FOX’s The Tick never really seemed at home with the network. Originally planned as a midseason replacement, it was instead aired in prime time against Survivor due to fear of a writer’s strike delaying the fall season. It received little promotion, and was canceled after airing only eight of the nine episodes that had been filmed at that point. When Amazon announced that it had picked up The Tick reboot series for a pilot, fans rejoiced; given that Amazon chooses the shows that it takes to series based on popularity, it seemed all but given that the new show would get at least one season on the streaming service.
The big question surrounding The Tick is how the new show will fare against so much other superhero-themed entertainment. Fortunately, the producers of the original show were able to answer that question and explain why the current market saturation makes it the perfect time to bring back The Tick for audiences to enjoy.
Speaking with EW, The Tick creator Ben Edlund, executive producer Barry Josephson and Amazon head of half-hour series Joe Lewis discussed what made now the right time to bring the show back. It was Josephson who got the ball rolling on the new series, reaching out to Edlund after years of being asked when the show would return. He expressed a desire to “do The Tick right,” bringing him (and original series star Patrick Warburton) onboard to help shape the character and make sure that the new version is true to the comic vision as well as the old series.
Lewis believed that The Tick was a special show, and that this something special would keep it from getting overshadowed by other comic-based shows. He explained:
“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.”
Edlund agreed, adding:
“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.”
Both Lewis and Edlund stressed they were going to add more character depth and continuity to the new show, though it still wasn’t going to be a serious show. Instead, they are taking advantage of the binge-friendly nature of streaming originals and telling a single large story across multiple episodes; this lets them focus on the story (and comedy) itself instead of trying to tie everything up in 22-minute packages that have no natural flow between them.
Some fans are probably wary of the new Tick, since it not only has a new actor as the Big Blue Bug of Justice but also has the producers talking about character depth and continuity to a level that was never seen on the old shows. The way they’re talking about the show does make it sound more like a drama than a comedy, but there’s little danger of it venturing too far from its comedic roots. Just because the show is telling more of a story doesn’t mean that it won’t be able to capture the fun of the original Tick shows. Given that the character’s creator, the original show’s producer and that show’s star are the ones overseeing this project, it’s likely in good hands.
The Tick will premiere on Amazon during a pilot season, and may be picked up for a full season based on fan reactions to its pilot.