The first trailer for the upcoming DC series Titans took the Internet by storm, but not in the way that DC seemed to expect. A number of DC fans were excited to see this series, particularly those who loved the animated Teen Titans series growing up.
A number of fans were previously disappointed with the first reboot of the series, Teen Titans Go!, which took a satirical twist on the show, becoming incredibly cheesy and campy rather than working as a sequential narrative like the original series. When the Titans show was announced, DC fans were pumped to see their heroes be rebooted yet again, hoping it would have a bit darker tone than Teen Titans Go!. Unfortunately, the new Titans trailer has shown that DC has cranked the dark and grittiness up to an 11, with the trailer featuring intense violence, profanity, and a number of incredibly desaturated shots. Apparently, DC has never heard of the term "happy medium."
The biggest issue is the fact that the iconic sidekick Robin seems to be one of the darkest characters in the show. In the comics, one of the most interesting parts about Dick Grayson / Robin was his descent into darkness, specifically when he became Nightwing and took on a darker tone because of it. This is an arc that a number of DC fans have wanted to see on screen for some time, but not like this.
The problem here is that, rather than showing Robin's descent into darkness as he becomes Nightwing, the show opens up with him being a dark and gritty hero right off the bat, being even darker and grittier than Nightwing in the comics. The trailer showed Robin saying "f*ck," snapping necks, and going on an absolute killing spree, which goes against everything we have ever known about his character from the comics. At the level Robin is at now, he can't really get any darker, which will make his inevitable transition into Nightwing absolutely boring. The most interesting part about the Nightwing transition was how darker things got in the comics, but Titans won't be able to do that now that the dark and gritty level is already at an 11 out of 10.
Another big issue is the fact that Titans is trying to make Dick Grayson the protagonist, which may be a bit difficult. While Robin was an ideal hero for the previous Teen Titans shows, considering he was the most recognizable character, so the shows wouldn't have to introduce him too much, Robin may not be ideal this time around, considering the notable changes made to his character. Based on the grittiness we've seen so far, this Robin is not the Robin we know and love, and thus it will be a lot harder for audiences to connect with him. While violent and dark heroes are interesting, they don't work well as the main heroes, especially in TV series. This is why other shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones usually make the violent badasses supporting characters, as they simply aren't as relatable as reasonable heroes who don't go out of their way to snap people's necks.
Though the dark tone of Titans certainly makes it stand out from the previous Teen Titans shows, it will ultimately be its undoing. Dark and gritty tones work at times, but only in appropriate settings. Based on what we've seen so far, Titans is merely being gritty for the purpose of being gritty, which really won't work long term. Hopefully Titans will prove us all wrong, but based on what we've seen so far, this upcoming show from DC may not last long term.