Created by Glen Murakami and based on the comics by George Pérez and Marv Wolfman, “Teen Titans” was an animated series that originally aired from 2003 to 2006. With anime-inspired animation and great character development, the series became one of the most popular superhero shows on television.
Featuring a main character line-up that included Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Raven, the show featured the teen superheroes fighting crime and dealing with adolescent and unique personal struggles. “TTG” resulted in a movie that served as the series finale, “Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo,” and also spawned an adjacent comic book series called “Teen Titans Go!” as well as a 2013 reboot series of the same name. For those nostalgic for the original series, here are the top 15 “Teen Titans” episodes.
15. THE END (PARTS 1, 2, 3)
Raven, the half-demon daughter of Trigon, was prophesied to one day end the world. When that day finally arrives, she is resigned to her fate, but her fellow Teen Titans are not. They attempt to protect Raven from Trigon, but she decides to give herself up and splits her power with them so they will be safe. Raven then becomes the portal that allows her father to enter the world and end it. The remaining Titans fight demons within and without before finding a remnant of Raven that exists as a child. The Titans must use all their power to create a new hope and give Raven the strength to defeat her father.
These episodes were memorable because they were a significant turning point for Raven. Before they aired, Raven believed herself to be doomed by her demonic heritage and fate. As a result, she would attempt to distance herself from her teammates to protect them. By the end of “The End” part 3, she considers her team her family and is more optimistic about the future.
14. AFTERSHOCK (PARTS 1 & 2)
Terra, a teen with the power to move the earth, has betrayed the Teen Titans and become the apprentice of Slade (aka Deathstroke). At first, the team tries to reason with her, but Terra attacks the Titans one by one and attempts to destroy them for good. Afterwards, the Titans decide to treat Terra like a criminal and attempt to take her and Slade down. Meanwhile, Terra becomes remorseful for her actions after Slade puts her in a suit that allows him to control her powers and starts physically abusing her. Terra must decide whether to retake control of her powers and redeem herself or stay with Slade.
Both these episodes were an emotional rollercoaster due to Terra’s internal struggles. All she wanted was to be around people who would accept her regardless of her powers. Due to Slade’s involvement and a misunderstanding, she went down a wrong path and became a tragic hero. These episodes end one of the most heartbreaking story arcs in the series.
Slade is attempting to get microchips for his latest scheme. Robin is so determined to catch him and figure out his plans that he isolates himself from the rest of the team. Soon, Red X, a new villain who appears to be working for Slade, shows up and complicates things further. The Titans must attempt to figure out the identity of Red X while trying to catch Slade.
This episode would be one of a few that demonstrates what drives Robin to catch Slade and how far he is willing to go to do so. It also displays Robin’s strategic mind, showing that he is intelligent enough to create a villainous persona to catch another villain and also keep his teammates on their toes for a while. Moreover, it is one of the few episodes that shows what could ruin the camaraderie between the Titans as a team. As a Robin-centric episode, it is one of the best in the series.
12. APPRENTICE (PARTS 1 & 2)
Slade plans to activate a machine to freeze time. The Titans rush to stop him, only to find that there was never any danger. Slade reveals that the entire plan was a ruse to draw out Robin, who he wants to make his apprentice. After shooting Robin’s teammates with nano blood probes, he blackmails Robin into working with him. Robin must figure out a way to break free from Slade without sacrificing the lives of his friends.
If “Teen Titans” did a good job with showing Robin’s intelligence, this series did an even better job with showing Slade’s. Since Slade knows Robin well and vice versa, having Slade’s psychopathy constantly clash with Robin’s morally grey sense of justice and personal emotions was one of the most brilliant characterizations ever. In these episodes, Slade established himself as more than the standard “villain of the week,” becoming a formidable rival for Robin that would dog him for the rest of the series.
11. HOW LONG IS FOREVER?
Amid infighting among the Titans over “typical roommate stuff,” the team encounters a time traveling-villain named Warp, who steals a clock before disappearing through a portal. Starfire goes after him and manages to rip off Warp’s vortex regulator, causing them both to land in a future where the Titans have broken up and are no longer friends. Starfire must get the future-versions of her friends back together in order to stop Warp and return to her own time.
