HBO Max has Doom Patrol and Titans competing to see which is the better DC property, but it’s easily the former for one very simple reason.
The following contains light spoilers for Doom Patrol and Titans Season 4, now streaming on HBO Max.
Doom Patrol and Titans are both DC superhero shows on HBO Max, but they’re very different. Titans Season 4 took Nightwing’s team to Metropolis to battle Mother Mayhem. They’re hoping to stop the rise of Brother Blood with the help of a returning Tim Drake, and so far it’s been a difficult challenge.
Meanwhile, Doom Patrol Season 4 has the group trying to find its footing. Cliff is still uncertain of his role, Jane is wondering how to heal and Cyborg recently received an important upgrade. While both series still have stories to tell, Doom Patrol is much stronger because it embraces the essence of comic books and superheroes better than Titans.
Doom Patrol Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously Like Titans
Titans has always taken itself too seriously, which is why in the final few episodes of any season, the plot goes downhill. The show rushed to kill Deathstroke in Season 4 after shaping him as an indestructible villain, and in Season 4 Sebastian accepts his role as Brother Blood for no reason. Nothing feels organic; the writers force wins for the heroes and push enemies into the frame unnaturally. To top it off, Titans has a bleak Zack Snyder-esque vibe that always seems to result in over-the-top fight sequences, including a civil war and the deaths of Hawk and Donna Troy.
Doom Patrol, on the other hand, lets its wacky, zany characters run amok on the TV screen. Fns get exactly what’s been in the comics for decades coming to life. The show even incorporates more current material like Gerard Way’s character Casey Brinke. By allowing these characters and stories to breathe more, Doom Patrol cultivates its own brand — one true to the source material, making the TV show and the comics feel connected.
Doom Patrol Knows Tone & Balance Better Than Titans
What also works in Doom Patrol’s favor is it never wavers in its tone. It doesn’t matter if Mr. Nobody or the Brotherhood of Evil is the villain of the season, the comedy’s there in spades. The heroes have more emotional personal beats regarding their depression, need for a real family and how Niles Caulder took their humanity from them, but it achieves more of a balance between that drama and the funnier parts of the story.
What’s even more impressive is how this is achieved. Time travel and alternate realities are also embraced, but without sacrificing the core traits and motivations of the characters, similar to Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. Titans can’t achieve this — not with its leads or even the supporting cast. It doesn’t know if to be comedic (like Jinx being a cheekier Zatana) or veer into romance (with Dick and Kory or Tim and Bernard). The fact that amost every female character ends up in a romantic subplot with Nightwing is testament to this instability, too, as it exemplifies how Titans doesn’t know what to keep and what to cut from the comics.
Without such a base, Titans has become schizophrenic. When the time comes for galactic or supernatural stories, it feels like the show has to mold itself to these narratives. It’s the total opposite for Doom Patrol, which allows these creative directions to fit in and has a tone that’s better suited to handle any kind of adventure.
Both Doom Patrol and Titans are now streaming on HBO Max.