‘The Tick’ brings life back to superhero shows

In an era of superheroes where Batman kills, Superman snaps necks and Marvel has created an enormous web of crossovers and spinoffs, “The Tick” is a welcome addition to the superhero world of today, injecting a much-needed sense of levity and humor into the genre.

“The Tick” is based on the comic book character created by cartoonist Ben Edlund in 1986, and stars Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman. The show follows the misadventures of a bumbling, confused superhero named the Tick (Serafinowicz) and his awkward, reluctant sidekick Arthur (Newman) as they attempt to track down the worst villain of all time: the Terror (Jackie Earle Haley).

Serafinowicz and Newman are fantastic in their roles, bringing life to these classic characters, making them fun and relatable. The actors play off each other’s dialogue and demeanor in a way that feels perfect.

One of the best parts of the show is its comedic sense, with precisely-timed jokes that incite real, genuine laughs, not just a courtesy cringe. Newman’s character is consistently surrounded by walking stereotypes, like an overbearing older sibling, a weird stepfather and more. Their personalities and antics, both in scenes with Newman and independent of him, are so ridiculous that you can’t help but chuckle.

Serafinowicz himself is amazing in the role of the Tick. He is a tall, masculine, strong superhero who is as innocent as a young child. The Tick is such a well-written character, with the classic superhero narrations to begin each episode, and a charming, well-meaning demeanor that shines through the gritty realism that the other characters bring to the show. The Tick, unlike heroes of modern culture, has very clear morals that he is not willing to waver on, but, like a young child, he’s not quite sure how to explain them. What is likely one of the best quotes in the show is the Tick trying to explain to Arthur that “murder, it’s… it’s just not cool!”

Serafinowicz seems to fit naturally in his Tick outfit: a blue bodysuit with abs and shoulder pads, accentuating the classic superhero musculature and adding to the overall comic-book vibe of the show. Newman’s outfit is a bit more awkward, however, with goggles that don’t quite match up with his eyes, and a baggy-fitting suit that – while it definitely adds to his character’s personality – distracts from some of the show’s more important plot points. Both costumes still add much to the show, striking a good balance between a realistic and cartoon feel.

“The Tick” is a wonderful balance of fun and humor, as well as serious plot and character development. If ever you need a break from the dark, gritty universe of DC, or the overly complex, interconnected world of Marvel, “The Tick” is a standalone gem of the genre that will entertain you endlessly.