If you are an adult looking for some animated superhero programming to watch with a youngster (or vice-versa), then binge-watch the adolescent anarchy of “Teen Titans Go!” Mixing its lowbrow comedy with often clever social commentary, this satire is a teenage treat.
Title: Teen Titans Go!
Year it began: 2013
Where it can be seen: Cartoon Network, Hulu, Amazon
Who’s in it: Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Greg Cipes
Typical episode length: 11 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 144
Brief plot description: Five adolescent superheroes, who live together in Titans Tower, work to keep Jump City safe. Led by taskmaster Robin, the perky team includes super-powered alien Starfire, Gothic sorceress Raven, cheery man-machine Cyborg, and shape-shifting Beast Boy.
Why it’s worth watching: Based on DC’s Teen Titans, “Teen Titans Go!” is a spin-off that transforms the show while featuring the original voice actors. Blurring the line between embracing and mocking superhero narrative, “Teen Titans Go!” focuses more on the everyday foibles of superheroes than on their villain-fighting ways. With its clever writing, creative animation, perfect voicing, and wonderfully integrated music, “Teen Titans Go!” presents consistently quirky comedy that is often laced with keen social commentary. The dynamics of a superhero household dynamics are at the core of the show. The Titans’ leader, Robin, is a continuously frustrated perfectionist who rarely succeeds in making his team act logically. The blasé witch Raven offers a charmingly cynical deadpan delivery that serves as a counterpoint to the frenetically optimistic alien Starfire, whose over-literalness and trouble with English idioms are a running gag. The always eager and hungry duo of robot-man Cyborg and shape-shifting Beast Boy round out the team. While the show mocks the simplistic moral lessons of superhero programming, it sometimes provides fine social satire, such as when the Titans aggressively shop to teach Starfire the true meaning of Black Friday. With its often ridiculous setups (such as Titans becoming subject to the will of fortune cookies or a fairground attraction devoted exclusively to watching Lebron James dribble), and with its often heroically humorous writing, “Teen Titans Go!” provides guilty pleasures in bite-sized episodes. – Randy P. Schiff