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Teen Titans is an Americanmarker animated television series based on the DC Comics characters of the same name. The show was created by Glen Murakami, developed by David Slack, and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It premiered on Cartoon Network on July 19, 2003, and the final episode "Things Change" aired on January 16, 2006. Two comic book titles from DC Comics, Tiny Titans and the former Teen Titans Go!, are based on the series. Many characters, scenarios and themes were drawn from the 1980s DC Comics series The New Teen Titans.

Series run

Teen Titans is based on the DC Comics superhero team, the Teen Titans, primarily the stories told in the early-1980s The New Teen Titans comic book series by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. The series revolves around main team members Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven. While it is an action cartoon, the series is also character-driven, with a focus on the main characters’ struggles with being teenage superheroes, their mutual friendships, and their limitations. A major difference between the animated series and the comic book is that while the comic portrayed the characters as being in their late teens to early 20s (resulting in the comic series at one point even dropping the word Teen from its title to reflect its older characters), the animated series characters are all depicted as being in their actual teen years, 14-17, leaving Robin being 16, Starfire being 15, Cyborg being 17, Raven being 15, and Beastboy being 14, as the director says, in season 1 and 2.

Seasons two and four are based upon two of the most popular New Teen Titans arcs, "Judas Contract" and "Terror of Trigon" respectively. Many characters from the comics, including Aqualad, Bumblebee, and Speedy, appear throughout the series. This is especially true in the final season, which introduces many Titans from the comics into the series for the first time, as well as the Doom Patrol heroes and villains.

The group's base of operations is Titans Tower, a large T-shaped structure that combines living quarters, a command center, training/workout facilities, and hangar/garage space. It sits on an island just offshore from a fictional West Coast city; the location is never stated in any episode, but is identified as "Jump City" in the Teen Titans Go! comic series. The general position is shown in the episode "Homecoming, pt. II". In the episode The Brain targets the tower and city with his black hole generator. The map on the screen highlights northern California. Also, in episode 11 of Season 2, "Fractured", during the motorcycle chase, Robin and Jonny Rancid are shown driving up a bridge very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge, indicating that Jump City is near San Francisco, California. At the end of the third season, a second team of Titans comes together in Steel City, on the East Coast, and builds a similar Tower to serve as home base. However, instead of a free-standing structure on an island, this one is set into the cliff on which the city is built.

Teen Titans frequently uses self-referential humor, and its animation style is heavily influenced by anime. On different episodes, the series' theme song's lyrics alternate between English and Japanesemarker, sung by the J-pop duo Puffy (called "Puffy AmiYumi" in the United States to distinguish it from Sean Combs). Andrea Romano revealed in an easter egg on the season 3 DVD that the Japanese theme song means it will be a silly episode, while the English theme songs means it will be a serious episode (with the exception of "Nevermore"). This can be accessed by going to the special features menu on disc 2 and selecting the + sign on Más' chest; examples are then shown.

In mid-November 2005, TitansTower.com reported that prospects for a sixth season were looking extremely unlikely, and fans were urged to express their support for the show to Cartoon Network. Several days after this initial posting, word came that Cartoon Network had officially terminated the show. According to Wil Wheaton, the actor who provided the voice of Aqualad, the series was terminated by new Warner Bros. Feature Animation executives who made the decision not to renew the series based on its sixth season pitch. Wheaton's story was contradicted by series story editor Rob Hoegee who stated that the decision came from Cartoon Network, not WB, being that there were never any plans for a sixth season. Layoffs at WB studios in late 2005 were also speculated to be a factor in the cancellation.

After the series finale, Warner Bros. Animation announced a feature called Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo. The film premiered at San Diego Comic-Con International and was shown on Cartoon Network first on September 15, 2006. The DVD was released on February 6, 2007.

Episodes

Cast list

Heroes

Main Titans

sari tara strong
Role Actor
Robin/Nightwing Scott Menville
Raven Tara Strong
Starfire Hynden Walch
Beast Boy Greg Cipes
Cyborg Khary Payton


Titans East
Role Actor
Bumblebee T'Keyah Keymáh
Speedy Mike Erwin
Aqualad Wil Wheaton
Más y Menos Freddy Rodriguez


Honorary Titans
Role Actor
Argent Hynden Walch
Bobby None
Bushido None
Gnaark Dee Bradley Baker
Herald Khary Payton
Hot Spot Bumper Robinson
Lightning Quinton Flynn
Melvin Russi Taylor
Jericho None
Jinx Lauren Tom, Tara Strong ("Titans Together")
Kid Flash Michael Rosenbaum
Killowat Derek Stephen Prince, Nolan North
Kole Tara Strong
Pantha Diane Delano
Red Star Jason Marsden
Teether Tara Strong
Terra Ashley Johnson
Thunder Scott Bullock
Timmy Tantrum Russi Taylor
Tramm Dave Coulier
Wildebeest Dee Bradley Baker


