If you followed my reviews of Titans, you know that it’s a show that I desperately wanted to be good and yet, despite all of my cheerleading and encouragement, it insisted on sucking. Titans insisted on being a dour, boring superhero show where the superhero rarely wore costumes or used powers. There was no joy, no drama, the stakes were low, and the characters were just unlikeable. The entire series smacked of a certain desperation to be something better and yet, failed at almost every turn.
Titans is one of those series that you watch out of obligation, sort of like the last seasons of Sliders or The Walking Dead… you want it to be better, but it just demands to be terrible.
I honestly didn’t even realize that the new season was bowing today. I wasn’t even planning to watch it, but I’ve got a back injury and staring at the ceiling was marginally the worse of the two options, so I pulled up HBO Max and started watching.
This season, Titans is doing the Red Hood story. We all know who the Red Hood is and, on top of that, the show will not give us important characters like Batman and The Joker because, if it does that, DC will go down in flames or something, so my expectations were low.
Folks, I stand here before you in all earnestness to report that the first three episodes of Titans finally reflect the television series that this program can be. First of all… the gang are wearing their costumes, they’re using their powers, and they’re actually being superheroes. The stakes are high, even with the predictable reveal of The Red Hood’s identity, but then they get higher and higher as other events take place. When the first episode is over, Dick Grayson’s life and Gotham City’s future is turned upside down. By the end of the third episode, the rug is completely pulled and you know that there is no going back.
To Titan‘s credit, they have taken the often overdone Red Hood story and taken it in a new direction, focusing less on who the Hood is and more on the fallout of that revelation. The stakes in this story are high and only get more intense with each episode. Sometimes, it seems like it takes a long time to get there, but I can definitely say (without saying too much) that Titans is at its absolute best by the end of the third episode.
More than that, this is the best characterization I have seen on this series so far. Barbara Gordon, who was once Batgirl but is now a paraplegic, has an intense conversation with Bruce Wayne and it is frank and it is brutal and is probably one of my new favorite monologues. I wish I was still teaching theater. I would add it to the monologue file.
For the first time since this show premiered, I think I’m actually excited to see where it’s going next. I’m not sure who got fired behind the scenes or what happened, but I’m very glad it did.
Now, if only they could make Beast Boy interesting. They should just call him Tiger Lad at this point.