Teen Titans
Season 1
Teen Titans Season 1 iTunes cover.jpg
Digital cover art
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Release
Original network
Original releaseJuly 19 (2003-07-19) –
November 11, 2003 (2003-11-11)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The first season of the animated television series Teen Titans, based on the DC Comics series created by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani, originally aired on Cartoon Network in the United States. Developed by Glen Murakami, Sam Register, and television writer David Slack. The series was produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It stars Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, and Greg Cipes as the voices of the main characters.

The series revolves around a team of crime-fighting teenaged superheroes – Robin, the team's fearless leader; Starfire, an alien princess from Tamaran; Cyborg, the team’s tech-wizard who is half human and half robot; Raven, a telepathic sorceress from Azarath; and Beast Boy, a shapeshifter who can transform into any and all types of animals. The show focuses on the Titans adventures in protecting the city. The first season also features an overarching storyline focused on the Titans' main villain Slade, a mysterious mastermind who takes an interest in Robin and also the latter's growing obsession towards stopping him at any cost.

Teen Titans debuted on Cartoon Network on July 19, 2003 and concluded its first season on November 11. The season also aired on The WB's Kids' WB programming block from November 1, 2003 to February 28, 2004. The season premiered to strong ratings for Cartoon Network while displaying a moderate showing on Kids' WB; the series became Cartoon Network's highest rated new series at the time. While initial reaction to the series was mixed to negative, the season as a whole received positive reviews with many critics highlighting the series' storytelling and dialogue.

Production

The first season of Teen Titans aired on Cartoon Network. The season aired on Kids' WB Saturday mornings at 8:30 A.M. EST, beginning on November 1, 2003.[1] The series was first greenlit in late September 2002, with Japanese-American animator Glen Murakami signed on.[2] The series' creation was inspired by the success of Justice League, also based on DC Comics characters.[3] However, as opposed to Justice League and other DC animated television series, the intention behind Teen Titans was to create the series for a younger audience. Series producer and animator Glen Murakami noted that the series is "lighter and has humor" while staying true to the "intent of the characters." Murakami also noted that the process of transforming material from the comics into material suitable for the target audience was similar to what was done with both Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond: "We kind of have to take into consideration that were not making this cartoon just for fans of the comic book, the ones who know all the backstory and know all the continuity. We have to tell the Starfire story in half an hour! I think we took all those things into consideration, but there's just some things you can't do for children's programming."[4] The series' mixes American style animation with Japanese anime. According to Murakami, the incorporating of anime came naturally, noting that he and Bruce Timm were anime fans and the increased presence of anime at the time.[4]

Cast and characters

The first season featured the voice talent of veteran British voice actor Malcolm McDowell. He voiced villain Mad Mod in the episode bearing his character's name.

The first season employs a cast of five main voice actors. Scott Menville provided the voice of Robin, the Titans' leader and martial arts expert. Greg Cipes voiced Beast Boy, a green-skinned shapeshifter who can change into any animal. Cyborg, the half-robot half-human technological genius of the Titans, was portrayed by Khary Payton. Tara Strong played Raven, a sorceress from Azarath whose powers are triggered and controlled by her emotions. Starfire, a Tamaranian princess who still struggles to acclimate to Earth customs, was voiced by Hynden Walch. Walch also provided the voice for Blackfire, Starfire's older sister, in the episode "Sisters" while Menville played Robin's alter-ego Red X in the episode "Masks".

In addition to the main cast, the season also employs several guest voice actors. Actor Dee Bradley Baker provided the voice effects for Cinderblock, a humanoid concrete monster, appearing in two episodes of the season. Baker also provided the voice of Plasmus in the episode "Divide and Conquer."[5] Veteran actor Ron Perlman played Slade, the season's main villain, appearing in six episodes. The episode "Final Exam" featured the vocal talents of Lauren Tom, who voiced H.I.V.E. members Jinx and Gizmo, and Kevin Michael Richardson, who provided the voice of Mammoth.[6] Tom also voiced Gizmo in the episode "Car Trouble."[7] In the episode "Forces of Nature", Stuart Scott Bullock, better known as S. Scott Bullock, provided the voice of Thunder and Quinton Flynn provided the voice for Lightning. Thunder and Lightning are supernatural brothers who use their powers to cause mischief-they would later become allies of the Titans in Season 5.[8] In the episode "The Sum of His Parts", Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants in the Nickelodeon series, provided the voices of Mumbo Jumbo and robot hermit Fixit, the episode's main villains.[9] Recurring villain Dr. Light, voiced by character actor Roger Bumpass, debuted in the episode "Nevermore."[10] Keith Szarabajka filled the voice of Trigon. He later returns in Season 4 as the season's main villain, important to that season's story arc. Tracey Walter lent his voice to the main villain of the episode "Switched", Puppet King.[11] The episode "Deep Six" featured the vocal talents of Clancy Brown (who portrayed the villain Trident), veteran actor and comedian Dave Coulier (who played Tramm and Captain), and actor and writer Wil Wheaton (who voiced fellow hero Aqualad).[12] The episode "Mad Mod" featured English actor Malcolm McDowell providing the voice of the titular character.[13] Actor and singer James Arnold Taylor provided the voices for Cash and Sammy in the episode "Car Trouble."[7]

