We finally have a trailer for Titans, the much-anticipated live-action Teen Titans show which will be exclusive to DC’s new streaming service DC Universe. It was awful. Full disclosure I am not a big fan of DC, but I also have nothing against them, it’s just that DC characters have never clicked with me personally. I have never seen the original Teen Titans (2003) series, which aired on Cartoon Network, all the way through, nor have I read a Teen Titans comic.
Given that this show is the tent pole of their new service and that they want as many people as possible to buy subscriptions, it’s people like me, the “Casual Fan,” who had to be sold by this trailer more than anyone else. I was really hoping that this trailer would get me interested in the team enough to see what I have been missing out on. Unfortunately after enduring 2 minutes of bad acting, terrible VFX, “gritty” violence, and horrendous wigs and costuming, I am no more interested in the Titans today than I was yesterday. In fact, I want to actively avoid them now.
From the very beginning, this trailer wants you to know how dark and gritty it is. There is a parental advisory warning, ominous music, a muted color palette, intense violence, and Dick Grayson as Robin even says “Fuck Batman” at one point (because instantly trashing your franchise’s most beloved character is a great way to get people to watch your show). It comes across as a cheap imitation of the Netflix Marvel shows in all the wrong ways, except that the characters in those shows actually fit the tone of the universe around them.
Try explaining to a Mom that she can’t show her kids a Teen Titans show because Robin says “fuck” in it. Even with my extremely limited experience and knowledge of the Titans, this feels wrong and out-of-place. DC had an opportunity to make something that stood out from the crowded superhero TV space. Instead, this just looks like a generic mess, which thanks to its TV-MA rating, teens can’t even watch a show based on Teen Titans!
You think that they would have learned from the disaster that was Marvel’s Inhumans last year: a superhero’s costume is everything. But apparently, they didn’t. I’d go as far to say that these costumes are even worse than the Inhumans. Starfire looks like a casual cosplay gone wrong, Raven appears to have been set loose in a Hot Topic, and Beast Boy just looks boring. The only one who almost makes it out OK is Robin, but even his costume is not that great. Another lesson they should’ve learned from Inhumans is that you can’t hide a terrible wig especially when most of your main cast is wearing one. Overall the costumes feel very cheap and hastily thrown together which is not the feeling you should get from a comic book property.
It seems like they have taken everything people have complained about from the movies and dialed it up to 11, I am not saying that DC needs to be as happy-go-lucky as Marvel, but it would be nice to watch a show with a concept as ridiculous as this, not be so dark and serious. If their goal with this trailer was to get people interested in purchasing a DC Universe subscription they spectacularly failed.