You may be hard-pressed to find a television show that is a better fit with New York Comic Con crowds than the Amazon original series, The Tick. The character is a superhero, he’s weird/quirky and he’s funny. Add in some well-known actors appearing and it explains why fans were lined up for the panel immediately after doors opened on Saturday morning at the con. Even before the guests were introduced, the screens in the panel room listed off jokes and funny observations that fit with humor of the show. So the tone was already set.
The creator of The Tick, Ben Edlund, was joined on stage by executive producers Barry Josephson and David Fury. The full cast also made the trip to New York. Supporting players Valorie Curry, Yara Martinez, Brendan Hines, Scott Speiser and Michael Cerveris were introduced before Jackie Earle Haley, Griffin Newman and Peter Serafinowicz, who lead the ensemble.
Newman, whose uneasy character Arthur, is often the centerpiece of the series, matched his on-screen persona’s nervousness for the first few minutes of the panel by commenting on just how many people were there watching. But it was this dynamic that helped the actor when shooting the pilot and early episodes. Newman said that he knew the franchise and was a fan before auditioning. In turn, he was actually nervous when filming began. It just so happens that Arthur spends the pilot spying on a criminal organization, getting arrested and being forced to relive the childhood trauma of his father’s tragic death. So the anxiety works on-screen. Newman said that he remained nervous until production was far enough along that firing him and reshooting his scenes with a different actor would likely be too expensive. Then he was able to relax a bit.
This iteration of story has Arthur and the Tick, a superhero with a case of amnesia, encounter each other by chance. With the help of a super suit the Tick steals for Arthur, the two begin to investigate a conspiracy involving a supervillain the world believes to be long dead. Serafinowicz plays the title character. The British actor told the crowd that he based the Tick’s towering voice off of 1960s American radio personalities.
Serafinowicz’s name may not be familiar, but the actor has been in a number of big projects over the years including Guardians of the Galaxy. He also has a background doing voiceover work. One memorable role was providing the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. With The Tick, Serafinowicz made it clear that the blue costume, mask, and mechanical antennae were very uncomfortable. So no special treatment for the guy who was in Star Wars.
The Tick has held an interesting place in the comic book subculture for three decades. Created by Edlund, the character had a comic book series before being produced as a cartoon for Fox in 1994. That show ran for three seasons. The character returned to Fox for a live-action sitcom in 2001. That take proved less successful with only 9 episodes. The newest version on Amazon is different from its predecessors while still maintaining the elements that made it popular with its niche audience.
Edlund commented that there was a conscious effort to skew between being meta and grounded on the series. Throughout the first half of season one, that effort is clear as some scenes address real life struggles and others reach the extremes of superhero satire. The second half of season one, Edlund says it “Continues to get weirder.” How weird exactly, the group didn’t specify. But the trailer for the upcoming episodes shows Haley’s character, the supervillain known as the Terror, rocking out on a drum set while holding Arthur hostage. So don’t expect your standard hero-villain conflict.
When fans got the chance to ask questions during the last few minutes of the panel, multiple people asked about the potential to see some of the more obscure or odd members of the franchise in upcoming episodes. The producers said that as the show goes on, more characters could be introduced, but those being played by the actors on stage would be explored in more depth before expanding the superhero roster. Two that were mentioned by name were the Man-Eating Cow and Chairface Chippendale. So yeah, from those names alone you can see that the show could continue to get much weirder than it already is. The second half of The Tick season one will be available on Amazon Video February 23, 2018.