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Review TV

TV Review – Amazon’s The Tick Season One

I mentioned this when I talked about the pilot episode, that it amazes me that The Tick keeps getting chances.  The latest show, on Amazon, is the third time the hero has appeared on our screens.  Not bad for a hero that was created a mascot for a comic book shop.  The comics that came from that, and the original 3 seasons of cartoons on Fox helped launch creator Ben Edlund’s career.  He’s written, produced and directed some of nerd-dom’s favorite projects, including Supernatural, Angel, Firefly, the Venture Brothers and more.

Branding is power.  – The Terror

This version of The Tick is a bit darker and dare I say grittier than the previous televised versions, while at the same time skewering dark and gritty comic shows.  The Tick himself doesn’t know who exactly he is, other than being The Tick.  Arthur, too, has some mental issues stemming from a traumatic childhood.  He saw The Terror kill both his father and his favorite heroes.  So yeah, pretty dark, but don’t worry – there’s plenty of the trademark humor to be had.  They even manage to make product placement funny, with the The Terror intoning “Alexa, play ominous music!” at one point.  They parody Superman and the Punisher (who’s been a frequent target of Edlund’s in the previous Tick incarnations), and there’s even a giant naked guy just wandering around.  Ms. Lint, one of the primary villains, still lives with her ex and the relationship definitely recalls the American Maid/Die Fledermaus interplay.

If there’s a negative, it’s that the humor may not be for everyone.  The show definitely leans into the absurdist nature of universes populated by talking super-dogs and hundred year old villains.  It’s also a bit jarring to see the level of violence in a show about The Tick.  The suit looks terrible in the pilot episode, but that was fixed for the rest of the series (and doesn’t pass uncommented).

I had some trepidation about this but by the end I was fully on board.  Peter Serafinowicz is a great Tick, Griffin Newman and Valorie Curry work well as Arthur and Dot, and the rest of the ensemble do their part.

Categories
Review TV

New Amazon Pilot: The Tick

The Tick is both blessed and cursed by TV.  Blessed because very few comics from such an obscure source would get not one, not two, but three tries at a series.  Cursed, because the first two attempts were both on Fox and had plenty of network interference/mismanagment.  The third try may just be the charm, though, as as Amazon has produced a new pilot for The Tick as part of their current ‘Pilot Season’.

The specifics behind The Tick vary from the various comic books and shows, but in general he is a dimwitted but nigh invulnerable superhero who ends up protecting a city named “The City” from various silly supervillains from a Man-Eating Cow, a million-billion ninjas, to the Terror – an elderly villain most famous for punching out Teddy Roosevelt.

thumbsupforevil

The new Amazon pilot focuses, at least to start, on Arthur.  Arthur is usually portrayed as the sidekick/straight man to The Tick but he’s the driving force here.  He’s had a terrible childhood – the non-Quinjet of the not-the-Avengers superteam the ‘Flag Five’ crashes on and kills Arthur’s dad, and young Arthur comes face to face with The Terror, who eats his ice cream (seriously).  An iconic, Time Magazine-ish photo is taken of the moment.  Fast forward to adult Arthur, and he’s obviously still suffering from that moment.  He’s obsessed with The Terror, who everyone else thinks is dead, but Arthur is convinced is still running the criminal underworld.  His investigations are what brings him into contact with The Tick.  They try to set up a “is The Tick even real?” question, but I think it’s pretty clear he is – but Arthur, with his mental illness isn’t sure he’s not imagining the whole thing while off his meds.

I won’t say the pilot is perfect, as the tone shifts suddenly, but Peter Serafinowicz is actually really good at delivering The Tick’s weird monologues and quips.  Griffin Newman has some real depth as Arthur, too.  I’d complain about the strange over-textured suit but I’m fairly certain that’s a parody of every recent Superman suit where the filmmakers can’t stop themselves from putting some wacky design on it.  I guess the best thing I can say after 30 minutes of the new series is, I want to see more.  If you do too, go to this link and vote.

