Picture this: you've been waiting for months to see if The Tick was well worth the Amazon Prime subscription required to watch it. After all of the free two day shipping you've engaged in, those months finally gave way to today's premiere, and after reading about a 12 episode season, you're wondering why there's only six episodes uploaded to Amazon. Don't be alarmed, it's all part of the plan, as The Tick was deliberately broken into two halves. The reason for such a decision being that the executive producers all agreed on one thing: to bring back episodic anticipation.
This is a first for Amazon, as The Tick is the first series of theirs' to launch with a split season, and series creator Ben Edlund couldn't be happier to have suggested it along with his team of executive producers, David Fury and Barry Josephson. Edlund explained why this approach was ultimately what won out, as follows:
The Binge Watching issue is... I see it as it's a perfect dive from a high board, and there's no splash. It just goes in and goes out when you experience it as a culture, it comes and goes. [Ben, David, and Barry] We're all sort of veterans of the opposite of that. Fan energy wants to have a culture to express itself in. So if you split a season, and give a gap in-between, you get anticipation, you get people are able [to] talk about what happened, are able to kind of set their watches for what happens next. It helps us win back some of what is lost when we lose, inevitably, the week to week sort of broadcast basis of storytelling.
If it makes you feel any better, I was in a similar situation myself, as when I was preparing to speak with the executive producers behind The Tick, during their recent press day, they'd only given the press access to the first four episodes. So even going into the room to discuss this new iteration of Ben Edlund's cult classic comedy, I didn't know the full story of those first six episodes. And to be completely honest, with the way that Edlund explained the reasoning behind his push for a split season, I can see why.
Of course, on top of the full season arc that we'll experience by time the second half lands, presumably in the earlier section of 2018, the series fits into two different mini-arcs that encompass the two halves. At about that point in the conversation, Barry Josephson stepped in to contribute his insight into the allure of such a story structure:
I think when Ben and David pitched Amazon the season, I think they saw clearly there's sort of like two movies here. At least. So I think there was a decision made to air them 'six and six.' We didn't know when the second half was, we still don't know exactly when the second half will be. But, I think that's what's really cool is that it feels like there's a natural break point. It should be satisfying.
So, while we're left hanging with six episodes, as any good show will want you to feel, it's not out of spite. Rather, the executive producers behind The Tick want the fandom to engage the series with discussion and dissection, much like a popular show that is currently airing on HBO. You can thank fellow executive producer David Fury, as he tied the reasons behind two separate arcs in a binge-watching world to Game of Thrones, a show that everyone tunes in for on a weekly basis, and cannot stop talking about. To want to replicate that effect, especially with a show like The Tick, is not only understandable, it's downright nostalgic.
It's something that Fury calls "the sweet anticipation," and it's an experience that all four of us in the room spoke to enjoying, despite the world providing us the instant gratification we dreamed of during the cliffhangers of the past. Yes, binge watching is the future, and it's still a pretty fun experience. But, at the same time, staggering that experience keeps the magic around a little longer. While we won't exactly be getting the weekly experience with The Tick, we'll get the next best thing as it enjoys its hybrid status; and I for one can't wait to see what the second arc brings to the table.
If you haven't already enjoyed The Tick's first six episodes, they are currently available for your streaming pleasure on Amazon Prime. But don't feel like you have to rush to finish them, as the other six episodes will be released at a date to be determined in 2018.