Its 1:31 pm
During the recent big DVD/BluRay sale at Dollar Tree,one of the titles I saw people were looking for was the cult favorite “The Tick”. This show started as a newsletter mascot in 1986 and was created by a artist named Ben Edlund. Edlund developed a comic book of “The Tick” in 1988 and the character grew in popularity.
“The Tick”‘s first crack at mainstream America happened in 1994 when Fox aired an animated series which ran for three seasons at 12 episodes a year. It then went into syndication and aired on Comedy Central and other stations where its cult following grew.
So what made “The Tick” such a cult favorite? The show is a parody of superhero shows for certain. “The Tick”‘s background is never known,he has no memory of who he is or where he came from. He is super-powered and he has a sense of right and wrong. He is aided by a side-kick named Arthur Newman who wears a moth like costume and helps The Tick with normal every day life.
They are joined by the US Government sanctioned Captain Liberty and the sauve yet timid Batmanuel. Only The Tick has any real super powers,the rest depend on gadgets and self-defense training. The big joke (and the really,the only one) is since The Tick doesn’t have any past memories,he is a like a 14 or 15 year old mentally and very naive about the world,only seeing it in black and white.
The four heroes operate in The City where they work with other heroes against an array of super-villains like The Terror.
Patrick Warburton played The Tick and while he definitely played it like Adam West did in Batman,it works. The Tick is charming and innocent and always wants to do the right thing but doesn’t always have a clue when he goes overboard. As an actor Warburton cuts an imposing figure but his voice,as distinctive as it is,has really pigeonholed him. He has leading man looks and size but he seems to always get the same parts,when I watched the remake of “Get Smart” earlier this year and Hymie the Robot was mentioned,I wasn’t surprised to Warburton with that voice show up.
David Burke played Arthur,The Tick’s sidekick. Arthur comes across more as a sad sack then a sidekick but he does help keep The Tick grounded somewhat in reality. He helps The Tick in daily life the best he can but with The Tick’s short attention span,that can be a chore all in itself. Arthur is shy but has a secret crush on Captain Liberty.
Nestor Carbonell played Batmanuel,a smooth ladie’s man who loves being looked at as a hero yet when it comes to actually getting his hands dirty…he tends to let others handle the heavy lifting. He and Captain Liberty have a love-hate relationship and have been lovers for years.
Liz Vassey played Captain Liberty,who is sanctioned by the US Government and works for the CIA once in a while. She carries a hand held torch that carries various items and acts like a light. She is very sexual and ends up killing a fellow hero called The Immortal during while having sex with him. She comes across as sarcastic and edgy but she also expresses her fears about relationships,its hinted she would like more with Batmanuel but he plays around too much.
So why did The Tick fail? Four reasons,it was on FOX at a time where the network had a infamous quick hook for shows that didn’t produce ratings instantly. Two,it was a cult favorite….which means while it was beloved by fans,there just wasn’t very many of them and certainly not enough to carry a network TV show.
The third reason,it wasn’t funny…..I watched all nine episodes and I didn’t laugh once.
The Tick was a one trick-pony and by episode three,it was played out. Now I’m a fanboy and I love all things superheroes but this was painful to watch. Burke looked so uncomfortable on camera in wearing his costume,you felt sorry for him.
The fourth reason I think The Tick failed was it came on the heels of 9/11 and America was still in shock and mourning. The mood wasn’t one ready to laugh and be merry,the smoke was still rising from the World Trade Center and we were focused on what was going on. Audiences didn’t want to watch a weird and slightly twisted superhero show and The Tick was cancelled after 8 aired episodes. A third attempt of The Tick was made for Amazon but it was hooked after just two seasons,the concept sounds funny on paper but as a live action show? Not so much……
“The Tick”-The Complete Series has all nine original episodes and zero extra features.
As much as I liked the cast of the show,including a guest appearance by Ron Perlman,we just didn’t see the appeal of The Tick and in 2001,neither did anyone else.
But definitely worth the dollar I paid for it.
Do you have a cult show like The Tick that you love but no one else did? Drop us a comment and tell us about it!