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The Tick is an animated television series that aired for three seasons from 1994 to 1996. It is an adaptation of the comic book published by New Endgland Comics, created by Ben Edlund (who also produced the series).

History

While in college, Ben Edlund was writing and illustrating his Tick comic book, which had become a hit. Becuase of its success, Kiscom, a New Jersey-based liscensing and design company, approached Edlund about merchandising his characters, after the recent success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Major TV networks and studios were reluctant to take on an animated series based on the absurd character. Kiscom stayed in touch with Edlund and finally Sunbow Entertainment, the small, New York-based animation company that created The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Mask, paired him up with writer Richard Liebmann-Smith. Neither had ever worked in animation or television, but for two months they toiled on the first episode of The Tick. Neither of them had much hope in their final script, and their feelings of dread were substantiated when FOX turned down their first pitch. They were, however, provided with a second opportunity to refine it in, at most, five days. In one weekend, they managed to create a script that interested FOX enough to make them agree to produce 13 episodes. Said Edlund on the initial plan for the series, "we kind of defined in one weekend exactly where the show went for that first season, which was cool."

The series, despite not having the liberties that the comic had to do things not acceptable on a children's program, still mostly remained true to the comic, and its satirical style. Another writer on the series was Christopher McCulloch who had met Edlund prior to their television work and wrote several issues of the Tick comic book series. Years later, they would later work together on McCulloch's animated series, produced for Adult Swim, The Venture Bros.. Edlund, a co-producer of The Tick, was consistently hands-on during production, causing major delays in production.

The Tick finally premiered on September 10, 1994, and was a success. Edlund later expressed his view that, because the series did not reach the commercial heights of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its merchandising success deteriorated by the end of its first season. However, he admitted "That's essentially good as far as I'm concerned; although, I would be much more wealthy at this point. That failure, to me, makes The Tick a much more sincere proposal."

As opposed to escaping an asylum, the Tick tries out at the National Super Institute, where an annual contest is held to determine what city each superhero will protect, and he receives the cesspool that is The City. The Tick, along with Arthur, the reluctant, realistic former accountant, were voiced by Townsend Coleman and Micky Dolenz, respectively, in the first season. Although in seasons 2 and 3 Arthur was portrayed by Rob Paulsen, an existing regular on the series, for unconfirmed reasons (though a tour that Dolenz went on is the most likely answer). Other recurring characters include Die Fledermaus, a shallow Batman parody and unsuccessful philanderer; Sewer Urchin, an Aquaman parody with the voice of Raymond Babbitt, Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man (not voiced by Hoffman, though. Rather, by Jess Harnell); and American Maid, one of the few superheroes in the series that has even some level of legitimacy, seemingly based on both Wonder Woman and Captain America. The Tick soon became a Saturday morning staple on the "Fox Kids" block.

Doug Katsaros, wrote the opening theme, and composed the scores for every episode, mostly consisting of scat singing and 1950s-style jazz. A typical episode plot would have Tick battling a villain until Arthur devises a solution that saves the day, though there were many episodes that deviated from this formula. The Tick then declares an absurd moral vaguely regarding the previous conflict before the story comes to a close. Although the series was originally aimed predominantly at young viewers, its dry, absurd style and niche parody drew in an adult audience.

After three seasons, the final episode aired on November 24th, 1996. The following year, FOX began talks with Sunbow Entertainment about producing a prime time Tick special, but this never came to fruition. Comedy Central syndicated The Tick during this time, cementing its cult status with many viewers.

Episode List

The series ran from September 10, 1994, to November 24, 1996, with 36 episodes total.

No. Name Airdate Villain(s)
01 The Tick vs. The Idea Men September 10, 1994 The Idea Men
02 The Tick vs. Chairface Chippendale September 17, 1994 Chairface Chippendale
03 The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil September 24, 1994 Neil
04 The Tick vs. Mr. Mental October 1, 1994 Mr. Mental
05 The Tick vs. The Breadmaster October 8, 1994 The Breadmaster
06 The Tick vs. El Seed October 15, 1994 El Seed
07 The Tick vs. The Tick October 22, 1994 Barry, Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight
08 The Tick vs. The Uncommon Cold October 29, 1994 Thrakkorzog
09 The Tick vs. Brainchild November 5, 1994 Charles
10 The Tick vs. Pineapple Pokopo November 12, 1994 Pineapple Pokopo
11 The Tick vs. The Mole Men November 19, 1994 Lava Man, Paul
12 The Tick vs. The Proto-Clown February 4, 1994 Proto-Clown
13 The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account February 11, 1994 The Terror, Handy
14 The Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love September 9, 1995 Swiss Industrial Spies
15 Alone Together September 16, 1995 Omnipotus
16 Armless but Not Harmless September 23, 1995 Venus
17 Coach Fussell's Lament September 30, 1995 Charles
18 Leonardo da Vinci and His Fightin' Genius Time Commandos! October 7, 1995 Mother of Invention
19 Bloomsday October 21, 1995 El Seed
20 Evil Sits Down for a While October 4, 1995 The Ottoman
21 Heroes October 11, 1995 The Deadly Bulb
22 Ants in Pants! November 18, 1995 Betty
23 The Tick Loves Santa! November 25, 1995 Multiple Santa
24 Tick vs. The Big Nothing February 3, 1994 The Heys
25 Tick vs. Reno, Nevada February 10, 1994 The Fin
26 Grandpa Wore Tights February 17, 1994 The Terror
27 That Mustache Feeling September 14, 1996 Jim Rage
28 Tick vs. Dot & Neil's Wedding September 21, 1996 Cahirface Chippendale, El Seed, Breadmaster
29 Sidekicks Don't Kiss September 28, 1996 Wally Head
30 Tick vs. Arthur October 5, 1996 Baron Violent, Arthur
31 Devil in Diapers October 6, 1996 Mr. Mental
32 Tick vs. Filth October 26, 1996 Sewer Czar
33 Tick vs. Europe November 2, 1996 Octo Paganini, Eastern Bloc Robot Cowboy, Breadmaster
34 Tick vs. Science November 9, 1996 Chairface Chippendale, Professor Chromedome
35 Tick vs. Prehistory November 16, 1996 Hotel manager
36 Tick vs. Education November 24, 1996 Mr. Fleener

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