Judge Mitchell Hattaway enjoyed this cartoon series...now if he could only get the bloody theme song out of his head.
Our reviews of Teen Titans: The Complete First Season (published February 20th, 2006), Teen Titans: The Complete Second Season (published October 25th, 2006), Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season (published April 18th, 2007), Teen Titans: The Complete Fourth Season (published January 11th, 2008), Teen Titans: The Complete Fifth Season (published August 6th, 2008), Teen Titans: Fear Itself (published December 21st, 2005), Teen Titans: Switched (published May 19th, 2005), and Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo (published February 28th, 2007) are also available.
Truth. Justice. Pizza.
Based on the DC Comics series, Teen Titans chronicles the adventures of five teenage superheroes: Raven, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Robin. This entertaining animated series, broadcast on Cartoon Network, draws much of its inspiration, including characters, plotlines, and thematic material, from writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez's run on the comic during the '80s (arguably the comic's high point, but who wants to argue?). The first six episodes of the series are included on this disc; here's a brief rundown:
• "Divide and Conquer"
• "Final Exam"
• "Forces of Nature"
• "The Sum of His Parts"
I was a fan of the Teen Titans comic back in the '80s, and this series does a pretty good job of updating the Wolfman/Pérez run on the book; the show's producers have wisely chosen not to do straight adaptations of those stories, but they've brought a nice modern sensibility to the tales, as well as incorporating a wide variety of anime influences. (You'll never know how much it pains me to realize something from my teen years can no longer be considered modern.) No backstory is provided for the show (and the Robin portrayed here—I believe he's the Tim Drake, not Dick Grayson, incarnation of the character—seems to have no connection to the Dark Knight), which in this case is a pretty good idea; how could you possibly come up with a rational explanation for why five teenagers are allowed to live unsupervised in a high-tech skyscraper off the California coast? I was particularly impressed with the show's handling of the Raven/Trigon relationship. This was a pretty big part of the comic, and I was having a hard time imaging how a paternal, many-eyed demon would play in a cartoon, but I now realize I needn't have worried. (In the comic, Robin and Starfire were an item, and I remember one issue in which they were shown in bed together, but I doubt we'll be seeing that in the cartoon anytime soon.) Without a doubt, though, the single coolest thing about this show is having Ron Perlman (Hellboy) provide the voice of Slade. Sweet!
On disc, these episodes (naturally) look much better than they did during their original broadcasts. There are no real flaws in the video presentation, although the picture in the first episode seemed more subdued than that of the subsequent installments. Colors are vivid and well-saturated, and the blacks can be quite deep at times. The audio is even better; this is one of the best Dolby Surround tracks around, and even trumps some full 5.1 mixes I've heard. The surround channels are loaded with music and directional effects; this is one of those tracks where turning up the volume a few notches exponentionally increases the track's effectiveness. Extras include rather informative interviews with Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, and show producers Sam Register and Glen Murkami, an interactive game I'm apparently too old to play, previews for other Warner Bros./Cartoon Network releases, as well as a video for the show's annoyingly catchy theme song, which is performed by Japanese pop duo Puffy Ami Yumi. (Maybe it's just me, but I think Ami and Yumi would make a pretty fun date. I doubt I'm alone in this thinking, though, as during his interview Register hints at his own unhealthy interest in them.)
Bottom line is this is a nicely-produced DVD release of a nicely-produced series. I'm looking forward to future volumes, as I missed the storyline involving Terra (my favorite from the comic) during its original broadcast. Case dismissed!
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