Warning: This post contains spoilers from the show.
What even is The Tick?
Short answer: The Tick is a spoof of the superhero genre.
Slightly longer answer: The Tick is a big blue superhero with no secret identity, no inhibitions, and no indoor voice. Also, he has an accountant roommate/sidekick in a moth costume who is named Arthur.
Longest answer: The Tick began in the ’80s as a mascot for a New England comic shop chain, got his own comic, and in the ’90s was adapted into the best superhero cartoon ever. (I’m biased.) For one season in 2001, he had a live-action television show. Now he’s got a much better show (as I said, I am biased) that perfectly captures the insanity of the comic and cartoon series.
Where can I see it? The Tick is available on Amazon’s streaming service and is included with Amazon Prime. The pilot was released by Amazon last summer as part of a a trial – fans were happy with it, so a full season was ordered. Five new episodes — the first half of Season 1 — dropped on August 25. No official word on when the second half of the season will drop, but the rumor is that we’ll see the back half of the season in early 2018.
Why should I bother with ANOTHER superhero show, though? First of all, you’re reading an article on GeekMom, so I am pretty much always going to advise you to watch another superhero show. (Except Iron Fist maybe.) Second of all, The Tick ain’t Marvel or DC. It’s a spoof of the superhero genre and it’s totally ridiculous. I mean, a high-minded person would describe it as absurdist, but I’m going to describe it as cuckoo-bananas. (One of the villains is electrically charged. A side effect of her evil power? She’s constantly covered in lint.) It’s a perfect palate cleanser after a lot of grimdark, serious comic-based properties.
Will my kid be binging this for hours and hours? Only for about two hours. The time commitment here is low. Each of the six episodes clocks in at under half an hour, so after a summer of Defenders/Game of Thrones/Twin Peaks binge fatigue, you can get through The Tick really quickly.
Tell me about the violence. As with all superhero shows, there are fights. Many of them are cartoonish, but there are some upsetting moments. The defining moment of Arthur’s life is shown in a flashback in the pilot: when he was a kid, his dad, an innocent bystander, was killed in front of him in a tragic superhero battle. This death is revisited in various ways throughout the series, so if your child is sensitive or has lost a parent or someone else close to them, maybe don’t let them watch this. Also, there’s a grimdark antihero character named Overkill who is very violent. Think Kill Bill-style blood spatters and stabbing henchmen in the head. So if your child will be disturbed by that, The Tick is not for them.
What else might squick me out? Aside from the aforementioned headstabs, there are scenes showing bad guys getting stitches and having bullets removed, although it’s not that gory. There is some falling from high places (which recieves a pretty philosophical treatment, to be honest). One character is super into feet. The villain Miss Lint also has a glass eye which is inserted and removed onscreen. Sometimes she just doesn’t put it in. So there is that.
Any difficult issues I should be aware of? Yes. Mental illness. Arthur understandably struggles with mental illness after the trauma of his dad’s death. When the story starts, he’s been in and out of treatment programs, has a history of arrests, and has a hard time staying on his meds. I am probably not the best person to say whether or not the mental illness storyline is handled well, but it didn’t ring any alarm bells for me personally. Arthur’s sister, Dot, is also coping with her own trauma (or avoiding coping with her trauma) by micromanaging Arthur’s life, so that might be a good thing to talk about as well.
Will I be able to enjoy it if I never read the comics or saw the previous shows? Yes. All of The Tick properties stand alone pretty well. In some cases, they don’t even use the same characters, backstories, or plotlines.
Will I be able to enjoy it if I really loved the previous shows? That depends. I am a huge fan of the cartoon and I feel like this iteration captures that show’s tone really well. But if you’re watching for secondary characters like American Maid, Sewer Urchin, or Die Fledermaus, you’ll be disappointed. That said, there are some very good new characters. (Danger Boat!)
Does he say it? Does he say it? Nope. Not yet. But we still have half a season to go, so there’s still time for The Tick to utter his famous battle cry.
BONUS QUESTION, CHUMS!
(This point comes to you courtesy of reader Kris Johnson, who commented on Facebook. Thank you Kris!)
Is there any profanity? The language is salty. F-bombs are dropped. Overkill is probably the worst offender, but other characters do swear. So if you have littles or you’re concerned about language, this might not be the show for your kids.