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Buena Vista Home Video presents
The Tick vs. Season Two (1995-1996)

Don't ever try to swim against the mighty tide of justice!"
- The Tick (Townsend Coleman)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 06, 2007

Stars: Townsend Coleman
Other Stars: Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Kevin Schon, Steve Susskind, Jennifer Hale, Linda Gary, Gerrit Graham, Ed Gilbert, Lynn Marie Stewart, Jim Cummings, Mike Judge, Paul Williams, Tony Jay, Dorian Harewood, Stuart Stone, Pat Musick, Mary Kay Bergman, Roger Rose, Susan Silo, Maurice LaMarche, Paul Eiding, Pat Fraley, Cathy Moriarty, Rob Feinberg, Brad Garrett, Terence Mann, Hank Saroyan, Peter Bergman, Cam Clarke, Kay Lenz, Phil Proctor
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 04h:15m:00s
Release Date: August 07, 2007
UPC: 786936722116
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+B- D+

DVD Review

It only ran three seasons, but the animated series The Tick managed to avoid the usual creative jinx from page to screen, no doubt in part to the involvement of creator Ben Edlund, who was on board as writer/producer. As a hip comic that poked sharply at the whole superhero mythos, Edlund's dense-but-ripped Tick (voiced here by Townsend Coleman) routinely battled bizarre villains and uttered curiously daft sayings, and when the show debuted on Fox in 1994 there was thankfully much of the same general sense of groovy superhero coolness on hand.

In this two-disc collection of the Season Two run (1995-1996) we're given more of the same, with one of the biggest creative changes being that Tick's faithful partner Arthur is now voiced by Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain), replacing former Monkee Mickey Dolenz. And as with the Season One set, Buena Vista has omitted an episode, in this case what would have been the second ep (Alone Together). There are no reasons given why it's not here, and the fact that this is regarded by fans as one of the stronger of the show's run makes the omission even more of an irritant. Speculation will get you nowhere, but Alone Together does feature a veiled Fantastic Four universe reference or two, with a Galactus-like eater of worlds known as Omnipotus wreaking havoc, along with the dreaded Whirling Scottish Devil. Regardless, it's not here, and that's just unfortunate on a number of levels.

Purists will have to lick their wounds as yet another season set is incomplete, but there's some Tick-worthy humor spread across the remaining 12 episodes. And the first installment (The Little Wooden Boy and The Belly Of Love) tries to upset the applecart right off by introducing a love interest for Arthur in the form of Carmalita (she wears a matching moth costume!), which forces our bulked-up blue hero to carve out a new pal, who isn't much more than a block of wood with a face drawn on. Add in a lumbering, destructive land-walking whale named Blowhole and Edlund builds a twisted variation on Pinocchio, and it features one of my favorite lines of dialogue: "Look Out! Runaway Whale!"

As with most superhero-centric worlds, the most fascinating and entertaining moments usually come from the villains. Sure, Tick has a number of heroic pals (cowardly Batman-esque Der Fledermaus, nerdy savant Sewer Urchin, shoe-flinging American Maid or the polite Decency Squad), but it's the baddies that give Edlund an opportunity to ladle on the comically bizarre in big globs. Familiar faces like El Seed (a flower dressed like a matador) and Chairface Chippendale (chair for a head) make appearances, but this season brings newcomers like Betty, Queen Of The Ants (a vengeful magnifying-glass building insect voiced by Cathy Moriarty), The Fin (evil dolphin with a hankering for world domination, voiced by Maurice LaMarche), or The Ottoman Empress (she uses her unstoppable power of furniture control); even Santa Claus goes rogue during The Tick Love Santa!

There's obviously much more flexibility with animation than with live action, and though the Patrick Warburton series made its own unique mark, Edlund's material works particularly well in this format. An ep like Armless But Not Harmless, in which Tick and Arthur lose their limbs to the dreaded Venus and Milo, can really only be done properly in animation, especially on what was clearly a modest budget. And then there's that walking whale. The equally strange physical features of the assorted heroes and villains that populate this series reiterate this point, over and over. Each episode runs just over 20 minutes.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: As with the Season One set, the fullframe transfers of the 12 eps gathered here still sport the same assortment of soft edges, smearing, ghosting, color flicker, and moderate debris. There's a rather wide variance across episodes, with some looking worse for wear than others, and even at its best, the quality is just fair. No apparent restoration was done here, and it shows.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 surround track isn't terribly flashy, but it is serviceable, with very little to make it noteworthy or exciting. Voice quality is clear but a bit flat, though the occasional music cue (especially the credit sequence) reveals a little kick. No major hiss issues, just a fairly lifeless presentation.

A French dub is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 60 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Underdog: The Movie, The Invisible, The Muppet Show 2
Packaging: Amaray with slipcase
Picture Disc
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Lithograph postcard
Extras Review: The back cover does make mention of episode 15 not being included, though no reason is given.

Content-wise this one's bare, aside from a few trailers. Continuing the trend from Season One, there's a collectible lithograph inside, and this time it's on glossier stock. Not sure if all the prints are identical, but mine had The Tick scaling a building—spouting a silly quote—with character trivia on the backside.

An improvement over the last set has each ep cut into five chapters, and subtitles are available in English or French.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Buena Vista has once again issued a Tick season set minus an episode, so as before, this one is not quite complete. The presentation is a little sketchy, too, but damn if the show still doesn't tap into that comic book nerd in me.

Quality and incompleteness issues aside, it's funny stuff, and an easy recommendation for Tick fans.


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