I’ve spent a lot of time in the DC community over the past year and half. It’s been a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests and finally talk about comics with some new people. With that said, the more I’ve learned about the community, the more I’ve realized I really disagree on some things. Which is why I thought it would be fun to work on some threads where I could get a chance to hear other people out on things in the DC community I’m not a fan of, and test some of my own judgements.
Now, to be clear, I do not think of myself as “the superior DC fan.” Nor do I think it’s possible for anyone here to be superior as a fan… okay maybe HubCityQuestion has us all beat, but I am willing to accept that. Anyways, just because I like somethings and dislike other things does not mean I am right. I don’t think there is a “right” in this situation. It’s all a matter of personal taste. So please don’t feel like I am trashing on you or think you are dumb (or any other insult) because we disagree. That is 100% not the case. The entire purpose of this thread is to learn more about why you like it. To have my opinions challenged. Let’s take this opportunity to have some healthy, friendly, and respectful conversations on things we disagree about.
Now, with season three being just around the corner, I think it’d be a good idea for the first topic I chose for my “Help Me Understand!” Threads be DC Universe’s (or, I guess, now HBO Max’s) Titans. I remember when this show was first announced I was SO FREAKING excited to watch it! I remember waiting every day to see the news that would come out about it. I specifically remember how insanely pumped I was to see Brenton Thwaites in costume for the first time.
I had grown up on the Teen Titans and Young Justice animated shows. So a mature, live-action show of my favorite characters was RIGHT up my ally. And then… the first trailer dropped. To say I was let down, may have been a bit of an understatement. There was something just off about it. And, that was when I first started to to worry; but I was still excited and more than willing to give it a chance. And I did… multiple chances in fact. I’ve watched both seasons, twice now, and I am not a fan. I say all of this because I want to make it clear that I’m not just hating on the show for the sake of hating on it or because I don’t like the characters or because I came in wanting to dislike it. My problems began and are with the show itself specifically.
Right off the bat (pun intended), Titans is FILLED with incredibly hard-to-listen-to and cliché dialogue. Rachel’s character in particular struggles with this. She is constantly and consistently the epitome of a disjointed, middle-aged dude struggling to write as a teenage girl. Her dialogue is constantly filled with the cliché emo-girl lines that can all basically be summed up into “you just don’t understand me,” which makes her incredibly annoying! Now, this is a problem with a lot of the characters on the show (Dick and Jason in particular) but this is an EXTREMELY big problem for Rachel because the entire first season revolves around her as a character.
We spend most of the season with Dick and Rachel as they attempt to help protect her from the cult and deal with her daddy-issues. The conflict of the season in particular lies in the audience’s ability to care about Rachel. To want her to be safe. To want her to win. To just like her. But her dialogue/characterization pretty much made that impossible for me. And that is a huge problem for most of season 1! Granted, that wasn’t something that affected my ability to enjoy the Starfire storyline of that season, but that’s because it was basically not connected at all!!! And that is the second huge problem of Titans’ writing.
You see, bad dialogue by itself is not the end all be all of a show. Stargirl struggles with a similar problem with its dialogue at times, but I love that show because it has solid characters and an engaging plot! Titans, on the other hand, simply is not able to fall back on that. The show is so incredibly poorly paced and has such disconnected plotlines that I can’t even try to feel engaged with overall narrative to be able to ignore the smaller details of writing. As I stated above, the first season of Titans is telling two completely different storylines that don’t connect well at all. The main storyline with Dick and Rachel is battling for my attention with Starfire’s plotline. It’s not unusual to have two storylines in a narrative (the A-Plot and the B-Plot), but both of these plotlines are acting as equally important as the other while pretty much not connecting in any significant way. It’s like watching two shows at once and changing between the channels halfway through an episode of one series to start the episode of another; and this problem only gets WORSE in season two
Honestly, the disconnected plotlines of season one didn’t bother me as much because the show was paced so slowly/poorly that interjecting the plot with a new location and characters every once and a while would grab my attention again. On top of that, there were really just the two plotlines I described before. Pretty easy to keep track of. Season two, on the other hand, oh my lord. Talk about a complete 180 in the worst way. The pacing is still bad, but now it’s WAY TOO FAST!!! The first 10 minutes of episode 1 speeds through the climactic battle and enemy that we just spent all of season one building up to so they can rush into a completely new storyline with new characters and a new villain. And with this new season came a lot of new plotlines. We have Rachel recovering from her father, Dick dealing with PTSD from his time as Robin, Hawk and Dove fighting, Jason and Rose’s love story, Superboy escaping from Cadmus with Krypto, Kory and Donna on their adventure, and Beast Boy… well Beast Boy is just kind of there (a bit of an afterthought of a character included for fan service). That’s like 7 different storylines, all of which are equally as important, constantly fighting for my attention, and never connecting until the last episode (and only kind of connecting at that). It’s just a mess of a story.
So, to sum it up, the disjointed narratives, poor pacing, bad/cringey dialogue, and overall just bad writing makes Titans pretty much unwatchable for me. But with that said, I seem to be in the minority here. I mean Titans has done incredibly well critically and commercially (hell, they wouldn’t be making season three if that wasn’t the case) so I’m just kind of left wondering what I’m missing here.
I mean, I’ll admit that the show isn’t all bad. The costumes and actors are GREAT!!! The costumes were the things that first sold me on the show; and while I’m not a fan of the show overall, I VERY rarely blame that on actors. All of them have proven themselves on other shows or films to me, so their acting is not the problem I have with the show. And some of them even give strong performances in the show itself that made me happy here and there. But costumes and actors I like aren’t enough for me to give the show a pass (nor do I think it’s enough for anyone).
So that’s where I leave it to you, help me understand! What do you like about Titans? As I prepare myself for my THIRD re-watch of these seasons in preparation for the next season, what should I keep in mind to hopefully have a better experience? I look forward to talking with you all in this thread.