Flashback Review: Teen Titans: Season 1

Teen Titans’ first season officially aired in 2003 on Cartoon Network. (same year X2: X-Men United came out) Season 1 earned positive reviews from critics, fans & viewers alike. Teen Titans spawned four more seasons, merchandise, video games & a TV movie titled, “Trouble In Tokyo.” After Teen Titans ended in 2006, “Young Justice” filled in as a spiritual successor set in its own universe with no connection to Teen Titans. Sadly, Young Justice abruptly ended in 2012. A year later, “Teen Titans Go” aired with the original cast reprising their roles as The Titans. Unlike the original, Teen Titans Go is summed up in two words, epic disaster.

“Wonder Woman 1984” will be released (hopefully) this December. To keep myself busy for Gal Gadot’s overdue sequel, I’d like to share my thoughts on the original Teen Titans’ first season. I grew up watching the 2003 series not that god awful Teen Titans Go.

This review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS whatsoever. I’ll give newcomers a chance to watch the original Teen Titans.

The Whole Season

Pros: Scott Menville, Tara Strong, Khary Payton, Greg Cipes & Hynden Walch all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances as the five main leads.

My favorite titan is Raven. When I was 10, I used to have a crush on her.

Ron Perlman did a tremendous job for his voiceover performance as Deathstroke/Slade Wilson. He’s my favorite DC villain. Deathstroke is basically the Boba Fett of the DC Universe. Ron gets Bonus Points for his performance as my favorite Batman/Teen Titans villain.

Deathstroke is one of my Top 5 favorite comic book villains next to Joker, Venom, Loki & Harley Quinn.

Notable actors such as Wil Wheaton, Lauren Tom, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kenny, Roger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Dave Coulier & Malcolm McDowell have guest roles.

Action Sequences are spot on without making me fall asleep from beginning to end.

Animator, Glen Murakami developed the show. He did a decent job crafting each episode.

Animation has a unique anime-esque influence blending in an American cartoon as a hybrid bringing many elements to life such as environmental locations, character designs, fluid movements, fight scenes just to name a few.

The Tone is a balance between seriousness and comedy rolled together.

Cyborg’s catchphrase is “Booyah.” Never gets old.

Chemistry between the five leads serve as the main highlight. Each one has a distinctive personality. Meaning the show is not a carbon copy of Justice League.

Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) co-produced the show.

Deathstroke is the main antagonist of Season 1. Besides him, a few baddies serve as a designated baddie in a specific episode for The Titans to combat.

Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi perform the theme song in both English & Japanese. They later had their own series “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.”

The series is set in its own universe with no connections to the 2001 animated Justice League. No biggie.

Cons: I know the show’s target audience is for kids, but The Titans never take off their costumes whenever they don’t fight crime or investigate. They wear their outfits in public. If this were real life, paparazzi will follow them back to their headquarters. It’s best to go incognito, not wear your suit at all times.

As a kid, I used to call Deathstroke, Slade. Now that I’m older, I get annoyed when a character says Deathstroke’s real name. In a later season, why the heck is Killer Moth allowed to have his codenamed on Cartoon Network, but not Deathstroke? I sense hypocrisy from the company.

Episode 1 – Divide & Conquer

Victory: After an argument with Robin, Cyborg quits the team. Robin feels guilty for Cyborg quitting. Thankfully, they forgive each other.

Divide & Conquer is actually the first episode in chronological order. Final Exam aired first in broadcast order.

The Titans fight a monster who consumes plasma. Kinda looks like Clayface.

First episode sets up future entries.

Defeat: No flaws found.

Episode 2 – Sisters

Yay: Starfire’s older sister, Blackfire pays a visit.

Blackfire’s secret is revealed.

Alien Probes swarm in on Starfire.

Nay: Nothing bad happened.

Episode 3 – Final Exam

Passed: Deathstroke sends a trio of villains to combat The Titans.

The Titans must form a strategy to overcome their harder opponents.

Final Exam takes place after Divide & Conquer. Back when the show aired, Cartoon Network handpicked Final Exam as the first episode in broadcast order.

Gizmo’s mechanical arms remind me of Doc Ock’s mechanical tentacles.

Failed: No issues spotted.

Episode 4 – Forces Of Nature

Smart: Starfire calls somebody a “klorbag.” It means douchebag in the Tamaran language. Cartoon Network got pretty sneaky. I never understood the word when I was a kid. Now that I’m older, I get it.

