way, just for the sake of being grim. There's history here. Some we know, and some we dont, but it all weighs on the series and adds depth to each scene. From previews and promo images, I worried that characters would be lame or annoying, but they're not. I love the Hawk and Dove characterizations. They're moody, yet sweet and funny, but tired. Kory does look like a hooker, which doesn't go unnoticed. However, she is also really smart and kind, and the contrast of what you expect by looking at her, and what you get from her actual character is really interesting.

I like what they've done with Dick so far. They don't pretend that we don't know his story, so they don't waste time retelling it. What they do is add layers to that story, which helps to create a whole world for these characters.

The show fully embraces the comic book nature of the stories, with costumes and wacky backstories, and characters with crazy hair colors. At the same time, it takes the story seriously and doesn't look down its nose at any of those things. It isn't cartoonist, but it isn't realistic either. It's like a good, mature comic book... Which is exactly what it should be.

I'm only three episodes in, but if things continue like this, I might actually pay to watch the DCU shows when they're fully available. It's refreshing to watch a DC show where I feel like the writers actually want to be there. I think it will pair well with Gotham, which is also coming back for its final season this week.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I don't know if I want to pay for DC Universe.  Although I'm intrigued by what I've seen of Titans.

How did you watch the 3?

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I signed up for the one-week free trial and I plan to get through the whole season in that one week. Given the quality, I may then shell out the money for a month or two, later in the year, when other shows are available. But I probably won't do a regular, year-long subscription.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Nine episodes down...

If I had to put the series into any other previous show's universe, I might say Smallville. Though it's definitely darker, and more mature. There is language and nudity, but there's something about the way that they're building the world that feels Smallville-ish, on some level. Which is weird, because it doesn't necessarily look like Smallville. I can't really place why that seems like the most likely connection to me. Maybe one of you can explain that. smile


There are things that I wish were built up more smoothly, or which weren't forced into season 1. The Dick/Kory thing seems entirely unnecessary, and they should have taken more time to build up to that. Also, the Doom Patrol episode feels like an aside, even though it's a big episode for Gar. However, for the most part, I'm still really liking the show. Episode 9 is another episode that steps to the side of the main arc of the series, and yet it was a very compelling, beautiful, tragic story. Hawk and Dove really stand out in this series.

The depictions of Jason Todd and Donna Troy have also been really interesting to see. It's weird how huge this story and this universe feel after only 9 episodes. Part of that is because of the comic books, but part of it is also because they've managed to do a good job of building the universe within the series. The world already allows for normal vigilantes, metahumans, aliens, magic, and anything else that they might throw at us. However, it still feels grounded and "real", in terms of the danger that is looming.

I also appreciate the fact that they don't make the fights look pretty or clean. When Dick fights people, it's a messy, bloody, painful scene. It's not the clean sort of "punch a bad guy and they fall down, unconscious" sort of fight scene that we see so often in these series. At the same time, that brutality is used to highlight something broken in Dick. It's a really interesting dynamic.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

TITANS and SMALLVILLE have a very similar visual aesthetic of hyperstylized camerawork, hyperstylized dark lighting and as with SMALLVILLE, the TITANS cast are mostly in street clothes instead of ARROW and FLASH style costumes (although there are costumes). I think TITANS is a good show, and any problems with it are more due to the source material and the rights difficulties rather than the creators.

From what I can tell, TEEN TITANS was originally created because DC was hoping to package some of their underused/underselling copyrights into a bundle and hoped that Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, neither of whom they thought could sustain independent titles, might band together. From there came additions with Wonder Girl (added in their debut issue), Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy as it's helpful for a team book to have characters who aren't controlled by whoever's writing the Batman, Flash and Aquaman titles. The lineup eventually solidified with Dick Grayson, Wally West and Donna Troy as the core members.

TEEN TITANS came into its own when competing with the X-MEN comics in the 80s, but by the 90s, the 'teen' part of the property had eroded as the Batman titles had assigned the Robin role to Jason Todd and necessitated a new identity for Dick Grayson, Flash had aged Kid Flash into the actual Wally West and Wonder Girl had grown up too.

While some efforts were made to have new characters take over as the Teen Titans of TEEN TITANS, the original lineup inevitably reasserted itself and the comic dropped the TEEN from the title and featured Dick Grayson, Wally West and Donna Troy while a new title, YOUNG JUSTICE, featured Robin (Tim Drake), Impulse (Bart Allen), Superboy (Kon-El) and the new Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) -- as well as Arrowette, Secret, Empress, L'il Lobo (don't ask) and Red Tornado -- again, because it helps the writer of the team book if he has some characters over whom he has full control without needing to check in with the Batman/Flash/Superman/Wonder Woman offices.

The point I'm making: TEEN TITANS was less about having a clear vision for a team book than slamming together some underused copyrights and hoping something publishable would emerge. The creative direction of focusing the comic on teenagers was lost over time. And as a TV show, TITANS is about having those copyrights together while clearly not having full access to other aspects of the DC properties and the results are... peculiar.

