Episode Reviews - How Long Is Forever?


Episode #14 - How Long Is Forever?
Original Airdate - January 10th, 2004 - Second Season Premiere

A super-thief from the future called Warp travels back in time to steal a priceless antique. But when the Teen Titans show up to stop him, the villain tries to escape. And in a last-ditch effort to catch the crook, Starfire is pulled into his Time Vortex and accidentally hurled 20 years into the future. There, she makes a disturbing discovery: In this future, her friends are not friends anymore, and the Titans are history. Can Starfire stop Warp and fix the past so that this grim future never happens?

Review by Steel
Media by Bird Boy
Titans Writers
Written by David Slack
Directed by Alex Soto
Producer Glen Murakami
Producers Linda M. Steiner, Bruce Timm
Asst. Producer Kimberly A. Smith
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Casting and Voice Direction Andrea Romano
Animation Services by Dongwoo Animation CO., LTD.

Titans Voices
Greg Cipes as Beast Boy
Scott Menville as Robin
Khary Payton as Cyborg
Tara Strong as Raven
Hynden Walch as Starfire
Xander Berkeley as Warp

Screen Grabs






Pans


Sound Clips
"Just like allllllll the others..." (MP3, 374kb)
"I haven't used that name in a long time..." (MP3, 139kb)
"I'm BALD!?" (MP3, 396kb)
"So...Nightwing, huh?" (MP3, 144kb)
Review

While the episode's introduction was moderately amusing, it smelt of the typical "Titans get into a conflict with each other and then resolve it" motif. Thankfully, an innovative use of what is usually the tired device of time travel allowed the episode to become a compelling introduction to the second season that's more in line with the grimmer tone of the later first season episodes. The future presented in "How Long is Forever?" takes an interesting peek at what the Titans could become were they to all fall apart. While Robin's point about their infighting being nothing more than typical roommate squabbling is completely rational, what the episode really does is demonstrate why all of the Titans need each other. However, the situation in the possible future is plausible because the difference between the two scenarios is that the remaining Titans didn't have a set purpose in the alternate "reality", with their feeble excuses merely masking the real reason why they were each in such a decrepit and withering state.

Beast Boy doesn't have to be a fat, balding circus animal, Cyborg doesn't have to be falling apart while chained to his power cell, Raven doesn't need to go nuts, and Robin/Nightwing could very well end up in a situation other than completely alone. The physical deficiencies are merely a manifestation of the lack of drive in most of the "future Titans". Without the support from friends and a purpose to work for, it seems only logical that the Titans would wither away into obscurity. This very well may be a negative or depressing outlook on how people function, but it probably has some degree of truth to it. In fact, the future of the Titans could be pretty damn cool. Aspects of the "future Titans," such as "white Raven" and Nightwing were drawn from the comics in which the Titans grew both physically and mentally throughout the course of its run, and this gradual growth would be an interesting element to see on the show as well.

When combined, the little details and small touches can take an interesting premise and turn it into something fantastic, which was definitely true of this episode. The humorous visual tricks such as the shift from night to day in the episode's opening remain. Much like the "dance music" from "Sisters," the background music that Robin was listening to added another level to the immersive nature of the episode. When Nightwing called the other Titans with their communicator, the score that accompanied the scene really helped to give it a very bittersweet feel and was probably one of the most beautiful musical sequences of the show. The animation and fight scenes were top notch, particularly the way the first fight with Warp tied into the last, and the 'future' character designs were very believable. While Nightwing's voice felt 'off' at times, the rest of the Titans' future voices felt appropriately "adult". Given that the dialogue for Scott Menville's "future character" seemed to be much more demanding, this is understandable.

On the subject of Nightwing... he was just *cool*! The character design strongly resembles the Nightwing design from 'The New Batman Adventures' because Glen Murakami probably had an involvement in designing both animated incarnations of the popular comic figure. This Nightwing design lacks the sharp feel of the TNBA Nightwing design, especially in the logo, but the lack of the mullet and his incredible movement and attack pattern more than makes up for it. While I'm not even going to begin to get into the mess of the "continuity debate" about whether "Teen Titans" is part of the rest of the "DC Animated Universe," (because at this point the show appears to be in a completely different universe), the point of the 'Dick Grayson' character is that he's focused, determined, and obsessive like Batman, but can have a good time at it and enjoy himself at the same time without getting consumed. This attitude was definitely shown by this animated incarnation of Nightwing, who was just the right blend of focus, optimism, and fun. Robin's line at the end and seeming awe of his future identity reveals just how much he loves "playing the hero." This episode was a fantastic start to the second season, and hopefully the pattern of stellar episodes will continue.

"So... Nightwing, huh?" -Robin

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