With the first half of its initial season out of the way, Amazon's The Tick is set to deliver some more thrills to its eager audience in early 2018. That's some amazing news for a show delivering the third TV iteration of an already well-worn cult superhero. Still, the big blue character endures anew, and part of its success resides in star Peter Serafinowicz absolutely killing it in the title role. And it's all thanks to his love of superhero lore of the past, particularly the late, great Adam West's portrayal of Batman.
During the press day proceedings for Amazon's The Tick, I spoke with Serafinowicz about what influenced his variant of the mentally jumbled hero, with an emphasis on just how his performance invokes the memory of West's legendary take on the Dark Knight. It certainly wasn't a coincidental resemblance, as Peter fessed up as follows:
[Adam West has] been a big influence. I'm pleased that people seem to have picked up on that a little bit. It's flattering for me to hear that my performance has some qualities of him. He's a huge influence on me. And, I think also, the show shares a lot of the tone of [Batman '66], albeit it's a modern [take.]
It's hard not to think of Adam West's Batman performances every time The Tick calls Griffin Newman's Arthur Everest his chum, and even the narration provided by the blue bug himself has a very 1966 feel to it. While speaking with both Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman, it's easy to see that both actors have a healthy appreciation of Batman's more campy history, which is something that they not only share with each other, but also with their families.
Such an impassioned fandom helps The Tick serve as an effective homage to the Batman series of old, while at the same time allowing the Amazon comedy to exercise a healthy dose of self-referential parody. While all of the gags surrounding The Tick run the gamut from post-modern deconstructions to loving tributes, the character acts as a firm anchor to the proceedings, tying the universe together as a solid whole.
But as easy as it is to mimic the classic Adam West style oeuvre, the voicework is much more than just simple mimicry. In fact, Ben Edlund, the executive producer and creator of The Tick helped Peter Serafinowicz hone his vocal stylings through another classic entertainment filter. The mixture of West's cadence and phrasing, with the following notes, ultimately provide the voice of The Tick:
The voice... Ben described it to me as kind of an American radio announcer from the 1970s. That's a voice that I've always loved doing since I was a kid watching Sesame Street.
Shows like The Tick are what the dreams of comic fans are made of, as the genre lends itself to being loved and mocked in equal measure. But to truly walk the line between the two, and still tell a successful story, is something that only the deftest of hands are able to do. As you'll see in this clip below, Peter Serafinowicz's performance wholly compliments the writing and molding that the creative team behind The Tick has put into place.
The first half of The Tick's first season is currently on Amazon Prime, with the second half being pegged for some point in early 2018. Grab your favorite spoon, give it a binge-watch, and then head to our fall TV schedule to see all the other new and returning shows hitting the small screen later this year.