I went into the pilot episode of ‘The Tick’ on Amazon Prime with high hopes. It’s a fairly glorious time just now for the Super *super* fan on TV, and the advent of mainstream “on demand” television services give us all the choice we can handle. I am one of those indecisive types who has both Netflix (it’s the wife’s, I swear!) and Amazon Prime, and I freely admit that the prospect of the return of one of my absolute favourite series to my screens had me jumping up and down yelling, “Spooooon!” at passers-by.
The premise, if you’ve missed it, is of a pastiche of the superhero genre, squarely satirising it in a variety of absurd ways. As a smart-alec teen, I loved the animated show (and as a smart-alec student, the first live incarnation), and as I’ve got older revisited the comics also. So the question is, does this latest reboot-restart-rehash-reset work?
Well, yes and no. It has some very good elements: Peter Serafinowitz ( Guardians of The Galaxy, Spaced)is simply glorious as
the eponymous blue guy, doing a rousing turn even if his accent does waver at points between the cartoon version and Patrick Warburton’s live incarnation. The brave decision has been made to give him relatively little screen time, however, going into the origin of his sidekick, Arthur, in more detail. It creates an interesting set-up where The Tick may simply be a product of Arthur’s imagination, a super-powered Tyler Durden of sorts, a genuine (if clueless) hero, or something else entirely. But this leads to too few laughs, and too many serious moments – it has on one level delighted in the fact that we live in a post-Millar-world of Kick-Ass villains who win; Jackie Earle Haley’s The Terror is, well, scary, certainly in a way that Armin Shimmerman never was. It’s graphic and disturbing – and, yes, funny, but takes itself almost a little too seriously. It’s fairly inevitable to draw (sorry) comparisons with the direction that TMNT took through its various incarnations (and to an extent The Mask also), as the origin of the animated Tick stems from that same era of merchandising and repackaging quirky small press creations. Whilst this is no overblown Michael Bay froth, neither is it IDW’s exciting current TMNT saga.
Frankly, I expected more. There were some outstanding lines and moments, but it runs the risk of not really being enough of a grabber. Given that it has the original writer/creator team behind it, and Warburton exec producing, I’m fairly sure it’ll pick up, but it’s not quite there yet and may struggle as part of Prime-Pilot season.
So swing over – heck, get a free trial of Amazon Prime if you must – and see what you think, and then share your thoughts here!