Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Titans

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/titans_poster.jpg
Alone, they're broken. Together, they're titans.
Advertisement:

Titans is a 2018 live-action superhero series, based on the DC Comics team Teen Titans.

Produced by Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, and Sarah Schechter, Titans was created for the DC Universe streaming service after previously being in development at TNT since 2014. The first season had 12 episodes. It aired on DC Universe in the United States and on Netflix internationally.note  It premiered on DC Universe on October 12, 2018, with episodes being released weekly.

The series kicks off a new Shared Universe separate from the Arrowverse and DC Extended Universe, commonly referred to as the Titansverse. Prior to release, Titans has been greenlit for a second season.

Trailer 1, Trailer 2.


Advertisement:

Titans contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • While Beast Boy keeps his green hair, his skin color is natural instead of being green as well. Played with as he appears to turn green only when using his animal powers.
    • Similarly, Raven has a natural skin tone like in the classic comics, but turns grey as in the cartoon (and the comics it since influenced) when tapping into her demonic powers.
    • Likewise with Starfire, who also has a natural skin tone, but turns orange as in the comics when using her powers. The same can be said for her hair, who is magenta in her "human mode" but turns to the comics' scarlet when using her powers.
    • Amy Rohrbach is blonde here, whereas she's brunette in the comics.
  • Adaptational Consent: An important plot point for Season 1. In the comics, Raven is a Child by Rape. Here, her mother is a villain who is in a consensual relationship with Trigon.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
      Advertisement:
    • The founding members of the Titans in this adaptation are Robin, Starfire and Raven, with Beast Boy being the first recruit. In the comics, it was formed by Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, while Wonder Girl was the first recruit when the team was officially named. This brings it in line with the famous animated series, though other members are expected to join the core team later.
    • In the comics, Jason Todd made his debut as Robin when Dick is already Nightwing. Here, he debuts only over a year after Dick's split with Batman and is still using the Robin costume.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Most likely due to his status as a Justice League founder in the post-Flashpoint comics (as well as the 2017 Justice League movie), Cyborg is not a part of the team in this series. However, he does exist, given an Adaptation Origin Connection the Doom Patrol in their own series, and is set to make an appearance here afterwards.
    • Founding team members Garth and Wally West are also absent, as is Roy Harper. Wally and Roy's absences can likely be attributed to their presence in the Arrowverse.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted with Starfire, who’s both super powered and can control those powers.
  • Adult Fear: Filled to the brim with it, from witnessing your parents or surrogate parents dying horribly (Dick, Dawn, and Rachel), to waking up suddenly with no memories of your life or even what kind of person you are (Kori), to losing yourself to your inner demons and becoming a monster (Dick), to having an aspect of yourself that you can't control making you a danger to your loved ones (Gar and Rachel), abusive parental figures (Dawn, Gar and possibly Dick) and the threat of sexual abuse towards minors (Hank and Don). One way or another, these characters have hard lives and face some truly frightening things outside the typical superhero fare.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Dick Grayson's character development seemed to be going in circles the entire first season. Every few episodes the following pattern repeats: He does something brutally violent, mopes about having such tendencies and his inability move on from under Batman's influence, then does something that seems to indicate putting it behind him. Then an episode or two later he's back to being still brutally violent.
  • Age Lift: All over the place. Likely why the series is called Titans and dropping the Teen out of the name.
    • Dick and Kori are in their late twenties rather than early twenties like the current continuity.
    • Garfield is played by 23-year-old Ryan Potter when introduced.
    • Raven who is younger unlike her comics counterpart and 2003 cartoon counterpart. Her actress was just 13 during filming of the first season.
    • Hawk & Dove are played by actors in their thirties.
    • Donna Troy's actress Conor Leslie was 27 during production of the first season.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Koriand'r doesn't even know she has powers (let alone her name!), discovering them spontaneously when pressed into dangerous situations.
