I waited too long to watch The Tick. I watched the pilot episode when it first appeared, I watched it again last year, and finally about a month ago I watched it again. For some reason on that third viewing I stuck with it. Honestly I think one of the biggest problems with comic book adaptations right now is that, while there’s a real wealth of them and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there is, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the right series comes out when you need it. I didn’t need The Tick when it first aired, but I needed it in April of 2021.
I have basic awareness of The Tick as a character, and although I know I saw the animated series when I was younger, I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember any of it, I’ve also seen plenty of photos of Patrick Warburton covered in blue plastic…but I’m not sure how that’s related to The Tick. What I’m saying is, I don’t really know anything about The Tick, I can’t really tell you if this is a faithful adaptation of the source material or anything like that, but I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun.
So, here’s the elevator pitch for season one. Arthur Everest saw his father, and The Flag Five, die before his eyes when he was just a kid, brutally murdered by The Terror – the ultimate supervillain. Fast forward fifteen years and The Terror is believed to be long dead (they found his teeth!), but one man suspects The Terror is still alive and well, and in control of all the crime in the city, that man is Arthur Everest. Luckily for him, on a night when he attempts to spy on some criminal types under the cover of darkness, a certain big blue hero will join his mission – The Tick!
The Tick is a series that works so well amongst all the other superhero shows and films we’re constantly presented with, purely because it knows there’s an ocean of super-shows for it to get lost in. Every character, whether they know it or not, is gloriously meta, from the rogue agent Overkill and his only friend Dangerboat to Arthur’s step-father Walter. It’s wonderfully well put together and each character feels entirely necessary and they all contribute to the story being told.
There are times when the costumes and effects seem lower in budget than a lot of other comic book shows, and really I think it all just adds to the charm. It even reaches the point where it’s difficult to tell if this is by design to make really highlight the difference between The Tick and other shows out there.
What really surprised me is how many characters really came into their own in the second season, Dot, Superian, Walter, Tinfoil Kevin, they all get their moment and grow beyond the oddities and archetypes they’ve been introduced as.
I didn’t expect to become so deeply invested in what is, to be honest, a ridiculous and often incredibly dumb superhero parody, but I’m glad I did. I’d happily watch another series of The Tick, and it’s going to be a shame if we never get that. I’m genuinely disappointed I didn’t watch this show sooner, but as I’ve stated earlier, it’s not always the right time.