The Tick

The stories are true: cult favorite superhero series The Tick is coming back, courtesy of Amazon. We first heard about the possibility of a Tick revival back in 2014, and now Amazon has officially given a pilot order to a new take on the character created by Ben EdlundWally Pfister (Transcendence) is in talks to direct.

However, there’s a catch. Patrick Warburton, who brilliantly played the not-so-brilliant superhero in the earlier live-action TV series, will not reprise his role. Casting for a new lead is already underway. Meanwhile, Griffin Newman (Vinyl) and Valorie Curry (The Following) are already set for the roles of the Tick’s sidekick, Arthur, and Arthur’s sister, Dot. 

In 2014, the word was that Amazon planned to resurrect The Tick with Edlund writing and producing (as he did on the original live-action show) and Warburton once again playing the Tick. The part involving Edlund is still true, and in fact he’ll be joined by executive producer Barry Josephson, who also worked on the earlier The Tick series. But Warburton is now tied up with his NBC comedy Crowded, and so his role will be recast. He will, however, serve as an executive producer on the Amazon pilot.

In addition to Warburton, the earlier live-action show starred David Burke as Arthur, Liz Vassey as Captain Liberty, and Nestor Carbonell as Batmanuel. The Tick revival will still center on the Tick and Arthur, but surround them with a new set of characters. Here’s how Deadline describes the premise of the new series:

In the new incarnation, the blue suit-wearing Tick is recovering from a memory loss. He ends up re-teaming with Arthur to fight evil. Newman’s Arthur, played in the Fox series by David Burke, had been labeled as a schizophrenic because of his statements that evil plans to rule the city, and no one believes him until he runs into Tick. Curry’s Dot Everest is a nurse who loves her brother Arthur to death and worries about him.

Edlund first created the Tick in the 1980s. The character made the leap from comic books to TV in 1994 with an animated series, and then got a live-action series in 2001; both shows were created by Edlund. The live-action Tick lasted just nine episodes on Fox, but received strong reviews from critics and eventually attracted a cult following. Watching it recently, I was surprised by how fresh it still feels. Even at a time when Marvel and DC practically rule the small screen, there’s nothing quite like the Tick.

Warburton will be hard to replace as the Tick, but with Edlund on board the revival stands a chance of recapturing the sharp and silly spirit of the original. The live-action Tick was a delightful send-up of superhero tropes, and we probably need that now more than ever. If you’ve ever wished superhero stories were more like hangout sitcoms, or just that they’d stop taking themselves so seriously, give the original Tick a watch (or re-watch) on Amazon and just hope for the best.

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