They're aiming the show at adults, so they've lost the teen aspect to begin with. They don't have access to the Wally West character. The lead character of TITANS on TV is Dick Grayson, a hard-boiled, cynical, isolated police detective who is trying to fight crime while leaving behind a vigilante past. Why is this character of a procedural bent being plugged into a world of alien visitors like Starfire, supernatural myths like Raven, paranormal beings like Beast Boy in addition to the street crime drama of Batman? I could ask the same of every other character on the show.

The rights situation also leads to some bizarre scenes such as depicting Dick Grayson's childhood with Bruce Wayne except Bruce Wayne is only ever seen at a distance or from behind and for some reason communicates with Dick through handwritten notes when they're LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE. There's the science fiction technology of Starfire that's an awkward fit with revealing that an interstellar race was concerned with a supernatural threat on Earth. There's the street crime episodes of Dick's arc that's an awkward fit with the Raven/Trigon mythology.

Setting all that aside -- all the actors are highly compelling, they have great chemistry together and the series is gripping, dark, and well-written, but TEEN TITANS is a very odd comic book and TITANS' oddities reflect the source material's issues.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Finished the season. I will say that the season didn't end the way I thought it would, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Story-wise, it was great and definitely left me wanting more... the issue I have was with how they left me wanting more. Since I don't know when the series is actually coming back, I'm not quite sure how I feel about how they left things though. At least they *are*  coming back, so I'm not left hanging.

Overall, I think the series worked really well. As ireactions says, the mix of characters provides a weird tone for the show, but it really worked for me. It didn't feel false, and I didn't feel any of the limitations put on the series. To me, it made sense to always have Bruce seen from a distance or in the background, because a lot of the series was about how alone Dick felt.


Going into the series, I was worried that it would be too cartoonish and cheap, but the show was beautifully shot (I think it's time for network TV shows to adopt a more forgiving schedule, because they're not keeping up with streaming shows). Anna Diop got some backlash when she was cast as Starfire, and I wasn't sure of the way they were portraying her when I saw photos early on, but she became a great character.

The show wasn't perfect, but it was one of the most enjoyable shows that I've watched in a while. Even if I didn't have to cancel my subscription within a few days, I probably would have blown through the season as quickly as I did. I just wanted to keep watching.

I'm really excited to see more of what DC Universe has to offer. I hope this doesn't go by way of the Arrowverse.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I just read that there may have been production problems with Titans, leading to a shorter-than-planned season. If true, that would explain how I felt about the finale. In the long run, I think it's probably for the best that they managed to reshoot whatever they needed in order to set the proper tone for the series and produce the quality work that they did. Hopefully, that will lead to a smoother season 2 production.

This is a benefit of being a streaming service, I guess. Film it all before it airs, and work out the issues before anyone sees them. Present your best product possible.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

SPOILERS


















The finale was a very interesting and strange choice and I’m curious how you reacted to it. It was very obvious when the trailer first hit that the situation was not what it seemed. Setting aside the unlikeliness of DC turning any broadcast version of Batman into a murderer executing cops and criminals alike, the previous episode had shown Dick walking into a house where Trigon, as Rachel’s father, clearly had something like her telepathic abilities. Any subsequent episode trailer that featured Dick returning to Gotham City to confront Batman as opposed to confronting Trigon was clearly going to be a hallucination. It was never in doubt, but the marketing hyped it as Batman versus Robin.

With that in mind, how did you feel about the story? Interestingly, it wasn’t meant to be the season finale, but the creators found the conclusion so compelling that they decided to make it a season cliffhanger and make their planned finale into the next season premiere.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

SPOILERS
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Yeah, I never thought that it would be anything except what it was, given how the previous episode ended. I viewed it as a way of having Dick confront the demon that he's been running from all season, expecting for it to lead him to a place where Nightwing can exist. I didn't really expect him to lose to that demon.

On that level, the finale works. It brought Dick's arc to some sort of climax (that sounded wrong). The finale just didn't bring the more literal Rachel arc to anything that felt like an appropriate stopping point.

If this was a choice, it's an iffy one. If it was the result of needing to go back and do reshoots in order to make the series the best it could be, resulting in less episodes, I kinda forgive them. I really like the series and I'm glad that they were able to make it this good.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I don't think we need a post for DC Universe, but after two pretty well-regarded series (Titans and Doom Patrol), DC has already cancelled Swamp Thing after just one episode.

Although supposedly there were issues with a rebate they were supposed to get from the state of North Carolina, and it was enough to just pull the plug.

