Amazon’s Pilot for ‘The Tick’ is Very, Very SPOON!

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Since Ben Edlund’s The Tick was last on television screens in 2001, superhero movies and television shows were a risky deal. That last show didn’t the opportunity to air all of its episodes before it was cancelled by Fox. Here we are 15 years later and the entire pop culture landscape has been changed forever. Superheroes are the new gunslingers and the predominant form of pop culture. Even if it doesn’t work the first time, there’s always an opportunity for a reboot, a reset, or cosmic shift that allows new actors to take the reins of beloved heroes. So why not give The Tick a new chance to fight crime with his super strength and thick skull? Well, that revamped Tick has landed, and in a new pilot for Amazon, there just might be some life left in that heroic dolt.

The pilot opens at the “Dawn of the Age of Superheroes” before cutting to the first superhero, Superian (Brendan Hines), being interviewed by Whoppi Goldberg. Years ago, Superian conquered the last supervillain, The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), in a public battle. Today, there are those that don’t believe that Superian was victorious that day. Arthur (Griffin Newman) has sincere doubts that The Terror is dead, and does his own surveillance work monitoring crime in his fair city. Most metropolitan cities have their own superheroes, but this metropolis has lost their team of superheroes to “weaponized syphilis.” That’s why it’s shocking when Arthur encounters The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), a superhero whose strength is only matched by his earnest idiocy. Desperate for a sidekick, The Tick recruits Arthur to join his fight against evil, and possibly uncover the awful truth about The Terror.

First and foremost, Peter Serafinowicz is The Tick. I mean that. He has the booming voice and is able to say the character’s trademarked inanity with the confidence it requires to meet its comic absurdity. If there’s any complaint to be had about this version of The Tick, it would be about the costume, but there’s more than enough time to make adjustments if the show gets picked up to series. What matters is that I’m wholly convinced in Serafinowicz’s ability to embody the character. (Not that I ever doubted the multi-talented Serafinowicz.) There’s an astounding quality to the way he can lambast a villain’s weapons stash as a “dunghill of contraband.”

As is the case with ever incarnation of The Tick in animated or live-action form, the story is presented through the perspective of Arthur. But this version of Arthur takes place in a grim and gritty world, one that gives the character a surprisingly effective backstory that diverts from the older versions. And yet it all works because this Tick isn’t just riffing on what superheroes were, it’s riffing upon what they are now.

Visually, director Wally Pfister, the longtime cinematographer for Christopher Nolan, does his best work as a director to date. Pfister incorporates the tones of the modern genre, employing some of the same visual tones as Netflix’s Daredevil. And yet The Tick is never a grim and gritty take on the characters and the world, simply understanding the landscape of the type of world it must goof on.

There is one problem I truly have with the pilot for The Tick – the lone episode didn’t tell a contained story. But that’s a personal gripe that couldn’t be fixed in a half hour pilot. In that sense, it’s a good pilot because it left me wanting more from these characters and this world. Of course, you can watch the pilot on Amazon Prime and then vote to get it to series (which I wholeheartedly recommend). I am intrigued by the world they’ve created, and I love Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick. That’s enough for me to say – SPOON!

The Tick
  • Overall Score


Led by an astoundingly heroic Peter Serafinowicz, The Tick is a funny and action-packed pilot that moves the character into the modern era of the superhero craze.

Anytime Costumes

One Response

  1. Randy Clark August 24, 2016 Reply

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