I've seen a lot of DC-related television shows. Arrow, Justice League, The Flash etc. But I can date my love for DC all the way back to 2003, with the premiere of [Teen Titans](movie:731992). This show was the best! Every time it came on, I stopped whatever I was doing and flocked to the TV. Truth be told, I had no idea it was even a comic book based show. The roster was compiled of characters I had never seen in the comics, except Robin; but this iteration of Robin was so different from the ones I'd seen before, that I just figured the name and superhero status were coincidences.
I spent four glorious years with this show, before it was ultimately cancelled in 2006. Seven years later, a new Teen Titans show premiered on Cartoon Network, Teen Titans Go.
Thanks to Andrew Marco and the cool Moviepilot crew, I got to check out the second season of this show. I should probably start off with saying that I just did not find this show enjoyable. In fact, I have kept it no secret that I'm not a fan of the newest iteration of Titans. Most of my disdain towards this show came from the nostalgia I had towards the original. I felt as this show was taking everything I loved from the original show, mocking it, and then throwing it in the garbage. In a way, this show was taking my favorite characters, and presenting them in a light vastly different than how I was used to seeing them. The heroes were stripped down into cardboard copies of their former selves.
Robin went from being the courageous hero, who struggled to be a good leader to his team, to a whiny and complaining teenager who cared more about his looks and being the center of attention than anything else. Starfire went from an intriguing visitor from another world, still new to Earth's customs, to a 'dumb blonde' stereotype (albeit with pinkish hair) with the tendency to either speak too literal, or just plain gibberish. Raven kept her personality for the most part, but its her story that suffers with this new show. TTG's Raven is simply an emo teenage girl who has a secret love for ponies and dolls. Her complex relationship with her father, her past with Slade and her struggles as a literal spawn of evil trying to do good have yet to be represented in any way. And finally, Beast Boy and Cyborg have pretty much become the 'Shaggy and Scooby', stoner-type duo who say bro a lot and have an affinity for one-liner, catchphrases and food.
I'm not usually biased, so while watching this show, I put these nostalgic based problems aside, and realized something - this show is NOT its predecessor.
What I mean is, this show is not related to, or affiliated with the original Teen Titans show at all. It's been treated as a sort of sequel/spin-off because it shares the same characters and setting, but those two similarities are as far as it goes. Teen Titans Go is meant to be an entirely different show. The reason it shares those two things with the original is simply because that's the Teen Titans team that's the most popular and known.
In my opinion though, that's exactly why this show doesn't appeal to me. I originally thought that it was the shows silliness that I didn't like. I admit, I'm not a huge fan of the childish jokes made in this show (like an entire episode where Beast Boy and Cyborg only say the word "waffles"), but that's more of a personal opinion of mine, that almost ALL kids shows these days are a bit less inventive with their comedy.
But it's not so much the comedy that gets me, it's the characters themselves. Look back at the history of DC animated series' and their tones. There's the serious and sort of dark tones of The Batman, the comedic tone of Static Shock, and the action-based tones of Justice League. All of these shows introduced children to certain characters and even heavily-influenced their personas in the comics at the time.
Now imagine DC took The Batman, a dark and serious show about Batman fighting the entire seedy underbelly of Gotham City, and made a comedic show set in the same universe where Batman decides what he wants for dinner: hamburgers or burritos? Something tells me that wouldn't be very enjoyable. It's the same for Teen Titans Go. Though in the show's defense, the situation is a little different. Yes, it's true that the personalities of the characters and the show itself are very different from the original. But the characters do keep a fraction of the personalities they used to have. It's just that the characters are now so one-dimensional, with the show only focusing on one side of these originally complex characters. And anyone who watched the original knows that it was very comedic, in an anime-style.
So you see, they do take note from the original show, but it's still so different. And that's why I don't like this show too much. As someone who grew up with the Teen Titans, I can confirm that that show is what introduced the characters to the world. There had been TT comics way before this show premiered; but it wasn't until the show came out that the Titans become household DC characters. Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Cyborg, everyone knows who they are! And everyone knows how they act. Look at this way, you can take a character like Batman and make a different kind of show with him as much as you want. We've had Batman: The Animated Series, we've had The Batman, and we've had Batman: The Brave and the Bold. All of these shows have super different views.
You can do that with a character like Batman, who has been around for years and is an idol for every kid out there! But with the TT, at least the iteration we've seen on TV, they've only had one TV outing; so we're not so used to seeing them in a different light.
We've seen who these characters are; their strengths, their weaknesses, their complex stories. The whole nine yards! So with Teen Titans Go, spin-off or not, it's showing us our characters in a way vastly different from how we remember them. It's like seeing an old relative after so many years, and they've become an entirely different person than how you remember them.
But like I said, this is the team roster we know more than any other. This classic roster is more famous than the one we currently have in the comics!
While I would like it if they used an alternate roster (like say, the one above) for the show, it wouldn't get as much views as it does now. That's again because of the original;s popularity, and the roster that it introduced to us all. Personally, I'd love it if they revived the original series alongside this new one. The cast is all here, and they reprise their roles in Teen Titans Go, so obviously they're still up for voicing the characters.
All in all, Teen Titans Go is a show with nothing virtually wrong with it, it just suffers because it chose a familiar setting and set of characters. It took a mythos that was already there, and warped it like one of DC's famous "retcon" comic events. Perhaps I would have liked the show a bit more if they chose a different set of DC characters, ones that weren't already in a show that was still fresh in our minds. It's inaccurate to compare Teen Titans Go to its predeccesor, but its hard not to.
So if you haven't seen the original Teen Titans, go ahead and check this out. But if you have...this might not be the revival you were hoping for. Still everyone's opinion is different, so check this show out for yourself to see how you feel about it!