When you think of the Justice League in terms of animated series', you obviously think of the amazing DC Animated Universe Justice League and it's successor Justice League: Unlimited. However, when you think of the Teen Titans, you may think of the amazing Teen Titans animated series that aired on Cartoon Network from 2003-2006 or the awesome Young Justice that aired on Cartoon Network from 2010 - 2013. Both shows received universal acclaim and did fantastic jobs at storytelling. Yet both of them were criminally cut short for no apparent reason, although the former did get 5 13-episode seasons and has now been revived as Teen Titans: GO! which is basically as a sitcom that doesn't do it 'justice' at all. Anyways, I know that both shows have large followings and just wanted to explore the similarities, differences and histories of both shows. Then, if you like, you can decide which one you enjoyed more! But first, let's take a look at the history of these Iconic animated series'.
Teen Titans aired on Cartoon Network from July 2003 and ran until January 2006. Helmed by a strong cast, Teen Titans focused on the escapades of five young heroes: Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven and their leader Robin. The series recieved critical acclaim and was praised for it's dark and adult storylines as well as it's strong character development. It had enough humor for the kids, enough story for the adults, and enough action for both.
Although it was originally only planned for four seasons, it's popularity led to it being commissioned for a fifth. Once that finished, a film Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo aired in September 2006 and it served as a series finale, tying up one particular storyline that had been alluded to throughout the series. Although five seasons and a film sound like a lot, each season was only thirteen episodes and thus, fans were hoping for more when Teen Titans was inexplicably taken from us. However, seven years later, hopes were raised that we would finally see a sequel. But we'll get to that later.
On the other hand, Young Justice debuted on Cartoon Network in 2010. Like it's predecessor, it also received positive reviews and managed to pull in great ratings for the network. The lineup once again included Robin, however this time he was joined by: Superboy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and Artemis. After it's first season, it was renewed for a second, dubbed Young Justice: Invasion and included additional members such as Batgirl, Arsenal/Speedy and Impulse. However, despite stellar reviews, ratings and an Emmy Award, Young Justice was cancelled abruptly after it's second season, alongside fellow DC animated series, Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Unlike Teen Titans, Young Justice did not get to fully explore it's universe. Yes, it's seasons were significantly longer, but it still meant that they only practically got to focus on two primary storylines (one per season) as opposed to Teen Titans which got to explore a different storyline per each of it's five seasons.
After Young Justice's travesty of a cancellation, some of our hopes were raised when rumors spread that the reason it was cancelled was because Cartoon Network were resurrecting Teen Titans. While it's cancellation was still a miscarriage of 'Justice', having Teen Titans return would definitely have softened the blow. But we didn't get that. Instead, we got Teen Titans: GO! - a spin-off set in the same universe as it's parent show, has the same incredibly strong cast and mildy similar animation (at very brief times). However, GO! is basically a sitcom - enjoyable, yes but it has absolutely nothing on the original series, instead focusing solely on the humor and completely lacking the adult narratives and storytelling that made the original such a success. Although this spin-off could potentially be considered a sequel, it wasn't the sequel that we wanted. Like I said, it was entertaining but it doesn't live up to the incredible original show and it should not have taken the equally as awesome Young Justice off the air.
Thus, here we are with two incredibly popular adaptations of the Teen Titans comic book characters - both of them adored by fans and critics but untimely cancelled by Cartoon Network. I wanted to write this article to compare both of these amazing TV Shows and see what people think about both of them. Teen Titans was most likely the darkest of the two, focusing on haunting storylines, particularly involving Robin's past and his connection to Slade as well as Terra's arc. Both of these were just some of the many arcs that involved some incredibly compelling storytelling. On the other hand, it was also rife with humor (hence the eventual spin-off) and provided many comedic moments. Furthermore, Young Justice thrived in both areas also, delivering great storytelling but also providing us with laughs. However, as Young Justice shows us the heroes' collective journeys together from the beginning, it gives us a prime opportunity to see the group grow and gel together as a heroic unit.
Another thing that must be compared is the character of Robin. He is featured heavily in both shows: leader in Teen Titans and co-leader in Young Justice. His identity is believed to be Dick Grayson in Teen Titans. The show, however has been both criticised and praised by some fans for it's decision to never unmask or un-uniform any of their heroes, with most of them wearing their outfits even when they're socialising together...or SLEEPING?! Young Justice, however, does the opposite, as we see all of the characters' real identities at one time or another, even Robin's.
Both shows have many similarities and both have many differences. But there's no denying that they were both amazing! I know that these days, Young Justice has possibly a bigger "legacy" (if that's the right word?) because of it's infamous early cancellation. One might say it has gained a cult following over the years since it's cancellation, but that's not really true because it had a massive following to begin with. As did Teen Titans. We can only hope that one day, Netflix or Cartoon Network will revive one of these shows in the future...Young Justice being the most likely as it's already on Netflix and Teen Titans has been reincarnated as Teen Titans: GO!
So when it all comes down to it, choosing between these two series' is an incredibly difficult choice to make. I think, for me, I would have to go with Teen Titans because I grew up with it. The storyline with Robin and Slade always kept me coming back for more and I just loved it when the group banded together in one of the many "Titans...GO!" sequences. But both of these series' have made an incredible impact on the DC animated front and thoroughly deserve their places among the greatest animated series' of all time!
Both shows were incredible, Which one was your favorite?