Starring: Peter Serafinowicz, Griffin Newman, Valorie Curry, Jackie Earle Haley
Series created by: Ben Edlund
Written by: Ben Edlund / Episode directed by: Wally Pfister
What’s it about?
Accountant Arthur Everest learns that long-thought dead supervillain the Terror is back…if only there was a hero who would dare to oppose such an evildoer…
Wicked Men! Ben Edlund’s zany superhero parody returns in another new iteration for Amazon’s pilot season and while it’s a little different from what fans of The Tick will be familiar with from the 1990s cartoon and the short-lived live action series from 2001 it’s a smart reinterpretation for modern audiences. From the outset, it’s clear that for this newest take on The Tick Edlund has taken a darker, more mature (and even, to an extent, grounded) approach that mixes the adult themes and character deconstructions of the Netflix Daredevil series with the cartoon violence and madcap antics of Kick-Ass.
Unusually for a show called The Tick, Amazon’s pilot, at least initially, focuses mainly on his (eventual) sidekick, accountant Arthur Everest who thanks to a childhood trauma, revealed neatly via a series of flashbacks, suffers from mental health issues. When Arthur discovers that purportedly deceased supervillain ‘the Terror’ (Watchmen’s Jackie Earle Haley) may actually be alive he becomes obsessive about uncovering the truth which soon leads to him crossing paths with the titular blue hero…who may or may not be a figment of Arthur’s imagination. As Arthur, Griffin Newman provides a likeably dark, neurotic, yet rather funny protagonist that has real problems the audience can identify – or at least get on board – with that’s in tune with the pseudo-realism Edlund is going for with hints of the ‘hero’ he is to become.
Family Guy‘s Patrick Warburton (who serves as producer on this pilot) was pretty much a note perfect lead in the 2001 series, so what of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Serafinowicz? Well, he does a commendable job of succeeding Warburton and whilst he doesn’t quite have that hulking physicality he certainly has the voice (he was Darth Maul after all) and together with the wackiness of Edlund’s script we get a Tick that’s as zany and insanely verbose as ever, although the more intricately designed suit does at first take a little getting used to.
Visually this is a lavish and beautifully shot production (that boasts a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg no less!) on a scale that far surpasses that of the more confined, sitcom like feel of the 2001 series with The Dark Knight trilogy’s cinematographer Wally Pfister bringing an epic, film like quality to the 30-minute pilot. Overall Amazon’s The Tick is a fresh but faithful reinterpretation for modern times that deserves the chance of going to series.
The bottom line: Ben Edlund brings The Tick to Amazon Studios and their pilot is a darkly comic riff on the well-worn superhero genre that shows promise for a potential series.
The Tick is available to stream now, exclusively via Amazon.
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