Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Tick (2001, Netflix)

Behold: The two headed cobra of justice!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Nigh Invincible Bug Themed Heroes

Review:  I totally missed out on The Tick show when it first aired.  I remember Fox making a big deal out of the pilot, directed by Barry Sonnefeld and maybe I watched it and maybe I didn't.  But if I did watch that pilot then I missed the rest of it.  Much later, in 2010 I watched the series while under the influence of a terrible flu and didn't really remember much of that experience.  Here and now I have watched the series again and it's pretty good.  I don't really understand why it was cancelled really.  It always surprises me what get's cancelled and what runs forever.

  I watched a Q&A with Bruce Campbell before a showing of Bubba Ho-Tep and in that Q&A someone asked him why he wasn't The Tick.  Bruce Campbell asked why HE should be The Tick and the crowd reacted but the comment he picked out was "The chin, really?  Why don't they just get another guy with a big chin?" and someone from audience yelled "They did.".  I feel that comment takes away from Patrick Warburton's performance as The Tick because his performance is actually spot on.  He has the bombast but more importantly he has the innocence of The Tick, something I don't think Campbell could pull off.  Also Warburton has the physical presence, he is a tall, tall, big guy and you kind of need that for the character.  The rest of the cast does a great job as well.  David Burke, Nestor Carbonell and Liz Vassey all put in great performances as Arthur, Batmanuel and Captain Liberty.  Sprinkled among the 9 episodes include strong cameo's by Christopher Lloyd, Ron Pearlman and Dave Foley.  Strong plots, strong acting and a strong setting make this worth watching.

  However, this is sort of the superhero equivalent of Seinfeld and that's not meant as a compliment.  This is very much a show about nothing.  Superhero action is nearly non-existent as almost all of what does happen happens off screen.  There is none of the normal conflict that you would associate with a piece of superhero fiction and it is instead replaced with interpersonal conflict and romantic conflict.  One full episodes plotline revolves around Captain Liberty killing a fellow superhero during sex and them trying to cover it up.  Much is made about Captain Liberty looking for a relationship and her bizarre relationship with Batmanuel.  There's an episode where Arthur goes on a date and tries to get a girlfriend.  There's a part of an episode where Captain Liberty breaks down to a supervillain about all her insecurities.  There are laughs to be had in all those situations but the series lacks the great action from the comics or the animated series.

  So, if you can get past the fact that this superhero show lacks any sort of action there is entertainment to be had.  Especially with Warburton's Tick whose facial expressions, outrageous actions and nonsensical, rambling speeches driving the whole thing.

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