He's the Wild Blue Yonder, and The Tick
is back to show why this outlandishly funny TV series should never have been canceled! After proving his mettle in comic books and animated TV, creator Ben Edlund's blue-insect superhero made his auspicious debut on Fox (in November 2001), portrayed in live action (in a buff-muscled rubber suit) by Patrick Warburton, the popular Seinfeld
guest star (as "Puddy"), who instantly perfected the role he was born to play. In his appreciative commentary track, co-executive producer (and Men in Black
director) Barry Sonnenfeld calls the pilot episode "the best thing I've ever directed," and it's easy to agree: wide-angle lenses, stylized sets, hilarious dialogue and a comedically gifted cast make the episode (and the entire series) a perfect summation of Sonnenfeld's wacky style. Edlund concurs, observing that The Tick
is "something you get or you don't," and the impatient Fox executives obviously didn't get the show's expert blend of absurdity, stupidity, and good-natured irreverence. They axed the series after eight of these nine episodes aired, only proving that The Tick
was too hip for their bean-counting mentalities.
In the title role, Warburton (with highly expressive antennae) hits all the right notes of dimwitted innocence and brute-force gallantry, aided immeasurably by his moth-costumed sidekick Arthur (David Burke), wannabe lothario Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell), and buxom beauty Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey). Attentive to the more mundane aspects of superheroism, The Tick offers outrageous villains (like the nefarious "Destroyo") and eccentric allies (like Ron Perlman's hilarious "Fiery Blaze") while showing that even crimefighters have everyday problems and desires. Brilliantly conceived and executed, The Tick can now be enjoyed by an audience it never had a proper chance to cultivate. --Jeff Shannon