When the good people of the world need someone to kick crime and terror in the genitals and then laugh in their face, The Tick is really the only hero to call.
The world has never needed the unusual, acerbic humor of Ben Edlund’s The Tick more than we do now. The blue-clad superhero has gone through a hell of a journey. It began as a comic book in the late ’80s. Then made its way to television with the ‘90s animated series and a short-lived live-action take on the character on Fox in 2001 starring Patrick Warburton. The Tick’s latest iteration, a live-action Amazon series that premieres on Friday, August 25th, is Edlund’s most mature, thoughtful interpretation of his spoon-worthy universe to date.
One of the most interesting changes in this new series is that arguably more focus is put on Arthur (Griffin Newman), who in the past has filled much more of a supporting sidekick role.
On the “blue carpet” at the New York premiere of The Tick, Michael Cerveris, who plays the villainous Ramses IV on the series, told Den of Geek he notices that The Tick himself (Peter Seranifowicz) is such a radical character, which makes someone like Arthur is necessary in all of this. He admires that he’s an effective everyman and audience surrogate that helps ease people into this world.
Going straight to the moth’s mouth, Griffin Newman elaborates on this by pointing out that due to The Tick’s extreme sensibilities he can be an especially hard person to connect with emotionally, whereas Arthur is much more capable in that respect.
The new show’s shift towards Arthur allows everyone to “have their cake and eat it too” in this regard. Griffin adds, “You get everything you loved in the past versions, but also some more emotional investment.”
Arthur’s sister, Dot (Valorie Curry), is the other pillar in his life. Arthur’s antics with the Tick represent everything that’s absurd in his life. Dot is certainly emblematic of the more normal side of things. Dot might already be one of the more human, emotional characters in the show, but Valorie is particularly excited to see the show getting into a level of “humanity and vulnerability” that old characters have never had access to before. “Those human relationships are very real and they are very grounded,” she told us.
This dynamic is explored in great detail in terms of the show’s Big Bad, The Terror, the metaphorical ants at the picnic of justice. The Terror is gleefully brought to life by Jackie Earle Haley, who finds an interesting balance between the Tick and the Terror.
“There’s all this angst and revenge and The Tick is just plain, pure-hearted good guy,” said Haley. “By contrast, The Terror is the exact opposite. There doesn’t seem to be any angst there. He just loves being a villain.”
John Pirkis, who plays the villain, Dr. Karamazov crystalizes this point nicely: ”Who you think is a villain begins to turn. So you’re never fully sure who’s good or bad.” The Tick is at its best when it keeps these labels fluid.
Edlund is excited to push boundaries and characters to new places.
“This is the deepest version that we’ve ever contemplated before,” he said.
People will be able to laugh and marvel as The Tick comes back to life when the first half of the inaugural season debuts on Amazon on August 25th, and the rest of the episodes dropping some time in 2018.