Sixteen years after Fox canceled the live-action, satirical superhero television show “The Tick,” Amazon Studios has revived the cult comedy for an original 12-episode series. Season 1 tells the story of how the Tick — an overly optimistic and earnest superhero played by Peter Serafinowicz — united with his non-powerful, accountant sidekick (Griffin Newman) to battle supervillain the Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). Unlike the dozens of other comic-book movies and TV adaptations, “The Tick” pokes fun at the cliched conventions of superhero narratives with witty banter and jokes. But, at the center of the show’s storyline is a heartfelt message about love, compassion, respect, and justice.
The themes behind “The Tick” have more relevance than ever in the wake of the white nationalist rally that erupted into violence in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, and the strenuous political climate that is continuing to divide the country. At the show’s lavish premiere in New York on Wednesday evening, many cast members expressed the sentiment that the world could learn important values from “The Tick.”
“What’s exciting to me is the message of our show — to be kind to other people and to look out for other people,” Newman told Variety at the historic Village East Cinema ahead of the screening. “The Tick is a character who is so thoroughly driven by good and has a sense of compassion for others. He’s completely selfless.”
Newman added, “The national topic has become so toxic. It’s very easy to get into the mood and start fighting, but it can be just as powerful to go above it and counter act it with positivity, just like some of the characters in our show.”
Serafinowicz echoed Newman’s views. The veteran British actor appreciates the important ethics that the Tick instills — one of the main reasons why he took the role.
“The show is really not about superheroes. It’s about these damaged people who try and reach out to help each other,” said Serafinowicz, who was inspired by the late actors Phil Hartman and Leslie Nielsen to help him create his own interpretation of the hero. “I think kindness has gotten out of fashion a little bit; we can all learn about kindness from the show and apply it to our lives.”
The first six episodes of “The Tick” will be available to stream on Amazon Prime starting Aug. 25, and the second half of the season will be released in early 2018. This latest reboot marks the third iteration on the small screen. In 1994, Fox introduced “The Tick” as a Saturday morning animated series for three seasons. In 2001, Fox aired a live-action primetime show starring “Seinfeld” actor Patrick Warburton as the title character. Despite critical acclaim, the comedy was canceled after airing nine episodes. In the Amazon revival, there are numerous action sequences and the Tick is more sincere than the previous versions.
“This is a good old fashioned superhero story. It’s kind of like back when the characters weren’t so dark and didn’t have so much angst,” Haley said. “What I really like about the Tick is that he doesn’t have the complexity of the real world superheroes. He’s completely a good guy.”
Katie Holmes, one of the many guests to attend “The Tick” premiere, said arts and entertainment can help heal a divided America.
“I think you always need the arts and culture. It’s such an important thing because it can help bring people together,” Holmes said. “In times like we are in now, when the world is so divided, artists are given the responsibility to work really hard to entertain and try to put smiles on people’s faces. That’s our job.”
After the screening, Serafinowicz joined Ben Edlund, the creator and executive producer of “The Tick” at Industria Superstudio for the after-party. Cast members gathered with producers Barry Josephson and David Fury at the extravagant party, which was transformed into the Tick’s fictional hometown called “City.”
(Pictured: “The Tick” stars Griffin Newman, Peter Serafinowicz, and Valorie Curry)