“You’re as alive as a daisy!”: The Tick on Amazon Prime

The Tick returns to Amazon Prime on February 23

 

There were few cartoons in the mid-90s I came to love more than The Tick. When the first live-action show aired I was entertained but ultimately disappointed. So when I heard a re-boot of sorts or, rather, another attempt at it was going to air on Amazon Prime, I decided that was enough for me to subscribe to Prime. Unlike the first attempt, I found this one more fully flushed out yet still stumbling a bit.

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The first half season episodes 1-6 are worth watching and you can see the series actively trying to find it footing. By the end of the first half season, The Tick seems to have found its voice making the second half of the season something I’m eager to see. Episodes 7–12 will release on February 23 and the series has already been picked up for a ten episode second season come 2019. Ultimately, the impact of the series will really rest on how well executed it is for the remainder of the first season.

Here are a handful of things I’m looking for in the second half:

  • While I like the addition of new characters, one the weaknesses of the original live-action show was the morphing of the brilliant Batman send up Die Fledermaus into the rather trite Batmanuel. This new version seems to have scrapped this character entirely in favor of Overkill, a mix and mockery of Deadpool, Deadshot, and Deathpool. This works well opposite this new Tick’s quasi-pacifism. However, I would very much like to see Stalin or a version of Red Scare appear alongside this series’ astoundingly good The Terror played by Jackie Earle Haley.

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  • One of the strongest aspects to this new version is Arthur’s sister Dot. While it seems that Miss Lint might be the main female lead, I want Dot’s character to continue to feature prominently as “She has side-characters who belong entirely to her own section of the narrative.” I doubt an American Maid or Captain Liberty character will arise, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Dot embrace superhero-dom.

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  • To my mind, the greatest strength of this new series is it depiction of mental health. Arthur is emotionally damaged and has to endure ableism at nearly every moment of the day from both strangers and intimates. The first half of the season forces viewers to speculate alongside the character on Arthur’s mental health. Is The Tick a hallucination? Is The Tick a real, physical manifestation of Arthur’s facial tick and superhero dreams? Is this Tick like his comicbook self, who started “as an escaped mental patient whose main powers are optimism, child-like enthusiasm, gigantic size, and nigh-indestructability“? Arthur’s superhero suit, his resistance to it and his deep subconscious need to be a hero, becomes a metaphor for him not trying to erase or overcome his trauma but to embrace it. And that is the primary drama of the series.

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  • I don’t want to know The Tick’s origin. I want to see Arthur become the hero The Tick believes he can be–not sidekick, but partner. The Tick and Arthur are a duo. I also want to see Arthur and Dot’s sibling relationship to blossom into something heroic and caring. I don’t want to see a Wonder Twins spoof.

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I don’t think The Tick is a good show–yet. However, it become one with this second half of its first season. I am hopeful.

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