Cancelled Too Soon: The Tick (2000)

By | September 30, 2016

Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.

the-tick-2001Amazon just announced that their pilot for the reboot of The Tick will be picked up to series, so it is worth taking a look back at the beloved but short-lived prior series that aired on FOX back in 2001. Based on the Ben Edlund comic book character (who had previously appeared on the small screen in an animated series in the 90’s) this superhero spoof followed the dimwitted Tick who is super strong and invulnerable and who springs into action with the battle cry “Spoon!” Also onboard in the live-action series were the Tick’s sidekick Arthur who sports a moth suit as well as Batman parody Batmanuel and the female Captain America known as Captain Liberty. If there was ever an actor destined for a part it was Patrick Warburton with his gleefully oblivious portrayal of the Tick, and his performance is one of the highlights of the show. But the other characters as well as the procession of super villains held there own next to Warburton and made this into a delightful and raucous meta-parody. Unfortunately, superheroes were not quite as big then as now and this may show have been several years ahead of its time. Hitting the air just two months after the September 11th attacks may not have helped either, as this wacky and quirky comedy probably did not fit will with the somber mood of the nation at that point. Still, the show received critical and fan acclaim upon its debut in 2001, but that was not enough to draw in viewers. The series only produced nine episodes and FOX only aired eight of those. Warburton blamed the network for the show’s failure saying that they never supported it (it was their sacrificial lamb thrown against ratings juggernaut Friends that season) and rarely promoted it because it was owned by an outside studio. There were hopes that the DVD release of the show would lead to the character jumping to the big screen (similar to what happened with Firefly) and Barry Sonnenfeld (who directed the pilot and executive produced the series) expressed interest in doing the movie. But nothing ever came from it, leaving us with only the nine episodes of this fun and witty super hero spoof. The new version has a much different tone than the 2001 series (you can see my review of the pilot at this link), possibly because Warburton was not available to reprise his role as the title character (he is onboard as executive producer, though). As mentioned above, Amazon has picked this up to series which will debut in 2017, and it has much of the same creative staff that worked on the first live-action version. But there are many of us who long for more adventures of the Tick with the cast from that prior series. Perhaps some of those could cross-over as alternate universe versions at some point in the upcoming series.

Aired: FOX, 2001, 1 Season Totaling 9 Episodes

Created By: Ben Edlund

Starring: Patrick Warburton, David Burke, Nestor Carbonell, Liz Vassey

Buy The Tick on DVD from

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