‘The Tick’s Ben Edlund: Amazon’s Version Will Be ‘A Little Dangerous’

The Tick
Amazon Prime Video
The Tick

If you’re a fan of The Tick, be it Ben Edlund’s long-running comic series, the 1994-96 animated series, or the 2001-02 Fox live-action series starring Patrick Warburton, then the new live-action version that will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video in 2017 will feel familiar. But, as Edlund and his fellow executive producer Barry Josephson said during Thursday’s Amazon Presents panel at New York Comic Con, there will be an edge to the bumbling superhero and his nebbishy sidekick Arthur that the previous television incarnations didn’t have. The Tick may be even “a little dangerous,” in Edlund’s words.

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“Instead of being at the edge of the junior high school dance and making fun of the people dancing from the bleachers, we’re inside the dance with those people,” Edlund said in the post-panel press room. “We really have a story you want to care about. We want you to care about Arthur, and whether or not a person like him can be a hero in the universe we’ve generated. You can almost say that’s a paradoxical position to hold while we claim to make fun of superheroes in general, but we claim the right to hold that paradoxical position. And Amazon has allowed us to do that.”

The Tick

Ben Edlund and Barry Josephson, EPs of The Tick, in the press room after the Amazon Presents panel at NYCC.

“We didn’t have that freedom a long time ago at Fox,” says Josephson, “A lot of people, a lot of voices, a lot of writers on top of writers, and a network that wasn’t sure what The Tick was. This version, [Ben] has the kind of creative freedom he had, almost when he sat down to write the comic.”

In this version, which took three years to develop, Arthur (Griffin Newman), 20 years after a childhood trauma where he witnessed the destruction of the “Flag Five” superheroes at the hands of uber-villain The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), encounters a mysterious superhero clad in blue with wiggling little antennae on his head. He calls himself The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), he’s well-intentioned but a bit dim. He convinces Arthur to be his sidekick, the brains to go with the blue guy’s brawn.

Characters from the other incarnations of The Tick will be included in this new series, just “mutated slightly by passing through this version.” Even Arthur has gotten an upgrade: his previous white unitard has given way to a suit that might actually protect him if he was in danger.

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Serafinowicz’s Tick is more like the aggressive animated version not the Puddy-esque version Warburton played in the short-lived (but much-loved) Fox live-action series. “We were so lucky to find Peter,” says Edlund. “It’s written with more edge to it. He’s a more dangerous figure, to Arthur and his life, but I think that Peter’s portrayal brought more edge that we were hoping for.”

Warburton, who’s also one of the executive producers, will do “something special” for the show, as Edlund and Josephson said during the panel. We hope so; Warburton’s droll delivery makes any character, even The Tick, more interesting. Though Serafinowicz, so funny in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as his own UK sketch show, will bring his own energy to the part. Hopefully we’ll see both on screen at the same time. Maybe a Tick from a parallel universe?

The Tick, Debuts 2017, Amazon Prime Video