Warner Brothers continues to milk their superhero properties but seem content with only doing live-action, throwing the occasional bone to their animation department and mostly failing on both angles. The only DC superhero cartoon they have on television right now is the comedic Teen Titans Go! while Marvel is making a number of animated representations. WB DC seems to be sticking to direct-to-video animated movies and saving the TV series stuff for live-action, with Arrow and The Flash getting some good marks while Gotham just has people in my circles waiting for Batman to come and fix this mess.
Now there is a live-action Teen Titans series in the works for TNT as well as the Supergirl series in development for CBS. While Teen Titans is just passing the greenlight stage (there’s no pilot or even casting news so the future of the series is still undetermined), The Nerdist has learned which characters will be converted into comic form. (WARNING: autoplaying video along with the article) I won’t be going over their histories because the linked-to article already has those. Instead I will simply review the choices.
While he will start out as Robin we will actually see the transition to Nightwing, something we’ve only seen in Batman The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave And The Bold. (In case someone brings up Young Justice: Invasion we never saw the transition since it happened during the time skip.) Putting Dick Grayson on there is a no-brainer really. He’s probably the most recognizable of the Teen Titan alums thanks to his years of being part of Batman media, plus he’s one of the founders, and the only one available except for Aqualad and which one do you use? Roy’s on Arrow and Wonder Girl has the same issue as Aqualad–which one do you go with? Kid Flash may end up on The Flash and Robin, the leader anyway, is the only one left. It will be interesting to see how he goes from Robin to Nightwing in this series.
Not Batgirl, but Barbara Gordon serving in her Oracle role (although perhaps not with that name). I’m not sure why she’s here. She was never a Teen Titan and I’m not sure she was a teenager as Batgirl. Not that the team couldn’t use her and I’m guessing the people who grew up with Oracle Barbara instead of Batgirl Barbara are finally old enough to be the writers of DC spinoff material. We haven’t seen non-comics Oracle since that one episode of The Batman and her last live-action appearance on Birds Of Prey, a show where I seem to be the only one who liked it.
I’m hoping they don’t go the New 52 route with Starfire because that will hurt this show badly. Starfire should be fun, maybe a little curious. I’ve heard people say they should have a love triangle with Dick, Barbara, and Korrian’dr but I disagree. Until Batman: The Animated Series I never saw them as a romantic couple. She was a senator while he was in college. People forget she’s way older than him because TAS has such a strong hold on how people view the Batman family. Starfire and Dick slowly developing into a couple, however, I’m willing to see. Word is they already have a romantic couple in mind, though.
Hawk and Dove
The last time Hawk and Dove left the comics was Justice League Unlimited where they used the original Dove, Don Hall (Hawk’s brother). By then Don had already died and a new avatar of the Lords Of Order had been chosen, Dawn Granger. Last I heard Dawn was involved with Deadman in the New 52 and when we get to the end of Armageddon 2001 we’ll see the problem with a post-Crisis pairing despite Unity’s origin in the annual I recently reviewed. That timeline will never happen anyway. I’m also hoping that there is more to them than “the couple”. Hawk is the avatar of the Lords Of Chaos and Dawn the Lords Of Order. That has to lead to some conflict and I’m hoping that isn’t in the form of “bickering couple for comedy”.
The last member of the TNT Titans is Raven, the daughter of a dark godlike being who is supposed to be used to destroy the world (long story short). Otherwise, in the comics she’s an empath who can feel the emotions around her. In the recent cartoon version she was just very reserved and had magic powers. I like the comic version better but toon Raven is all a good character so maybe a mix of the two would be nice.
I can’t go without mentioning the “controversial” absence of a few characters. As I said above, Speedy/Arsenal and Kid Flash are out of the running (no pun intended, KF) due to appearing in other shows. There has also been complaints of a lack of absence of Cyborg and Beast Boy/Changeling. I don’t think Cyborg being in the Movieverse is an issue because Flash is as well but he’ll be in the CWverse separate from the movie version. (This is another mistake by Warner Bros. Marvel’s live-action shows are part of the Cinematic Universe but WB’s shows are not. They want to imitate Marvel Studios but they don’t know what they’re doing at all.) But I don’t think their being from the cartoon or one of the favorite rosters of the Teen Titans is enough to insist they be there.
Cyborg has appeared outside the comics before the Teen Titans cartoon and current DTV movies in both Super Powers Team and Smallville, the latter a poor rendering of Vic Stone and the former a version I actually preferred over the Cartoon Network version or the current New 52 monstrosity. (Iron Man’s armor is less bulky than Cyborg 52’s body.) So of the two he’s one people are probably aware of, and he’s set for the Movieverse and showing up in the New 52-based Direct To Video movies and even appeared in the DC Super Friends web toon based on the Imaginext toy line. However, there’s a reason Smallville made Vic look human…they didn’t have to worry about making a costume that looks like Cyborg’s proper body that wouldn’t look pathetic (like every live-action version of Metallo, for example). Doing Cyborg properly might not be in TNT’s budget for this show. Look what happened to Babylon 5 when they took over.
The same goes for Beast Boy. Maybe they could pull off the green furry kid, but having him shapeshift into green animals would either be terrible CG or dropped altogether to fit within the budget. So I don’t see them getting into this show on TNT’s wallet.
And it’s based on TNT’s reworking of Babylon 5 (which ultimately made me leave even though it was the intended completion of various subplots from the previous syndicated seasons) that has me worried about this show. Could it be another The Flash? Maybe, but part of me is worried it will be more like Gotham. With any luck they’ll put someone in charge who actually likes superheroes and telling superhero stories. Otherwise it WILL be like Gotham or the theatrical movies and I’m going to be out. I’ll give the pilot a shot and see what I think…if it makes it past development and actually gets made. Remember, there’s no cast chosen yet. Of course they’re missing the best character.
We need The Protector on this series, or at least during a drug bust. Make this happen!