The Amazon Prime original series The Tick exists in a world where superheroes have been real for decades and a strange man in a blue suit with antennae, aka The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), along with his sidekick Arthur (Griffin Newman), an accountant learning to overcome his own issues, must save the world from supervillains. With The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley) doing his best to continue to terrorize and bring his plan to fruition, The Tick and Arthur can use all the help they can get – whether it’s from Arthur’s sister Dot (Valorie Curry), Overkill (Scott Speiser) or a talking dog named Midnight – to defeat evil.
At the press day for the second half of the season (which is now streaming at Amazon Prime), Collider got the opportunity to sit down with co-stars Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman, as well as show creator Ben Edlund and executive producer Barry Josephson, to talk about getting another crack at The Tick, why they wanted to try again and what made Amazon Prime the right home, releasing the first season in two halves, making the crazy moments on the show work, why being a superhero isn’t easy, the challenges and complications of doing a TV series like this, and the wide open possibilities for Season 2 (which has already been picked up).
Collider: First of all, congratulations on the Season 2 pick-up for The Tick!
ALL: Thank you!
BEN EDLUND: Setting out, achieving a second season was one of the goals ‘cause that’s not what we did, the last time. We made it!
Ben, could you ever have imagined that you’d be here again, having already done the show once before and getting a whole new crack at it?
EDLUND: It’s pretty amazing! For me now, this is the third time this has been carried away from the comic book and into television, and that’s weird. That makes me obsessive, or something. But this one was [Barry’s] fault. Barry came and was very insistent that I consider the possibility that we do it again, four years ago.
Barry, what brought that on?
BARRY JOSEPHSON: You know, to be really honest, all producers want to keep their careers going, especially when they have two young kids and a wife. I had worked on Men in Black, when I was a studio executive, and optioned the comic. I’m a comic freak and in comic book stores, all too often. I don’t want them ever to go away, and neither can newsstands. It just hit me, one day, when I was thinking about things I’d like to work on. There’s things you do that you have to do because it’s part of your work, and there’s things you really enjoy doing. I really enjoyed getting to know Ben and I really enjoyed making this show for Fox, way early in the curve. It was way before Marvel and DC really lifted off with this new wave. But now, having made some VFX projects, I realized that it would be a great time to try to do The Tick again. Plus, comedically, I thought it would be a great time to do it. So, I found Ben at his work.
EDLUND: I was gainfully employed. I had a job.
JOSEPHSON: I had just thought about doing The Tick again, as live-action, so I went to Ben and asked him to do it. He, of course, turned me down because he was busy and didn’t think it could be done. But then, he circled back and called me and said, “I’ve had a moment to think about this, and I think it could be done.” That’s where the collaboration began. One of the problems with the first time was that this show needs to be one person’s voice. Other people can write for it, but it really needs to be the creator’s voice. I thought now was a great time for Ben to step in and do it, and I couldn’t go to anybody else. I said, “Let’s try to do this. I’ll support you in every way possible.”
Ben, what was it that got you to circle back to it, after saying no?
EDLUND: The combination of realizing that we were in the middle of such a startling profusion of superhero properties that it really was a time that was asking for comment or investigation, or something to play with that, so it was a perfect time to do it. Also, visually speaking, the things we weren’t able to achieve 15 years ago, it was clear we’d be able to have a different take on that stuff. So, I came back because I started to see it. I used to argue with it. I’d be like, “You can’t do it because you’d have to do it this way. You can’t do it because it would have to cost more money than people have. You can’t do it because it would have to be serious and funny, at the same time, and there would have to be blood. There would have to be life and death. You can’t do it because The Tick can’t live in a universe with life and death.” And then, I realized that all of those things could co-exist in a very weird, interesting way. I’ve done a lot of genre work and a lot of writing, and I’m not always sure what we’re doing here, which is good. It’s an exploration into theme.
JOSEPHSON: Whether it was the comic book or the animated show or even what we did for Fox, it always made me laugh. It was comedy, and that didn’t really exist in the universe, when we got together four years ago. There was no comedy version of this. I just felt like we could be that show. The thing that we struggled with was that we’d been in a situation where Fox wasn’t ready for this show, so we had to figure out where we could go that would accept [Ben’s] vision for this show. Thankfully, there’s cable content and streaming content and places to go, and a lot of places were interested in hearing what Ben had on his mind. The support that Amazon gave him, to make this version of the show, was great.