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The 5 Best And 5 Worst Things About Titans So Far

Along with proving to fans and critics that the streaming service DC Universe could deliver satisfying original content, Titans helped introduce its second live-action original series – Doom Patrol — by introducing the team of misfits in its fourth episode. Since then we've met Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen), Deathstroke (Esai Morales), Ravager (Chelsea Zhang), Superboy (Joshua Orpin), and even the superdog Krypto.

So far, Titans enjoys a good but not perfect reputation among critics and audiences, and even a passing grade is impressive. Not only is the show DC Universe's first shot at an original series, but it has a lot to live up to. Between comics, video games, movies, and animated series, the characters of Titans are mostly well-known quantities in popular culture and the Titans cast has a lot to live up to. Not to mention it's just one series in an increasingly crowded superhero television landscape. 

Regardless, the show has demonstrated there's a lot of room for improvement. There are a lot of elements missing from the series, some story choices that seem downright odd, and at least one casting choice that's left us scratching our heads. Tastes and opinions differ of course, but by our estimate here's the five best and five worst things about Titans so far. 

Best: The Nuclear Family were great Titans villains

One of the creative decisions for Titans season 1 was bringing in the Nuclear Family early as villains. They were funny, creepy, and absolutely vicious.

The Nuclear Family of the comics were somewhat different; they had a different origin, different powers, and never actually locked horns with the Titans. Their first appearance was 1985's The Outsiders #1, where they were actually all robots. Where the Nuclear Family on the page and the screen are similar is their willingness to kill and their need to act and speak as the stereotypical white-bread suburban American family. Though saying the Nuclear Family of the show has a "willingness" to get lethal is underselling a true zest for bloodletting. They're a serious challenge for the Titans early on, going so far as putting Dove (Minka Kelly) in a coma that lasts for most of the remaining first season. 

Thematically, they're the perfect adversaries for the Titans. Just about all the Titans are either orphans, runaways, or both, while the sadistic Nuclears are a twisted parody of what society would have us believe is a "true" family.

Worst: Beast Boy's powers aren't showing their range on Titans

While Ryan Potter has done well as Gar Logan, a.k.a. Beast Boy, fans of the character have no doubt been frustrated by how limited his powers have seemed so far in Titans.

In the comics, Gar can turn into just about any kind of animal. It doesn't matter if the animal is native to Earth or even if it's ever existed. In the most recent volume of the comic book Titans, for example, Gar regularly changed into a furry gargantuan man-monster that looked a lot like Marvel's Hulk except with fangs, claws, and pointy ears. 

Yet for all of Titans' first season, Gar only uses his powers to change into a tiger. Granted, being a tiger proves to be pretty useful, but it takes away from the fun of wondering what Beast Boy will change into next. And without any explanation, fans were left to wonder if maybe this version of Beast Boy was only capable of turning into a tiger.

In the Titans season 2 premiere, shortly after the Trigon-possessed Titans beat Gar to a pulp, we see him change into a snake. So, we now at least we know Gar's powers go beyond tigers. Hopefully we'll see some more variety in the episodes to come.

Best: Jason Todd is an excellent addition to Titans

Curran Walters first appeared as Jason Todd — the young hero who replaces Dick Grayson as Robin — halfway through Titans' first season, and it wasn't clear if the young braggart would be a regular feature. It seemed just as likely he was just there to solidify Dick's separation from Batman. But Jason shows up in the season 2 premiere, and by the end of the episode he's joined the team at Titans Tower in San Francisco.

Jason adds an unstable element to the Titans, and you don't need to have ever read a comic book to know it. He's hot-blooded, doesn't respect authority, and doesn't work or play well with others.

Of course, if you're a comics reader, then you likely suspect Jason Todd is a ticking time bomb. Jason was famously killed by the Joker in the classic "Death in the Family" storyline, returning years later as the lethal vigilante Red Hood. While he tends to be just barely in Batman's good graces these days, Jason doesn't inspire a lot of trust in DC's heroes. In fact, in the line-wide DC Comics crossover Event Leviathan, he was one of the heroes' first picks as the mystery villain. Knowing all of that brings up a lot of questions about his future on Titans. Will the series diverge significantly when it comes to young Jason's story, or was he doomed the second he showed up?

