A live action version of The Tick premiered on Amazon in August to largely positive reviews. It’s the story of a quipping blue superhero and Arthur, a geeky young accountant whose obsessions with a villain named The Terror are written off by authorities and those close to him as mental illness.
Warning: Plot spoilers ahead.
The Tick is a superhero parody (the protagonist, Arthur, dons a moth costume and a large, naked man roams around like a nude Jack and the Beanstalk.) However, the Amazon original has deeply embedded themes that touch on real-life signs of peril ripped from the headlines (the bees are dying, the Tunguska meteor strike in Siberia, crime waves, and even a character’s concern about “fake news.”) It’s also a story about the human need for family, and the human ability to make family out of people not related by blood, when necessary.
In between, you’re treated to lines like “Shut up or I will cook you like a pizza pocket,” (uttered by a female villain named “Lint”) and, of the more poignant variety: “You’re not going crazy Arthur, you’re going sane in a crazy world,” said by the bright blue costume wearing superhero with the Buzz Lightyear voice, The Tick. That’s the cornerstone theme of the series; the world is so messed up, you’d have to be crazy to be OK with that. It’s hard to argue that point. Superheroes live among us, and, heck, you might not require a tinfoil hat to think you’re one too.
Think The Incredibles crossed with Deadpool.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Tick:
Number of Episodes
There are 12 episodes available for streaming in Season 1 of The Tick. However, the season was broken in half. The first six episodes of The Tick are available for streaming now on Amazon Prime.
According to CinemaBlend, “The executive producers behind The Tick want the fandom to engage the series with discussion and dissection.” Thus, the final six episodes of the season won’t be available for streaming until “a date to be determined in 2018.”
The show’s creators released the pilot months before episode 2. The reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are more than 90 percent positive from critics viewers a alike. That bodes well for the possibility we will get more of The Tick on Amazon.
Characters & Plot
The Tick tells the story of Arthur, the mild-mannered accountant whom everyone in his family has written off as mentally ill (and, indeed, the series’ exploration of mental illness is a serious undertone beneath the slapstick). He’s got a secret obsession; he believes a super villain known as The Terror (a stand in for all of our fears, perhaps) is still alive, even though, as we are told several times, they found his teeth.
Horrifically, in flashbacks we learn, in the words of Arthur that, “The Terror took all of my favorite super heroes and dropped them right onto my dad. One second he was there and the next second he wasn’t.”
“The world owes you a hug small soldier,” The Tick says, and when the characters finally do hug, it’s a moving moment.
“I’m a bystander in a long line of bystanders,” Arthur tells the persistent Tick, who, at first, only Arthur can see. “I don’t have any destiny.”
The goodhearted, perpetually jovial and optimistic Tick doesn’t agree, repeatedly urging Arthur to believe in his greater calling, which is, apparently to fly around in a moth costume and save the world (and, seriously, it’s also about an overlooked and written off young man embracing his own idiosyncratic nature and the talents it affords. The world doesn’t always see that sometimes a square peg really does fit in a round hole. Or, maybe, it’s the round hole that’s the problem.)
Arthur’s dismal apartment is decked out with scribblings and newspaper clippings that provide clues to The Terror’s survival. He’s convinced that The Terror is real but, until the Tick”s appearance, that’s as far as he is willing to go. No one believes him because he’s written off as mentally ill. He’s got a devoted and over-protective sister, Dot, a clueless mother, and a stepfather obsessed with feet (yes, feet).
The Tick can’t remember his own back story because of short-term memory loss; Arthur wishes he could forget his own. Who is The Tick, really? Can Arthur and The Tick stop The Terror in time? These are some of the mysteries that are left after the 6th episode streams.
The show is rounded out by other villains, such as Overkill and Lint, who have their own reasons for finding The Terror. Throughout it all, it functions as a parody of the superhero concept.
Actor Peter Serafinowicz plays The Tick, and Griffin Newman is Arthur Everest. Valorie Curry plays Dot Everest, Arthur’s ever-worrying sister. Ryan Woodle stars as VLM, Brendan Hines as preening Super Hero Superian, Yara Martinez as Ms. Lint, Scott Speiser as Overkll, and Jackie Earle Haley as the uber villain, The Terror.
According to IMDB, “Peter Serafinowicz was born on July 10, 1972 in Liverpool, England as Peter Szymon Serafinowicz. He is an actor and producer, known for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Sing (2016).” Griffin Newman “was born on February 19, 1989 in New York City, New York, USA as Griffin Claude Beresford Dauphin Hunter Newman. He is known for his work on Draft Day (2014), Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (2015) and Beware the Gonzo (2010),” according to IMDB.
You can see a list of additional cast members here.
Cartoon & Previous Live Action Series
There was another live action attempt at The Tick in 2001-2002. You can see that cast list here. There was also an animated series of The Tick in the 1990s. The Tick began as a comic book character.
According to Amazon, “From his humble beginnings as an in-house comic book character created by 17-year-old Ben Edlund for a Boston comic shop, the Tick (with his muscular physique, twitching antennae, and form-fitting ‘blue tights of justice’) has proven remarkably popular and versatile as a multimedia juggernaut, attracting a global fan base in comics, then this animated series beginning in 1994, and finally as a live-action comedy series starring Patrick Warburton as ‘the big blue bug of justice.’”
“Born as an unlikely comic-book hero in the ‘80s, the title character’s relentless optimism, which allows him to bluster through any situation with a smile on his lips, is perennially winning,” notes Daily Variety of the character’s repeated revival.