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Josh Reviews Amazon’s The Tick

I read and loved The Tick way back when the first black and white issues of Ben Edlund’s super-hero parody masterpiece were published in the eighties, and I have followed the big blue goofball’s adventures through both of his two previous TV incarnations, an animated series in the nineties and the killed-way-before-it’s-time live-action series on FOX in 2001.  I was delighted when Amazon announced they’d be taking another swing at a Tick adaptation, and I loved the pilot episode they produced last year.  They released an additional five episodes a few months ago, and I am pleased to report that they are terrific!

The new episodes pick up right where the pilot left off, and maintain a wonderful consistency of look and tone.  (Strangely, the only major change I noticed was that they changed the look of the costume of the Tick himself. The version in the pilot did look a little, well, mushy, but the more blocky new version isn’t much better in my opinion.)

The show belongs to Peter Serafinowicz, who is fantastic as the Tick.  Mr. Serafinowicz is able to give the Tick all of the superheroic bombast that he needs, while maintaining the gentleness at the character’s core. Mr. Serafinowicz is very, very funny in the role.  At first I missed Patrick Warburton (who was so great as the Tick in the FOX version), but very quickly I felt Mr. Serafinowicz owned this role completely.  He makes every single line a comedic home run.  This is not an easy role too play — it could easily veer too far into the corny or the ridiculous.  But Mr. Serafinowicz is pretty much perfect.

Griffin Newman and Valorie Curry were both great in the pilot as Arthur and his sister Dot, and they continue to be great in these new episodes.  The pilot left open the possibility that Arthur really was crazy and the Tick was only in his head, which was an intriguing choice, and that continued at first in this new run of episodes. But the show did away with that pretty quickly and established that other characters could, indeed, also see the Tick.  I was a little sore to see that resolved so definitively so quickly, though that was probably the better choice in terms of the show’s longevity.  (The idea of other characters always just-missing the Tick would probably get old pretty fast.)  I liked the choice to make Arthur’s sister Dot a major character in the pilot, and I loved that Dot continued too play a major role in these subsequent episodes.  Ms.Curry is terrific, and I love the added dimension that this gives to Arthur and the show, by exploring Arthur’s … [continued]

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

“Evil Wears Every Possible Mitten” — Josh Reviews Amazon’s The Tick!

December 19th, 2016
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I’ve been a fan of Ben Edlund’s wonderful superhero parody, The Tick, since (almost) the very beginning.  Friends in high school turned me on to the wonderful black-and-white comic, published by New England Comics, soon after those early issues were published in the late eighties and early nineties.  Mr. Edlund wrote and illustrated twelve hilarious issues between 1988 and 1993 that hold up wonderfully to this day as not just spectacularly funny but also, even more impressively, an on-the-nose parody of super-hero comic-book tropes that also manages to elevate into a unique creation in its own right.  (Sadly, issue twelve ended on a cliffhanger that Mr. Edlund never completed.)  The Tick comic-book series has continued in a variety of forms in the subsequent two-decades-plus, by a variety of other creators, but it’s never matched Mr. Edlund’s original twelve issues.

However, the series has, remarkably, been adapted for television THREE TIMES and, even more remarkably, each adaptation has been a creatively successful undertaking.  First came a three-season run of an animated Saturday morning cartoon version for Fox that ran from 1994-1996.  It’s been a while since I’ve revisited that show, but I recall it being a very funny and very faithful adaptation that had a great theme song and made some great additions to the Tick cannon, most notably the characters of Die Fledermaus (a Batman parody) and American Maid.  In 2001, Fox aired a short-lived live-action version starring Seinfeld’s Patrick Warburton as the Tick and Lost’s Nestor Carbonell as Batmanuel (a genius name for very funny new character, brilliantly performed by Mr. Carbonell).  The show was quickly cancelled but a complete series DVD release years later (that included unaired episodes) demonstrated the show’s tremendous potential that was sadly cut short.  The pilot was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) and the whole show was very clever and very funny.  So, of course, Fox killed it almost immediately.

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Which brings us to this almost unprecedented THIRD iteration of The Tick: a pilot episode produced by Amazon (that, I am pleased to report, has recently been announced as going to a series order).  You can watch the Amazon pilot episode here.

I very much enjoyed this pilot episode.  Written by Ben Edlund (the original Tick creator who has, incredibly, remained in a key creative role throughout all three of The Tick’s TV series permutations) and directed by Wally Pfister (the incredible cinematographer behind Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy), this series succeeds in bringing the big blue goofball to life.

The biggest difference is that while The Tick’s previous incarnations (both the original comic book series and the first two TV shows) placed the Tick … [continued]