The Tick: Amazon Superhero Spoof Attempt (Review)

Logo for The Tick

Amazon have released their own live-action version of superhero spoof The Tick. This will be the second attempt at bringing the Ben Edlund comic to television, not counting the animated series. The first time out, The Tick featured Patrick Warburton in the blue suit.

That one lasted nine episodes.

The time up, Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead “It’s  four o’clock in the f**king morning,” Guardians of the Galaxy “What a load of “A” holes.”) is the blue garbed superhero. He is all teeth, long-winded rhetoric, super strength  and a very upbeat attitude. Pretty much like the comic really.

For a pilot about The Tick, he does not have as much screen time as his new sidekick, Arthur (Griffin Newman) aka Mothman in the comics. In this iteration of the verse, Arthur’s suit is less white and has shorter…ears. He may not be mistaken for a bunny in this show. 

As pilots go, this one starts off pretty good. The exploding, just above ground level, of the alien spacecraft above Tunguska, Siberia “back in the day” to The Tick’s voice over as funny and impressive.

 “Your reindeer are on fire.”

“Sh*t.”

This is a promising start.

It features Whoopi Goldberg in an Oprah-like cameo interviewing Superian;  a superhero who is battling  The Terror (played by the superb Jackie Earle Haley). Do not attempt to recognize Jackie, his character is too heavily made up. 

Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) is a weedy, bespectacled chap who had a run-in with The Terror when he was a child.  The interaction was caught on camera and it made him famous. He is investigating the super criminal and has a sister named Dot, played by Valorie Curry (The Following, House of Lies).

The Tick and Arthur meet at a villain stronghold and  the meek man is arrested for trespassing.  We are treated to a flashback of his father dying underneath a superhero aircraft brought down by The Terror and some of his minions.

Arthur has a “tic” already. His eye blinks when he is nervous or stressed. Dot is not pleased with his arrest and she realizes that he is tracking The Terror again.

In the pilot The Tick meets Arthur, gives him the moth suit, which is bulletproof and will allow him to fly, none of which we see this time out.

This is a world where superheroes have been around since 1908 (Remember Tunguska?) and the public take them as fact.  The pilot episode is quirky and not quite laugh out loud funny. Thus far it is , however, weirdly amusing.

Serafinowicz comes across very well as the overly verbose super being, in a blue suit with antenna, but at times is seems…creepy. Certainly The Tick is not the sharpest tool in the shed but what he lacks in brains he makes up for with “everything else.” (His words, not ours.)

Apart from the animated series, The Tick has not fared well on television.  Patrick Warburton (who is an executive producer on this new series) did not overly impress as the first “live-action” version of The Tick in 2001.

Fans of the comics, or the 1994 animated series, do not like live action apparently. Or it could be that it is too difficult for them to make the transition.

It could even be too soon.  With Marvel and DC battling at the box-office and small screens of the world for attention with “real” superheroes, perhaps this is a parody out of place. Maybe in a few years time when comic adaptations outnumber “regular” TV shows The Tick may fare better.

However, the opinions of disgruntled fans aside, The Tick is amusing and looks to have  a lot of promise. Wally Pfister (Transcendence, Flaked) directed this pilot and he does a excellent job with the episode. 

The pilot of the show is streaming now on Amazon. It is free to watch and they want your feedback for this possible new series. Head over and check it out.