Confusion was evident from fans who, having loved the comic book and then the animated series, heard rumours of an initiative to bring The Tick to the live action arena. And understandably so - the success of the cartoon and comics relied heavily on the surrealistic atmosphere of this story. However, many things get taken from the colourful world of the comic into the realm of murky reality these days, and in so doing with The Tick, fans were naturally confused. And maybe alarmed.
Sharing a mainline with other comic book parodies like Mystery Men, The Tick in this incarnation deals not so much with kicking a super-villainís arse as the downtime between major brawls. And here is where we find some of the more hilarious moments anyway. The Tickís battle with a talking toilet in The Terror is a standout, as is the not-so-subtle pisstake of the Superman set with their exclusive League of Superheroes in The Big Leagues. The Tickís sidekick Arthur and his Ďcoming outí to his family in Arthur Interrupted and the special bond between superheroes and their sidekicks in Couples is also among them.
With a slew of big name guest stars, all nine original episodes are included on this two disc set, including the pilot episode which was made up to a year before the series got the go-ahead (there are plenty of tell-tale clues about too). However, the powers that be pulled the plug on this show after the ninth episode, much to the chagrin of fans and new fans, deeming it too radical in its ideas. But then, some people just donít get The Tick, which is a big shame for them.
The Tick himself, exists in some bizarre singular reality of his own, where he has incredible superhuman strength and is bulletproof, yet has the innocent mind of a child and very little comprehension of our Ďrealityí. No one knows where he comes from or even how long heís been around. He has no name other than The Tick and no secret identity. He just is. And thatís where half the laughs come from; his odd yet lovable take on life and his desire to thwart the bad guys, even if he doesnít quite know why.
|"Hey, whoa there! Letís put a lid on the stink talk, nervy!"|
Tick is supported ably by an eclectic group of other superheroes, which includes his partner Arthur, who hasnít chosen his superhero name yet, but dresses like a big moth, and gets confused for a Ďbunnymaní. Plus Batmanuel, the Spanish lothario played to perfection by Nestor Carbonell (Suddenly Susan) and Captain Liberty, the superhero employed by the US Government as a figurehead for their nation. Between them, they enjoy the life of superheroes, whilst still suffering the regular woes of living in a society.
Itís a fun show that fans of the comic book should at least give a chance. Obviously there are going to be major differences from the comic or animation, that just canít be reproduced in Ďrealityí (the villain with a chair for a head springs to mind...), but the show is as near as could be to a comic. Itís funny, itís odd and itís strangely compelling. Iíd never known this show existed until recently, and Iím now glad I do, because I enjoyed it a lot. There is a newer subtlety of darker humour running behind the storylines that make it appealing to a 21st century audience but, as noted, some people just wonít get it. For everyone willing to give it a shot, however, you may just find yourselves a little irritated that there are only nine episodes and thatís all there will ever be.
And this is they (played out of order for some reason):
- Disc One: The Pilot
- The Terror
- Arthur, Interrupted
- The License
- Arthur Needs Space
- Disc Two: The Funeral
- The Tick Vs Justice
- the Big Leagues
Shot with wide-angle lenses, this show looks a lot like a movie. The wide angles have transferred across into 1.78:1 with 16:9 anamorphicism very nicely, adding depth to the comic book world of The Tick. The only real fault is in some heavier aliasing that occurs readily throughout. While annoying, it isnít overly distracting, but is apparent at most any given time.
The Tick himself is played perfectly by Patrick Warburton and his extreme blue outfit is often the focal point of any scene in which he appears. The background colours are often muted or dulled so as to add impact to his larger than life presence, so there are plenty of browns and ochres and earth tones throughout. Even the other main characters' costumes reflect this, with Batmanuel in browns and Captain Liberty his figure hugging burgundy velvet. This all makes The Tick look like a comic book, or even a comic book movie and that adds serious weight to the overall feel of the show.
Plenty of fun with all sorts of things here. The dialogue is at once witty and infinitive, with satirical plays on the English language and mixed metaphors in abundance. The heroic dialogues of mainstream superheroes are also given a bit of a whipping and only occasionally is there trouble understanding someone.
Comedic sound effects are used to full measure, though never to garner a cheap laugh, but to enhance an already genuine one. At no point did I pick up any synch issues here and any stock effects were used sparingly, preferring it seems, to create their own.
Ian Dyeís soundtrack is entirely suitable to the show, adding thick heroism parody or exaggerated supportive melancholy as required. Overall, though, the impact is funny and well placed throughout again lending heavily to the fun feel of the show.