Villains

Major villains
Role Actor
Slade Ron Perlman
Brother Blood John DiMaggio
Trigon Keith Szarabajka ("Nevermore")
Kevin Michael Richardson (all other appearances)
The Brain Glenn Shadix
Monsieur Mallah Glenn Shadix
Madame Rouge Hynden Walch
General Immortus Xander Berkeley
Blackfire Hynden Walch
H.I.V.E. Five
Role Actor
Jinx (later becomes an Honorary Titan) Lauren Tom, Tara Strong ("Titans Together")
Gizmo Lauren Tom, Tara Strong ("Revved Up," "Titans Together")
Mammoth Kevin Michael Richardson
See-More Kevin Michael Richardson
Private H.I.V.E. Greg Cipes
Billy Numerous Jason Marsden
Kyd Wykkyd None


Secret identities

Unlike most other superhero television series, the Teen Titans characters maintain their superhero identities at all times, though the series hints at the concept of an alter ego or secret identity but rarely explores it. The Titans have even been seen sleeping in their costumes.

In particular, some fans debated which Robin leads the Teen Titans. Many times throughout the animated series, it is implied that Robin is Dick Grayson, although it was never confirmed or denied until Teen Titans Go! #47, which revealed that Robin's secret identity is Dick Grayson. In "Fractured", Robin's alternate dimensional counterpart Larry gives as his real name Nosyarg Kcid ("Dick Grayson" spelled backwards). In another episode where Starfire is thrust into the future, Robin has taken on Grayson's identity of Nightwing. Also, in the episode "Haunted" when Raven goes into Robin's mind, there is a clip of two acrobats falling from a trapeze, (The Flying Graysons, John and Mary Grayson) a reference to how Dick Grayson became Robin. In episode 2 ("X") of season 3, Robin's life is displayed on a chart by Beast Boy and it shows Robin as Nightwing (although this same chart also displays Jason Todd as Robin). In the same episode, Red X pulls Robin's mask, and his flesh goes with it as if glued on (a cartoon sequence); in the comics Dick Grayson as Nightwing admitted to using a type of glue to get his mask to stay on.

The policy of not mentioning the characters secret identities is broken in the fifth season, in which Doom Patrol members refer to Beast Boy by his real name, Garfield; however, the Titans continue to call him Beast Boy. In "Go" the Titans ask Beast Boy about his mask and he states it hides his true identity. Raven points out that he is green with pointed ears and fangs, he "has no secret to hide". The backgrounds and real names of Cyborg and Starfire are alluded to in earlier seasons: Cyborg chooses the alias "Stone" in the episode "Deception", a nod to his name Victor Stone in the DC Comics, while Starfire's name, Koriand'r, is spoken aloud on-screen amidst a line of Tamaranian language in the episode "Betrothed" (the fifth season origin-episode "Go!" mentions that Starfire is a translation of her Tamaranian name). The policy is never an issue with Raven, who never had a secret identity (though the mainstream continuity Teen Titans Vol. 3 has shown she has taken the name Rachel Roth as an alter ego in the normal world).

The comic series Teen Titans Go! has recently been going into the background of the characters further:
  • #45- Beast Boy and Cyborg's origin.
  • #46- Starfire's origin.
  • #47- Robin's origin.
  • #51- Terra's origin.


Connection to the Batman Mythos

The series briefly alludes to Batman several times: when Slade attempts to make Robin his protege, Slade says "Who knows? I might be like a father to you". Robin then remarks, "I already have a father," and a shot of bats flying through a dark sky is shown reference to Batman. This same episode also features a Wayne Enterprises building company of Batman's playboy billionaire alter-ego Bruce Wayne the family company of Bruce Wayne's dead father Thomas Wayne. When the Teen Titans played football in the park ("Sum of his parts"), Beast Boy chanted, "One-Gotham City, two-Gotham City..." in reference to the standard "One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi..." In "Go!", (after a stream of bats go by) a crook asks, "Hey, this isn't your town! Aren't you supposed to be with-" but then is interrupted by Robin, who replies, "I just moved here. And from now on, I work alone,". Another allusion occurs in the season 3 episode "Haunted," in the same sequence that featured the falling acrobats. It depicts Robin accepting a costume and taking an oath in what is assumed to be the Batcave. The sequence is in silhouette, and very brief. Also, Batman's silhouette is mostly obscured—even hiding the bat ears, however, his distinctive cowl design can still be made out when the sequence is paused. Also in the season one episode "Final Exam," Gizmo plants a rocket on Cyborg's back. When Starfire saves Cyborg, he says, "Maybe y'all should call me Fly-borg. I was halfway to Gotham City before Star zapped that thing off my back." In "How Long is Forever?" a picture of Barbara Gordon/Oracle can be seen in the corner of the screen in Nightwing's headquarters. In "Betrayal", Terra comments that some of the best pie is 100 miles out of Gotham City. In numerous episodes the name Oracle can be seen on the monitor screen.

