Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pilot Review: The Tick

The Tick (Amazon)
Premiered August 19

In a way, this is the strangest of Amazon’s new slate of pilots, but that’s hardly a fair statement given that one is a comedy starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and the other is called “I Love Dick.” This ranks as just the latest reboot of a popular series that was cancelled too soon, one that I never watched since it aired right before I really got into TV in the way I am now. To think that it debuted the same season as “24” is strange, and how this one got brought back before “Firefly” or “Jericho” is a mystery to me. I’m all for comedic interpretations about superheroes, but I’m not sure exactly what this merits being revisited by a juggernaut like Amazon. It’s most odd to me that there are two protagonists, the Tick and Arthur, and there’s a hero and a villain to boot along with it, which just feels crowded. I knew I recognized Peter Serafinowicz’s voice from his stint as Andy’s British pal on “Parks and Recreation,” though I didn’t know that his first screen credit was voicing Darth Maul in “The Phantom Menace.” I totally didn’t recognize Valorie Curry from “House of Lies” and “The Following” as Arthur’s sister Dot and I couldn’t place Yara Martinez from “Jane the Virgin” as the villain we saw at the end of the pilot. What we’ve seen so far of this show is too unfocused and all over the place for my tastes, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t watch it and try to get into it if it got picked up.

How would it work as a series? The original show in 2001 ran for nine episodes, following a successful three-season animated version back in 1996. There seems to be a vast universe of heroes and villains for the show to use as fodder for its storylines, so coming up with material for episodes shouldn’t be a problem at all if the show can work on getting focused.
Will it live on to be a series? Probably. Given the bizarre enthusiasm for the original series, I think this show can straddle its odd comedy nature and the more dramatic tendency of Amazon’s programming to create a workable hybrid that can do well for Amazon. It’s not a sure thing, but I’d bet on it.

Pilot grade: C+

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