Reception and release

Teen Titans debuted on Cartoon Network on July 19, 2003 with the highest ratings among boy 6–11 for the network.[14] Ratings for the following two episodes showed growth across the target demographics, including a 78 percent rise in viewers age 6–11 and an 87% rise in boy viewers age 6–11.[15] Season one completed its run on the network as the network's most successful new series, averaging 635,000 viewers among the kids 6–11 demographic (2.7 rating) and 1.021 million viewers in the kids 2–11 demographic (2.6 rating).[16][17] The success of the series on the channel prompted Cartoon Network to order 52 more episodes of the series.[18] The series debuted on Kids' WB with a moderate standing among kids 6–11 with a 3.5%/17 rating.[19] The series ranked among the top ten programs in the target demographics, including kids 2–11, kids 6–11 and tweens 9–14.[20]

Initial reviews of the series were negative. KJB of IGN gave the series a 4 out of 10 rating, writing that the series "fails to live up to the source material or its potential. The series is bogged down by an overly cartoony style that looks more like anime without most of the good points." KJB further added, "Teen Titans, from its after school special style attempts at storytelling to its painfully annoying signature tune, fails to meet even the lowest of expectations for this series."[21] Los Angeles Daily News writer David Kronke offered a more mixed review, find the dialogue "occasionally witty", but ultimately dismissing the characters "too bratty to have any interest in saving the world or even in cleaning it up a little."[22] Ethan Alter of Media Life Magazine also wrote a mixed review of the first two episodes. Alter praised the animation and action scenes, noting that the animation possess "a grace and fluidity" not seen on cable cartoon shows.[23] However, his main criticism was towards the writing, noting that the stories have been "told a thousand times before in previous superhero cartoons."[23]

Despite initial reviews, the full season reviews were more positive. Filip Vukcevic of IGN awarded the season an 8 out of 10 score, writing "It's clear that Teen Titans is primarily aimed at children, so you're obviously not going to have anything too mature here. However, what you do get is some very focused, funny, and entertaining storytelling from a group of characters that, when they're gone, you'll actually miss."[24] Writing for DVD Verdict, Mike Jackson gave the first season a mixed review. Jackson found the violence and demonic imagery troubling, saying that he would not let his son watch the show. However, Jackson praised the voice cast, particularly Ron Perlman, who voiced Slade.[25] David Cornelius of DVD Talk classified the first season release as "Highly Recommended", except for those with the first two volumes. Cornelius commented that ""Teen Titans" goes big and broad and bold, to heck with the subtleties, and it actually works. The writers know how to balance the swift action with the crisp dialogue (Starfire's constant comic mishandling of the language has yet to grow stale), and the stories, while zany and far-fetched, become involving enough to capture the hearts of all ages."[26]

Episodes

See also: List of Teen Titans episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
11"Final Exam"Michael ChangRob HoegeeJuly 19, 2003 (2003-07-19)385-903

Slade, a mysterious villain, enlists a trio of H.I.V.E. Academy cadets to destroy the Titans. The H.I.V.E. win the initial battle, knocking Robin into a sewer, and later manage to take over Titans Tower. With the Titans now exiled from their home, Robin returns with a plan, and the Titans go on to defeat the H.I.V.E.. Robin learns of the existence of Slade and Slade is pleased that his "message" has been received.


Villain(s): Jinx, Gizmo, Mammoth, and Slade
22"Sisters"Alex SotoAmy WolframJuly 26, 2003 (2003-07-26)385–902

Blackfire, Starfire's older sister, comes for a visit and quickly ingratiates herself among the Titans. Feeling left out, Starfire decides to leave the Titans before being kidnapped by drones sent from Centauri to arrest Blackfire for stealing. Discovering that her sister tried to have her take the blame, Starfire tracks down Blackfire and has her arrested by the Centauri police.