  • And Starring:
  • Art Major Biology: Beast Boy shifts forms by “reconfiguring his DNA.” If that was all he was doing, even one transformation could take months and kill him in the process.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Granted, this show was always intended to be TV-MA, but the infamous "fuck Batman" line seems specifically chosen to rid unsuspecting parents of any illusion that this show was meant for kids like previous Teen Titans media.
  • Backdoor Pilot: The "Doom Patrol" episode is one for their own series of the same name.
  • Bad Future: "Dick Grayson" shows a mixed example, with all the Titans having turned out almost ridiculously well but this trope having hit Gotham hard, with every member of Batman's supportive cast dead, missing or crippled, Batman himself increasingly isolated and unhinged, and crime having risen to a point where there's no longer a bad part of town because that would imply that there's such a thing as a non-bad part of town. This is because Trigon wants Dick to willingly choose darkness over light. If he turns his back on the exaggerated goodness of his own life to wade back into the exaggerated badness of Gotham, he's implicitly admitting that that's where he truly belongs.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Downplayed. Dick Grayson wants the man who killed his parents, Tony Zucco, dead. Instead of killing him personally, though, he allows Maroni thugs to gun him down.
  • Big Bad: Trigon, who works behind the scenes, as Titans are facing with his acolytes that try to summon him.
  • Big Eater: Raven watches in shock as Rita Farr piles a massive heap of onion rings, spaghetti, and cooked meat onto her plate, and then drowns the whole thing in gravy.
  • Bishōnen: Beast Boy.
  • Body Horror: When not taking a human form, Rita Farr slumbers in her room as a massive, maggot-like fleshy, pulsating mass.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: From the slow-mo scene where a thug shoots Starfire, its clear when a bullet is fired, it clones its own casing. This new magic casing stays attached to the bullet throughout its whole travel time. The original casing is ejected from the port.
  • Casting Gag: Some of them in the Japanese dub:
  • Celebrity Paradox: Iain Glen will be playing Bruce Wayne. He is also in Game of Thrones, which Rachel is seen watching.
  • Central Theme: Should you repress your darker impulses, or find a productive use for them? The first season shows that neither choice is without its problems.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Raven's mom's house has several Catholic crucifixes, crosses and icons.
  • Composite Character:
    • Just like in the animated series, Robin is Dick Grayson, but has Tim Drake's bo staff.
    • Shyleen Lao is the name of a rather obscure Doom Patrol member in the comics with Playing with Fire powers (codename Fever). This version is An Ice Person, suggesting the better known Arani Desai/Celsius, who was both. Early publicity even called the character Arani Desai.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The sleeper agent mooks all have explosives implanted in their heads to keep them from talking. Their handler is implant-free, yet his organization will send a kill squad after him as soon as he’s compromised, and he knows they will do this.
  • Cowboy Cop: Dick / Robin in spades.
    • Inflicts life threatening injuries, which veer into manslaughter / murder territory.
    • Failure to respond to exigent circumstances in a hostage situation.
    • Failure to verify minor’s identity. When minor mentions “evil inside me,” fails to schedule psych eval, and notify child protective services.
    • Disappears while on shift.
    • Is still employed, so obviously lying on situation reports.
    • Police brutality through beating up civilians, without probable cause, nor circumstances supporting self defense
    • Allowed to operate outside of assigned precinct and state for several days without having to physically show up to work in headquarters.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Raven's the hybrid daughter of Trigon. Here, she had an unhappy home and school life due to her magical powers which she doesn't understand, with her mother being the only person who cares about her. Had, because she's orphaned in the first episode by people trying to kidnap her, and she goes on the run to escape them. She also fearfully talks about "the darkness" feeling good. The first trailer also implies she will be put in a religious institution.
    • Dick's parents died when their trapeze performance was sabotaged causing both of them to fall to their deaths, a form of Death by Origin Story. Dick believed someone murdered them, but many people wrote it off as an accident. In addition, he was taken in by Batman himself, but Dick had since parted with him on a very sour note.
