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TITANS: 7 Things a Successful TV Adaptation Needs

TITANS: 7 Things a Successful TV Adaptation Needs

This week, DC Comics fans were overjoyed to find out that the Titans series would be making another attempt at the small screen, with a new television series set to debut on DC’s new streaming channel sometime next year, alongside the newly returned Young Justice animated series.

Written by Akiva Goldsman, DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns and DC TV uber producer Greg Berlanti, Titans is described as “an action-adventure based on the enduring DC Comics franchise”, and will feature such characters as Dick Grayson, Starfire, Raven, and revealed by Geoff Johns in a tweet, Beast Boy.

A Titans pilot was ordered a few years back from TNT, but the network chose to pass on it before filming began. Akiva Goldsman was part of the creative process in that incarnation, but writers Johns and Berlanti are new to being this involved with the TV version of the Titans.

To make certain this transition to TV is successful, here are our thoughts on the seven things Warner Brothers needs to remember when having DC’s premiere young heroes finally make their long awaited leap into live-action.

1. Show Dick Grayson’s Transition From Robin To Nightwing

So far, we know it’s official that the series will be featuring Dick Grayson, but it’s interesting to note that it didn’t say just which superhero identity Dick Grayson would be using on the series. Which is why I think the show should cover Dick Grayson’s transition from Robin, Batman’s kid partner, to Nightwing, his own heroic identity.

In the comics, it was in the pages of The New Teen Titans where Dick Grayson made the transition from Batman’s sidekick in little green shorts and booties into the popular adult superhero that we know and love now. The show should cover this transition, either over the course of a few episodes, or if they’re ambitious, maybe even a few seasons.

2. Find A Way To Include Cyborg

Although a founding member of the New Teen Titans in the comics, as well as a crucial part of the Teen Titans animated series, ever since DC Comics graduated the character of Cyborg to full Justice League member back in 2011, they’ve almost totally severed his connection to the team where he debuted. He was nowhere to be found in the recent Teen Titans: The Judas Contract animated movie for instance, although DC has somehow let the character remain in Teen Titans Go! on Cartoon Network.

Nevertheless, Cyborg should absolutely be a part of the Titans TV lineup. Yes, a version of Victor Stone is going to be in the big screen Justice League. So will a different version of the Flash than his TV counterpart, and with a Nightwing movie coming up, it seems Warner Brothers is OK with two different versions of Dick Grayson out there too. So why not Cyborg? Especially given that his look and origin could be drastically different enough on television and film as to not be remotely confusing for casual audiences. Cyborg’s friendship with Beast Boy is also an important element of the Titans dynamic, and absolutely should be included.

3. And Don’t Forget Wonder Girl Either

We know that the show will feature Starfire and Raven, but the third most important female member of the team is Donna Troy, a.k.a. Wonder Girl. Although to some she may seem like just a junior version of Wonder Woman (and that is how she started), by the time the New Teen Titans formed she was a crucial balancing role in the dynamic of the team’s primary three ladies.

While Starfire was the wildly emotional and passionate member, and Raven had to control her emotions to the point of almost being a female Spock, Donna was the balance in the middle. Plus, having an Amazon like Donna Troy opens up the world of Greek mythology for use in the series, and that could be super cool.

4. Adapt The Judas Contract Over Several Seasons

The Judas Contract is the most seminal Teen Titans story of all time, even after 35 years. It is to the Titans what The Dark Phoenix Saga is to the X-Men. Even though the recently released animated film did a pretty great job of adapting that particular storyline, 80 minutes just begins to scratch the surface where this story is concerned.

The basic premise of The Judas Contract played out over two years in the comics. The Titans welcomed a plucky young teenage girl named Tara Markov who has earth-based powers to the team, only to eventually discover she’s a mole planted within the group by their deadliest enemy, the mercenary Deathstroke. This whole saga deserves to be played out over several seasons, and therefore television is the best place to tell this particular story.

5. Cross Over with the Other DC/Berlanti Shows

With this series being produced by DC’s lucky charm, producer Greg Berlanti, expect it to be part of the same Multiverse as his other DC shows on the CW. While it will likely take place on its own Earth separate from those of Supergirl and The Flash, going from one Earth to another between those series has proven to be just like us going from one zip code to another in the real world.

So how cool would it be if two members of the Titans from the comics who also appear on the CW shows, Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) and Arsenal (Colton Haynes), made the occasional guest shot on the Titans as part time members? Even Supergirl herself, who is also an ally of the team’s in the comics, could show up from time to time. It’s definitely something the fanbase would go nuts for.

6. Visit the Exotic Locales From The Comics

With the inclusion of both Starfire and Raven on the team, that means we are going to be dealing with the worlds of both aliens from outer space, as well as magic, mysticism, and demons. While this is obviously going to be a TV series, and not even one on a network, the folks at WB can’t cheap out by not giving us any glimpses into Tamaran, Starfire’s home planet, or Azarath, the magical dimension that is home to Raven. Obviously, no one is expecting movie level sets and effects, but at least give it an honest try. A lot can be done on a television budget these days. I mean, if The Flash pulled off Gorilla City, anything is possible.

7. Keep the Team Line-Up Classic

The original pilot pitch for Titans on TNT featured Dick Grayson, Raven, and Starfire, but mostly focused on Grayson’s relationship with Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl who is now confined to a wheelchair and goes by Oracle. Other characters on the show were going to be C-list members of the team like Hawk and Dove.

While I love Barbara Gordon, in the comics she was never affiliated with the Teen Titans in any way. And Hawk and Dove can make occasional appearances, but they shouldn’t be main characters either. No, let’s focus on the Titans people care about — the Marv Wolfman/George Perez era team. Let Batgirl and Nightwing’s relationship be saved for the big screen versions of these characters.

These are just our opinions, of course. What do you want to see in a live-action Titans series? Share your thoughts with us down below in the comments.

Images: DC Comics / Warner Brothers

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