The Teen Titans is Fantastic!
Actually, I've found that "The Teen Titans" has some of the best story lines and most intriguing characters, not only of any children's program which I have seen, but of ANY program which I have ever seen whatsoever!
Robin is a dedicated superhero and crime fighter, and is the leader of the Teen Titans gang. In some cases, his dedication to stopping crime, forces him to go under cover and consort with criminals in order to infiltrate the criminal community. In time, Robin develops a criminal alter ego, “Red-X” which he uses to gain the trust of the city’s higher-level criminals, in order to uncover their plots. However, he struggles with his mixed identity of part hero and part criminal, and often fears that his obsession with bringing criminals to justice has caused him to cross a line.
Starfire is a Tamaranian, (a race of aliens in the Teen Titans universe). The Tamaranians are a race of aliens which many other races in the galaxy consider to be biologically inferior. The Teen Titans show also deals very specifically with the racial prejudices which some of the other galactic races have toward Starfire and her people. Starfire originally came to earth after escaping enslavement by the Gordanians, (another race of aliens in the Teen Titans universe). When the Gordanians come to earth to recapture her, she is saved by Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven, and together, the five of them form the “Teen Titans”. Throughout the series, Starfire is easily the most kind, loving, sensitive, caring and warmhearted person you could ever imagine. Nothing in the world is more important to her then friendship, aside from maybe her unspoken romantic feelings for Robin.
Beast Boy is the comic relief character of the series. He is a loyal friend and a brave crime fighter. However, he is very immature, and although the other Titans are all very loyal friend to him, Beast Boy has a habit of accidentally humiliating himself, and often struggles with being the butt of everyone's jokes.
Cyborg had much of his body destroyed in a tragic accident, and had to have them replaced with cybernetic parts. One of the recurring themes in the series is that of Cyborg learning to overcome the limitations of his mechanical parts, and to thus push himself beyond what he initially thinks that he is capable of. However, Cyborg also never fails to acknowledge the tragic nature of the accident which destroyed half of his body and caused him to need his cybernetic parts.
Raven is perhaps the most interesting character in the series. Raven’s mother was a human, but her father was a monstrous demon called Trigon. Trigon once tried to destroy the entire earth with a sea of fire, but instead, he was banished to the underworld, to be imprisoned for ever. However, somewhere along the line, Trigon sired a daughter, Raven. An ancient curse states that one day, Trigon will use Raven as a portal to return to the earth, where he will then destroy it in its entirety with fire. Raven was raised by priests in a temple called “Azarath”, where she was taught all about the prophecy, and about how it is her destiny to one day bring about the total destruction of all life on earth. Thus, Raven lives each day knowing that the entire world will one day be destroyed in a sea of fire, that she will be the mechanism of its destruction, and that there is NOTHING she can do about it. Raven’s sole motivation for being a member of the Teen Titans is to do good by protecting the city and by apprehending criminals, in order to atone for the pain, death and destruction which she knows that she will one day cause.
Red Star was a Russian soldier who underwent a Russian army experiment during the Cold War, which unintentionally caused him to become dangerously radioactive, causing him to be a danger to everyone near him. He was shunned and isolated by his fellow Russians, and forced to live alone in the northern reaches of Siberia, where his dangerous radioactivity could not harm anyone.
Despite being only a minor character, appearing in only a handful of episodes, Terra is probably the second most interesting character in the series, after Raven. She has a very powerful ability to manipulate the element of Earth. Unfortunately, her powers are far too strong for her to control effectively, and she commonly causes earthquakes and other natural disasters unintentionally. Because of this, she, like Red Star, is forced to live alone, far from civilization. She is briefly adopted by the Teen Titans, and offered the chance to become a part of their team. She also begins to have romantic feelings for Beast Boy However, when the Teen Titans accidentally find out about her inability to control her powers, she runs away for fear of being rejected. She later falls in with Slade, (one of the series’s arch villains) who offers to help her learn to control her powers, in exchange for her serving as his minion. Terra doesn’t want to be evil. However, feeling rejected and desperate, she joins with Slade and becomes his apprentice. She later rejoins the Teen Titans in order to infiltrate their group and to betray them to Slade. However, as Slade prepares to attack the Teen Titans, Terra remembers how kind the Teen Titans were to her and how much she loves Beast Boy, and thus begins to regret betraying them. However, by then it is too late, and Slade’s army of evil robots is preparing to attack the home of the Teen Titans. Terra is too afraid to tell her friends that she betrayed them, but she doesn’t want Beast Boy, (whom she has fallen in love with) to be harmed, so she lures him out of town on a date, on the night when Slade’s army plans to attack the Teen Titans. While Robin, Starfire, Cyborg and Raven are fighting for their lives against Slade’s army, Terra at last finds the courage to confess her betrayal to Beast Boy, but before she can, they are confronted by Slade, who then attacks Beast Boy. Beast Boy and Terra escape from Slade, but before Terra can confess to Beast Boy that she has betrayed the Teen Titans, Slade himself tells Beast Boy of Terra’s betrayal, and Beast Boy is deeply hurt by Terra’s betrayal. Terra begs for his forgiveness, but this time, neither Beast Boy nor any of the other titans will forgive her. Therefore Terra, filled with shame and