I've been meaning to watch Titans (it'll be next on my list of catch-up shows), and I heard great things about Doom Patrol.  If DC is going to actually put out great material, maybe it'd be worth doing.  And I'd love to see them try something big on there (ireactions has mentioned moving their cinematic universe to TV - this could maybe work)

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Muwhahah, nice smile

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Hmmm...Swamp Thing cancelled before it was given a chance:

https://bloody-disgusting.com/tv/356565 … amp-thing/

And it’s throwing some shade on the future of all the DC streaming shows.  Fingers are pointing toward the AT&T merger and rumors of lower than expected subscription numbers for the DC streaming service.  Swamp Thing could be an indication of a reshuffling if not an outright scrapping of the DC streaming shows (in a similar pattern to what happened to the Marvel Netflix shows}.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

And further:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/06/06 … -in-doubt/

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Well that would definitely put a damper on things.  But if they want to go after the Disney model, one big platform with DC being a smaller part (like Marvel/Star Wars being sections of Disney+) might be the way to go

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

I've watched the first six episodes of Titans, and I really liked it.  I was impressed at how real the world felt, even with aliens and demons and everything.  I feel like this show could take place in the Snyderverse - it has the violence and "maturity" that I feel like Snyder was going for...but with the depth and layers that were needed to explain why Batman was acting so differently than we were accustomed.

I know a bit how this season ends, but I feel like they're doing a good job of weaving Dick's story in.  Sending Jason Todd to keep Dick up to date on Batman's activities was good - I feel like they could've done the same for Alfred on the episode where he was referenced.

I do feel like Dick should have more friends in the superhero world.  I know Wonder Girl shows up at some point, but I feel like they're making Dick an outsider more than he probably would be realistically.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

Titans is awesome.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

... what is TITANS about?

If TITANS is about Dick Grayson overcoming the darkness of his time as a street level vigilante, why is he fighting dark gods and aliens in Season 1? If TITANS is about a team of teen superheroes, why are all team members now adults? If TITANS is about adults living in the shadow of their shared past on the team, why has the show at the outset introduced other teenaged superheroes who don't have a shared past yet?

If TITANS is about a teen girl facing supernatural forces, why are her allies an alien princess and a decidedly non-supernatural police detective? If TITANS is about heroes, why are the only actual Titans so unheroic that they want to abandon Rose Wilson to be murdered by her father?

If TITANS is about the second generation of Titans in Conner and Raven and Beast Boy, why is the focus so firmly on the original team of Dick, Hawk, Dove and Donna Troy? If TITANS is about an alien princess, why is it called TITANS?

TITANS is a good show. Every episode has a clear, central, crystalline clarity of what it is: TITANS is a moody, grim show about unhappy, self-destructive people engaged in their grudge matches and vendettas, but the individual character arcs collide with each other without any real purpose or identity for the show. I don't know what TITANS is about, and it's thanks to its strong sense of tone, pacing and atmosphere that it feels coherent. It isn't.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

TITANS has featured Bruce Wayne as played by Iain Glen in the second season. TITANS in Season 2 has not been allowed to show Batman (and was only permitted to show him played by a nearly off-camera stunt double in the costume Season 1). Therefore, Glen appears only as Bruce Wayne and never in the costume. It's interesting: Iain Glen is 58 years old and renowned for playing men with astonishing fighting abilities especially on GAME OF THRONES, but he has a certain rigidity in his movements. He has a receding hairline.

Most incarnations of Bruce Wayne, even in old age, look more like Liam Neeson and Tom Cruise in their late 50s; when Glen showed up onscreen in TITANS, I thought he was playing Alfred. His barely suppressed Scottish accent under a weak American one was bizarre. When sitting down on a sofa, he noticably braced himself against the armrest. He looked infirm and weak and his voice was awkward; I couldn't imagine this slow-moving, gentle man as Batman.

The Batman that Dick imagined in the TITANS Season 1 finale was a demonic force who moved like a cracked whip whereas Glen seemed to regard sitting down as something he has to do carefully or he could miss the cushions and end up on the floor. The thing is, however, while Glen bracing himself against an armrest plays onscreen looks like physical weakness, it's in fact a mannerism in how he seats and orients his body. It does not reflect the extremely able-bodied and athletic man that Glen actually is.

Glen appears in a subsequent episode as a hallucinatory Bruce Wayne, and this time, his accent is much improved, but he's playing a sardonic, comedically mocking figure who voices Dick's insecurities. He doesn't seem like Batman. Later in the season, however, Dick hallucinates Bruce again and imagines Bruce beating him up -- and suddenly, Glen displays a stunning physical prowess. He dodges Dick's blows with instantaneous speed. He throws single punches that knock Dick and the camera to the ground. He counters attacks with a controlled ferocity.

Naturally, there's a bit of trick editing here to speed up Glen's motions and accentuate the force of his attacks. But it's up to Glen to sell it and he sells it.

Suddenly, the slightly unconvincing American accent doesn't matter. Glen's aged face and fading hair don't matter. Glen's physicality takes on a predatory, otherwordly presence and he conveys a cool self-assurance so as to be above Dick Grayson's neuroses and anxieities. Iain Glen suddenly doesn't need the costume and or the Batman-jawline of Christian Bale or the voice of Kevin Conroy. The awkwardness of his earlier appearances is cast aside. Glen is unmistakably Batman. It works.

Still, I'd be interested to see Slider_Quinn21's take on it.

Re: Titans (and other DC Universe Shows)

ireactions wrote:

Still, I'd be interested to see Slider_Quinn21's take on it.

Unfortunately, Season 2 of Titans is pretty far down on my list of things to catch up on.  I might not get to it until the summer (same way I watched Season 1).

But I'm very excited about it.