Worst: There isn't as much action on Titans as there should be

For a series whose characters are all either highly trained vigilantes or heroes with intense superpowers, Titans is pretty light on action. And when the action does show up, it isn't nearly as dynamic as it could be. 

As long as we're talking about purely human, "non-super" action, Titans is great. If Dick Grayson is taking on a bunch of thugs in an alleyway, it'll probably be a pretty great scene as far as those kinds of sequences go. But the team now includes a girl with demonic powers, a boy who can change into deadly beasts, a young woman with strength and fighting skills comparable to Wonder Woman, and a super-strong alien who can hurl energy blasts at her foes. A fight in an episode of Titans should be insane, with green tigers, power blasts, golden lassos, and big dark hellclouds flying everywhere. Instead? It's usually a couple of people fighting hand-to-hand in perfectly non-super ways. It's rare to even see more than two or three of the heroes fighting together.

Granted, Titans is a TV show and you can't expect the same kind of big budget battle scenes you'd see in an Avengers or Justice League flick. But what's the point of a superhero team series if we don't get to see them all charge at the bad guys with batarangs, green fur, and energy pew-pew shooting at the same time?

Best: On Titans, Hawk & Dove are an intriguing pair

It would be tough to blame you if seeing shots of Hawk (Alan Ritchson) & Dove makes you a little hesitant about Titans. They aren't the most well-known heroes, and their costumes look at least a little silly. We all have different tastes, but if you were to argue that, say, a superhero with feathers as part of her costume better be able to fly if she doesn't want the thing to look laughable (and even if she can fly, there's no guarantee it won't still look goofy), you probably wouldn't have a whole lot of people taking the time to passionately disagree.

Yet the story of Hawk and Dove has proven to be one of the most compelling of Titans. Some of the best episodes of the first season were ones focusing on their different motives for becoming crimefighters, Hawk's fall into drug addiction and subsequent recovery, and Dove's brief romance with Dick Grayson. Hopefully we'll see more of the pair in the second season and beyond.

Worst: Sometimes Titans comes up with lame excuses to not feature DCU characters

The argument can be made that it's good for Titans to not bring in the more well-known DC heroes. The problem is we know all those heroes exist in the world of Titans, and as time goes on it's going to be harder to sell the idea that they wouldn't get involved. Bruce Wayne is finally a part of the show, though not as his alter-ego. We know Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) was Wonder Woman's sidekick. With Superboy and Krypto on their way, there will probably be questions of whether or not Kal-El will make an appearance. Aqualad (Drew Van Acker) is set to appear as well, along with his obvious connections to Aquaman

Remember in Deadpool when Wade Wilson goes to the X-Mansion and comments how none of the X-Men beyond Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead ever seem to be around? Before too long, the kind of absurdity Deadpool points out will be constantly on the minds of Titans fans. 

We're already seeing the show's creative team struggling to explain the absence of characters from the expanded universe, and not just the ones in capes. In the season 2 premiere when Hawk & Dove go to the Wayne Mansion looking for Batman, Jason Todd tells them, "Bruce is halfway across with the world with the Justice League. Alfred, too."

Alfred, too? Why the hell is Alfred with the Justice League? They can't make their own tea? 

Best: The Titans season 1 finale was amazing

While it frustrated fans by ending the first season with a cliffhanger, "Dick Grayson" — the Titans season 1 finale — was by far one of the best episodes of the series. 

Trigon (Seamus Dever) subjects Dick to a nightmare vision of his old mentor finally snapping and going on a rampage. He murders his old nemesis the Joker, goes to the infamous Arkham Asylum where he adds most of the rest of his rogue's gallery to the list of victims, and finally when Dick reveals his secret identity to Gotham PD, the crazed Batman proves willing to kill Gotham's best as well. The vision ends with Batman desperately reaching out to Dick under a pile of rubble, and Grayson using the opportunity to murder the man who took him in so many years ago. While it's all an illusion, the decision puts Dick under Trigon's control.

