Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TV Review: The Tick (Pilot)

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5 Stars

Bottom Link: Amazon's Tick Reboot Has a Darker Tone Then the 2001 Series But Shows Some Promise

Amazon has made available (at this link) the pilot of their reboot of The Tick so that viewers can watch it and vote on whether they want it to continuing as an ongoing series on the streaming service. The Tick originated in comics as a superhero parody created by Ben Edlund back in the 1980’s and then showed up his own acclaimed animated series in the early 1990’s. In 2001, a much-beloved live action series bowed with Patrick Warburton starring in the title role (which was tailor made for him), but that was cancelled after only nine episodes were produced. Warburton, along with Edlund, spent several years trying to revive the series or trying to get it to move to the big screen and that eventually led to Amazon greenlighting a pilot for a reboot. Sadly, Warburton had to bow out from the starring role due to other commitments, but remained onboard in an executive producer capacity.

The new Tick series takes a very different approach from the previous live action version as well as the animated series and comics. This one has much less of the gleeful insanity of the 2001 series and Peter Serafinowicz gives a more muted performance as the Tick, though he does appear to be channeling Warburton at times. And the pilot focuses more on Arthur, the Tick’s side-kick / partner, with a darker, grittier feel. It appears to be taking the tragicomic route, a la Tim Burton, with Arthur as the quintessential flawed Burton-esque character, and director Wally Pfister (long-time cinematographer for Christopher Nolan) holds it together pretty well for the first thirty minutes. Whether this approach would work for an ongoing series, and whether existing fans of the character will drink the kool-aid of this very different tone remains to be seen. It also appears that the pilot is setting up the series to take the serialized route, which I don’t believe is ideal for The Tick, but perhaps they can make it work.

I enjoyed the pilot well enough that I would like to see more episodes, and I gave it the thumbs up in the voting process. It doesn’t quite satisfy my jones for more of the Patrick Warburton Tick, but with him not in the lead role anymore maybe they decided a different direction was the best plan (note that the majority of the creative team from the 2001 series is still onboard for the reboot). This one might be somewhat of a slowburn, but I believe it deserves a chance. Go check it out at this link, and cast your vote. This time we are the ones who get to decide what shows should be airing (on Amazon at least), so be sure to participate while the opportunity is there.

From Amazon.com:

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