The superhero craze on television has finally hit its stride in recent years. There are hit shows based on The Flash, Daredevil, and Supergirl – this is truly a golden age for comic book fans. While success has come to those mainstream properties, there were others that unsuccessfully tried to spark the genre on television decades before. In 2001, The Tick was one of those shows and with the superhero craze now in full swing, creator Ben Edlund is bringing his big, dumb, blue hero back to TV.
The Tick began as a comic character in the mid 1980s. It followed the adventures of a invulnerable, yet completely clueless superhero, The Tick, whose superhero antics were a satirical jab at the world of comic books. Edlund would go on to boost his creation’s popularity with a Saturday morning cartoon in 1994 and a short lived live-action series on Fox in 2001. The series actually featured a talented cast with Patrick Warburton (Ted 2) as The Tick and others such as Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight) who also had their humble beginnings on the show.
Now Edlund and the original show’s creators have retooled his creation for a new generation of superhero fans, with a brand new pilot and take on The Tick that is coming to Amazon at the end of the week. EW has revealed the first two clips from the series. The show will have a much darker and harder edge than any version of the property before it and Edlund explains the changes he wanted in the new series:
“It’s a tremendous balancing act because it had to have stakes, it had to have blood, it had to have certain things that are part of the living language of superheroes in the popular culture today…It has a responsibility if it wants to play in that pool to have life and death, to have a relationship to violence that none of the other iterations did. And so how do you have The Tick slip in a pool of blood and have it be funny? You have to find a very specific tone.”
The new series for Amazon is clearly darker than any version that has come before it, yet it seems that The Tick has maintained his persona in which he’s oblivious to how ridiculous and out of place he actually is in the world. The new Tick is brought to life by Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy), who seems to have put his own spin on the role, without betraying the core characteristics of the hero.
However, Edlund explains that the tone is not the only change from the previous incarnation of The Tick. The perspective of the show’s world will also be seen through an entirely new set of eyes, or goggles. The Tick’s trusty and constantly worried sidekick Arthur Everest, played by Griffin Newman (Vinyl), will have a much greater purpose in the show than previously:
“He’s [Arthur] the main character. He’s the one who has the arc. He’s the one who gives us the shoes you wear to pass through this universe. In the previous live-action, there really wasn’t the time taken to build what is usually a compelling main character story. So I mean The Tick is no less an important character than Arthur — he’s titular — but it was really important to take this human character seriously and give us a chance to really bond with him and be with him emotionally and then have him encounter the strangest entity in his universe.”
If you have either read the comic, watched the live-action show, or animated series, it doesn’t take long to recognize that The Tick exists in a nonsensical world. Vigilantes who dress up like maids and man-eating cows are part of the norm and having a grounded human (albeit with a flying moth suit) walk the audience through the bizarre world should make it more digestible. The use of The Tick’s sidekick Arthur as the stand-in for the viewer will help to naturally introduce all of the zany characters and scenarios found in The Tick’s landscape, as well as provide huge moments for awkward hilarity. It seems that there is a lot to look forward to with the upcoming show.
In order for the show to get picked up for a full season, viewers will need to watch the show and upvote it, which is part of Amazon’s criteria for greenlighting a series. You don’t even have to be an Amazon member to check to it out. The future of The Tick is in your hands.
The Tick pilot episode premieres on Amazon Friday, August 19th.