Yesterday Nerdist broke news about the lineup of TNT's upcoming "Titans" series. And for me, at least, the initial roster looks good. Here's who made the cut:
Nightwing - We already heard he would be the team leader, now it sounds like Dick Grayson will start out as a Robin getting too long in the tooth to stay in the Batcave, and will become Nightwing at some point during the first season. I love this idea. Dick Grayson has been one of my favorite characters since I was a pup, and watching him transition from Robin to Nightwing, to (briefly) Batman, to Nightwing to Secret Agent Grayson (his current status) has been one of the great underappreciated stories of the DC Universe. He's a great character who hasn't been seen on screen much, even in animated form--I'm excited.
Barbara Gordon - the Former Batgirl was shot in the spine by the Joker, and is now wheelchair-bound. In the comic books she was "Oracle" for decades, and it looks like that's the role she'll get in "Titans." Computer genius, the hub of all of the Titans intel, between her history as a crimefighter, her genius-level intellect, and her on-again/off-again thing with Dick Grayson, I'm looking forward to this character.
Hawk and Dove -- either a brother and brother or brother and sister team, depending on which version they go with, Hawk is a superstrong brute who wants to solve everything with violence, Dove with peace. They both have super powers, they're both characters I really don't care about. I'm wondering if these will be disposable characters who can get killed off to open up spots on the roster.
Raven - depending on which version you're reading/watching, she's the daughter of a demon, she's an empath, she can project her "soul self" as hard objects, and she can teleport. When I was a kid reading the comic books, I was kind of in love with her. This is a character that could be the coolest thing ever. I hope they get her right.
Starfire - This is the one I'm most worried about. In the comic books, her costume is usually one nip-slip away from being full-frontal. She can be written with great power, or she can be written like a bimbo. On the "Teen Titans" series on Cartoon Network, her alien-ness is played for comedy, but she often comes across as dim-witted. I like the character a lot...I hope she has more than one note.
Taken together, this is a good team. The earliest Teen Titans were Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Speedy (Green Arrow's sidekick), and it would be nice to see mentions of some of those other characters. The team I grew up with was the "New Teen Titans," which included Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Cyborg, and Changeling (nee Beast Boy):
...and as an old, old, man, that's a team I'd still love to see.
When I showed my sons TNT's lineup, their first question was "Where's Cyborg and Beast Boy?" ...because this is the team that they grew up with:
That's from Cartoon Network's "Teen Titans," of course, which ran from 2003-2006, and has sort of returned as "Teen Titans Go," which is a comedy with the same five characters, dumbed down and for those with microattention spans. My boys (10 and 12) do watch it, but they also mourn the past "serious" tv show that had story arcs and actual villains and adventures and team ups with other young heroes. There was also a short-lived "Young Justice," which was telling big stories...and got canceled. So yeah.
I'd love to see a rotating roster of characters; like the X-Men, Avengers, and Justice League, the Teen Titans have always had members come and go. Like those other teams, the Titans have a deep pool of talent to draw from. I'm fine starting out with the lineup announced, but it would be great to see Cyborg and Beast Boy introduced in Season Two. With Cyborg being a character in "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice," I don't know if that will happen.
The other intriguing possibility is that this TNT series shares producers with the CBS "Supergirl" series and CW's "The Flash" and "Arrow." Flash, Kid Flash, Arsenal, and Supergirl have all been members of the Titans at one point or another. According to the producers, they're open to the idea of crossovers. It seems unlikely, given the multiple networks, but the sucker in me thinks if they want to make it happen, they'd be able to work it out.
No one's been cast yet, but with the announcement of the roster, it looks like things are moving forward. We've had recent announcements about "Supergirl," including her casting, the casting of Jimmy Olsen, and that her first villain will be the uber-obscure Lumberjack. I'm assuming it will be soon that we'll hear hit-and-miss information about "Titans" too.
I'm hoping this has the lighter tone of "The Flash." More than any other superhero team, the Teen Titans are a family. They're not just co-workers, they're not just temporarily teamed up to fight a bad guy. They live in Titans Tower. They love and hate each other like siblings. Some of them fall in love with each other (not like siblings)(I hope)(Luke and Leia notwithstanding). If TNT can figure out how to keep it on the air for a few seasons, and if the producers, writers, and showrunners can keep it going, this could be an amazing series for DC Comics fans.