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Discussion Starter #1
The Tick
DVD REVIEW
by Mark Santora


Several years ago the Fox Television Network started to act a little weird - it started giving greenlights to shows that under most circumstances would never be sent into production. The problem wasn't that the shows were bad, in fact they were excellent. The problem was that they were so edgy, so eclectic, that they would only appeal to a small number of viewers. The Tick was one of these shows.

Here's a quick recap of the series plot - The Tick is a giant blue superhero(with antennae!) who has no real powers except that he is really strong and exceptionally dim-witted. He always tries to see the best in everything and is helped along by his sidekick Arthur, who is an ex-accountant that runs around in a skin tight white leotard (he think's he's a moth). They are helped by Bat-Manuel and Captain Liberty. But what sets this show above other generic superhero shows was the writing. It was sharp, edgy, and very funny. Example - a quarter operated coffee machine refuses to dispense, so the Tick picks it up, shakes the **** out of it and drops it. The unit starts working. The Tick proclaims "Java Devil, you are now my *****!" But he does it in that innocent, dim-witted style that only Patrick Warburton could pull off and not make you hate the character.

The two DVD collection of The Tick contains all nine produced episodes of which only three made it to air. Created by Ben Edlund and Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, The series had a very quirky and goofy sensibility with a highly colorized and saturated look. Combined with Mr Sonnenfelld's unique directing style (see the Adams Family Movies and Men in Black), and a beautiful anamorphic transfer at 1.78 to 1, the DVD transfer perfectly represents the show's style. Also the audio of the episodes is presented in 5.1 surround and while it doesn't always push to the max, it is a very good mix and helps accent the series.

But all is not well with these discs. There are virtually no extras included here. Only the commentaries exist, and they are impossible to find. Menus do not show any special features on the episode sub menus. So finding a commentary is really a matter of luck. You start each episode and press the audio track button on your remote and hoping that you find something there. Usually there is not. It's rather annoying and something that could've easily been remedied by a button on the menu.

What is really needed is a new release on both DVD and the High Def Formats. They need to fix the running commentary issue. Not to mention the host of extras that should’ve been included in this disc - behind the scenes, the making of the show, interviews with Ben Edlund and Barry Sonnenfelld (not just commentary), and the effects crew which created the multi-million dollar costumes. Here’s hoping that the eventual re-release of this show will have better extras and take advantage of a high def format.
 

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Mark, thanks for reminding me about this series. It's been one of those "I want to get it someday" shows, and now I've officially moved it to my DVD wishlist. It's too bad about the lack of extras, but the most important thing for me is good audio and video quality, so I think I'll be happy.
 

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It's unfortunate that the discs are so lackluster in extras, and yet what you a really going to see is one of the most funny and original superhero comedies that ever made it to network television. Remember that most of this is long before Adult Swim, we're talking last Millennium! =-)

To this day, it still remains one of my favorite lost shows ever.

Now if we can get on someone's *** about Cupid (Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall, ABC 9 years ago), Thieves (Melissa George and John Stamos - yes he was good in it!, ABC 7 years ago), and Vengeance Unlimited (Michael Madsen, ABC again 9 years ago)..
 

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For a new(er) animated show that you might like, have you seen Venture Bros.? I started watching it late nights on Teletoon by accident, then I made it one of my must-see shows, and picked up both seasons on DVD when I noticed them on sale at Best Buy.

It was created by Chris McCullough, who was a writer for The Tick also, and has good support from Tick fans... here's an old link: http://www.thetick.ws/vbros.htm
 
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