Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
(Cartoon Network, WB,
July 19, 2003-September 15, 2006)
DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation
Register became Senior Vice President, Original Animation for Cartoon Network, he had one dream
goal in mind: bring the Titans
back to television (they were previously done by Filmation as part of an
alternating segment of their Aquamancartoon).
A fan of the Marv Wolfman/George Pérez era of the
comics, Register approached then-DC Comics
President Paul Levitz about the rights to
the franchise and was able to secure them; minus a few members tied into other
DC properties. Unlike the then-ongoing Justice League,
Register wanted to do a series that skewed younger and looked different from
the established Bruce Timm
style to stand out as much as possible. That meant there was a moratorium on
anything involving the characters’ respective secret identities and
backstories, allowing the kids watching to project themselves onto their
favorites. Producer Glen
Murakami was brought on board from Justice
League and proposed rendering the animation in a blend of Western and
Anime-style, which had never been done on a DC-based show before.
The Titans: Beast Boy, Starfire, Robin, Cyborg and Raven.
The producers toyed with the Titans line-up for a
while before settling on the established Wolfman/Pérez team of former Batman sidekick Robin (Scott Menville),
(Khary Paton), fun-loving
anamorph Beast Boy
(Greg Cipes), literal demon’s daughter
and empath Raven (Tara Strong), and Tamaranian refugee
princess Starfire (Hynden Walch). Robin was
initially on the chopping block, but it was felt that since he was most
recognized through his association with the Batman franchise that he could
serve as a familiar gateway into the show for audiences. In designing Cyborg,
Murakami took some inspiration from both The Micronautsand
the Japanese show Kikaidain order to
find a way to simplify his appearance for animation while also making it look
like he just had robotic limbs. Beast Boy was made to look a bit more beastly
in his standard form, rather than just the green-skinned boy as he appeared in
the comics, in order to better fit his name beyond his ability to transform
into different animals. Raven was treated as a goth character to lighten up on
the inherent darkness in the character’s background. Her costume was left
pretty much intact, except simplified into a leotard rather than a slit dress.
Starfire was given pupils in her eyes (except when she was charged up) and lost
her flaming hair; deemed a bad idea for a children’s show. Largely, Murakami
tried to keep each member of the team with a distinctive color palette in order
to allow them to stand out with each other.
Of course you gotta make some time to listen to some tunes.
Teen Titans debuted
on July 19, 2003 on Cartoon Network, with reruns airing on the Kids’ WB! programming block
starting that November. Although it garnered a lot of mixed and negative
reviews, the series had strong ratings and was one of Cartoon Network’s highest-rated
programs at the time. The main theme was composed by Puffy AmiYumi, (for whom Register also
made a cartoon about)
while the series music was composed by Kristopher
McCuistion and Lolita
Ritmanis. The show ended up running for a total of five seasons, before it
was cancelled for a variety of unconfirmed reasons (Mattel not having the toy license, ratings
drop after a dark 4th season, no plans for a 6th by the
network, etc.). Following the movie Trouble in Tokyoto officially end the series, it was revisited in 2012 as a series of shorts for the DC Nation programming block, however
those eliminated all dramatic storytelling in favor of pure comedy and
reimagined the characters in chibi form. These shorts eventually led to the
spin-off series Teen Titans Go!