Villain(s): Blackfire
33"Divide and Conquer"Ciro NieliDavid SlackAugust 2, 2003 (2003-08-02)385-901

Cinderblock breaks into a prison but is beaten there by the Titans. However, a misstep in the "sonic boom" attack knocks the Titans out and allows for Cinderblock to escape and take a quarantined Plasmus with him. Robin and Cyborg fight about who messed up, causing Cyborg to quit. Slade unleashes Plasmus on the remaining four Titans. Cyborg later returns and assists the Titans in defeating Plasmus and Cinderblock.


Villain(s): Slade, Cinderblock, and Plasmus
44"Forces of Nature"Ciro NieliAdam BeechenAugust 16, 2003 (2003-08-16)385–904

Beast Boy tries to prank Cyborg, but Starfire is accidentally targeted. She stops talking to him as a result. Meanwhile, the Titans deal with a duo known as Thunder and Lightning, whose version of having fun is causing chaos among the city. The duo is approached by a mystic sage, who teaches them how to amplify their powers using an assortment of twigs and leaves. The sage, however, uses magic to animate the burning sticks as a monster. The Titans fight the monster off before it reaches town. Beast Boy attempts to break through to Thunder while Robin faces off against the sage, who turns out to be Slade.


Villain(s): Thunder and Lightning, Slade
55"The Sum of His Parts"Alex SotoDavid SlackAugust 23, 2003 (2003-08-23)385-905

While playing football in the park, Cyborg suddenly shuts down. After rebooting, he tells the other Titans that his batteries are dying and requires recharging, but doesn't get the chance, because the nefarious Mumbo is causing havoc in Jump City. While facing him down, Cyborg's emergency batteries fall off, and his inert body falls down into the underground depths of a junkyard. The Titans believe Mumbo has kidnapped him, but he has instead been found by a strange machine called Fixit, who doesn't share Cyborg's views of humanity. Instead, he believes it to be a flawed part of Cyborg's biology – one that he intends to correct, with or without Cyborg's consent.


Villain(s): Mumbo, Fixit
66"Nevermore"Michael ChangGreg Klein and Tom PugsleyAugust 30, 2003 (2003-08-30)385-906

During a battle with Dr. Light, Raven loses control of her powers, which makes the Titans worried. Later, Beast Boy and Cyborg goes to Raven's room to apologize, but knock her door down, and Beast Boy discovers a strange-looking mirror, which sucks him and Cyborg into alternate realm where they meet various Emoticlones, the different emotions and personality traits of Raven. Unbeknownst to them, they've stumbled upon a portal into Raven's mind, which causes an adverse effect on Raven. Raven enters the realm and finds Beast Boy and Cyborg, just as her anger appears in the form of her father, Trigon. Raven fuses with her other Emoticlones to take down her father. The ordeal brings Raven closer with Beast Boy and Cyborg, who stay besides her as she fought her anger.


Villain(s): Dr. Light, Trigon
77"Switched"Ciro NieliRick CoppSeptember 6, 2003 (2003-09-06)385-907

The Titans receive a package containing puppets modeled after themselves. The Puppet King uses the puppets to trap the souls of Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy and takes control of their bodies. While trying to do the same to Raven and Starfire, Raven uses her powers to stop him, causing their souls to switch into each other's bodies. The girls resolve to learn how to use the other's powers while in each other's bodies. At the Puppet King's headquarters, Raven and Starfire manage to use each other's powers to stop the Puppet King and break the controller, returning all the souls to their respective bodies.


Villain(s): Puppet King, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Robin (under Puppet King's control)
88"Deep Six"Alex SotoMarv WolfmanSeptember 13, 2003 (2003-09-13)385-908

A mysterious new villain called Trident appears and starts stealing nuclear waste from ships. While on a mission to stop Trident, The Titans meet Aqualad, an aquatic hero who knows more about Trident's plot, and his sidekick Tramm, who helps rebuild the T-Ship while the Titans search for Trident. While Starfire and Raven fawn over Aqualad, Beast Boy and Aqualad quarrel over who is better. They eventually realize that Trident is more than one person and soon discover a colony of Tridents. Playing on Trident's ego, Beast Boy gets all the Tridents to quarrel with each other. The Titans then lock the remaining clones in a cave, and Aqualad and Beast Boy put aside their differences.