guilt over her actions, returns to the villain, Slade, as the only friend whom she has. Later, Terra returns one final time to the series, leading Slade’s army on a campaign to destroy the city. She battles the Teen Titans, and convinces herself that she wants to be evil. Eventually, Terra appears to have killed the Teen Titans. She then finds peace with her role as a servant of evil, and prepares to lead Slade's army on a campaign of world conquest, but before she can, the Titans reemerge and ambush her. After a brief altercation, Terra begs once again for their forgiveness, but the Titans refuse to forgive her, believing that she has gone too far this time. Terra tries to fight off the Titans, but they are too strong for her, and so she runs away. She escapes back to Slade, but he beats her brutally for failing to kill the Titans, and she recognizes that he was never her friend. Terra tries to escape, but she discovers that Slade has taken control of her body using a neural synaptic interface, and can physically control her every move. In time, Beast Boy finds Terra, and Terra asks him to kill her, but beast boy refuses, because he still loves her, even though she betrayed him and the other Titans. Slade uses the neural-synaptic interface to force Terra's body to attack Beast Boy. However, Beast Boy convinces Terra to try to resist Slade's control over her body. At last, when Terra is about to involuntarily kill Beast Boy, due to the control of Slade's neural-synaptic interface, she is again confronted by the other Titans, who finally convince her to reject Slade's control over her. Terra then turns upon Slade, and during the ensuing fight, she loses control of her emotions, and by extension, her superpowers, and accidentally triggers a volcano under the city. Unable to stop the volcano, the Teen Titans have no choice but to flee. They urge Terra to flee with them, but Terra refuses to follow. Instead, she stays behind and uses the last of her powers to freeze the molten lava of the volcano into solid rock, in the process transforming herself into a solid stone statue forever.
There are many more characters in "The Teen Titans" television series, and many more plots and subplots in the series. It is true that the episodes are comprised mostly of fight scenes. However, I hope that that which I have here mentioned has been sufficient to convince the reader of this that "The Teen Titans" is far more than merely the stupid, senselessly violent program which it is sometimes perceived to be. I would strongly recommend "The Teen Titans" television series not only to children, but to adults as well. Lastly, although I am certain that I will "ruffle some feathers" by saying this, I wish to say that the parents of children can be some of the most incompetent people imaginable for judging the nature of the television programs which their children view. In fact, I suspect that most children are probably in a far superior position to judge the nature and value of their own television programming than are the parents of those children. The reason for this is that when children watch programs which they enjoy, like The Teen Titans, they are actually interested in them, and are often committed to watching them episode after episode, and season after season. In contrast, I suspect that when many parents screen their children's programs to decide whether or not they are appropriate for their children, they are not actually interested in the program itself. Instead, they simply think "Oh well, I guess I gotta watch my kid's TV show to make sure that my kid isn't seeing anything bad. Lets hurry up and get this chore over with!". Thus, the parents pay very close attention to all of the punching and kicking, any mild swearwords which the program may contain, and other such things, but they don't actually pay any attention to what the program is actually about! With something like The Teen Titans, I don't think that you can simply watch a handful of episodes, count the number of incidences of violence, and expect that to give you an accurate image of what that program is truly about. To truly understand something with as much depth and complexity as The Teen Titans, you really need to watch the entire series from end to end, and get to know all of the characters intimately. Most importantly, you have to watch it because you want to watch it, and because you enjoy it, not because you feel that you have to watch it just so that you know what your children are watching. My advice to parents wanting to know whether or not a children's television program is appropriate for their children, is as follows: First, if you wouldn't watch the program anyways, simply because you enjoy it, don't even bother watching it to make sure that it is safe for your children. If you are watching the program simply because you want to make sure that it's appropriate for your children, and you don't actually enjoy the program yourself, you will never be able to see past the program's superficial exterior. Thus, you will never be able to tell what beauty and soul may lie under the surface. Second, if you are going to ask someone about a particular program, don't EVER ask another parent! The chances are that they all suffer from the same blindness-by-ignorance which you suffer from. For that matter, I would expect that most teachers and educators probably suffer from the same limitation as well. If you have to ask someone, you should consider asking the children or teenagers who actually enjoy that program, or, if necessary, you may seek out an adult who enjoys that program. (There are actually a lot of adults out there who still enjoy the same children's programs which they watched when they were children.) I would consider The Teen Titans to be an excellent program for anyone of any age, as long as they're smart enough to understand it, and I think most adults would be surprised at how young of an age children can understand things. (I started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when I was about six or seven years old, and even then, I understood the evil nature of the Cardassian genocide of the Bajoran people. You would be surprised what children can learn from if only you can resist the urge to protect them from it.) :D
What other families should know