August 28, 2016
About the author : Project manager by day, crazy cat lady by night. Emily's first love is J.R.R. Tolkien. She's also into Walking Dead, video games, Doctor Who, and anime. When she isn't knee-deep in her latest fandom, she's usually sleeping.
When I saw that Amazon Prime was rebooting The Tick, I was super excited. I loved the cartoon as a kid and I enjoyed it even more as an adult. I mean, how can you not love lines like this?
You know, evil comes in many forms, be it a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin. But you can’t let the package hide the pudding. Evil is just plain bad. You don’t cotton to it. You gotta smack it on the nose with the rolled up newspaper of goodness. Bad dog! Bad dog!
But I’m not here to talk about the cartoon. (Maybe on another day.) Let’s talk about the 2016 Amazon Prime pilot.
The show starts with Arthur, an average guy obsessed with superheroes. The whole world acknowledges they exist, even though many of them have been killed. There’s one supervillain, in particular, The Terror, who was the biggest baddie of them all. We learn that Arthur believe The Terror is still alive and he’s trying desperately to prove it.
On a stakeout at a supposedly abandoned factory, Arthur bumps into a large man in a blue suit who calls himself The Tick. The Tick admires Arthur’s intelligence and “finesse” in watching the bad guys. Arthur gets arrested by the police don’t see the Tick at all. We then learn that Arthur is on medication and he apparently has hallucinations.
Later, The Tick gets tired of waiting around and demands, “Wicked men, stop being bad!” But evil never listens, so a cheesy fight scene ensues. We learn, as anyone who is familiar with The Tick, that he’s nigh invulnerable. (As he puts it, “I have the strength of 10, maybe 20 men. A crowded bus stop of men!”) He easily repels any attack and ends up blowing up the abandoned factory.
The next morning The Tick shows up in Arthur’s apartment and shows him the one thing that survived the explosion: a strange suit that seems to fit Arthur perfectly. The Tick invites Arthur to be his sidekick, recognizing that Arthur has the brains while he, The Tick, has “everything else.”
The pilot ends with Arthur putting on the suit right before the bad guys break down his apartment door, but not without a monologue from The Tick. (Seriously, he needs to have at least one monologue in each episode. It’s like the law.)
The show is a mixed bag of themes and tones. It goes from poking fun at daytime TV and conspiracy theorists, to being weird, to being tragic, to being incredibly cheesy, to being sad, and then back to being weird. I wouldn’t say it’s a smooth transition, but I feel like it works.
It’s not for children. There are moments of graphic violence. Some superheroes are killed with “weaponized syphilis.” Plus it deals with themes like death, grief, and mental illness–not exactly something your eight-year-old will relish.
There are some great one-liners, of course, like “You’re not going crazy. You’re going sane in a crazy world!” The lines are all about the delivery. While I absolutely love Townsend Coleman as The Tick in the cartoon (and I’m sure Patrick Warburton was also perfect, even though I haven’t seen the previous live action show), Peter Serafinowicz does a good job.
While this is far from a perfect show, but it is what it needs to be. Ben Edlund, the creator of The Tick, is writing the show, so the humor will be there. Now that we’ve had years of the Marvel cinematic universe (not to mention DC’s attempts at doing the same), there’s no end to fodder for a parody superhero show.
I’m really excited to see where this goes. I voted for Amazon to make this show a reality. You should too!