    • Beast Boy: His intro-flashback puts him in Congo, with what looks like a nasty case of Ebola.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike past versions, this setting is firmly in the R-rated territory with swearing, brutal action (including bone snaps, people getting shot, burned, and mangled), and an overall darker tone taking advantage of being on a streaming service, like what the MCU's Netflix shows are. All while also still being about superheroes unabashedly like the source.
  • Decomposite Character: Raven's mother, Angela Roth, is separated into two characters in the show; her biological mother Angela Azarath and her adoptive mother Melissa Roth.
  • Downer Ending: Season One ends with Trigon being summoned to Earth by Rachel's real mother, and they corrupting/brainwashing Dick Grayson with a nightmare that ends with him killing a murderous Batman, leading to him accepting the darker impulses he wanted to suppress.
  • Dumb Muscle: The hitman sent to capture Raven in the first episode. He knows Raven is superpowered. He could have showed up with a group of guys, captured the mom before hand, and used her as leverage to get Raven to cooperate. Instead, he shows up alone, confuses Raven with some plot bombs about her real parents, and before Raven get get past the initial shock, he executes the mom in front of her. Obviously Raven blows up at him, and he fails to capture her.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Donna Troy appears in a photograph and phone contact list during the second episode of Season 1 before making her official introduction in six episodes later.
  • Evil Feels Good: In her character teaser, Raven fearfully talks about how feeling "the darkness" (likely referring to her demonic heritage) feels good.
  • Fair Cop:
    • After leaving Gotham, Dick sets up as a police officer in Detroit (instead of the fictional Bludhaven in the comics) while also protecting the city as a Vigilante Man.
    • Lindsey Gort as Dick's partner, Amy Rohrbach.
  • Fanservice: Because of course you have to clean your superhero costume gear naked from the waist up after a hard night's vigilante-ing when you have a physique like Dick Grayson.
    • Viewers get treated to some (non-frontal) nudity from both Hank and Dawn in their flashback episode.
    • Also, this goes without saying for Starfire. Anna Diop certainly isn’t hard to watch.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Despite being Darker and Edgier, the show doesn't try to hide its superhero roots. The main trio is a Badass Normal martial artist, an alien princess, and an empath of demonic origin. Then you have a guy who can shapeshift to any animal, an Amazonian clone, two bird-themed heroes who act as a Battle Couple, and the villains include a master of illusion, a master of blood magic, and a literal demon who's the father of said empath.
  • Food Porn: Dinner with the Doom Patrol, my god. Larry Trainor must be one hell of a cook.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Oddly Robin, because with the number of references they make to the Nolanverse Batman, that one would have encouraged more head gear.
  • I Hate Past Me: Implied to be the reason why Dick treats Jason Todd with disdain.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: In a rare non-lethal example, Robin's first fight scene has him stab two mooks in the throat with birdarangs.
  • Instant Sedation: To kidnap her, Raven is nearly instantly sedated by Officer Jones at the Detroit Police station before he shoves her in a cruiser.
  • Leitmotif: Played with. While no character is associated with a particular song, the Titans seem to each be associated to a certain genre or mood of music. Starfire in particular is the most blatant example, as many of her scenes are accompanied by 70's music including Marvin Gaye's "Sunny" and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love". Robin, on the other hand is more associated with rock music.
  • Lonely Together: According to the developers, Dick and Raven will share a close father/daughter bond based on their shared feelings of loneliness.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted; Raven learns that her mother is not her "real" or birth mother just before she's murdered.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Negative Man apparently listens to AC/DC while cooking in the Doom Patrol's kitchen.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Dick angrily throws the R emblem from his suit into a wall, mirroring a Batarang shot in Batman Begins. (He also uses R-shaped shuriken identical to that emblem instead of Batarangs.)
    • The religious institution where Raven is staying in her character teaser is likely a nod to her comic incarnation's religious roots in Azarath, except it's not as benevolent here.