Dick's adventure in the illusory Gotham is an example of how Titans often uses the expanded universe to its advantage. We only see glimpses of characters like Batman, Joker, and Two-Face in the episode — usually only a hand and some of their costumes — but they're so embedded in popular culture, the show's creative team knows that's all they need to show. It gives us just enough while leaving us wanting more.

Worst: Titans' casting of Bruce Wayne is questionable

The only A-list superhero we've actually seen on Titans is Bruce Wayne, who we see for in the flesh for the first time in "Trigon," the season 2 premiere. Wayne is played by Iain Glen, who sits with Dick and listens as his old sidekick tells him of the revelations he's come to in the past weeks. Their conversation ends with Bruce agreeing to give Dick use of Titans Tower "on one condition." We don't hear the condition, but considering Jason Todd's presence at Titans Tower, it may be safe to assume Robin's inclusion in the team was it.

You'd be hard-pressed to challenge Glen's talent. He's a wonderful actor who's been working regularly for decades, perhaps most memorably as the loyal Jorah Mormont of Game of Thrones. But after you do the math and learn that Glen is in his late 50s, it becomes tough to forget that before he called it quits, Ben Affleck — who is over ten years younger than Glen — was being told he was too old to play the Dark Knight. Likewise, Milo Ventimiglia — who is 15 years younger than Titans' Bruce Wayne — was told he was no match for Robert Pattinson as the new Batman because he was too old

Glen isn't too old to play a retired Batman. But one who's still active with the Justice League? That's a stretch.

Best: Titans does a fantastic job building anticipation for Nightwing

Just as comic book readers watching Titans are likely wondering what will ultimately come of Jason Todd, as soon as the first Titans trailer dropped they were imagining Brenton Thwaite as Nightwing. 

In the comics, Dick Grayson eventually comes out from Batman's shadow, sets his Robin costume aside, and rebrands himself as the hero Nightwing. As Nightwing, Dick has a darker, less Peter-Pan-esque costume and he even eventually leaves Gotham to find his own stomping grounds in the fictional city of Blüdhaven. The character has enjoyed a number of long-running ongoing comic book titles, has appeared in animated series and video games, and a solo movie is in development. 

So we've been waiting for Dick to graduate to Nightwing for a while now, and Titans has been manipulating our anticipation beautifully. It's clear the change is coming as early as the first season. With Jason Todd clearly being uncomfortable with his predecessor still claiming the name and Dick eventually burning his Robin costume, it's just a matter of time. A recently surfaced set photo confirms the coming of Dick Grayson's more mature superhero persona, though as of the writing of this piece we have yet to see the Nightwing outfit from the front. 

Worst: Trigon's defeat in the season 2 premiere of Titans made no sense

Toward the end of 2018, Titans showrunner Greg Walker confirmed that the season 2 premiere was originally meant to be the season 1 finale. He claimed this was changed because he loved the idea of the cliffhanger and that the Titans' creative team "wanted go for an even bigger, better season 2 opener." But after watching the season 2 premiere, you might wonder if the actual reason was because "Trigon" is perhaps the least satisfying episode in the series so far. 

Almost every hero besides Rachel (Teagan Croft) and Gar do nothing to contribute to Trigon's defeat. Most of the heroes get possessed and just stand around, looking possessed. Gar frees Rachel from Trigon's sway by holding her hand — Trigon possesses her by literally ripping her heart from her chest and disintegrating the organ into a jewel which he inserts into her forehead, but Beast Boy holds her hand so, you know. It's all good! 

Rachel insists she has to free Dick from possession before fighting Trigon, even though Dick doesn't help defeat Trigon at all (and he would've been freed by Trigon's fall anyway, like the other Titans). How does she defeat the all-powerful demon we've been told for an entire season can destroy the universe? She walks up to him, says something snarky, unleashes her power, and beats him in a manner that is not really spelled out at all. She just kind of vaguely... wins.