THE TICK: THE ENTIRE SERIES
Directed by Various
Produced by Larry Charles & Flody Suarez
Written by Ben Edlund et al
Director of Photograpy Greg Gardiner & Paul Maibaum
Music by Ian Dye
Cast: Patrick Warburton, David Burke, Liz Vassey & Nestor Carbonell
2001-2002/201 mins/Color/Dolby 2.0
1.78:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD
"The Tick" is a rather obscure independent comic book character, which first appeared in 1988. The comic was a minor success and was very popular with the independent comic crowd. Thus, it was very surprising when Fox debuted an animated TV series based on "The Tick" in 1994. But, it was far beyond surprising when Fox brought The Tick back in 2001 for a live-action show, which only lasted for 8 episodes. Now, the surprises continue as THE TICK live-action show finds its way to DVD.
The Tick (Patrick Warburton) is a dim-witted, yet very spirited super-hero who is "nigh invulnerable" (although, I don't think this was ever mentioned in the show) and is very strong. What The Tick lacks in brains, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm. He is always ready to fight for justice, and he views the world in a child-like manner of black-and-white. The Tick arrives in The City, and immediately meets Arthur (David Burke), a mild-mannered accountant who has decided to don a moth-suit (although everyone mistakes him for a bunny) and become a super-hero. Although Arthur is wary of The Tick's strange ways, they soon become friends, and are often joined in crime-fighting by Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) and Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell), a duo who have been known to sleep together in the past....a fact that Batmanuel never fails to mention.
"The Tick" comic book showcased very odd super-heroes who fought very odd super-villains, and the animated series echoed this concept. However, most likely for budgetary reasons, THE TICK live-action show takes a different approach. Simply put, the program plays like a super-hero version of SEINFELD. What we have is a group of super-heroes who lead very mundane lives and typically sit around talking about their personal problems. If you are looking for an all-out sci-fi action show, then you will be sorely disappointed by THE TICK, which probably explains why the show only lasted for 8 episodes. If the show could have incorporated more elements from the comic book and animated show, most notably the very colorful villains, then it may have had a fighting chance. At least let The Tick yell "Spoon!" for God's sake.
However, if you are in the mood for an incredibly quirky comedy, and you have a knowledge of super-hero cliches, then THE TICK may be the show for you. The dialogue here, based directly on Ben Edlund's original comics is priceless and every line that comes out of The Tick's mouth is quotable. (My favorite is, "Gravity is a harsh mistress.") The awkward relationship between Arthur and The Tick is also a great source of humor, as The Tick is fearless, yet Arthur is a stammering clod, who can't really fly. The banter between Captain Liberty and Batmanuel is also very funny, and Batmanuel has some great lines. (I wish that this show could have retained the original American Maid and Die Fledermaus names for these characters.) Patrick Warburton is simply magnificent as The Tick and completely loses himself in the role. (The antennae on his costume don't hurt either.) Those of you who feel that American TV never takes any risks need to check out THE TICK. This show is far beyond weird, but for the right viewer, it will be a comedy feast.
THE TICK leaps to DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video. This 2-disc set contains all 8 original episodes of the show which were broadcast on Fox (although, there seems to be some discrepancy about the order in which they were originally broadcast), as well as an unaired episode entitled, "The Terror". The shows are presented in an anamorphic widescreen format, and have been letterboxed at 1.78:1. The images here are very sharp and clear, showing virtually no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors are fantastic, most notably The Tick's blue suit, and the way it contrasts with Arthur's white costume. There are some minor moments of artifacting, but otherwise, this transfer rivals digital broadcast quality. The DVD features a Dolby 2-channel surround audio track which delivers clear dialogue, as well as some well-placed, yet subtle, surround sound and stereo effects. The music plays a big role in THE TICK and the score sounds fine here. The only extras on the DVDs are audio commentaries by executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld and The Tick creator/executive producer Ben Edlund. Sonnenfeld delivers a commentary for "The Pilot", an episode he directed. His chat is very spirited, as he discusses the origins of the show and describes shooting locations and the mechanics of Warburton's suit. Edlund provides commentaries for "Arthur, Interrupted", "Couples", and "The Tick vs. Justice". His talks are very low-key when compared to Sonnenfeld's, but he does deliver some good info. However, it's clear that he gets tired of talking about the same things (characters, etc.) after a while.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©