The Tick—The Complete Series

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7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some clever jokes for fans of comics

Hit and miss high-concept comedy isn't for everyone

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Welcome to The City!

The Tick (Patrick Warburton) has come to the big city looking to bring his own brand of justice to the evil doers that threaten to destroy all the good of humanity.  Teamed with an accountant turned superhero named Arthur (David Burke), the Tick finds that there is more to fighting crime than simply having strength and power.  The Tick and Arthur aren’t the only heroes in town.  They have friends in Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) and Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell) and together they will keep the city safe…or at least try really hard.

The Tick is an adaptation of Ben Edlund’s cult comic hero who first appeared in New England Comics Newsletter #14 (July/August 1986).  The series ran on from November 8, 2001 to January 31, 2002 and followed the popular cult cartoon series which ran from September 1994 to November 1996.  Both series ran on FOX, but the live-action version quickly faced cancellation.  Since its release however, The Tick has gained a small cult following.

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Batmanuel…do you ever feel like we’re just forced in stories?

I loved the cartoon version of The Tick but really struggled with this show.  I think I watched the first episode or two but found the humor wasn’t quite hitting the mark.  Watching all the shows however, I think that the show was almost there and definitely could have found an audience somewhere in today’s much wider “television” market.

The problem with The Tick is that it was too high concept for the average viewers.  With today’s smaller forums like Netflix, Hulu, and even Yahoo, niche programming is much easier.  The visuals and acting style of the show just probably didn’t sit well with a mass audience.  It was intentionally cheap looking and playing with superhero genres…in a time where superhero movies were just getting their footing.

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I would like a series dedicated to the lame sidekicks

Patrick Warburton plays the tick as a combination of William Shatner and Adam West.  The costume was modified to keep his face from being covered (a mistake in my opinion), and I think David Burke as the struggling Arthur actually comes off better.  Captain Liberty and Batmanuel never got to fully develop and needed better B-storylines for their characters.  The story also would have benefitted from better guest-stars (Christopher Lloyd appeared in the first episode as Arthur’s boss and Ron Perlman and Dave Foley also featured into storylines).

The Tick just isn’t quite there, but with a few more episodes, it might have worked.  With the rise of online steaming, Amazon has plans to bring The Tick back.  I think that this idea could work especially if it plays out in real time…I’d love to see what the Tick and Arthur have been up to since 2002…I long for some of the Tick’s patented punchlines again!

The Tick—The Complete Series Episode Guide:

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“Pilot”

Episode 1        Pilot Airdate:  11/08/01

The Tick (Patrick Warburton) leaves his old bus station stomping grounds for the big city where he meets an accountant turned superhero named Arthur (David Burke).  When the Tick accidentally activates a 1979 robot named the Red Scare (Carrick O’Quinn) that is bent on destroying Jimmy Carter (Brad Maynard), the Tick and Arthur must become heroes to save Carter!

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“The Funeral”

Episode 2        The Funeral Airdate:  11/15/01

The Immortal (Sam McMurray) is coming to town, and Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) is assigned to show him the town.  When a night of sex leads to the Immortal’s death, the Tick, Arthur, Captain Liberty, and Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell) must cover up the death.

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“The Couples”

Episode 3        Couples Airdate:  12/05/01

The Tick and Arthur meet a superhero team named Fiery Blaze (Ron Perlman) and Friendly Fire (Patrick Breen) leaving Batmanuel and Captain Liberty to question if they are lonely.  Captain Liberty decides to get a dog and Arthur questions if he is simply a sidekick.  When Arthur sees Fiery Blaze mistreating Friendly Fire, Friendly Fire leaves Fiery Blaze and moves in with the Tick and Arthur.

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“The License”

Episode 4         The License Airdate:  12/06/01

The Tick learns that he must be licensed to be a hero and sets out to find his identity.  Captain Liberty seeks out a normal man and goes out on a date.  Batmanuel wants to be more like the Weasel and tries to get more media coverage.  When a woman (Kari Coleman) comes forward claiming the Tick is her husband, the Tick adapts to his new life.

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“Arthur Needs Space”

Episode 5        Arthur Needs Space Airdate:  12/13/01

Arthur runs into a former popular classmate named Stacy (Missi Pyle) but finds his date blocked by the Tick.  Captain Liberty finds nude pictures of herself printed in a magazine and learns that she could lose her job…unless Batmanuel can defend her!

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“The Big League”

Episode 6        The Big Leagues Airdate:  12/21/01

The Tick and Arthur are invited to join the League.  Unfortunately, Captain Liberty has claims that the League is both sexist and racist, and the Tick and Arthur find themselves caught in the middle when the Champion (Jonathan Penner) puts pressure on the Tick and Arthur to get Captain Liberty to drop the lawsuit.

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“The Tick vs. Justice”

Episode 7        The Tick vs. Justice Airdate:  01/17/02

Destroyo (Kurt Fuller) is brought in by the Tick, Arthur, Captain Liberty, and Batmanuel.  The Tick learns about the legal system and faces contempt of court, and Batmanuel and Arthur worry that they are going to be the targets of Destroyo’s men.  With Captain Liberty assigned to keep watch on Destroyo, Destroyo finds psycho analyzing Captain Liberty might be more than he bargained for.

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“Arthur, Interrupted”

Episode 8        Arthur, Interrupted Airdate:  01/24/02

Arthur is convinced to come out to his family about being a superhero…leading to his mother (Beth Howland) and sister (Lisa Fredrickson) having him committed by Francis (Dave Foley).  As the Tick deals with Arthur being missing, Captain Liberty and Batmanuel try to deal with his depression.

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“The Terror”

Episode 9        The Terror Airdate:  01/31/02

Arthur, Batmanuel, and Captain Liberty celebrate the Tick’s first year in the big city and remember Arthur and Tick’s infamous battle with the superhero killer the Terror (Armin Shimerman).

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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