    • Starfire being experimented on by a group of scientists references her backstory in the comics, where she got her powers from aliens using her as their test subject.
    • In a flashback, Dick has a Batman Begins-esque "I won't kill you but I don't have to save you" moment with his parents' killer. However, unlike the film, he later plainly admits that he killed him.
    • Dawn is seen wearing a Superman shirt.
    • Hank and Don Hall attended Kesel College. Karl and Barbara Kesel were the authors of the Hawk and Dove book that introduced Dawn Granger following Don's death in the comics.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In Beast Boy's character teaser, he transforms into a tiger and back. It takes Dick asking an innocent question and Starfire snickering for him to realize that he's completely naked.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Dick's reaction to being called, well, a dick.
  • Plot Armor: All the titans, naturally. There’s a bunch of scenes where the villains noticeably have a habit of asking questions first, and shooting later, even when someone is obviously in a super hero outfit. Robin in particular seems to benefit from villains not taking head shots (where he doesn’t have armor).
  • Precision F-Strike: In the first trailer, to establish this isn't a kid's show.
    Criminal: Where's Batman?!
    Robin: Fuck Batman.
  • Race Lift:
    • Beast Boy, who is white in the comics, is played by Ryan Potter, who is half Japanese and half white.
    • While the Acolyte usually wears makeup to appear to be a blue demon, he is a white man in the comics. Here he's played by Afro-Swiss actor J Jarreth Mertz.
    • Negative Man is also normally white and is played by black Caribbean-born Canadian actor Dwain Murphy.
    • Don Hall, white in the comics because he's Hank Hall's brother, is played by black British actor Elliot Knight. The Halls are half-brothers here.
    • Deathstroke, who is white in the comics and all of his previous live-action incarnations (save for the Arrowverse version who Ambiguously Brown) is played by Esai Morales, who is Puerto Rican. His son, Jericho, has also been given a race lift and will be played by Chella Man, who is Chinese.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Dick had a falling-out with Bruce prior to the series, and has been gone from Gotham for over a year when the series begins.
    Dick: I guess we had different ideas on how to do the job.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Training from Hell for a pair of teenage boys doesn't help them become better adjusted adults. Instead, it makes them Child Soldier types that are ready to explode at any moment. It also creates a massive amount of resentment in Dick once he hits adulthood.
    • Raven is hunted by both the good guys as well as the bad due to her role as The Antichrist and Anti Anti Christ.
  • The Reveal:
    • At the end of “Donna Troy”, we learn that Kory’s mission isn’t to protect Rachel... but to kill her.
    • Rachel is not a Child by Rape. Her biological mother is Evil All Along.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant:
  • R-Rated Opening: The SDCC 2018 footage features a violent beatdown, a dark and moody tone and the "fuck Batman" line, presumably for the benefit of those who assume that "Teen Titans=kid friendly".
  • Second Episode Introduction: Hank and Dawn made their debut on the second episode of Season 1. The same episode also has an Early-Bird Cameo for Donna Troy via photo and cellphone contact list.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Team Title: The title is short for Teen Titans, the original name of the group in the comics.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Played with. Starfire is the only protagonist who uses lethal force as a first resort; the rest attempt to avoid it. By the end of the seventh episode, however, Rachel and Gar have both killed in self-defense, and Dick orders Kory to blow up a building full of unconscious mooks, presumably killing them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Dick’s police partner. She finds a crying stranger in her house. In Detroit. She leaves her gun out of reach before ever verifying the stranger’s intent, or whether they are armed.
  • Trauma Button: People falling gives Dick flashbacks to his parents' death.
  • Truer to the Text: This is the first Teen Titans series to fully embrace the maturity and grit of the comics, whereas the animated series had to be Lighter and Softer to be acceptable for young audiences, and the gag series caters solely to children.
  • Wham Line: The Reveal at the end of “Donna Troy”:
    Donna: It says here that [Kory’s] mission is to “secure” the Raven, which could mean “take control of”… or “take care of”.
    Dick: “Take care of”?
    Donna: Unless I’m reading this wrong… your friend Kory is here to kill Rachel.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback