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The Tick season one
voice cast: Kay Lenz, Tony Jay, Gail Matthius, Pat Musick, and Phil Proctor

directors: Henry Tucker, and Art Vitello

252 minutes (n/r) 1994
Buena Vista NTSC DVD Region 1 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Noell Wolfgram Evans
Finally released on DVD is season one of the Annie award winning, Emmy nominated 1994 animated series The Tick. For many, this is cause célèbre while others have no problem passing the box by as they walk the video aisles. That's because The Tick is a cult programme - loved by few, overlooked by many. But should it be?

If you're not familiar with The Tick, he's a superhero, but in name only. He has power (though he's not omnipotent) and with it he does good (if sometimes just by accident). He means well, he's the kind of person about whom people would say 'he has a good heart', but he would never be a returning champion on 'superhero jeopardy'. While this could be a bit of a pull on his character, it's actually part of his appeal. He doesn't come across as dim, but more like this genial, approachable guy, someone who would be just as happy bowling as fighting crime. As opposed to someone like Batman, The Tick comes across as an everyday guy - which makes the fact that he is fighting crime all the more absurd and hilarious.

The character of The Tick first appeared in a comic book, and would later appear in a live-action TV programme. Sometimes making that transition, from comic page to animated series, can hinder a character but in this case it really worked well because the creators were able to expand on what made The Tick so popular in the first place - the dialogue. Every episode features dialogue that is some type of amalgam of Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Simpsons, the humour comics of the 1970s and the ironic, Seinfeldian comedy of the early 1990s. Pop culture references, bits of absurdity and throwaway lines pepper each story but they all only help to enrich it, not derail it. The writers of the series - Ben Edlund, Henry Gilroy, Randolph Heard, Richard Liebmann-Smith, Lee Shapiro, Ralph Soll, Andy Yerkes, and Joe Bacal - deserve a special mention for keeping the show so consistent, topical and yet still timeless. Not an easy feat. It would be easy to just quote a few lines here but then you would lose the context, the humour and the enjoyment of discovering them for yourself.

While the look and style of the show is close to what was established in the comics, the animation is what you would expect from early 1990s' television - clean and workmanlike, but nothing special. It looks like so many other series from that time do.

The Tick is an original, engaging character and with this set it's fun to reconnect or experience him for the first time. Perhaps this DVD set will bring The Tick a new popularity, although I somehow feel as if The Tick's true fans wouldn't be so happy giving up their somewhat secret pleasure. Par for the course as to how The Tick has been treated over the years, this is a bare bones DVD set. There are no extras in sight.

Note: this two-disc set is actually incomplete; it is missing (for alleged legal reasons) episode number 11.

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