It is not unusual for heroes to have a cult following, with The Tick being testament to this rule. Created by Ben Edlund aged just 18, The Tick developed its own independent comic line in 1988, a three season Fox show from 1994-1996 and even a live action show in 2001. However fame was short-lived for the live-action version of The Tick, starring Patrick Warburton. Whilst It may have hit critical praise, it fell short in a soon to be superhero packed landscape. Now in an even more saturated world of heroes and villains, how can the big blue bug stand out today with its Amazon reboot?
2001 was a desolate wasteland for superpowers, X-Men had debuted in cinemas the year before, but the worlds of Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Nolanverse were still to come. The Tick regularly pulled in 4 million viewers, which by today's standards isn't half bad, but FOX pulled the plug after just eight of the nine episodes, Executive producer on the original (and reboot) Barry Josephsen told EW:
I said at the time [that] the network didn’t necessarily get it...And I don’t know that we were doing exactly the version that was right, but we were happy with it.
After being continuously asked by friends, family and strangers what happened to Warburton's square jawed alien, Josephson reached out to Ben Edlund and said:
Let’s go back and do The Tick right
So it appears that The Tick boys have been spending the last 15 years planning how to 'do it right' and learn from their mistakes. Whilst Patrick Warburton's other commitments mean he won't be putting the blue suit back on, he will still serve on the producing panel.
Could The Tick be about to lose some of its comedic edge? Thankfully creator Edlund is on board to supervise, which is a good sign for any show, he told EW:
We’ve got this show about superheroes [where] we get to have fun with the idea of superheroes by starting with kind of a comedic parody of [an] event-oriented-like universe. It will be darker and more grounded. And it’s going to have a real story, a real hero’s myth. We’re the ones that get to have fun with it and that’s kind of the situation where right now that’s an open field in this area of entertainment.
For a show so set in its comedic values and with a hero whose powers include 'drama power', it is hard to see how they can go 'darker'. Certainly a darker and more grounded hero is where the genre seems to be moving nowadays. Whilst Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has hit a few bum notes, many have praised an older and grittier Bruce Wayne.
Other changes are afoot too, the 2001 Tick followed the titular character, his flying moth sidekick Arthur, as well as other heroes, Captain Liberty and Batmanuel. A reboot swaps Liberty and Batmanuel out for Arthur’s caring sister Dot.
But Amazon Exec Joe Lewis has high hopes for the show joining the ranks of other Amazon staples like Transparent:
It feels like on one hand you can say the superhero landscape is crowded but I think over the last two decades of it there’s nothing else like The Tick. I feel like it has found this unique place where it’s long existed as a satire and I thought that we had the possibility here to do something really different — something that’s filled with satire but also true to action-comedies and superhero comedies.
Comedian Peter Serafinowicz will be picking up the 'spooooon' to eat some Drama Flakes for the show, whilst Barry Josephson, Patrick Warburton, Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures TV will produce. The Tick pilot will be available on Amazon Prime Instant Video, but whether we will get a second episode or full season pick up remains to be seen. The Tick will have to leap high to reach the level of The Flash, Arrow and Daredevil.