Titans had a bit of a weird start, one which almost felt like it had started life as an episode of Gotham and then been spun off. Opening with a distinctly brooding, mildly psychopathic Robin working as a detective, alongside Raven/Rachel in full runaway-teenager mode following the pretty brutal murder of her "mum", it felt like a cop drama was in the off. But within the first few episodes, Dick's partner had been killed off (why bother with her at all?) and his job had been all but forgotten. I mean, what kind of department is this that a Detective can disappear for weeks at a time without anyone even trying to call him? He moved across state lines, he kept getting involved in various crime scenes, and it wasn't even clear that he was working his own case to begin with so... what the hell? Also "Fuck Batman"... if it's just trailer bait, don't bother. Preferably, in this instance, don't bother at all in fact.
That said, once we've left behind the initial setup, Titans begins to become something more interesting. That detective badge is a useful crutch, helping out in various areas as an increasingly diverse cast begins to slowly revolve around Rachel, trying to work out who she is and why so many people are intent on killing her. Just don't expect too much by way of actual explanation. Who are the Organisation? What's their backstory? How does it relate to "aboriginal mythology" around corvids? Why was an alien sent half way across the galaxy to kill her? Why Earth? What's up with the "family values" brainwashing? Don't worry, you'll never find out... and you won't really mind.
Instead, Titans first season does a good job of setting up both its heroes and a wider world that's clearly pretty used to masked vigilantes and supernatural entities. We get small clips of dialogue that show that metahumans and aliens are both well known to exist, the brief cameo of the Doom Patrol serves as a nice reminder that we're living in a world with more than just Batman's friends running around in it, and even the subtlety of having the Superman logo on t-shirts helps sell the world building. It does get a bit annoying having A-listers like Batman and Joker constantly "off screen" or in the shadows, but fine, I get why they had to do that.
Of those heroes we get to spend genuine time with, I think they're all pretty well cast and decently written versions of themselves. Robin (both of them) probably come of the worst for "plot-driven emotions", but it almost works most of the time. Sunfire's amnesia is a nice touch (I don't know if it's a common thread to her character) and I like how they deal with both Beastboy and Raven. Beating them all, though, are Hawk and Dove, who quickly become compelling and interesting characters with a rich back story, helping cement the group together and hinting at much deeper pasts. Again, that helps to flesh out the world, as well as both Dick and Wonder Girl's back stories and works very well. I was not expecting for Hawk and Dove to be my favourite characters, but there we are; both actors absolutely nail these characters and the show is about 10 times better for it.
Once it hits its groove, then, Titans feels like early seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: fun, mysterious, fast-paced, and with a good heart, but still suffering a little from losing grip of its own plot threads. It's set apart both by its more "realistic" portrayal of street-level crime fighting (plenty of blood and bruises), which is more akin to Netflix's Marvel outings, and by a weird lack of pay-off. I really liked the final episode of the season until I found out it was the final episode. It's great seeing into Dick's mind and watching him slowly be beaten down by Trigon's manipulation, but how is that the curtain call? Even with the Super Boy teaser (awesome) it still feels extremely abrupt. All I can say is I'm very glad I waited until season two was out to start watching the show, because that would have been a super annoying cliff hanger to be left on.