Like much of DC’s animated fare, this series has its share of fans and detractors, but not for the typical reason. It completely avoids the common DC downfall of being too dark, broody and mature by instead swinging much too far in the opposite direction, presenting the candy-coated juvenile shenanigans of a group of heroes who are drawn and frequently act more like grade schoolers than teenagers. It’s more Powerpuff Girls than Batman, but with even less superhero action. I supposed that’s all well and good for the target younger demographic, but it’s not likely a series you’ll be able to endure watching with your kids.
The series plays more like a sitcom than a superhero adventure, with all of the moldy tropes of the format fully intact. The characters are more interested in their petty interpersonal squabbles than saving the world, with the focus usually on their day-to-day interactions in their Titans Tower clubhouse instead of a baddie of the week. Actually, “focus” isn’t the right term; like most adolescents, they’re fairly unfocused, and the plots are even less so, zooming from sight gag to comedic misunderstanding and back with such ADHD abandon that I frequently wanted to press half speed on the remote to slow things to a decipherable level.
Of the five characters, Robin and Cyborg are easily the most recognizable, although Cyborg seems somewhat out of place as a very late teen at best, especially considering his full-fledged Justice League of America status in DC continuity across all other media forms. Having never read the comics or watched the previous animated series, I wasn’t really familiar with the other three characters, but Beast Boy is the most easily accessible and fun with his mascot-like ability to shape shift into amusing critters. Starfire plays like a clueless alien princess, while Raven seems like a grumpy ghost.
The voice talent lacks star wattage but offers one major benefit to the show’s credibility: all five of the principal actors are the original cast from the previous Teen Titans animated series a decade ago. While I never saw that series, the return of original cast members is always a welcome move.
The 1080p Blu-ray masterfully conveys the retina-searing intensity of the show’s overly vivid colors, but oddly the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is only 2 channels instead of 5.1. The package crams all 52 of the season’s 11-minute episodes onto just two discs, apparently leaving no room for bonus features. If you already own the DVDs released last year, the only real selling points are the comparably small Blu-ray footprint and bump in image quality.