One of the three comedy pilots up for voting on Amazons pilot scheme right now is a new adaptation of the peculiar superhero character Tick. This pilot however does not mark the first time that the character Tick has been adapted. In the mid 90s there was a Saturday morning cartoon that ran for three seasons, then there was an live-action 9 episode run featuring Patrick Warburton in the titular role in 2001, and now we are back again with the latest incarnation of Ben Edlund’s creation.
The pilot is directed by Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan’s former longtime cinematographer who called The Avengers “appalling” and then went on to make the remarkably drab Transcendence. In the role of The Tick this time is the always entertaining Peter Serafinowicz, with Griffin Newman as his sidekick Arthur, and Jackie Earle Haley as supervillain The Terror. Surprisingly the pilot opts to spend more time with Arthur than it does The Tick, as we delve into the backstory of his sidekick and why he is the way he is, skittish, paranoid and on a number of medications due to a traumatic event during his childhood that involved a confrontation with The Terror.
Arthur, now living back in the city, struggles to believe that The Terror met his demise at the hands of Superian. Fuelled by his past he scouts and follows leads to see if The Terror is still around. After coming across henchmen associated with The Terror, in that staple shady location of the docks, Arthur is determined to expose them. However after being picked up by the police for trespassing his mental stability is put into question. The only thing providing the light at the end of the tunnel for Arthur is the unexpected arrival of the unknown superhero known as The Tick.
The pilot is light superhero fare, just like The Tick is supposed to be, but doesn’t strike any new ground. It’s funny but not hilarious, bringing chuckles more than laughter. Easily the best parts of the pilot are when Serafinowicz is present as the engimatic Tick, and Haley’s only scene as The Terror is very memorable. The production value seems good for a pilot, as the present superhero characters look the part, The Terror in particular looks just like his name should suggest. Aside from these moments of fun, the pilot doesn’t really promise anything intriguing going forward like it’s fellow Amazon pilot counterparts Jean-Claude Van Johnson and I Love Dick do. Would I love to see more of the bizarre The Tick? Sure, but playing the angle of is The Terror dead or not is the type of weary story line I’m pretty tired of seeing played out when it comes to popular arch nemesis of our heroes on TV.
If Amazon order a full season of The Tick I’ll most certainly watch it, there is a place for the blue suited in this saturated world of superheroes but they need to embrace the wackier side of this character and world to stop it from blending in with the other generic superhero TV shows out there (I’m looking at you Arrow, Gotham, Supergirl, Agents of SHIELD). Fingers crossed it gets a chance, if only to give us more Peter Serafinowicz.