Friday, August 26, 2016

Amazon Pilot Season - The Tick

So, Amazon's done its "pilot season" again, where it puts up shows and makes you vote on them, and then really disappoints you.

Or me, anyway. I'm still ticked they didn't pick up the Rachel Dratch vehicle Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1998. Instead, they went with some much worse shows and The Man in the High Castle, which is quality but is not watching Rachel Dratch show you how funny she is.
For example, Ms. Dratch's performance in Spring Breakdown.
While Spring Breakdown is not a movie I'd compare to, say, Bridesmaids,
it's a great "late night cable"-quality comedy that made me laugh. If
you haven't seen it, you are missing out. 
What I'm saying is, go watch the pilot I'm about to recommend right after you read this. Go to Amazon Prime and put it on loop. Steal other people's Amazon Prime accounts and make them watch it. Hijack Russian botnets, whatever it takes so that Amazon knows that they need to make more of this.

Because The Tick, from the first episode, looks incredible.
The blue backside is only the beginning of the incredible.
Have you read the comic by Ben Edlund, also known as "the guy who did that Gotham show for Fox"? If you haven't, I'll save my enthusiastic recommendation of that for later. There was also a cartoon, and a previous TV show with Patrick Warburton. They're all good, but I have to move this review along.
Last time I checked, this was a zillion bucks on,
meaning I can't re-read the one where the Tick declares that
the Man-Eating Cow has learned good from evil and therefore
will protect the City while the Tick and Arthur go on an adventure.
To recap The Tick universe, the action takes place in a city referred to as "the City," a stand-in for essentially every DC comics city ever, but exaggerated to the level of farce.

It's full of superheroes and supervillains, but the plot follows the Tick, a nigh-invulnerable and super-strong individual in a blue suit with antennae. He has no secret identity, no romantic entanglements, a near-monomania with crime-fighting, and an eternally optimistic demeanor. The suit never comes off.

The Tick's sidekick is Arthur, a nebbish in a moth suit that actually flies. In many ways Arthur is the opposite of the Tick; he has no powers, he has more of a real life than a superhero one, and, as his name implies, has no superhero identity.

Together, they fight crime. In the comics, it was more that crime was detected, and the Tick happily bounded towards it crying something like "evildoers, face justice!" or sometimes (actually), "spoon!" and Arthur would be dragged along for better or worse. In this, they'd face exaggerated parodies of comic book heroes and villains, and situations that crossed over the border of ridiculous and moved on through to "so beyond ludicrous, I'm just going to sit back and roll with it."

All of this is preserved in the new show, except, post-Gotham, Ben Edlund takes it a little darker.
Arthur gets a legally-mandated psychiatric evaluation
after getting caught in vigilantism. 
We now start with Arthur (Griffin Newman), who instead of just being "normal guy," is dealing with some serious issues, which is why superheroing seems like a good idea to him. The City, formerly drawn solely in bright colors, is experiencing a crime wave, in part because, as a radio expositions early in the episode, the City's last superhero team "was blinded by weaponized syphilis and then shot."

Into this steps the Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), big, blue, invulnerable, and monomaniacal as ever. The Tick sees a kindred spirit in Arthur, and immediately bonds to him, "helping" Arthur realize a dream of being a superhero that Arthur isn't 100% sure he wants to have.

Don't worry, it's still funny. It's just now, the laughs sometimes come from that darker place where I laugh and say, "oh, that's awful HA HA HA [snorts drink]."
And Yara Martinez from Jane the Virgin and Alpha House is
a villainess in this show! How can you not watch?
The first episode tees up all the superheroing the Tick and Arthur are going to have, and I think you, like I, will want to see where Ben Edlund and the rest are going with this. At least one interview has Mr. Edlund saying he wants to put in a bunch of the comics characters, and I'd love to see Paul the Samurai or Chairface Chippendale. I don't think they'll put in Stalin-grad, the graduate student of Russian Studies turned supervillain who based his crimes on Josef Stalin, but it would be great if they tried.
"Josef Stalin, grab on to my armored muu muu and we'll leave
this foul Earth behind" is the line that is actually being said here.
Not only did I like the pilot, but the concept has such promise.
To recap: turn on an Amazon Prime account now. Watch the pilot episode of The Tick. You will not regret it.

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