The Tick was a live action show based on the wildly different super-hero of the same name. He was also featured in an incredibly funny animated series in the early 90’s that also ended way before it’s time. The Tick follows the comedic adventures of a muscular, but dim witted 300 lb powerhouse whose duty is to clean the city of evil-doers while shouting inane phrases such as the always catchy “Spoon!”
When I first heard that they were going to make a live action version of the Tick, I was very skeptical …– but then I learned that they cast Patrick Warburton (Putty from Seinfeld) as the blue guy and I thought this could work. I was thoroughly impressed after seeing the pilot that they had truthfully captured the off-beat antics that the animated series perfected. Having Ben Edlund (the Tick’s creator) intimately involved in the creation of the series really paid off from the perspective that none of the Tick’s quirky charms were lost in his jump to the small screen; however poor marketing from Fox played a role in its too early demise.
The Tick’s supporting cast were wonderfully cast as well as having some subtle but very funny changes. Arthur (David Burke) was excellently cast as the Tick’s accountant turned super-hero moth sidekick. Liz Vassey was great as Captain Liberty (although I much preferred her previous characterization as “American Maid” with her deadly accuracy while throwing her shoes at opponents). My favorite supporting cast member however, was the Latino ladies’ man wannabe – Batmanuel (I love that name! It’s even better than the cartoon version – Die Fledermaus).
The focus on the show often involved the various relationships between the characters when they weren’t doing battle. Actually there was very little full out action but when it did occur it was absolutely hilarious. The dialogue was outstanding – if Kevin Smith wrote for TV I’d imagine this is what it would sound like. Particularly striking is Batmanuel’s overt sexual innuendos toward Captain Liberty, and basically any female on the show. The retorts from Captain Liberty and the others are classic.
The show is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is impressive with excellent color reproduction. The Tick was intended to be comic book brought to life and it sure looks like it. The colors are bright and vivid, and look like a comic book panel. Very impressive transfer for a television show.
While the video is great, the audio unfortunately, falls a little short on the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. It’s not that it is bad but I was hoping for a little more “oomph” for the sound. Given that the show is basically dialogue driven, the sound is good enough with the majority of the dialogue (which is crisp and clear) being emitted through the centre speaker while the right and left are used fro music and occasional ambient sounds.
Commentaries are offered by creator Ben Edlund, and producer Barry Sonnefield. The interesting aspect of Sonnefield’s commentary is that he compares the show to some of his Hollywood projects – M.I.B., M.I.B. II, and the awful Wild, Wild West. He did indicate a desire to bring the Tick to the big screen, which would be awesome as long as he didn’t bring along the no-talents that “helped” with M.I.B. II and Wild, Wild West. One can only hope. The commentary with Ben Edlund was more interesting with a little more depth about the Tick and about the episodes themselves. There were also some DVD-ROM links which were not yet active. The best extra however, were the unaired episodes seeing how the powers that be at Fox only aired 9 episodes before the show was pulled.
The Tick was by far one of the best and most original shows that emerged in the early days of what would now dominate today’s airwaves – reality shows. The writing was just too good for TV akin to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, as well was never huge in the ratings but for whatever reason was thankfully allowed to stay. Hopefully this DVD set will breathe new life into the big blue guy and spearhead an opportunity for him to jump from rooftops onto the silver screen. Spoon!
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries