The Tick panel was standing room only, lively, loud, with many shouts of “SPOOOON!” ricocheting around the room. The cast all clearly love working together, and the discussion was punctuated with banter and riffing between the entire cast.
I’ve rounded up a few highlights below, plus some news and a sneak preview of the second half of the season!
OK, first of all, the news is fantastic: The Tick will return on February 23, 2018! Given that the first half ended on a nightmarish cliffhanger, the sooner we can dive back into the show the better. The panel also premiered a trailer for the second half of Season One:
Asked abut how the show walked the line between balancing meta humor with authentic emotion, showrunner and Tick creator Ben Edlund said, “It’s a really wavy line. How much can we take the characters seriously and care about them? We decided it was no different for us than working on an hour-long drama. That’s how we approached breaking the arcs and writing the characters.
Barry Josephson added, “We do try to skew it a bit, but we’re all experienced with hour-long shows, so we try to ground it, and keep the characters three-dimensional.” Peter Serafinowicz talked about finding the character, and loving Ben Edlund’s writing, which is “so amazing beautiful and weird, and full of love, but so strange…” and then read lines with Edlund and Josephson over Skype to develop the character.
He embodies this psyche of the classic American superhero, with a dash of cheesy American radio announcer, circa late ’60s, 70s, which, growing up in Liverpool, it was like—” here he switches into his booming TICK VOICE— “Boy do you ever need to come to America! Boy does your country ever suck in comparison!” (And then he gives us all an ATTENTION CITIZENS! to a crowd going wild.)
Asked about what’s in store for the second half of Season One, Edlund said that “All the relationships we set up—there are a lot of things laced into first half and a lot of structure, to give you ‘payoff bombs’ exploding in your face, filled with satisfaction!” and Josephson promised “more Superian, more Dangerboat, and more Midnight!”
Griffin Newman, as the ball of walking neuroses that is Arthur, had a different promise: “I can promise there are two more hugs. We just started hugging at end of every scene, and saying ‘You can use it if you want!’” Slightly more seriously, he told us that in his character’s arc, “Arthur has stopped refusing the call. It’s like any marriage, where it takes work – this crimefighting marriage we have together.”
Peter Serafinowicz shared his favorite scene in the season: a moment when The Tick and Arthur share a laugh.
I have children, and anyone with kids knows that there’s this magical moment in your child’s development when you and your kid laugh at the same thing in the same moment. So when Arthur and Tick share a laugh, it’s a beautiful moment.
Griffin Newman leaned in, “Obviously Arthur is the parent and Tick is the child in this scenario.”
Yara Martinez talked about Miss Lint’s seething rage, saying that she tapped into the moment when as an adult, “you thought your life was going to go one way, and then you wake up and realize it’s not what you expected.”
Griffin Newman affirmed that he and the rest of the cast all agreed that Miss Lint is the best character, but asked about Arthur, he said, “I was a big fan of The Tick, and I was thrilled. I was immediately astonished by how different this take was, and Arthur’s whole psychological map was right there, and so elegantly done. Ben uses term, “doing the math” looking at the character you’ve created, and working out how he got to this position that you have him in. Arthur is a neurotic, but there’s something driving him, something that keeps him going…as opposed to me, who’s just a worrywart for no reason.”
And Edlund addressed the darker tone of the show by musing on how he could reflect our current superhero-saturated era:
I wanted this resonate. there’s a lot of work that goes in, and for it to just be light, tinsel laid over the superhero phenomenon that’s happening didn’t seem right. I wanted something darker, deeper, to be able to explore identity, and the grasp of reality we have, so it would be more interesting.
And speaking of darkness..
Ben Edlund talked about the uptick in violence in this iteration of the show, and, surprise, he’s given it a lot of thought. “The violence, to me, the way it’s expressed feels properly heightened. It abuses the idea of violence the way other superhero shows do. We’re in the first season of what I believe will be an examination of the superhero phenomenon, and our own world in the show. The Tick’s morality is soft serve morality. He accepts Overkill, and blood… all of us have callouses over out empathy. I wanted to play with that depth.”
Serafinowicz added, “It’s all very real. It’s shocking—I think 16 people died during filming.”
Edlund replied, “We filmed n the steppes of China, way out in the desert…it was the only place where we could do anything we wanted…”
Newman sighed. “We…abused some maritime laws.”
Jackie Earle Haley was asked what might be the most important question: Freddy, The Terror, and Rorschach all walk into a room. Who walks out? And Haley, with no hesitation, replied, “All three. They’re all the same guy.”
The creators also talked about the changes to the suit, praising the way Amazon let them adapt the suit as they developed the show. The cast also praised Edlund’s handling of the suit change, by simply having Arthur comment on the new suit before moving along to the next plot point. Edlund also promised that the suit will change again…so we’ll see what the entails! And we might be seeing more of the classic characters (provided the show gets more seasons) like Man-Eating Cow and American Maid, but Edlund cautioned that people are still in the lab trying to figure out how to do Chairface Chippendale as a live-action character.
The panel was as much fun as the show (which is a wonderful thing to be able to say) and as the questions wrapped up, the crowd wrapped the cast and writers in the cheering-and-applause equivalent of a hug.