This episode could have been a silly time-travel episode, with all of the Titans chasing warp throughout different time periods before finally nabbing him and returning to the present. In seeing a possible future for her team that is darker than she expected, Starfire realizes that the friendship between her teammates and herself has become a crucial part of the team’s existence, rather than just sentimentality. The episode is also notable for giving viewers a glimpse of Robin’s future persona of Nightwing, which thrilled his hardcore fans in every way.
During a fight with Doctor Light, Raven loses control and becomes more demon-like. The next morning, Beast Boy tries to cheer her him with breakfast, but only makes things worse. After being encouraged by Cyborg to apologize, the two go to her room and discover a mirror that transports them to a different place. In what appears to be “Raven’s home,” they encounter Raven, who acts differently each time she meets them.
As one of the best Raven-centric episodes, it literally gets inside her head and lets the viewer see what makes her tick. With clones of herself as different emotions and an eerie landscape with creepy ravens, mazes and killer stone statues, it seems fitting to have named this episode after an Edgar Allan Poe poem. The episode also gave us a peek into Raven’s demonic heritage by showing exactly which of her personal aspects caused her to lose control against Doctor Light. By the end of the episode, Beast Boy and Cyborg plant the seed for what would eventually be a stronger relationship between Raven and the team.
9. THE BEAST WITHIN
The Titans fight a battle-suited villain named Adonis in an animal testing laboratory. After having chemicals spilled on him during battle, Beast Boy undergoes a dramatic change, becoming aggressive and rude and breaking his vegetarian eating habit to start consuming meat. Later, Raven and Beast Boy go missing and Raven is found in the jaws of a huge beast. The team must decide whether to sendBeast Boy to jail or find the real culprit.
To literally give Beast Boy a beast mode is the coolest thing about this episode. making hm more savage seemed like the most obvious thing to do, of course, given that the character can transform into different animals. Since Beast Boy has a goofy, wisecracking temperament, becoming a snarling beast ended up coming off as a surprise, not only to his teammates, but also to the audience. Learning that the boy is still within the beast and still cares about his friends makes the transformation even more admirable. It’s a shame that the series didn’t explore Beast Boy’s more unleashed personality and powers more, though, as it only appeared once again, in the episode, “The End-Part I”.
One day, The Titans receive a mysterious package containing puppet versions of themselves. That night, a villain called The Puppetmaster activates a remote that causes Cyborg, Beastboy and Robin’s soul to leave their bodies and enter the puppets. When The Puppetmaster appears and attempts to do the same to Raven and Starfire, Raven uses her powers to attack the remote, stopping the process but causing Raven and Starfire to switch bodies. Now they must learn each other’s powers and save the others from The Puppetmaster.
The powers and personalities of Starfire and Raven are the opposite of each other, so it was captivating to see the two trade places. The two play off of each other grudgingly at first and then respectfully later on, bringing Starfire and Raven closer in a way that is fun and heartwarming. Giving Starfire experience with Raven’s powers would come in handy in future episodes, too.
An alien girl named Starfire crash lands on earth after escaping from an alien cruiser where she was held prisoner. Robin, a solo hero who is new in town, spies the crash and goes to investigate. This attracts the attention of former Doom Patrol member Beast Boy and the recently made cyborg called, somewhat unimaginatively, Cyborg. A mysterious figure, Raven, also joins the group as they try to apprehend Starfire. Soon, they discover that Starfire is not their true enemy and must band together to fight alien forces that threaten the earth.
As far as origin episodes are concerned, “GO!” is entertaining and fun in typical Teen Titans style. We find out how the group met and we see the seeds planted for the affection that would grow between the characters. This is captured in key moments of the characters playing off each other, such as Beast Boy being in awe of Cyborg rather than scared, and Starfire kissing Robin to learn English.
Starfire is called back to her home planet of Tamaran to become the bride in an arranged marriage. Soon, she discovers that her evil sister, Blackfire, has returned and become the Grand Ruler of Tamaran. As Starfire prepares for her wedding day, the other Titans discover that the wedding is not all it appears to be. Starfire is forced to choose between doing what is best for Tamaran or siding with her friends.
Out of all the main characters, Starfire is the one with the least character-centric episodes, making this particular episode a treat for viewers. Not only do we get to see where she and her personal alien habits come from, but this episode also features an epic showdown between Starfire and Blackfire. It also has some of the most hilarious depictions of Robin and Starfire’s unspoken romantic feelings for each other. Robin’s facial expressions and exclamations when reacting to Starfire’s marriage are priceless.