Villain(s): Trident
99"Masks"Michael ChangTom Pugsley and Greg KleinSeptember 20, 2003 (2003-09-20)385-909

While Robin is away checking on leads about Slade, the rest of the Titans deal with a new villain, Red X, who takes them down with ease. Red X tries forming a partnership with Slade, but is tasked with retrieving two other computer chips. Starfire discovers that Robin has not been true about his work. After Red X gathers the final computer chips, Slade appears, revealing he knew that Robin was Red X the whole time, and grabs the chips. The Titans arrive at the scene and stop Red X while Slade escapes. Robin reveals himself and chases after Slade, who taunts Robin about their similarities and his obsession over him. The two engage in combat, which ends with Robin overpowering Slade, who is revealed to be a robot. Starfire later approaches Robin about the past events, telling him that Slade and he share one thing in common – their distrust of others.


Villain(s): Slade, Red-X
1010"Mad Mod"Ciro NieliAdam BeechenSeptember 27, 2003 (2003-09-27)385-910

Mysteriously ambushed and knocked out cold, the Titans wake to find themselves in the hands of Mad Mod, a British villain disgruntled by the Titans' interference in other villains' business. Separated from each other, the Titans make their way back to each other one by one while dealing with robots and optical illusions. They catch up with Mad Mod, only to be recaptured one by one. Robin manages to escape capture and find Mad Mod. As Robin fails to even touch the villain, he decides upon a different approach. He passes through all the illusions and reaches the operation center, where he apprehends an elderly Mad Mod.


Villain(s): Mad Mod
11
12
11
12
"Apprentice"Michael Chang and Ciro NieliDavid SlackOctober 4, 2003 (2003-10-04)385-912
October 11, 2003 (2003-10-11)385-913
Part 1: Slade threatens to stop time in the city with a Chronoton Detonator. While searching for the device, Robin, on edge about a nightmare he had just before the mission, attacks everything in sight, including an innocent bystander. After violently sneezing, Starfire, allergic to metallic chromium – a component of the detonator – unwittingly becomes a tracker for the device. In the sewer, Robin is separated from the team by Cinderblock. After taking Cinderblock down, Robin finds Slade's tracking device, using it to get to Slade's headquarters, he fights Slade for detonator's remote. The rest of the Titans chase after Slade's henchmen carrying the detonator in a speed boat. Upon discovering that the device is fake, the Titans are blasted by a gun, which infected them with lethal nanoscopic probes. Wanting to keep the Titans safe, Robin becomes Slade's apprentice.
Part 2: Blackmailed into becoming Slade's apprentice, Robin becomes an enemy of the Titans, to their surprise. When faced with the opportunity to blast Starfire, Robin freezes, causing Slade to activate the probes. Catching on to the ruse, the Titans find Robin at Slade's headquarters. When Slade reactivates the probes, Robin touches the machine controlling the probes and becomes infected with them. Slade destroys the device and a battle ensues between him and the Titans, after which Slade is defeated. The Titans and Slade escape just as the building self-destructs. With the probe machine, Cyborg removes all the probes from the Titans.
Villain(s): Slade, Cinderblock, and Robin
1313"Car Trouble"Alex SotoAmy WolframNovember 11, 2003 (2003-11-11)385-911

Cyborg goes on a chase for his newly finished T-Car after its stolen by Cash and Sammy and entered into the race. After winning the race, Gizmo, one of the contestants in the race, takes the car and leaves Cash and Sammy in a bubble. Cyborg, with the help of a sympathetic Raven, tracks down the car, which crashes into a prison transport vehicle that is carrying Overload. Overload takes over the car and attacks Cyborg, leading Cyborg to destroy his own car, thereby preventing anyone else from stealing it. Raven later assists Cyborg in building a new car.


Villain(s): Overload, Cash, Sammy, and Gizmo


Note: This episode was originally aired (out of order) as the season finale.

Home media release

Warner Home Video first released the first season on DVD into two parts. The first volume containing the first six episodes was released in 2004 while the second volume containing the last seven episodes of the season was released in 2005.[27][28] It wasn't until 2006 that the studio finally released the complete first season.[29] A manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray was released in 2018 by the Warner Archive Collection.[30]

Teen Titans - The Complete First Season
Set details Special features
  • 13 episodes
  • 2-disc set (DVD)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • English, French, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Featurettes
    • "Finding Their Voices"
    • "Toon Topia Bonus Cartoons"
    • "Comic Creations"
    • "Puffy Ami Yumi"
    • "Puffy Ami Yumi Music Video"
    • "Sneak Peak at Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi TV Show"
  • Easter Eggs
DVD release date
 United States  Canada
February 7, 2006 (2006-02-07)[31] April 10, 2007 (2007-04-10)[32]

