The first episode of web-series Titans has dropped on DC Universe and if you are wondering if it’s worth the watch, you have come to the right place. When handling a series as beloved as Teen Titans, you have to strike a balance between what you can change and what must remain the same, and in this respect Titans gets things right. Sadly, they also get a lot wrong. They have to live up to the 2003 series whilst at the same time attempting to wash the taste of Teen Titans GO! out of the mouths of the same fans.
The first episode does a good job setting the tone of what the series is going to be all about. The release of the first trailer did not excite in the way many had hoped and this is, unfortunately, the case with the first episode as well. Raven is visually well-realised (Teagan Croft) but the religious ties to her character seem misplaced and unnecessary. This is also where the comparison to the 2003 series becomes detrimental to the show. While Raven was an Empath with a Wiccan vibe in the 2003 series, her portrayal here is a mess of a religious yet totally goth girl who also loves her mother unconditionally, and this chaotic juxtaposition does not work. What they do to Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), Robin, is a really interesting thing to see and a good way to drop some Easter eggs. There are also effective cinematics featuring him in the slower moments of his life. Starfire’s (Anna Diop) subplot is probably the weakest part of this episode, with fears from the trailer confirmed in the premiere. Anna Diop does do an admirable job, but when you are portraying a fan favorite character, you can only do so much. The writing for her character is poor, the writers use a trope that is overdone in modern media and the design also looks out of place and weird. As a huge fan of the Red Hood and the Outlaws comic series from a few years back, I am fine with a promiscuous looking Starfire, but only if it is done correctly. They got the look and motivation of Gar Logan, Beast Boy, correct and consistent throughout. We get to see each of the power sets/skills for Dick Grayson and Gar Logan, which are very good and don’t stray too far from the comics. They did, however, get Starfire’s skills wrong and Raven’s looking nothing like what many will have anticipated.
Overall the season started off slightly poorly, but with a real chance to get better. The tone is nice and most of the costume design fits well into the universe they are building. It has intrigued me to watch more I just hope that whatever is coming can live up to the high precedent set by the previous series. The potential of this show should be enough to warrant the watch, at least for the first season.