When the criminal activity of H.I.V.E. Academy increases, Cyborg decides to go undercover to figure out their plans. He creates a pair of hologram rings that gives him the appearance of a super-powered youth named Stone and the appearance of his body before the cybernetics were installed. As Stone, Cyborg manages to win over the members of the academy and becomes fond of having a regular body and life again. However, he also catches the unwanted attention of the evil headmaster Brother Blood, who mind controls and manipulates Cyborg into serving him.
Cyborg’s insecurities with his cybernetic body were fully explored in this episode, expressing his longing for a feeling of normalcy. The episode would also introduce Brother Blood as a villain and establish him as the second biggest threat to the Titans after Slade. As a bonus, you also see the teen villains Jinx, Mammoth and Gizmo act like regular teens as well, goofing off with each other and Cyborg.
4. TITANS EAST (PARTS 1 & 2)
Brother Blood makes plans to build a new academy in Steel City with his former student, Cyborg. Meanwhile, Cyborg is ordered by Robin to head to Steel City to oversee the formation of the new team known as Titans East. Under his guidance, the members of Titans East eventually come together as a team to defeat a creature created by Brother Blood. However, they also fall victim to his trap as he manages to infiltrate Titan East’s tower and bypass security. The other Teen Titans must come to the rescue of Cyborg and Titans East, the latter being mind-controlled by Brother Blood.
This episode allows Cyborg discovers his full potential by adopting the role of leader to the Titans East. Another notable aspect is that the cast of characters are expanded with the introduction of members like Bumblebee, Mas y Menos, Speedy and Aqualad. This is not to mention the fact that Brother Blood is shown to be a practical villain who literally incorporates the knowledge and skills from his enemies into his own body.
3. HOMECOMING (PARTS 1 & 2)
Beast Boy receives a message that his old team, The Doom Patrol, is in trouble. They have been captured by their greatest enemy, The Brotherhood of Evil, and it is up to him and the other Titans to rescue them. They manage to do so, but The Brotherhood of Evil is still causing trouble. The Doom Patrol asks Beast Boy to rejoin the team and together, they try to defeat The Brotherhood by themselves, but soon find they need help from the Titans.
The Doom Patrol and Beast Boy’s rift makes for an intriguing episode that shows a more serious side to the Beast Boy character. The members of Doom Patrol have unique powers and views about how the team is supposed to perform, and seeing their views contrasted against how the Teen Titans interact in the field provides a dynamic that gives insight as to why Beast Boy left Doom Patrol in the first place. Meanwhile, The Brotherhood of Evil acts as a nice foil to both the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans.
2. TITANS TOGETHER
In the final fight against The Brotherhood of Evil and their allies, the Teen Titans have formed an alliance with young heroes they previously encountered and made honorary Titans. However, most of them have been defeated and captured by The Brotherhood, and only Beast Boy and a small group of Titans are left. Beast Boy must lead these heroes into battle to rescue their teammates.
Given that Beast Boy is the least likely person you’d expect to become a leader, seeing him slip into that role and utilize his experience with the Teen Titans and Doom Patrol is heartening to watch. It helps that the team he leads is also composed of heroes that are seemingly the least powerful members of the Titans. Together, they are basically a team of underdogs that you want to root for and see succeed. For fans of the Teen Titans comics, it is also a special treat to see Beast Boy yell “Titans Together!” rather than Robin’s battle cry of “Titans, go!”
1. HIDE & SEEK
During the ongoing fight against The Brotherhood of Evil, Raven is assigned three super-powered children to watch over so they can’t be captured. However, trouble finds Raven and the kids in the form of Monsieur Mallah, the malevolent ape. Raven, unaccustomed to kids, must find a way to protect them without tearing her hair out in the process.
Since the show is called Teen Titans, it is amusing to see pre-adolescent superheroes fighting villains with a teenaged superhero babysitter. When paired with a heroine as stoic and dark as Raven, you get some hilarious results. Raven attempting to tell the children a bedtime story and a child trying to convince Raven that their imaginary friend Bobby is protecting them are some of the highlights of the episode. At the same time, it shows how much Raven has grown by having her warm up to the kids and protect them as the Titans have protected her. It comes to a head with Raven yelling the sweet, kick-butt line “Nobody touches my kids!”
Which is your favorite “Teen Titans” episode? Did it make our list? Let us know in the comments!
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