References

  1. ^ Baisley, Sarah (October 31, 2003). "Xiaolin Showdown Premieres On New Kids' WB! Sked". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  2. ^ Godfrey, Leigh (September 30, 2002). "New Superhero Series Greenlit For Cartoon Network And Kids' WB!". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc.
  3. ^ Arave, Lynn (March 21, 2003). "'Teen Titans' leaping to Cartoon Network". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b Goodman, Martin (August 14, 2003). "Talkin' 'Teen Titans ': Glen Murakami Raps About His Latest Superhero Series". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  5. ^ Alex Soto (director); Amy Wolfram (writer) (July 26, 2003). "Divide and Conquer". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 2. Cartoon Network.
  6. ^ Michael Chang (director); Rob Hoegee (writer) (July 19, 2003). "Final Exam". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 1. Cartoon Network.
  7. ^ a b Alex Soto (director); Amy Wolfram (writer) (November 11, 2003). "Car Trouble". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 13. Cartoon Network.
  8. ^ Ciro Nieli (director); Adam Beechen (writer) (August 16, 2003). "Forces of Nature". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 4. Cartoon Network.
  9. ^ Alex Soto (director); David Slack (writer) (September 13, 2003). "The Sum of His Parts". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 8. Cartoon Network.
  10. ^ Michael Chang (director); Greg Klein and Tom Pugsley (writer) (August 30, 2003). "Nevermore". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 6. Cartoon Network.
  11. ^ Ciro Nieli (director); Rick Copp (writer) (September 6, 2003). "Switched". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 9. Cartoon Network.
  12. ^ Alex Soto (director); Marv Wolfman (writer) (September 13, 2003). "Deep Six". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 8. Cartoon Network.
  13. ^ Ciro Nieli (director); Adam Beechen (writer) (September 27, 2003). "Mad Mod". Teen Titans. Season 1. Episode 10. Cartoon Network.
  14. ^ DeMott, Rick (July 22, 2003). "Teen Titans Premiere Sets Cartoon Net Records". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Teen Titans Continues to Score Double-Digit Delivery, Ratings Gains Since July 19 Premiere" (Press release). Time Warner. August 5, 2003. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  16. ^ Baisley, Sarah (February 26, 2004). "Cartoon Network Offers Five New Series". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Three New Shows Equal Three Big Hits for Cartoon Network in '03" (Press release). Time Warner. December 30, 2003. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  18. ^ Strike, Joe (November 24, 2003). "What Makes a Hit a Hit?". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  19. ^ McClintock, Pamela (November 6, 2003). "Kids mixed on new skeds". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Business Media.
  20. ^ "Kids' WB! Dominates 2003-2004 Season as #1 Network on Saturday Mornings Among All Competition in Tweens 9-14 and Male Tweens 9-14 and #1 Broadcaster in Kids 2-11, Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11 and Boys 6-11" (Press release). Time Warner. May 28, 2004. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  21. ^ KJB (July 18, 2003). "Teen Titans: Season 1 Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  22. ^ Kronke, David (July 19, 2003). "NOT-SO-TIDY TEEN TITANS". Los Angeles Daily News. Los Angeles, California. Media News Group. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  23. ^ a b Alter, Ethan (July 18, 2003). "'Stripperella,' not laughing with Pam". Media Life Magazine. Media Life. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  24. ^ Vukcevic, Filip (March 24, 2006). "Teen Titans: The Complete First Season". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  25. ^ Jackson, Mike (February 20, 2006). "Teen Titans: The Complete First Season". DVD Verdict. Verdict Partners, LLC. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  26. ^ Cornelius, David (February 7, 2006). "Teen Titans - The Complete First Season". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  27. ^ David Lambert (February 3, 2005). "Teen Titans - The rest of the first season hits DVD this April". TVShowsonDVD. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  28. ^ David Lambert (December 3, 2005). "Teen Titans - Back of Box Shows Titan-ic Extras For Season Set!". TVShowsonDVD. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  29. ^ David Lambert (November 16, 2005). "Teen Titans - Warner Switches To Season Sets!". TVShowsonDVD. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  30. ^ David Lambert (December 13, 2017). "Teen Titans - The Warner Archive Reveals Plans for 'The Complete 1st Season' Blu-ray". TVShowsonDVD. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  31. ^ "Teen Titans: The Complete First Season". DVD Empire. Ravana, LLC. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  32. ^ "Teen Titans - The Complete First Season (DC Comics Kids Collection)". Amazon Canada. 10 April 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2012.