TV Review: Amazon’s ‘The Tick’ is a Mint Satire of the Genre

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Bringing back a fan favorite TV shows can be a mixed back for audiences. The return of “The X-Files” and “Arrested Development” were both met with some backlash when they released. Other shows, like “Twin Peaks” reignited interest in their core fan bases, but did little to attract new viewers.  It’s a mixed bag with some series, but these properties also carried an almost un

“The Tick” begins with Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) looking into the death of The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), one of the worst supervillain in his world. As a child, the Terror was responsible for the death of Arthur’s father. While the people of the city believe the Terror is dead, Arthur theorizes that the villain faked his death. While tracking some of the Terror’s enforcers, he meets our titular hero, The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). Arthur believes that he may be hallucinating, and is shortly arrested for trespassing. After he gets bonded out, Arthur and his sister Dot (Valorie Curry) discuss the Terror, and how she worries about his safety. The four are our core cast, but we also get strong turns from background characters and other villains, especially Mrs. Lint (Yara Martinez).

One of the best parts about the pilot and the series is that it questions the sanity of Arthur. He has clearly had issues in the past, especially surrounding his father’s death. The toll of the events of the past 15 years has weighed heavy on him as well as those around him. It’s a smart way to approach the absurdity of the source material and makes the show unique in the larger superhero landscape.

Serafinowicz is spectacular as the Tick and brings the trademark comedy to life in every scene. He is not only hilarious but carries the arrogance and naiveté of the character’s search for justice. He is just as absurd as audiences want him to be, and in the wake of Adam West’s passing, the performance stands out as a love letter to one of our most famous heroes. It is campy and ridiculous in all the right ways, and Serafinowicz is perfectly cast in the role.

Newman is also excellent in the role. He is neurotic and scared of each level of adversity. The show allows him to explore the role of those who wish they super without the superpowers to truly contribute. He is an imperfect sleuth and researcher, but he gives the series an emotional heartbeat. He’s our eyes into the world, while also giving us a reason to care about the characters. His connection to his sister also allows us to see the gray areas of the world around them. Dot is asked to help the villains on several occasions, which may play into the plot as the series progresses.

“The Tick” is an excellent pastiche and satire of the superhero genre. The writers clearly understand that they can use the character to tell a subversive story within the genre. It is funny and willing to go the extra step to set up the joke. We get montages that include shots of the Tick providing a monologue. Superheroes appear in PSAs for nuclear waste. Villains fight about the power of branding and getting tattoos to show they’re part of the same group. The Tick acknowledges which stage we’ve reached in the hero’s journey. The writing embraces the absurdity of its characters with meta-comedy and wordplay. It makes the series a spectacularly fun ride.

The comedy extends to the visual aspects to the show as well. The suit for the Tick changes slightly from the pilot into the regular series, and the show openly comments on it. During a montage where Arthur begins to put together the fact he might be losing his mind, he walks by a man in a tin foil hear playing “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies on a kazoo. The show utilizes these visuals to help advance the plot while also playing into the humor. By mixing the two, it’s clear that the whole team is involved in building a cohesive tone and aesthetic worthy of the source material. It’s rare we see a production team get the freedom this one does, and they are taking advantage of the opportunity at every turn.

The series becomes a more family friendly “Deadpool” with consistent nods to the genre. There is extreme violence and cursing, but in a far more toned down aesthetic. It’s simply a fun show that is extremely easy to binge. With 6 episodes at half an hour a pop, audiences will be able to knock it out in an afternoon. Unfortunately, you’re going to instantly want more. It is far from surprising to see a show like this one exist to satirize the genre. However, it was unlikely it would ever be this good. For anyone who was looking for a legitimate superhero comedy, this one is the one to watch.

What do you think? Does “The Tick” live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments below!

Season 1 of “The Tick” is available on Amazon Prime.

GRADE: (★★★)