Verdict: 4 / 5
When the original sitcom of The Tick was cancelled in 2001 after just nine episodes, it was a dark day in TV land. Like the original Naked Gun TV show, Police Squad!, it was too smart, too funny and too bizarre for many viewers and so it suffered a tragic fate. Now it’s back (possibly, if the series pilot is popular enough), but after fifteen years what can we expect?
Arthur is a troubled young man. In a world full of superheroes and supervillains, he isn’t one. Not that he really wants to be one of them. That particular dream was ruined the day he saw his father crushed to death in a super-powered battle involving the evil fiend known as The Terror. Instead, Arthur lives a life of mental breakdowns, meds and being protected by his sister Dot, as he tries to prove that The Terror is still alive and ruling the criminal underworld.
His efforts lead him to an industrial plant, where he encounters The Tick who’s on a stakeout of his own. Their first meeting is one of confusion and, while Arthur is arrested for trespassing, The Tick remains behind and embarks on his one-man demolition of the “wicked men” and their hideout. The next day, The Tick visits Arthur and promptly begins to demolish his apartment in a bid to convince him that destiny is calling…
Unlike the original live-action version which had a quirky Addams Family movie vibe, the sitcom format has now been jettisoned for a darker comedic tone and some serious storylines. What?! Wait a minute, before you start crying foul just hear me out…
The original series came out in a time when Joel Schumacher’s rubber-suited Batman had been stinking up movie screens. As a satire, The Tick at the time reflected that. So what does this new version parody? Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Man of Steel and the other super-serious superhero productions out there which need to lighten up. And it works.
There’s a particularly grim sense of humour here. Heroes being blinded by weaponized syphilis, quinjet-style planes crushing civilians, a supervillain who chugs ice cream whilst performing cruel magic tricks for kids… these things are funny! Sick, demented, warped… but funny! As for The Tick himself, he’s still the guy who says the most befuddling, insane things in a booming voice and provides the belly-laughs.
While Peter Serafinowicz plays The Tick with the required amount of gusto, he’s always going to be compared to Patrick Warburton. Thankfully he does an admirable job and, while the redesigned Tick suit isn’t as imposing (or blue) as the old one, The Tick still makes an impact in every scene. Griffin Newman pulls off an outstanding performance as the put-upon Arthur, while Jackie Earle Haley continues his string of memorable roles by making The Terror one of the funniest, most demented characters seen on screen in years.
It’s a promising start to the new series and there’s only one way to see more: it’s up to fans to vote for it. So what are you waiting for? Check it out, have a laugh and vote for The Tick in 2016!