This is a great time to be alive. It’s even better if you’re a geek. With so many new sources of content, I’m looking at you, Netflix and Amazon Prime, we’re getting some really good, nerdy stuff out there that would never be given a serious shot in the dark days where we were at the mercy of the television networks and big Hollywood studios.
The Tick, for instance.
Amazon Prime just released their version of this hero’s journey, a six-episode mini-season that, I’ll tell you right now, is well worth a watch. There are only five new episodes, the first being the pilot that Amazon put out last year. Having finished it over the weekend, I’m praying for more.
In this version, Arthur is a troubled man. As a child, he watched his father and his heroes, the Flag Five, be murdered by The Terror, and has been forever scarred by the experience. He’s been in and out of mental institutions, driven to the brink of madness by the knowledge that, even though everyone thinks The Terror died fifteen years ago, he’s still alive and Arthur’s the only one who knows it. Arthur spends his nights on his obsession, gathering evidence of The Terror’s activities, when into his life comes, auto-narrating amnesiac hero known only as The Tick. Destiny’s hand clutches the duo like like the talons of the eagle of justice upon the cowardly rat of evil, it’s cry rending the night sky with an insistent call to adventure.
Sorry about that. You can’t watch Peter Serafinowicz’s in the titular role as the Big Blue Bug of Justice without wanting to try it out yourself. This is the good stuff. This is Arthur and The Tick going mano-a-monomyth (I love that line) with the dark forces gripping their city. It hits all the beats, and it hits them with love.
After watching the last episode, I found that Amazon Prime also has the 2001 series by the same name, and still wanting more, my son and I decided to give it a go.
Man, that thing was bad. I’m pretty easy to please, but the only thing that makes it watchable is Patrick Warburton. Here, the story is a run of the mill sitcom. You can almost see the hairy, hidden hand of clueless network executives strangling the life out of the poor thing. It’s Seinfeld in spandex.
I recommend giving the old version a quick look before moving on and devouring the 2017 show. You can see what sort of difference creative freedom makes.
2017 Tick: Five out of five lightning-fast gut-punches of blue-clad justice
2001 Tick: Two out of five, just because Warburton’s in it.