Continuity

Teen Titans has never been established explicitly to be a part of the larger DC Animated Universe or The Batman, a source of fan controversy. Series producer Bruce Timm stated the series would not cross over with Justice League Unlimited. Batman himself makes a very small cameo in Teen Titans Go! comic #47, but is done in such a way that it is difficult to identify which version of him it is. However, Speedy, who first appeared in the episode "Winner Take All" along with Aqualad and others, appeared alongside his mentor, Green Arrow, in Justice League Unlimited. Also notably, Kid Flash was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum in his appearances in the show - the same actor who voiced the Flash in Justice League Unlimited.

Though there have been no fully realized crossovers between Teen Titans and other DC animated shows, it is worth noting that all five of the principle voice actors from Teen Titans appeared together in an episode of Justice League entitled Wild Cards, playing the Royal Flush Gang. Furthermore, the design of each gang member was styled on the actual likeness of the respective Teen Titans cast member lending them their voice.

While most episodes are not connected with a central plot, each season features several episodes devoted to the series' mythology. The first season introduces Slade, an arch-rival of Robin and the Titans. The second season adaptation of "The Judas Contract" introduces Terra, who eventually betrays the Titans to Slade, just as she had in the comic books. The third season focuses on Cyborg's rivalry with Brother Blood and the H.I.V.E. academy, and ends with the creation of the Titans East team, based on the East Coast. The fourth season adapts the "Terror of Trigon" arc, showcasing Raven and her relationship with her father, the demon Trigon. Lastly, the fifth season focuses on the Brotherhood of Evil, longtime enemies of the Doom Patrol, the superhero team to which Beast Boy belonged before joining the Titans, and the apparent war that takes place between them and the Titans. In the final episode, he encounters a high school student who looks and sounds exactly like Terra, but her identity is never firmly established. He eventually realizes that he must move on with his life and leave both her and the past behind.

Reception

An example of the controversial anime-stylings frequently utilized in the show.
Some fans of the comics criticized the series for having a "childish nature". Some cartoon fans disliked the series for its hybrid of western and Japanese-style animation. The Teen Titans were based on their DC Comic iterations, but the animation was mainly of a Japanese style. In addition, there were complaints as to why Jump City was chosen as the Teen Titans home whereas New Yorkmarker was the base of operations in many of the Teen Titans comics.

Early into the series' run, Executive Producer and Cartoon Network V.P. Sam Register responded to criticism regarding the style of the show:

However, while the series' creators initially stated that younger children were the intended audience for the series, Teen Titans Go! writer J. Torres notes that the progression and deeper themes of the show widened the appeal to a much broader audience:

Years after its cancellation, the show maintains a strong fan base, and has recently experienced a resurgence of popularity thanks to its addition to the cartoon lineup on Boomerang. Fans of the series seem to be drawn to the show by its emphasis on developing the stories of its relatable characters. Teen Titans was named the 83rd best animated series by IGN. Also, reruns have found their way back to the Cartoon Network lineup.

Impact on the comics

The series has had an impact on the comics that initially inspired it. During DC's 52 event, Beast Boy adopts the purple and black outfit he wore on the show. Several years later, Beast Boy is given his pointed ears and fanged teeth originated by the series. In addition, the future Cyborg shown in the Titans Tomorrow storyline had the same armor pattern that was worn by his animated counterpart. The characters Mas Y Menos are brought into the comics during 52 as new recruits to the Titans, and later make a small cameo in the Final Crisis limited series. During 52, Joto is given the more politically-correct name "Hotspot" to match his cartoon counterpart. The most recent Aquagirl wears a costume with a similar design to the cartoon version of Aqualad. Writer Will Pfeifer brought Billy Numerous into the comics for a brief cameo during his tenure on Catwoman. Following the death of the original Gizmo (who was an adult in the comics), a second Gizmo inspired by the adolescent cartoon version, was created for the DC Special: Cyborg mini-series. Cinderblock was recently brought into the comics during a battle with the newest roster of Teen Titans.

Awards and nominations

2005 Annie Awards
  • Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production (Nominated)


2004 Annie Awards
  • Outstanding Music in an Animated Television Production (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production (Nominated)


2004 Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards:
  • Best Sound Editing in Television Animation (Won)


DVD releases

Season Releases
DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information
The Complete First Season February 7, 2006 13 Finding Their Voices, Toon Topia bonus cartoons, Puffy Ami Yumi featurette and music video, Comic Creations: From Comic Book To Cartoon
The Complete Second Season September 12, 2006 13 Catching Up With Teen Titans
The Complete Third Season April 10, 2007 13 Teen Titans: Know Your Foe
The Complete Fourth Season November 20, 2007 13 Access Top Secret Files from the Teen Titans: Know Your Foes Featurette Gallery
The Complete Fifth Season July 22, 2008 13 Access Top Secret Files from the Teen Titans: Friends and Foes Featurette Gallery


See also



References

External links




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