Monday, 22 July 2013

The Tick: The Complete Series Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Created By Ben Edlund

Watched On Netflix

Genre
Superhero, Comedy

Cast

Patrick Warburton as The Tick
Liz Vassey as Captain Liberty
David Burke as Arthur
Nestor Carbonell as Batmanuel
William Newman as The Cape
 
Synopsis

Based on the satirical cult comic book THE TICK tells the tale of the titular super hero who is named the official Protector of the City after crashing a super hero convention. He finds a sidekick in Arthur, an accountant who wears a moth costume.

Review

There are many times that just as a television series starts to find it's own feet, the people in charge of the channels it's on cancel it.  The live action series of 'The Tick' is most definitely a prime example of that.

Just as the show was gathering steam, it was sadly cancelled after just nine episodes despite the critical plaudits thrown at it and the fan base that it had gathered for itself.  That's a real shame but on the plus side, the nine episodes we do have here are very good.  It's just a case of 'what could have been' really if the channel had just shown it a little bit more faith.

Based on the satirical comic book of the same time, this manages to keep the feel of that comic all while making it's own identity at the same time.  I think a lot of that is down to the very good writing that's on show here as well as the superb direction.  Barry Sonnenfield helped to produce the series and even took the directors chair as well and is often quoted as saying that the show is one of the best things that he has ever made.

However good the writing and direction are, it would all be for nothing if the cast didn't match up to that high standard but they more than meet that challenge.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I honestly couldn't imagine anybody else in any of the roles.

Patrick Warburton absolutely shines as The Tick.  His simple minded naivety really makes the character completely loveable as well as insanely funny.  There were many times when he had me in tears of laughter just with a facial expression or a well placed word.

David Burke is the perfect foil to go against that kind of slapstick humour.  His dry delivery of the dialogue and facial expressions that rid as if he gets frustrated but not angry at The Tick really bounce off Warburton's performance fantastically well.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Liz Vassey, as Captain Liberty, who really doesn't ever seem to  get enough credit for being a good actress.  Here she plays a self centered character but still manages to do it without the character becoming unlikeable.  It's the same with Batmanuel played by Nestor Carbonell.  Normally his sort of character would really start to grate on a viewers nerves after a while but Carbonell manages to make his bumbling, sex obsessed superhero have a kind heart no matter how many knock backs he gets.

There are some great cameo appearances here as well.  I won't spoil them for you but the best two for me were Ron Perlman, Hellboy himself,  as an alcoholic superhero with a messiah complex and TJ Thyne, from television's 'Bones', as a geeky fan boy at a book signing.

All in all this is most definitely a series worth picking up.  It's a case of 'what could have been'  because just as the series was improving with each episode, it got cancelled and that's a shame.  It's easy to see why it's looked back on with such fondness because the writing for the episodes is so strong that even though the humour ranges from old school style slapstick up to intelligent satire, it never once feels disjointed.  Throw in some fantastic performances by the cast, especially Patrick Warburton as The Tick, and you don't really have any excuse to not watch this superb but sadly short series.

Show 4.5/5

The Tick (2001–2002) on IMDb

For some reason, this has only been released on to Region 1 DVD but if you should wise to purchase it, here's the link.

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