Over a year after its pilot first premiered, Amazon’s The Tick is finally available to watch in full on Amazon Video. You can go check out all six episodes right if you’ve got a Prime membership — but should you?
The Tick is a television series based on the comic book of the same name, about a superhero called — what else? – The Tick, and his rather ordinary, everyman sidekick, Arthur. It currently has a 92% “Tomatometer” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a good indication that people are liking the series. Let’s take a look at what the critics are saying about the superhero comedy, so you can decide for yourself whether you want to binge watch it.
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Ben Travers over at IndieWire found the character of The Tick “instantly endearing,” but he noted that you might need to spend some time with the character before really becoming enamored with him. Plus, he wrote, the show doesn’t quite hit the right notes when it comes to Arthur, or in regards to its own silly charms. He ultimately gave it a C+.
“The Tick is as inherently likable as his name is absolutely unappealing.”
“His perpetual joy is infectious…and every time The Tick pops up, you know you’re only seconds away from a smile.”
“The Tick, however, is constantly working against its most welcomely infectious aspects. Rather than drape itself in admiration of The Tick’s purity, the new Amazon series resists the gung-ho do-gooder’s spirit.”
“That there’s too much sourpuss Arthur is a problem in itself, but the world surrounding The Tick is often overwhelming, as well.”
“The Tick needs to give into The Tick if it ever hopes to be as enlightening and entertaining as its past iterations.”
The AV Club
The AV Club’s William Hughes believes the world is finally ready for the offbeat, quirky nature of The Tick, a hero and concept that he writes “has always been a little out of step with modern times.” In general, Hughes rated the series so far in a more favorable light, giving it a B+ rating and comparing it especially to earlier television adaptations.
“The result feels at times like a less cynical version of The Venture Bros…forcing a bunch of broken people and their very real feelings into the absurd superhero situations their jobs and weirdo lifestyles demand.”
“This Tick is a show where silly, funny things happen all the time.”
“Amazon’s new take on the character…is the closest Edlund’s superhero parody has ever come to fitting in with the tastes of the present day.”
“Said ancient supervillain (The Terror) is played in flashbacks by Jackie Earle Haley, whose efforts to inject the character with a mixture of menace and warmth are only slightly undercut by a ridiculous “old man” voice.”
In his review for Forbes, Salkowitz calls The Tick “a refreshingly off-kilter take on superheroics,” which is pretty much the general sentiment of most reviews of the show I’ve seen. He specifically brings up the fact that the show can be binge-watched, as only six episodes are currently available, and that was likely done on purpose to build on intrigue that the plot has already cultivated for the audience.
“Both the creative concept and format could enhance its chances of success.”
“The humorous moments arise organically from the ridiculous premise of the story universe; they are not, for the most part, obviously concocted for cheap laughs.”
“Edlund has a strong track record with solid, fan-friendly genre material, and he's bringing all of his savvy to his own creative first-born.”
“The Tick is not as rich, and therefore not as compelling, as The Venture Bros., at least not in the first six-episode arc. Part of that is because The Tick himself hasn't been fully established.”
On Serafinowicz as The Tick: “a broad performance probably meant to cover over gaps that may eventually be filled in with better writing.”
On Vox’s Culture section, Caroline Framke agreed with some other reviewers that the tone of The Tick can get a little weird at times. “The Tick was a meta superhero before that was the norm,” she notes, comparing the wit of some of the lines he’s given on this adaptation to other comic characters like Deadpool and Peter Quill who have enjoyed recent on-screen success.
“This combination of the Tick’s hyperbolic strangeness and Arthur’s frantic attempts to stay grounded is what makes Amazon’s version of The Tick stand out among the rest.”
“It delights in making fun of itself, but also seriously considers how jarring it would be to have heroes scattered throughout the very real, often depressing world.”
“But when it’s clever, it’s really clever — and in a way few other superhero adaptations can claim.”
“The Tick can be a little confusing as it bounces between tones.”
“The Tick is a purposeful mashup of wildly varying tones, for better and for worse. To be fair, I’m not sure cohesion is what The Tick is aiming for at all.”
Kelly Lawler found the humor and goofiness of The Tick to be its real selling point in her review of the show on USA Today. She acknowledges that it’s definitely not flawless, but it is “a genuinely funny series,” and one that is accessible even to those not at all familiar with the source material or the superhero genre as a whole.
“The series…is both a smart parody of our current superhero obsession and a worthy entry into the genre.”
“It's at its best moments when it focuses on the interplay between Arthur and The Tick. You can almost believe those two could save the world.”
“It's a genuinely funny series, with sharp dialogue, especially coming from the blue bug himself.”
“The series' biggest flaw lies in its structure. It's half-hour episodes merely pause the story at their conclusion.”
“While the long arc of Arthur and The Tick pursuing The Terror still mostly works, a version of the series with a more episodic focus might have helped sharpen its focus.”
“The story sometimes drags, and some elements feel a bit like they've been added to pad the run-time.”
Gwilym Mumford reviewed The Tick for The Guardian, where he strongly praised Peter Serafinowicz for his performance as the titular superhero. He called the show “self-consciously niche,” but makes the point that the bizarre, fun nature of the show may be exactly what we need in an age where superhero series are a dime a dozen.
“As superhero series go, it’s less po-faced than the 27 or so currently clogging up Netflix.”
“Finally a decent platform for Peter Serafinowicz, one of our finest comic talents.”
“The show has enormous fun in particular with The Tick’s garbled superhero sloganeering, which sounds like someone fed Captain America’s catchphrases into Google Translate. (I’m particularly fond of him repeatedly calling Arthur a “precious balloon of hope”.)”
“While earlier incarnations filled every frame with surrealism…Pfister’s version has elected to make its hero a beacon of bizarreness in an otherwise relatively normal superhero universe, which means that things tend to sag when Serafinowicz is off screen.”
“Unwisely, its creators have decided to “go dark” with the source material, handing Arthur a traumatic backstory and peppering scenes with moments of extreme violence that jar with the otherwise breezy tone of the show.”
Collider’s review of The Tick, by Allison Keene, was absolutely glowing. She praised everything from the show's weirdness to its humor, even noting the importance of sound in the series. She too, mentioned the total deluge of superhero shows as of late, but wrote that The Tick really stands out amongst them all.
“(Edlund) has a solid sense of exactly what he wants this story be and what this character should look and sound like.”
“Another of the series’ strengths is that it keeps its super-powered plots grounded in real-life.”
“The series’ winking self-awareness makes for a fun, weird, intriguing show that has a strong sense of itself and the world it portrays.”
“The half-hour live-action show (the latest iteration of this character) remembers something essential when it comes to super-powered TV: it should be fun.”
“The Tick is very silly, but it’s not for kids.”
“The Tick isn’t going to win any awards for its production value or for taking on emotionally intense narratives.”
Image Credit: Amazon