These days, superhero properties aren’t just dominating the multiplex, they have a strong presence on television. Thanks to programs like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, Flash, and Agent Carter (among others), fans of comic book characters have plenty of avenues to see their favorite icons come to life. For a while, it seemed like DC’s Teen Titans would be the next to join the growing list of titles adapted for the small screen. But TNT recently announced that they were no longer developing the live-action series.
Since updates regarding the show was few and far between since last summer, it didn’t come as any surprise that the network pulled the plug, but it was nevertheless disappointing. However, fans of Teen Titans may be able to take solace in TNT’s reasoning for going in a different direction – a belief that it wasn’t of high quality.
Speaking with THR, TNT Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly explained his decision for canceling the show, chalking it up to a lackluster script by Akiva Goldsman and the current state of the marketplace:
Akiva [Goldsman] is a talented guy, [but] the script just wasn’t there. There is an unbelievable glut of superhero things in the market right now and if you have a really good one, clearly people are up for it. But I just don’t think that there’s a need for one that, for me, at least on paper didn’t seem to be screaming to get made.
One almost has to admire Reilly’s honesty in his feelings about the project. In the 21st century, superheroes have become more popular than ever, and everyone would be justified for wanting to cash in on the craze – regardless of how strong the material is. Reilly is right in saying that people are always up for a “really good” comic book adaptation, but lately they’ve shown how quickly they can turn on a poor one. If the Teen Titans script was weak, it’s arguably for the best that Reilly gave it the ax as opposed to pushing forward with something he didn’t believe in for the sake of giving his network a superhero show.
And this doesn’t mean that a potential Teen Titans project is dead in the water entirely. Whether it’s at TNT or a different channel, the door is now open for someone to craft a solid pilot that will captivate and thrill audiences. If TNT had ran with Goldsman’s version and failed, it would have been more detrimental for Teen Titans than what actually happened. A critical dud that doesn’t connect with viewers is hard to come back from. Reilly’s actions gives Teen Titans a clean slate to work with in the future, and hopefully something better comes of it. There are a lot of superhero TV shows on the air right now, but there’s always room for one more good one.
As upset as fans may be that they won’t get to see the Titans fighting on TV soon, it’s a positive development that TNT realized what they had wasn’t strong and moved on. Reilly is right when he says there’s a saturation of superhero content in media, and people now have several options to pick and choose from. If the genre is going to continue to thrive in the movies and on television, the creative teams working on the projects have to ensure everything is worthwhile so viewers don’t burn out. It’s important to do fan-favorite characters such as the Teen Titans justice, and a weak script would definitely not accomplish that goal.
We’ll keep you updated on Teen Titans as more information becomes available.