Amazon's Pilot Season has become an anticipated holiday for many and this year, Amazon dropped the big bomb that they will be bringing the satirical superhero the Tick back to life on the small screen.
The Tick is the big blue crime fighter that never takes anything seriously and — along with his sidekick Arthur — fights the forces of evil. It is a comic series that was meant to be the ultimate satire of superheroes. The characters in the comics and in this show are meant to mimic and poke fun at the seriousness of comic book characters as a whole.
The character had a successful cartoon series in the mid-90s that was followed by a short-lived attempt at a live-action TV series in 2001 with Patrick Warburton as the Tick, but unfortunately it never got past nine episodes. Check out a clip from the 2001 show below:
Showrunner and creator Ben Edlund seems to be confident that the new show will learn from the mistakes of the first incarnation. Where any adaptation of The Tick has always taken a campy approach and taken the satire up to the maximum, this new Amazon pilot will be more grounded.
That being said, it doesn't mean that The Tick will be dark and brooding; quite the opposite. After watching the pilot I can tell you that this show is standing right on the edge of campy satire. It has silly moments and comedy to make you smile, but it is also grounded by a dark backstory for Griffin Newman's Arthur.
Arthur suffers from schizophrenia after his father was killed by the show's main antagonist, The Terror. It gives The Tick a lot of heart and makes you fall in love with Arthur and his tragic life. Arthur seems to represent the dark tone of the show, and The Tick played by the talented Peter Serafinowicz — who you will recognize from Guardians of the Galaxy — is there to bring it back to its satirical roots.
The Tick is there to take the show away from the dark tone, because he represents what comic book characters were meant to be: silly. That's what makes this show a great piece of satire, because while it does have a dark story under the surface like most modern superhero films and TV shows, the Tick is always there to make sure that nothing is taken too seriously.
The closing scene even shows The Tick standing on the rooftops striking a hero pose and talking in a deep voice like the narrator would do back in old superhero cartoons. Making fun of itself and other serious superhero shows is what The Tick does best.
We don't get too much about the Tick's backstory in the pilot or the larger world that Edlund seems to want to create, but if it does get a full season order there is potential here for the show to help give a fresh take on the superhero genre.
The Tick's Place In Modern Superheroes
Today, superhero movies are common place in Hollywood and for many they are becoming overdone and genre exhaustion is all but inevitable. Marvel and DC will be churning out movies for many years to come and while DC is on the much darker side of the superhero genre, Marvel likes to deal on the lighthearted side.
The Tick could probably be compared to the Marvel formula, but at the same time it offers more laughs then a typical Marvel movie. So could The Tick transcend the superhero genre and keep it fresh?
When you first watch the show you instantly recognize the satire behind the whole thing. The first scene features a superhero on a talk show with Whoopi Goldberg and gets you acclimated to the type of show you're going to be seeing. The humor is more in your face then anything Marvel churns out, and while it lacks the A-list talents of Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the Avengers cast, it has its own charm that keeps you watching and smiling.
This show constantly makes fun of itself and the superhero genre as a whole. It would not surprise me if we get a few direct jabs at Marvel and DC if the show progresses. The Tick takes us back to the roots of what superheroes were meant to do. They weren't meant to be blood thirsty killers stalking the dead of night and avenging their parents. They were supposed to be fun. Seeing a show that takes you back to the Silver Age of comics, where things were a bit more carefree, is a nice change of pace.
This means that the show seems to have its own motives outside of competing with the likes of Marvel and DC and the end result was show that even my superhero movie hating mother has found herself wanting to continue watching.
That is what transcending a genre is all about: Bringing new audiences into the fold and not giving the same plot with different characters. It's not just superheroes, but every genre goes through phases where everything seems played out and done a thousand times.
This show can offer people who may not be big on the growing universes of Marvel and DC something that they can just watch and enjoy without having to keep up with all the layers of each world. In the end, The Tick could help keep the superhero genre thriving, by simply making fun of the genre as a whole, because it is refreshing to have a superhero that does not take himself seriously.
What do you guys think about The Tick? Are you excited for a lighthearted take on superheroes? Tell me what you think in the comments.