I love The Tick in pretty much all its incarnations. I’ve even read some of the original black and white comics which are very notably not for children (essentially harmless in many ways, but some of the jokes are not kid-friendly, like how after first meeting the Tick and Arthur carefully let each other know they both aren’t gay).
Now a second live action version has come around as an Amazon Studios pilot. With enough interest from fans, it could go to series. How was it?
Fun to start, but not quite there yet. The tone this time around is certainly different.
Much like the original version of comics from creator Ben Edlund, this series is not much for kids. There’s some dark humor on display here in places. None of that comes from the title character (more on him in a moment). It actually comes from his sidekick Arthur (Griffin Newman). Arthur here is something more of a wreck than usual, though as a change of pace, the viewer learns he has a last name (“Everest”) and had some nasty childhood trauma as a result of notorious supervillain The Terror (Watchmen‘s Jackie Earle Haley) that most people assume is dead. He may not be. The Terror had, before he was believed killed, murdered the city’s last team of superheroes. And while Arthur searches for proof The Terror is still alive, he comes across a weird new superhero, the Tick.
British actor/comedian Peter Serafinowicz plays the Tick with a not-quite-right American accent that actually works for the character and gives him something of an Adam West vibe. The Tick is still his usual nearly indestructible, very strong self, and one scene shows him basically walk through a hail of gunfire occasionally smacking a criminal trying to kill him while thoroughly enjoying himself. Given what the viewer learns about Arthur, I was almost wondering if the Tick was some kind of weird figment of Arthur’s imagination (he isn’t, well, probably isn’t), but the show’s half hour ends with Arthur getting his moth suit and the Tick more or less moving into Arthur’s apartment.
Truth be told, every incarnation of The Tick features a moment where the title character starts breaking Arthur’s stuff to find the (nonexistent) hidden switch to Arthur’s superhero stuff, and this one upholds that tradition. That said, this version is actually a bit darker than previous TV incarnations, but it could prove a ton of fun, so fans like me should hope Amazon orders the show to series based on Prime subscribers’ demand. I’m giving it eight and a half flaming reindeer out of ten. It’s not perfect, but it shows promise and could grow to something fun given half the chance.