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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Tick is a comic series about a superhero and his nerdy sidekick. Violence isn't as intense as in many superhero movies or shows, because the overall tone is light. Still, characters are killed on-screen, sometimes suddenly, like when a boy's father is crushed by a falling spaceship, or a superhero is shot point-blank by a villain. There are also many battles with guns, fists, and explosives. Both villains and heroes alike use force to subdue opposition -- parents may wish to point that out to younger viewers who may find the difference between "good" and "bad" guys confusing. Females are dressed in more revealing costumes than male characters; expect love interests and dating. Strong language includes "s--t," "goddamn," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and "screwed."
What's the story?
In a town where superheroes were defeated long ago, Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) fears that the supervillains they once vanquished are making a return. Most people think Arthur, who has a history of getting caught up in super conflicts, is mentally ill -- even his otherwise supportive sister, Dot (Valorie Curry). But when Arthur encounters the strange new superhero THE TICK (Peter Serafinowicz) on a city rooftop, suddenly he's caught up in the conflict. The supervillains, it seems, are making a comeback. But with Arthur and The Tick on their trail, The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), Ms. Lint (Yara Martinez), and all their henchmen may not have such an easy time laying waste to The City.
Is it any good?
Part campy, part dramatic, this reboot of the comic book superhero story is a bit more serious than the 1994 animated take or the 2001 live-action series. While earlier adaptations generally substituted constant gags for meaty storytelling, this Tick has a different rhythm. Whenever the Tick is on-screen, expect his trademark tortured-syntax gags -- as he explains to Arthur, answering destiny's call can be appealing: "It's good. It's warm. It's like the inside of bread." But when the Tick is away, creeping over rooftops and using his powers to stop bad guys and protect the innocent (or, as sometimes happens, vice versa), Arthur's story takes a turn toward more serious matters.
After all, Arthur has a complicated history with the evil Pyramid Gang and head supervillain The Terror. It was at The Terror's command that a spaceship plummeted to the streets of The City, crushing Arthur's father. And though everyone in The City thinks that The Terror was defeated by square-jawed hero Superian (Brendan Hines), Arthur knows better. He sees the signs of evildoing; he's not crazy like people say. Soon the Tick comes calling, with a sidekick costume in Arthur's size. In a world where superheroes are larger than life, and villains have plans to bring about the destruction of millions, Arthur is just an average guy who's trying hard. And in this reboot, despite Arthur's thick glasses and mild manner, the hero's arc is his, while the Tick is mostly comic relief. That, plus this series' lighthearted tone, makes this show more suitable for whole-family watching than most modern, dark superhero takes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why superhero stories like The Tick are so popular on TV and at the movies. What types of audiences do they attract? What dramatic or comedic possibilities do they hold? Why do viewers like watching characters who are more-than-human battling otherworldly threats or villains?
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