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Review: Teen Titans Go! – Starfire’s Galaxy Special: Weird Aliens And One-Note Jokes

Starfire and crew look shocked

Teen Titans Go! has been churning out new episodes for over a decade. The show’s more vocal critics tend to say it’s a lazy program full of cheap humor that clogs Cartoon Network’s schedule, but I disagree. Because it’s been on for so long, Teen Titans Go! has taken some risks, switched things up every now and then, and produced a few gems.

In addition to having a theatrically released movie (and a couple movie-length crossovers with the DC Super Hero Girls and their ’03 counterparts), Teen Titans Go! has also done a handful of mini-series. Cartoon Network fell in love with the idea of a mini-series airing over the course of five days since Over the Garden Wall, and Teen Titans Go! has kept the tradition alive.

Platz talks to Captain Starfire I think the strongest Teen Titans Go! mini-series was the second The Night Begins to Shine, but I appreciate the idea that the show can come up with a concept and create five episodes around it. It seems their recent idea is taking one Titan and giving him or her a unique series. Last time, Beast Boy was the only Titan in a Doom Patrol-based series, and this time, it was Starfire’s turn to hang out with a different cast.

Of all the Teen Titans, Starfire seems to get the short end of the stick. She was the only Titan not to get a season-long arc based on her character and history in the ’03 series, and she doesn’t get as many punchlines as her teammates on Go!. Starfire is a naive yet optimistic alien. She was a powerhouse with a heart of gold who, on Teen Titans Go!, is a source of laughs when she misunderstands Earth culture, overuses the article “the”, or casually does something gross or violent. She may not be everyone’s favorite character, but she’s got plenty of potential.

As an alien, Starfire easily lends herself to science fiction-type stories. Cyborg may get the technology-based jokes, but Starfire literally has entire worlds to explore. Hence Starfire’s Galaxy. She decides to return to her home planet of Tamaran to bake a special cake for her sister, Blackfire, and needs to gather three rare ingredients. It’s a solid premise with an introduction episode, an episode devoted to finding each ingredient, and a finale. While Starfire could have lead her Titans teammates in this quest, the mini-series switched things up.

In a decision that makes or breaks this series, Starfire fills her crew with some of the Starfire with 50% Chad, Folding Paper Man, Freak, and the Tooth Fairymost random characters in Teen Titans Go! history. Along with Platz, the spaceship’s AI, Starfire is joined by The Tooth Fairy, 50% Chad, Folding Paper Man, and the Freak. Now, I’ve seen every episode of Teen Titans Go!, and I think only the Tooth Fairy and Freak are acceptable choices. The Tooth Fairy has made several appearances, and Khary Payton often ends her sentences with a lyrical “ta-ta-ra-ta-ta”, which is pretty funny. Freak, a parody of Sloth from The Goonies, is dumber than Beast Boy and has a tendency to shout things in the vein of Sloth saying “Heeeeey yoooouuuu guuuuuys”. I was less enthused to see 50% Chad, the lower half of a body who only puts in 50% of effort into anything he does. Likewise, Folding Paper Man was never that memorable a character. Where’s Sticky Joe or the Easter Bunny? At least Starfire brought Silkie along with her, and he’s always good for visual gags.

As random as these characters are, there is humor potential in them, as they haven’t been seen as a group before. The question is whether or not they are funnier than the Titans would be if they were Starfire’s crew. I’d say, for the most part, it’s refreshing to see new characters rather than keep going to the well of Beast Boy being stupid and lazy or Raven being emotionless until she turns sadistic. “Ship”, the first episode, had Starfire quickly leave Earth and say goodbye to Robin and then assign roles to the crew (that ultimately ended up being meaningless). They then fought a giant space insect.

Catpin Freak and StarfireThe next three episodes focused on a different crew member. In “Catpin Freak”, Freak wanted to be captain (or “catpin” as he kept saying), so he put a toilet on his head and commanded the mission. Despite his over the top antics and overall idiocy, he managed to acquire the moon flower. In “50% Crew”, 50% Chad caused a transporter mishap that beamed the crew’s top half down onto a planet while their lower halves remained on the ship. The weakest of the episodes, it heavily relied on “half” and “kick” puns until the top half of the crew beamed back aboard with the sugar crystals. “Five Bucks” was a Tooth Fairy spotlight. She lamented the fact that she can never get money for her teeth because they are magic and never fall out, so the crew tries to help her extract a tooth only to make things worse. Plus they acquire an egg along the way.

When they approach Tamaran in “Wild Card”, Starfire explains that Blackfire is seeking Starfire attempts to embrace a suspicious Blackfirethe Fire Crown from the Lost City of Tamaran, which will make her powerful enough to destroy the planet. Starfire wants to destroy the crown. She then discovers that Robin had stowed away in the landing gear and insists on joining as their “wild card”. Blackfire, suspicious of their intentions, greets them with guards at her side when they land. Starfire insists she’s only there to make Blackfire a slurp cake, so Blackfire immediately has them escorted into the kitchen. It turns out this was all part of Starfire’s plan. She has Robin stay in the kitchen with cake decoys of the crew (where he ends up falling in love with a Starfire cake) while Starfire uses a secret passageway to get to the Lost City of Tamaran. In the smartest move she’s ever done in the show’s history, Starfire reveals that every member of the crew was selected for their unique skill to get them to the Lost City and the crown. Unfortunately, Robin was unable to fool Blackfire and she got to the crown first. Robin does end up redeeming himself, fulfilling his role as wild card as Starfire is able to use him to beat her sister.

Folding Paper Man, Freak, Starfire, Platz, 50% Chad, and Tooth Fairy cheerThe arc ended fairly abruptly. After Blackfire’s defeat, there wasn’t a real farewell to the crew or Platz and the ship. Will we ever see these characters again? Probably not as a crew, and it’s probably for the best. These aren’t the Teen Titans we know and love. They’re not even the Doom Patrol, who could probably be the stars of a Teen Titans Go! spin-off. This was a collection of one-note one-joke reject characters who mostly don’t work well alone and work slightly better playing off each other. I don’t see them making much of an impact if they reappear, and I’m fine with not seeing them again. If anything, now I want to see other mini-series centering on a solo-Titan. Maybe Cyborg or Raven next time.

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