A friendship divides when a prank goes awry.

A sibling duo with electric powers, wreck havoc.

An old sage factors in. His intentions makes total sense.

Stupid: No flaw found.

Episode 5 – Sum Of His Parts

Assemble: The Titans battle a magician named, Mumbo Jumbo. He makes another appearance when he turns Raven into a rabbit. Mumbo is my second favorite Titans villain. I want to see a movie with this guy by given him the same treatment as Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker.”

When Cyborg’s battery drains causing him to shut down, he’s taken by a robot.

Episode 5 centers around cybernetics can lose a portion of humanity. If too much implants are added, you express emotions nor show remorse.

There’s a sweet moment with a little boy with a prosthetic arm, who idolizes Cyborg as his hero.

Disassemble: Lacking flaws.

Episode 6 – Nevermore

Stable: Cyborg & Beast Boy accidentally transport themselves into Raven’s mind. They encounter different versions of Raven.

I think Nevermore predates “Inception.” Basically sums up Cyborg & Beast Boy going inside a person’s subconscious.

Raven’s dark side manifests.

A mental projection of Raven’s father, Trigon pops up. The real Trigon later makes prominent appearances in Season 4 as the main antagonist.

Unstable: No con discovered.

Episode 7 – Switched

Magical: Starfire & Raven swap bodies. They must interact using the opposite body if they want to rescue their allies from a walking puppet who transferred their souls into wooden puppets. Wait a second. “Freaky Friday” with Lindsay Lohan came out the same year Teen Titans aired.

Raven & Starfire learn to use their powers from the opposite body.

This episode has a “fish out of water” scenario for an obvious reason.

Cursed: No con spotted.

Episode 8 – Deep Six

Hydrated: Aquaman’s sidekick, Aqualad makes a guest appearance. The Titans team up with Aqualad to track down a sea creature.

A running gag involving Raven & Starfire gazing at Aqualad. Wait til’ they see Jason Momoa’s Aquaman causing them to pass out.

The Titans & Aqualad battle Trident. (not King Trident from The Little Mermaid)

Dehydrated: Lacking cons.

Episode 9 – Masks

Masked: A mysterious vigilante named, Red X factors in. He later makes a few appearances in later seasons.

Red X’s true identity is revealed.

The Titans battle with Red X becomes more difficult.

Unmasked: No issues seen.

Episode 10 – Mad Mod

Brilliant: A British villain kidnaps The Titans.

Episode 10 takes a humorous approach. Think of this as a side quest. It doesn’t go too far as Cartoon Network’s bastardized 2013 series.

Mad Mod’s appearance is based on “Austin Powers.”

One scene pays tribute to the “Ludovico Technique” from Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.” Malcolm McDowell, who voices Mad Mod, portrayed Alex from A Clockwork Orange.

One scene pays homage to “Scooby-Doo” similar to The Scooby Gang chasing the culprit through a hallway of random doors.

Slump: No really big boos found.

Episode 11 – Car Trouble

Fixed: Cyborg introduces his friends to his newly developed car.

A familiar face from Episode 3 returns to have some “fun.”

Car Trouble actually takes place before The Apprentice.

Broken: Nothing bad found.

Episodes 12-13 – The Apprentice

Trust: After an entire season, Deathstroke’s plan comes into full circle.

Robin is torn between his morality.

Batman’s presence is felt in this two part episode. Wayne Enterprises is used as a location for The Titans to battle an ”enemy.”

A fight with Deathstroke ensues. Gotta love Deathstroke’s combat skills. He’s overdue for a spin-off series or movie.

The two parter episode is arguably my favorite episode from Season 1. It’s also the true season finale when Cartoon Network broadcasted this episode out of order when they selected Car Trouble as Season One’s last episode.

Betrayal: No issues spotted.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BIGGER & BETTER!

Teen Titans’ first season is an awesome introduction for those who are new to witness the original series. To this day, I still rewatch the original Teen Titans so I can relive my childhood memories. It’s definitely a must watch. The original Teen Titans is available to stream on HBO Max, I highly recommend all seasons for your kids as an introduction to the real Teen Titans.  I can’t wait to see Wonder Woman 1984. Lets cross our fingers to keep movie theaters alive during this ongoing predicament.

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