Given the similarities between superheroes across various franchises it is becoming more difficult for tv shows and films about them to stand out. This series, launched in 2018, is from the DC stable whose television work has generally surpassed their big screen offerings, Wonder Woman being the exception. Based on the Teen Titans comics, the series is clearly aimed at a younger audiences with it’s cool stylings, outbursts of kinetic violence and edgy characters. It is an earnest narrative full of teenage angst even if some of the characters are older.
An obvious touchstone is X Men with which Titans shares its basic premise. I’m told in comic book lore this came first but it doesn’t really matter. As some of the X Men films have shown just having cool inventive powers is not enough to hang a story on and Titans seems to realise this so keeps a focus on the characters first and their superpowers second. The first season takes its cue from the Batman strand focussing on what Dick Grayson did next after leaving Gotham behind. Presented as the lead character Dick is a police officer who never seems to report in or get back to his office! He struggles with his aggressive tendencies, honed over years of crime fighting with the caped crusader but is this also a reflection of something more?
the way we meet an assortment of other troubled characters - each bizarrely with a different hair colour - battling their
inner demons, literally in the case of thirteen year old Rachel Roth. The
personification of goth, she is haunted by seemingly vast but uncontrollable power
which sometimes manifests itself for our benefit as a scary image in a mirror
or window. The first time it happens you might jump out of your seat! We also
encounter Kory a flame haired bundle of confusion who can generate fire but has
no idea who she is. Then there’s Gar, a boy who can turn into any animal though
seems to prefer a green tinted tiger. He lives with an even odder bunch of
misfits in a mansion straight out of The Addams Family.
quartet make an unlikely team as they trail around the country over an
indeterminate time to try and resolve their various issues. There’s a lot going
on and with only eleven episodes at its disposal the season has to cover a lot of
ground by way of a myriad of flashbacks not all of which are necessary as they
only underline what two lines of dialogue can tell us. One episode fills in the
backstory of two other characters just to tell us what we already know. The flashbacks
involving Grayson in Gotham are very stylish yet they so obviously don’t want
to show us Batman it undermines their impact.
group’s journey in the present day is much more interesting as they encounter
an ordinary looking family who seems to be trained assassins, a creepy notion
that works well. An episode set mostly in an asylum is also very well done as
is a strand where Dick meets his replacement in the form of a new (profanity spouting)
Robin while Wonder Girl is a definite boost to the series when she turns up. Some of the revelations are very good, others so-so (Cory’s real
identity is somewhat underwhelming) leading to a final episode that’s set in
some alternative timeline.
Titans- They may be superheroes but they still have to wait for the bus.
definitely found the first half of the season more engaging than the second.
Like a lot of genre shows Titans at this stage seems more assured with
the build up than the payoffs though does have some great cliffhanger
resolutions. Visually the series is fantastic with an emphasis on darkness and
shadows enabling some gymnastic action sequences. Despite the scenario it aims
for a sort of glossy noir punctuated with violence. It has so much style that it
can sometimes resemble a music promo film but this works in its favour. A
cracking musical soundtrack adds to the atmosphere.
can seem, even in this short number of episodes, repetitive and heavy at times
and the only vaguely happy character, Gar, is often sidelined as if the writers
don’t want too much levity on show. With one foot in horror and the other in
comic book fantasy, the series has potential in either direction. This first season
has some powerful set pieces and sometimes brings an unpredictability to a familiar
type of story more than enough to make you want to watch the second.
NATURE by John Connors
The fifth children’s / YA novel in the Heart of
the World series set in and around the small English village of Rooksbourne
which sits above the world’s elemental energy. Deep inside the mountain known as Devil’s Peak, a
group of misfit scientists’ amazing plan to solve ecological problems is
threatened by an elemental menace with dangerously different ideas. As Tom
Allenby tries to stop this new threat to mankind, he faces the most serious
peril of his fifteen year old life. Things will never be the same again. In his
toughest, most personal adventure yet can
Tom save the world and those closest to him? Or will humanity fall to the storm
of the century?
Available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats here
For details of other novels in the series go to: