Netflix’s ‘Titans’ Trying Too Hard

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Just an episode away from finishing off the second season of the Netflix show Titans. I like it, I really do. But it could be so much better.

Full disclosure: I bleed Marvel blue. Or…whatever color Marvel bleeds. I’m a Marvel guy through and through. I think all of their movies were great, and anything Netflix did with Marvel was A+++ (and why they canceled Punisher is beyond me). And as a teenager I collected Marvel comics mostly. DC, while I did grab a few of them, was always considered the lesser of the two comic behemoths.

As for my thoughts on DC in the modern era (i.e. movies and television), it gets a big ‘meh’. I wasn’t crazy about any of the movies except for the second Dark Knight one, and Wonder Woman, both of which I enjoyed. I watched nearly two seasons of Flash before the hokeyness chased me away. I watched a full season of Supergirl with the same result. And I got through five full seasons of Arrow before I’d had enough. When Arrow’s sister trained in martial arts for, like two weeks and became a masked vigilante…and then Arrow’s girlfriend did some kickboxing and became Black Canary… and then I check in on Flash because my kids are watching them, and see that he suddenly has about five other Flash buddies (in different shapes, sizes and colors) and I can see it was heading the same way Arrow went – I’m just done. DC=Horrible.

So Titans came on last year and I thought “oh good, something I can watch with the kids”. They were 10 and 7 at the time and watched all of Teen Titans the cartoon about three times each. They’ll love this. But then the first trailer out had Robin saying “Fuck Batman”. And so…I realized that it’s probably not for kids.

So I watched them. And while the F-bombs were annoying in their overuse, I found the story interesting and the fight scenes were fantastic. Here in Season 2 though, the F-bombs have become a distraction. Ninety percent of them don’t add to the story, and when 20 to 30 F-bombs are dropped in an episode, you get the sense that Netflix is trying too hard. It reeks of desperation. Netflix is trying to be cool…but the problem is – Netflix already knows how to be cool! So this must be DC’s influence. Given DC’s track record of ruining a good thing, I can’t help but believe this is DC pushing hard for this series to be “cool”.

But…cool for who? The only people impressed by plentiful F-bombs are in that 11-16 age range. The rest of us like the show…despite the F-bombs. It becomes so distracting that by the third or fourth show of the season, each time you hear one you think about whether it added or took away from the moment. More often than not – it took away. That’s not to say that some F-bombs wouldn’t be perfect for certain situations. But this is overkill. One or three in a show I can totally see. But 30? In a given show, Titans could remove five or six completely without replacement and the dialogue becomes realistic. Replace seven or eight more with a damn or dammit, and nobody would blink an eye. Switch a few more with the word “shit”, or “come on!” and it honestly becomes a realistic dialogue that one would expect to see in that situation.

One other issue with this show, that holds it back from becoming a 10/10 masterpiece: The Sookie. I named this move after Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood, who storms off angrily when her friend (or enemy, or acquaintance) tries to explain the reason something happened. She doesn’t hear the explanation, or bother to accept it and move on. Instead, she storms off and that leads to something screwing up – either she gets into trouble, or the person explaining/apologizing gets into trouble. Or dies. Or gets hurt. In this season of Titans, the apologies and explanations come flying left, right and center. Never once was the apology accepted. And every time, the person (or persons) being apologized to, storms off. It’s predictable. And as soon as an apology was underway I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking about fast forwarding to the part where the other person storms away angrily (with several F-bombs) that is inevitably about to happen.

A clever writer could, just as a twist, have a character actually accept the apology? Maybe begrudgingly? A little? And then write a better way for that character to separate his or herself from the group so that he or she could get into the trouble that you want him or her to get into.

Anyway, overall I give this show a 7.0. But this is an 8.5 with a normal amount of F-bombs. Don’t try so hard.

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