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The Tick: Episodes One and Two Review

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Is there room for another superhero show in the heaving roster so heavily populated by Marvel and DC titles? Amazon Studios certainly hope so. This August sees the release of The Tick – a reboot of the 2001 television series, which itself was adapted from Ben Edlund’s 1986 comic book of the same name (there was also a cartoon series in the 1990s, FYI). It might be a bit of a risk for Amazon to try and break ground in a marketplace that’s already bursting at the seams, but they’ve been playing hardball with their marketing campaign for The Tick, bombarding Amazon Video users with advertisements and fielding a heavy presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

Peter Serafincowicz has taken over the titular role from Patrick Warburton, who played The Tick in its original TV outing. The pair have imposing stature and booming, unmistakable voices in common, but Serafinowicz is determined to reinvent the character rather than get lost in Warburton’s shadow. Given that the show is divided into half-hour episodes, it’s hard to glean much of his character’s backstory from the first two episodes, but Serafinowicz definitely sets up The Tick as an endearing chap. He’s refreshingly earnest for a superhero, bumbling and naïve with seemingly no concept of his own weirdness. It’s difficult to compare him to any of the other heroes currently on our screens – instead he’s something of a giant blue law unto himself.

But what’s a hero without a good sidekick? At the centre of the story is Arthur ‘Artie’ Everest, a luckless accountant who’s been tracking supervillain activity in his city following a traumatic event in his childhood, and soon finds himself recruited (albeit unwillingly) to The Tick’s crusade against wrongdoers. He’s played wonderfully by relative newcomer Griffin Newman – a self-confessed obsessed fan of the original comic and television series – who manages to portray a tangible vulnerability to his character without becoming completely helpless. Artie’s an underdog that audiences can root for, and the first two episodes also deal neatly with underlying themes of PTSD and psychosis – hopefully something the show will continue to handle in future episodes. He’s joined by Valerie Curry as his elder sister Dot Everest, who’s keeping a close eye on him following a troubled past. The show works hard to establish Dot as a presence in her own right, rather than a footnote.

Villains come in the form of Jackie Earl Haley and Yara Martinez. Martinez cuts a menacing figure as Ms. Lint, whilst horror veteran (and one-time vigilante hero in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen) Haley dons an impressive costume to play ultimate evil, The Terror. He is, as always, brilliant, at once terrifying and yet hilarious to watch – though there’s not an awful lot of him in the first two episodes. There is, however, a scene involving weaponised Syphilis that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forget.

It’s easy to understand why Amazon ordered a full series run of The Tick based on its pilot episode – there’s nothing else like it currently in their original programming line-up, and in fact, whilst Netflix’s fleet of superhero shows tend to take themselves quite seriously, The Tick laughs in the face of seriousness, and still manages to deal with some fairly heavy issues. There are shades of the criminally underrated BBC America/Netflix version of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency about it – it’s crazy, confusing, and yet, oddly heartfelt too. It’s difficult to say how the rest of the series will pan out, but the first two episodes were a riotous treat, and delivered in short-attention-span-friendly half-hour installments, there’s no excuse not to binge-watch.

Journalist who spends most of her time professing her love for Oscar Isaac and Jeff Goldblum. The female version of Jay Sherman.

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Warner Bros. Developing A TV Series For Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman

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With rumours filtering through the grapevine that Henry Cavill’s time as the last son of Krypton is over, the question as to what Warner Bros. was set to do with the man of steel next was a pertinent one. Well, now it appears that the studio are set to further develop Teen Wolf actor Tyler Hoechlin’s version of the character, with a brand-new Superman television show.

Hoechlin’s Superman, who made his first appearance on season two of the CW’s Melissa Benoist-fronted Supergirl series, has been ubiquitously praised since his debut; many critics citing the actor’s portrayal of the man of tomorrow as being the truest incarnation since the late, great Christopher Reeve. He’s since made four appearances in Supergirl, and is set to make an appearance in the forthcoming Elseworlds crossover between three of the CW’s four current DC shows; Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.

Elseworlds, taking its name from the classic alternate-universe format popularised in print by DC Comics, will act as a backdoor pilot for Ruby Rose’s Batwoman show (which is set to join the continuity next year) and we’re now hearing that it will also double as a springboard for Superman. We’d already had confirmation that Grimm’s Elizabeth Tulloch (inset) was set to appear as Lois Lane, and that the show was to introduce a black-suited version of Hoechlin’s Superman, with those confirmations further adding fuel to the fire that the CW has more planned for the man of steel.

Furthermore, with fan-favourite actors Manu Bennett (Slade Wilson / Deathstroke), and Michael Rowe (Floyd Lawton / Deadshot) seeing their TV characters diminished or killed following the big-screen debuts of the same villains, it’s clear Warner Bros. wish to only have one version of a comic book character at any given time – considering that Cavill seems to be moving on to The Witcher over on Netflix, the evidence seems fairly compelling then that we’re due to believe a man can fly on the small screen once more.

Tyler Hoechlin can next be seen as Clark Kent in episode nine of The Flash’s fifth season, due to air on the 9th of December.

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Len Wiseman To Launch Swamp Thing TV Show For DC

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Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, The Gifted) has signed on to help shepherd in the forthcoming Swamp Thing television series, based on the classic Vertigo/DC comics character of the same name.

Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, and subsequently defined by legendary creators such as Alan Moore and Scott Snyder, Swamp Thing is a tragic, hulking, sentient mound of moss and vegetable matter who fights to protect the world from supernatural threats as the cursed defender of ‘the green’ – the metaphysical manifestation of the Earth’s soul.

The show will follow as CDC researcher Abby Arcane ventures back to her childhood home town of Hourne, Louisiana in an attempt to combat a deadly swamp-borne virus. Whilst there, she falls in love with scientist Alec Holland, only to see him killed in front of her. But as evil forces begin to tug at the fringes of Hourne’s small community, Abby will discover that the swamp holds occult, magical secrets… and Alec may not be as dead as he seemed.

James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman) is executive-producing the project. Wisemen helped launch similar shows such as Sleepy Hollow and fellow Vertigo-adaptation Lucifer,  and Swamp Thing is expected to premiere on the DC Universe streaming service next year.

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Arrowverse Crossover To See The Return of Superman, Introduction of Lois Lane

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This year’s annual Arrowverse crossover has announced two super additions; the return of Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, and the introduction of reporter extraordinaire Lois Lane.

Hoechlin memorably portrayed the man of steel in four episodes of Supergirl’s second season, but despite appearances by Lois’ sister Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan) and friend Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), the Daily Planet’s Pulitzer prize-winner has never appeared herself – until now.

Lois Lane has been portrayed many times onscreen, most notably by Teri Hatcher in the 90’s, Erica Durance in the 2000’s, and of course the late Margot Kidder in the Christopher Reeve films of the 70’s and 80’s. Casting is reportedly underway at the moment, with an announcement expected shortly.

The Arrowverse crossover will also see the introduction of Ruby Rose as the masked vigilante Batwoman, bringing the city of Gotham to the CW’s DC television shows, and acting as a backdoor pilot for a Batwoman series.

The currently-unnamed crossover will take place across three nights, starting with The Flash on Sunday the 9th of December, followed by Arrow on the 10th of December, and concluding on Tuesday the 11th of December with Supergirl. The three titular heroes are played by Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, and Melissa Benoist respectively.

The so-called Arrowverse (which encapsulates the three aforementioned shows, along with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the cancelled Constantine series) remains separate from Warner Bros.’ big-budget DC Extended Universe, which instead includes the feature films Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and the forthcoming Aquaman which is also releasing this December. No prizes for guessing which will be better.

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