Cartoon Network has been recognised for years for their original cartoons, examples like Dexter’s Laboratory and The Power Puff Girls all making the list. In 2003 and onwards, Cartoon Network began introducing other ideas that differentiated from their usual choices, but this in no way made them any less popular.
I think of Teen Titans in this case, a cartoon series that recreated well known DC characters and brought them to life in an exciting, action-packed way. The series involved a group of superheroes who worked together to keep their home of West City safe from any evil that tried to harm them. The Titan team consists of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg and Beast Boy, who all work together through battles against evil whilst also battling the issues of normal adolescence. This new take on the characters are probably what caused the tv series to become so popular, with the issues involved being relatable to real life. This incorporation gave the series many depths, rightfully making it a critically renowned cartoon. The series was known for their impressive character development and mature themes, and the success of this lead to the series continuing with a fifth season, despite only planning four in the initial planning.
Sadly, later in 2005, the series faced a cancellation despite its support to keep on the air. As you can imagine, many fans were upset with the fact that such an influential cartoon series was being scrapped. Rumours spread years later that a sixth series was returning, but alas this strictly stayed as a cruel lie.
So 2013 came, and Cartoon Network graced its fans with the news that the Teen Titans were returning. Myself, and I would imagine many others were excited by this news. The Titans we all knew and loved were returning to our screens! Was this a dream? I now wish it was.
Instead of the normal Titans we all waited to see, Cartoon Network released a completely recreated version of the superheroes and gave the series title a new name too: “Teen Titans, Go!”. Now, Cartoon Network were able to successfully do this in the past, but I have no idea what went on in their heads to decide that this was a better idea. To start with, the animation is so basic and childlike, which contrasts to the 2003 series straight away. Where the 2003 Teen Titans kept to the usual DC animation, Teen Titans, Go decided to take a completely different approach The animation isn’t terrible, but for me it removes the DC element of the show. I wouldn’t have been as bothered if I hadn’t noticed a difference in one of the characters:
I’m not sure whether the redesigned Raven was supposed to highlight the Goth-like personality that she has, but all I know is that I am not fond of the change. The hair colour change was unnecessary and quite frankly, makes Raven look more Goth chick than superhero. Raven was great the way she was, why change that? All characters have gone through a significant change, but Raven stood out to me the most, and mainly due to her hair colour. A small change, but a rather unnecessary one.
Cartoon Network isn’t the first channel to attempt to redesign animation, and they also aren’t the first to annoy their fans with it. American Dragon for example is another cartoon that has bothered the fans with a complete change of cartoon style. The main character Jake Long was originally a muscular being in dragon form, and this simply made him more baddass and strong looking. But the redesign did the complete opposite to Jake, instead making him a slender, more oriental style dragon. This change was so dramatic that it made the viewing of the tv show difficult. The redesign also added in two characters to help aid the comedic style of the show; two characters that basically played no part to the overall plot and were probably included to fill in gaps in the episodes. Aren’t the reactions to these dramatic changes enough to suggest that perhaps….it shouldn’t be done?
What I also noticed about Teen Titans, Go is that they focus on a more slapstick nature rather than their usual serious themes. The new comedic angle taken on the show makes it more suited to Cartoon Network since that’s what they usually showcase on the channel. But nevertheless, Teen Titans was well known for their take on serious matters and I don’t see this being the case with the new series. If this was a respected feature, so why remove that for the new series? New doesn’t necessarily mean good and this proves it.
Cartoon Network made an attempt to reward their fans with the return of the famous Teen Titans, but sadly 6 years was not enough time to allow them to see sense. If ratings for the show remain as low as they currently are, the solution is obvious. Bring back the titans we all know and love.