I liked the first season of Teen Titans well enough that I rushed into the second. That was probably a mistake.
The first episode, “How Long Is Forever?”, pits the Titans against a time-traveling thief, resulting in a surprisingly elegiac and overall depressing entry about losing friends and the ravages of time. Cyborg is particularly damaged, tethered to the tower due to his technology becoming obsolete. Beast Boy is fat, bald, and caged in a circus. Raven is utterly alone. Robin’s become Nightwing, the context making that name and black costume scarier than usual.
This probably didn’t affect the kids in the audience as powerfully as it did me, because few kids know loss or can identify with the disturbing choices the team members made. For older viewers, though, it’s a pointed look at how disappointing adulthood can be when compared to teens thinking the whole future lies ahead of them.
Wow, maybe I don’t want to watch any more of these… that was heavy, and the eventual “if we try hard, we can change the future after all” ending was much too slight to make up for the rest. That’s a testament to the power of the images and script.
The next episode is a pleasant change in tone. It’s just as wacky as you’d expect a Beast Boy spotlight to be — he’s mistaken for a runaway alien dog (that conveniently starts talking when needed, to the extent of using “air quotes”). The giant rock toddler looking for his pet has a spaceship whose controls are modeled after toys, a nice design touch. It’s predictable but comforting all the same.
Also this season, there’s a Starfire spotlight, another Cyborg spotlight, and something involving a fanboy supervillain and a horror movie that I found stupid instead of funny or scary. Speedy is introduced during an interstellar tournament, and Aqualad annoys Beast Boy in his introduction. Terra’s story is told over five episodes, including the two-part season ender.
Beyond the first, the only one that really stood out to me was “Fractured”, featuring a Batmite-like Robin fan named Larry. I especially loved the cameo of a Bob Kane-styled Robin and the imagination shown when they enter the crayon-like world.
There’s only one special feature in this set. “Catching Up With the Teen Titans” is a collection of clips from the first season episodes followed by clips from the episodes on this set. It’s only five minutes long, and it looks like a marketing trailer that got slapped on the disc so they could claim it included something extra.