Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans GO! aired the follow up to “The Night Begins to Shine” mini-series with The Night Begins to Shine 2: You’re The One. Instead of airing as a mini-series this time around, the network compiled all 5 episodes into an hour, commercial free, movie event.
The first mini-series, titled “The Day the Night Stopped Beginning to Shine and Became Dark Even Though It Was the Day” saw the Teen Titans, Cyborg, Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven travel to an 80s inspired alternate dimension after an evil dragon tries to steal the song “The Night Begins to Shine.” The team has to assemble the original creators of the song, B.E.R., in the real world in an attempt to have a chance to defeat the dragon. Cameos in the first mini-series included CeeLo Green and Fall Out Boy who are drawn into the alternate reality by the power of the song.
The song “The Night Begins to Shine” first appeared in the series as a song Cyborg sings briefly in an episode. It returns again later in the series as a major plot to an entire episode where Cyborg uses the song as a way to get himself pumped up, eventually annoying the rest of the team. The team bans Cyborg from listening to the song and he becomes powerless. The song is so catchy that it eventually brings the entire team together to save the day. The first time I heard the song, it was stuck in my head for days.
Now you might be thinking, this sounds nothing like the DC Comic characters known as the Teen Titans. You are correct. Teen Titans GO! is a less serious take on the famous characters, intended for a younger audience. It’s existence enrages many fans of the original Teen Titans animated series, yet continues to be one of Cartoon Network’s most watched series, with repeats of the series taking up a large portion of the network’s schedule. A straight to DVD crossover series featuring the two series crossing over titled “Teen Titans GO! Vs Teen Titans” was released in 2019. Teen Titans GO! features the same voice actors as the original series and often pokes fun at itself, with many references to the previous series and the original animation style. It even got its own feature length film Teen Titans GO! To the Movies which was an extremely enjoyable fun movie.
In the premiere of The Night Begins to Shine 2: You’re The One, we once again see the Teen Titans transported to the realm after a long absence only to find the land in ruins with a new evil threat, Ultralak, behind the destruction. Ultralak suddenly appears and proclaims his intentions to destroy all music. Cyborg leads an attack on him and his forces. Ultralak deals a strong blow to Cyborg, taking him out. Robin, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy retreat to a base held by resistance fighters. Ultralak quickly finds them and right before attacking, Cyborg, now having transferred his essence into the motorcycle which he rides in this realm, rescues the Titans.
The titans must now find the three musical stems of B.E.R.’s lost song which they learn has been buried in the ground to hide them from Ultralak. B.E.R. are the craters of the song The Night Begins to Shine. A miner finds the first stem to the song and hands them over to the Sheriff right before the Titans arrive. The Titans arrive in town and during their attempt to rescue the stem, are captured by the Sheriff. Motorcycle Cyborg escapes and goes back to the miner, who he convinces to join and help rescue the stem and rest of the Titans. The team then has to get on board a train which is transporting the stem to Ultralak. With the help of the Titans, the miner manages to rescue the stem and capture the evil Sheriff. The miner then hands the Titans the stem and takes over as the new Sheriff.
The Titans now in possession of the first stem are pursued by Ultralak and his evil beasts. The team shakes them off their tail and attempts to find a signal on their tracker to find the rest of the song stems. They climb a hill and soon realize they are on top of a giant turtle who shares that he has been stuck there in toxic sludge which was dumped there by a factory. Motorcycle Cyborg tells the turtle he will rescue the creature. After an initial failed attempt, they decide to go shut down the factory which has been pumping the toxic sludge. To their dismay, they witness that the pollution is in fact destroyed songs. Ultralak arrives and tells the lead factory worker that the Titans must be stopped before they find the next song stem.The Titans take on the workers, who are all skeletons, win and release the songs which were intended to be destroyed, into the lake, reviving them and cleansing the entire lake. The turtle then gifts the Titans the second stem, leaving one final stem for the Titans to find.
The final signal on the tracker brings them to a wall with no apparent way in. They then realize the radio they have been using to find the signals is in fact the key to open the door. Once open, a portal is revealed and the Titans risk it all and enter it. They find themselves in a mostly empty void and see the stem hovering in the distance. In an homage to the classic film, Tron, light beams appear alongside the Titans. They soon realize they are in a game and must figure out the pattern and path to complete it, losing a life every time they fail. They make progress yet fail again. The team, after continuing to fail, feels defeated. With Motorcycle Cyborg’s guidance, he realizes the key is in the rhythm of music and motivates the team to successfully complete the game with one life left and reach the final stem. The radio tracker then shows them that they must get to the summit of a mountain
Once they reach the summit of the mountain, they see the ancient ruins of a temple dedicated to each member of B.E.R. They summon the band by presenting the three stems to the statues. Ultralak then appears and the Titans each charge at him landing powerful blows to Ultralak. He fights them off and begins to pull the stems out of the statues which were summoning B.E.R. Ultralak forcefully merges the stems and reveals himself to be the previously unknown fourth member of B.E.R. who quit the band. On his own he channeled evil and betrayed everything the band stood for. Ultralak then destroys the merged stems robbing the vibrant colors of the entire word. Ultralak becomes even stronger and more powerful. Suddenly, a beam of light appears through the dark and B.E.R. appears telling Ultralak that music can never be destroyed. They absorb the destroyed stem orb and begin performing their lost song, pulling Cyborg’s essence out of the motorcycle into a new form of himself, making him stronger and powerful enough to take on the supercharged Ultralak. As B.E.R. performs the song You’re The One, Cyborg carries Ultralak into outer space and they fight it out. Ultralak pins Cyborg against a meteor and begins to pull his essence out of his body. B.E.R. join and supercharge Cyborg. He transforms into a new fourth member and their music together generates a powerful blow to counter Ultralak, eventually overcoming him, destroying Ultralak. B.E.R. proclaims victory with Robin saying they can now go back home. Cyborg pronounces that they are in fact home already.
The Night Begins to Shine 2 was a fun and visually stunning Teen Titans Go! event. While a compelling reason to send the Titans back to the land of The Night Begins to Shine, it fails to reach the heights of its predecessor. I missed the elements of the Titans being outside of the dimension like they were in the first event, which helped break up the seriousness which was on full display in the sequel. The Tron themed part of the movie event was the most exciting and my favorite segment. While thrilling, vibrant and beautifully animated, the final battle feels rushed, and leaves little resolution to the ending, leaving me wanting more. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third take on The Night Begins to Shine and if they make one, I will certainly tune in to watch it!
Immediately following the end of the special, Cartoon Network announced a new Teen Titans GO! mini-series event would have its premiere in August. It will be called “Where Exactly on the Globe is Carl Sanpedro”, clearly a fun play on the classic “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”!
You can stream Teen Titans GO!, your new favorite show!, on Hulu https://www.hulu.com/series/teen-titans-go-4677c039-314f-4dfc-8dc1-c533a76e8a07
Cartoon Network App: https://www.cartoonnetwork.com/apps/cartoon-network/cartoon-network/index.html