Categories
Comics Review

Our Free Comic Book Day 2015 Haul!

Above you can see the picks both me and my kids picked out for Free Comic Book Day 2015!  I didn’t get to get out early so I missed a couple of the free books I wanted (the Dark Horse sampler with the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic, and Terrible Lizard) but we still got a bunch of cool stuff.  Some favorites:

  • Cleopatra in Space:  I *love* the art in this, and I can tell my daughters are going to enjoy it.  I see buying all the books.
  • The Invincible Iron Man War Machine collection:  My son’s pick (I think Age of Ultron affected this one), and a huge nostalgia bomb for me as I collected every one of these issues when I was a teenager.
  • Infinity Gauntlet/Planet Hulk #1:  These were both $1 reprints and my son really seemed to enjoy them.
  • Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman:  My girls both pegged on this one, as the cover art pulled them in.  Two stories, with one featuring interior art from Mike Maihack, of the above Cleopatra in Space.  Just a ton of fun.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4:  What can I say, Doreen reminds me of my Mattie and my wife reading the dialogue out loud to us was hilarious.

I think we’ll have to go back to the shop again sooner this time.  I was very happy to see lots of young women and girls out, and my daughters definitely liked seeing a wider selection of stuff with girls/women on the cover.  They both pointed out stuff like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel while also picking up things like Dan Slott/Humberto Ramos’s The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1.  All in all, I call that a successful day out.

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Media

Happy Birthday Townsend Coleman

Happy Birthday to Townsend Coleman, voice actor extraordinaire. People of my vintage may not know his name, but we know his work. Most famously, he was the voice of the Ninja Turtle Michaelangelo…and my favorite, The Tick. (to keep this sports related, he voiced Wayne Gretzky on ProStars) His voice acting profile is here, and he also did tons of commercials, including being the voice of ‘Must See TV’ for NBC back when they had more than one relevant show.

Here’s one of my favorite exchanges from an episode of The Tick, with the evil villain Thrakkorzog:

Ah, that still kills me. And yes, I know the actual birthday was yesterday, but my writing of this was interrupted. Time to re-watch the series, I think.

Categories
Sci/Tech

Beware The Other Head Of Science, Arthur, It Bites!

Okay, so, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore ‘National Ignition Facility’ will be attempting to create a ‘tiny man-made star’ inside their laboratory. This concerns me on multiple levels. First, that is an awesome name for a place of employment. They have that going for them, at least.

However, take a look at the first picture of the four in that article. Some friends of mine were reminded of the test chamber in Half-Life, and you know how that turns out. I don’t own a shotgun, and I am not looking forward to defending myself from headcrabs with a crowbar. The scientists are ‘impatient’, but I would like to ask them to check their numbers 2 or 3 times, just to be safe.

The result should be an explosion in the 32ft-wide reaction chamber which will produce at least 10 times the amount of energy used to create it.

Jeff Wisoff, a former astronaut who is deputy principal associate director of science at the NIF, said: “Everyone is keen to get started, but we have to get the targeting right, otherwise it won€™t work.”

This kind of quote always scares me…‘at least 10 times’…so, they could get a small flash, a blast that fills the 32 foot room, or we could end up with crater a mile wide. To reference Professor Chromedome, “Bah! Warm fuzzy nice-nice! What good is science if no one gets hurt?”.

Categories
Media Wacky

Show 'Em The Horn, Arthur

Something a little different for you, after all the Bills/Sabres suckitude.

Categories
Media

Hulk SMASH

I went to see The Incredible Hulk over the weekend (twice, in fact). I enjoyed it quite a bit, although Iron Man is still my movie of the year so far. I only read Hulk comics when I got ’em in the multipacks I bought, but I enjoyed what I read of Peter David’s run. Still, I have few preconceived notions of what the villains and support characters should be. Details (and possible spoilers) after the jump…