When “Titans” premiered on the newly-launch DC Universe streaming platform in 2018, it ended up being a surprise hit, which was a major shock to those who watched the show after the comic-con trailer had made it look like a complete disaster. It featured a fascinating group of heroes and a compelling collection of storylines that made for a highly-entertaining and binge-worthy season of television. Understandably, this led to a demand for a second season, in which fans would hope to see more thrilling adventures of this ragtag group of superheroes. Now that season two has come and gone, it’s time to see if it stands up to its fantastic premiere, or if it has succumb to the sophomore slump.
Picking up right where season one left off, we find Dick (Brenton Thwaites), Donna (Conor Leslie), Hank (Alan Ritchson), Gar (Ryan Potter), Kory (Anna Diop), Jason (Curran Walters), and Rachel (Teagan Croft) facing off against Trigon, Rachel’s father, who plans on spreading darkness across the entire planet. After some very close calls, in which several members of the team succumb to their dark thoughts, Rachel is able to break free and defeat Trigon with her incredible powers. However, a new threat looms almost immediately after in the form of Deathstroke/Slade Wilson (Esai Morales), an old adversary that faced off with the previous group of Titans. As we learn about the history of Slade’s son, Jericho (Chella Man), and daughter, Rose (Chelsea Zhang), a very dark past is revealed which threatens to be the undoing of our heroes.
As one of millions of viewers who were genuinely surprised by the high level of quality of the first season, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the continuation that would no doubt keep us gripped once more. However, it’s rather shocking and disappointing to have to say that, instead of another compelling season of thrills and spellbinding narratives, we end up with a complete turnaround that merely has bland storylines and little in the way of interesting character development to offer. It’s rare to see this kind of 180-degree flip in quality, but it truly feels as though the entire writers’ room from the first season must’ve been axed and replaced with scribes who clearly didn’t care nearly as much (a few were the same, but there were several new ones).
At times, it seemed as though the writers were struggling to keep things fresh by introducing new and superfluous characters to the group, including Rose, a great fighter and fast healer like her father, and Conner, a clone composed of DNA from Superman and Lex Luthor. It even sinks to the point of becoming a prison drama late in the season when a character feels the need to get arrested and rediscover themselves. This is on top of the overreliance on backstory, i.e. instead of just telling us what happened, the writers feel the need to give us entire episodes to show us what happened in the past, leading to several episodes that simply drag on and on.
The bottom line is that it’s quite surprising how quickly the quality of the show dropped from one season to the next. The first season had been an incredible breath of fresh air when it came to DC Comics adaptations, especially after the mostly-terrible films that the studio had been churning out. So what in the world happened? Did they just run out of material already? Did the writers not know where to take it? Whatever the reason, season two of “Titans” is a startling disappointment, one that doesn’t even begin to live up to its promising start. Apparently a third season is already on the way, but if this is what they deem acceptable quality for this once-compelling group of heroes, there seems very little reason to proceed further.
"Titans: The Complete Second Season" comes to Blu-ray in a 2.00:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. This is an extremely dark and gritty show, but the picture always remains perfectly sharp and clear. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is likewise impressive, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and soundtrack in excellent quality. Overall, just like its preceding season, this sophomore outing has been given top-notch treatment that leaves little room for complaint.
Jason Todd - Fate by the Fans (12 minutes): A featurette that takes a look at the history of Jason Todd/Robin, a character whose fate has been determined by fans.
The second season of “Titans” represents a startling drop in quality from its incredible premiere outing. Gone are the compelling and thrilling storylines that made it a binge-worthy show, inexplicably replaced with dull narratives, bland characters, and lots of needless backstory. With a third season coming up later this year, some major retooling needs to be done to get it back into shape, or else it’s merely doomed to fall apart even more, which would be a terrible shame for a show that started off so strong.