STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 286 Minutes
• Finding Their Voices: the secret information behind the making of Teen Titans
• Comic Creations: from comic book to cartoon
• Puffy Ami Yumi music video
• Sneak peek at Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi TV show
• Puffy Ami Yumi interview/featurette
• Toon Topia bonus cartoons: The Hiros episodes 1 & 2

My first thought upon checking out this Teen Titans – Season 1 DVD set For review: The simple fact that I should have been reviewing it 454 days ago. See that’s when yours truly did a review of Teen Titans: Divide & Conquer, which when the ole Bros. Warner released it, the first six episodes – of a 13 episode season mind you – on DVD. So obviously one might be led to ponder the question of what was so special about the last seven episodes of said season that necessitated a separate release (on 4/12/05 by the way), and now finally, nearly a year later, the full first season offering. Then of course it hits me: It’s the double dip, nimrod. Oh yeah. Silly me.

Yes, Robin’s crotch is that impressive.

The Show

If you’d like to know about the first six episodes of this set, kindly check out the aforementioned review of Divide & Conquer here. Because it’s what this review really should have been about. But thanks to the DVD institution of the double dip, it wasn’t. So now this review is what this review is about…I think. Anyway, I fully plan to get back on this rant momentarily, but I feel a need to at least mention the other episodes of this set and how they struck me…you know, ’cause that’s kind of what we do here.

Apparently Cyborg is as big a fan of Wonder Woman as the rest of us…

First off, let me say that at the time I did the first review – you know, what this review should have been… (uh, sorry) – I was a pretty casual watcher of the Teen Titans. But since then, I’ve grown into a fairly sizable fan of the show. While it’s not quite in the league of Batman TAS, Superman: TAS nor the League of Justice, I do find it to be quite entertaining. They’ve had some pretty good stories scattered in with some that were just so so. But overall, I think it’s a fun show, different to be sure. Story lines that immediately come to mind are the Terra arc where she joined the Titans, then betrayed them via her partnership with Slade; and the end of the world arc whereby Raven is the instrument through which an all-powerful demon named Trigon gained access to Earth and utterly destroyed it. This past season, there was a big Doom Patrol / Brotherhood of Evil arc that looked promising (have to admit I missed the last few episodes). It had an Evil Brain and an Evil Gorilla That’s Not Grod and a stretchy Asian Chick Named Rouge. Nifty.

Plasmus. Taking a dump. You don’t want to know…

Way back in Season 1, however, the main story arc dealt with Slade as he continually challenged Robin and the Titans, all in a bid to make Robin his apprentice. In addition to what was offered on the Divide & Conquer set, there’s the back seven episodes of Season 1, which expanded on this arc. There’s several pretty good episodes in this lot, the first of which is the body-swapping episode, Switched. Here a villain named the Puppet King, who’s a living puppet that’s pretty much a rip-off of Scarface, tosses Robin’s, Beat Boy’s and Cyborg’s essences into puppets and controls their vacant bodies. He almost does the same with Starfire and Raven, but things go screwy and they end up switching bodies. They then have to stop Puppet King and his Titan marionettes while learning how to use each other’s powers.

Beast Boy after watching Alone in the Dark, Cursed and Dracula 3000 in a row…

Next there’s a fairly forgettable episode titled Deep Six that introduces Aqualad as he teams up with the Titans to stop an amphibious villain named Trident. In Masks, the Slade apprentice arc kicks up a notch as the Titans not only have Slade to deal with, but a new villain named Red X who seems to know all their moves. When the Titans discover who Red X really is, they’re shocked to say the least. One of the better, if terribly derivative, episodes is Mad Mod (known in this set as Detention for some reason). Here, the Titans awaken to find themselves trapped in a giant school with optical illusions, hypno screens, stairways that go nowhere, a giant crusher library stamp, killer statues and other things that generally mean to do them harm. The whole thing is run by a crazy British genius with red hair named Mad Mod. I don’t know if Mad Mod was a villain in the Titans comics, but upon first seeing this episode, I was immediately thinking that the whole thing reminded me of the X-Men villain Arcade and his Murderworld. There’s also a lot of ‘60s Beatles-esque and Scooby Doo, Where Are You? chase action going on here. I half expected to see Davy Jones spring out somewhere and start singing.

The dailies from Episode VII aren’t looking too promising…

There’s another episode, Car Trouble, where Cyborg creates the T-Car, based on his own technology, that immediately gets stolen and used by villains Gizmo and Overload. The whole episode is basically a bonding installment between Raven and Cyborg. There’s a lot of these bonding episodes by the way. Finally the season wraps up with the two-part Apprentice episode where Slade ups the ante on making Robin become his apprentice by threatening to kill the other Titans with nanoprobes he injected them all with. With no other choice, Robin loses the R-suit and dons some Slade garb and has to fight his friends while doing Slade’s bidding.

Auuggghhh!! Stop singing that friggin’ Titans song!!!

So getting all of that out of the way, the fact that this is the first time that the entire season has been released is one thing that just annoys the shit out of me about these cartoon season sets, particularly from the Warners: just give us the entire season from the get go. They’ve also done this with their animated Batman: TAS and Superman: TAS sets, as well as Justice League. Giving out piecemeal offerings of a couple of episodes to whet the appetite and then shuffling out the entire seasons much later. The Superman and Batman sets are great. I’m anxiously awaiting the Justice League and Batman Beyond sets as well. I just wish they’d been out sooner and Warners hadn’t jerked us off with one or two or three or even six-episode offerings beforehand. Another thing to consider is that, if you look at box sets like Thundercats, and how many episodes are offered with them (30 or more), you’ll quickly find that sets like this Teen Titans one (13 episodes) are a major disappointment in comparison. That being said however, the show itself is fine and there’s good stuff to be found in this offering.

6.7 out of 10

"Hey is that Roy? Yum…"

The Look

Strangely enough, it looks just like the Divide & Conquer set…

6.6 out of 10

The Noise

Ditto. English French and Spanish Dolby Digital with corresponding subtitles. Puffy Ami Yumi is just as loud too.

7.0 out of 10

One of the stranger stories was definitely the Tribute to Forced Vengeance episode.

The Goodies

The Warners do redeem themselves a tiny bit by loading this set with extras. There’s the 21-minute Comic Creations making-of that was in the Divide & Conquer set. There’s also an eight-minute featurette on the voice cast and a 13-minute interview session between Robin and Puffy Ami Yumi, the Japanese duo who sings the theme song. Also, there’s a blink-and-you-miss-it spotlight on the Puffy Ami Yumi cartoon. Then, if you have kids who love the Teen Titans and you bought them the Divide & Conquer set and subsequently had to destroy the disc because they played the Puffy Ami Yumi 48,000 times, you may want to hold off on getting this one because the video is included on this one as well. Additionally, there’s a couple of Toon Topia (whatever that is) episodes of The Hiros, which is some kind of Anime / Clone Wars-looking toon. And finally, there are trailers for the upcoming Justice League and Batman Beyond - Season 1 sets, the Superman: TAS, Vol. 2 and Batman: TAS, Vol. 4 box sets, the Teen Titans – Season 2 set, and the Teen Titans video game.

6.1 out of 10

Unfortunately for Robin, he was about to find out how big a fan Slade was of The Gold Watch story in a certain Tarantino flick…

The Artwork

Not bad. But Robin looks like he’s trying to pull off a Batman scowl and I’m not quite buying it.

6.0 out of 10

Overall: 6.5 out of 10