“Just ticking along”
The Tick: Season One – Part One
Amazon Prime Video
25 August 2017
6 (so far)
If you’re like me, you might’ve grown up in the 90’s watching the wacky cartoon that was The Tick: The Animated Series after school. I never heard of it but there was also a live-action series in 2001 starring Patrick Warburton. Or, if you’re older, you might’ve read the original The Tick comics by Ben Edlund in the 80’s. Ben Edlund’s The Tick is back in colourful live-action with its satirical take on superheroes.
The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz) is a man in a blue suit with antennae. Or, as The Tick ponders, “Am I naked? Or am I never not naked?”. Dim-witted, and quick to a one-liner and getting creative with cliches, bulletproof and super strong, The Tick really is the essence of every dumbfounded hero.
Our main protagonist is Arthur (Griffin Newman), who is mentally troubled ever since his father was killed by The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). Arthur still thinks he’s alive and pulling the strings of the crime racket in his town. While meeting The Tick he comes across a super suit and gains the abilities to fly and be bullet proof. But he’s more than ready to give it back.
Arthur’s sister Dot (Valorie Curry) has to overcome the overbearing older sister role assigned to her, which thankfully she does towards the end of this first batch of episodes. As a paramedic, Dot helps fix up villains as a side gig, which adds an interesting dynamic, yet to be fully explored. Miss Lint (Yara Martinez) is a villain, once protege to The Terror, who with the powers of electricity, also has the powers of attracting lint (hence the name), and wants Arthur’s suit, badly.
Now I don’t normally pay attention to the music of shows unless it stands out. Here, the music of The Tick is filled with upbeat jazz, and helps set the mood for The Tick‘s brand of offbeat humour. And that humour is.. hit and miss. I’d have to rewatch it to really get all the throwaway lines The Tick has but I do like Newman’s level of awkwardness and reluctance. The season narrative is stretched over the first lot of episodes and may have benefited from some more stand-alone episodes.
The downside to having such a light tone to the series is that nothing really feels at stake. It actually reminded me a lot of DC’s Powerless, how superheroes and villains just happen to pop in and out without warning. Now I’m not saying I want The Tick to go the way of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics films, or even Marvel’s The Defenders, but when a fight breaks out, The Tick is kinda invincible. His only weak point is his sensitive antennae which haven’t really held him up yet. I suppose his level of intelligence could be considered a weak point, but who needs intelligence when you have fists!
Overall, I feel like The Tick still needs to hit its stride. Fortunately, they have another six episodes to do so. The next six episodes are coming early 2018.