All B5 and no play makes Kevin a dull bot. Seriously: it’s been like six months since I’ve done a “Retrospeculative TV” review that *wasn’t* about B5, and as much as I love the show, my obsession is even beginning to wear thin on me. Added to which, this feature was intended to showcase smaller, overlooked, obscure series, and not stuff people done to death online. B5 definitely isn’t that. In fact, we decided to do it because we were rotating through a lot of short-run series (Man From Atlantis, Quark, Max Headroom) and it seemed like a good idea to have a longer series in the rotation, just to provide contrast and meter. A rhythm track if you will.
Alas, we kinda’ ran out of short run series, and B5 went from being a once-in-three-weeks treat to being an endless chore. Even when it’s good - and the last batch have been really good - I just need some relief. I mean, you start out eating Oreos, and you think “Wow, the sweetened lard is the best part!” and then you buy doublestuffs. And then you experiment with home-made quadruplestuffs, and then you bring in the putty tools and get up to octuplestuffs, and then you just dispense with the cookie pretense entirely, and you’re just shoveling the stuff down with a spoon. And then you realize, “Hey, I’m just eating lard! Which is still pretty good and all, but, dude!”
I call this the “Lard Awareness Horizon.” For me, personally, it happened during the Talia Trilogy of Tedium a few weeks back, and I really haven’t recovered yet. So, in a desperate bid to insert a cookie back into the hyper-arterioscleroticized…uhm…brain? Heart? Whatever. See? See what I mean? I can’t even come up with a good, ridiculously tendentious metaphor. That sucks! I need a cookie!
Anyway, so I decided to start reviewing the short-lived live-action “The Tick” series from 2001. B5 will be back next week, then The Tick, then B5, until we’re through The Mighty Blue Arachnid of Justice, then it’s just B5, until I get bored or whatever.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Tick is hanging out in a bus station in the middle of nowhere, driving everyone crazy. He’s beating up ‘evil’ coffee machines (“Empty your bladder of that bitter black liquid men call coffee!”), narrating his life (“He stands silently, like a god”) and just basically freaking everyone out. Eventually the station manager convinces The Tick that he was just on his way to The City. Given that The Tick is about as sharp as a bag full of wet hair, he falls for it.
MEANWHILE, actually *in* The City (That’s it’s name, by the way, “The City.”) an accountant named Arthur has worn his superhero costume (White body suit, antennae, backpack, goggles, retractable wings) to work, and is freaking everyone out. His boss, mister Fishladder (Which is so great a name that I ripped it off for a character in one of my own stories which you can read here http://www.amazon.com/The-Undead-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B0073AG9Q4/ref=s... ) fires him. Drowning his troubles in a local Superhero Bar, “The Happy Panda,” Arthur decides to head home and begin a new life as a hero, y’know, tomorrow. He’s had a lot to drink, though, and en rout he accidentally pukes on a bunch of Soviet Terrorists who are inexplicably preparing to “Continue their war against the United States Postal System.” This goes about as well as you’d expect it to: they grab Arthur, and are threatening to beat him up so badly that he’ll need a machine to poop (A running gag in this episode is that that’s what happened to the last guy from Arthur’s accounting firm who came out of the Superhero Closet). Arthur shrieks.
The Tick has managed to make it to The City by this point, and is bounding around from rooftop to rooftop when he hears Arthur’s scream. “My first damsel in distress call!” He rushes to help, is disappointed to find that Arthur’s a dude, but helps out anyway. In the process, however, he inadvertently activates and releases “The Red Scare,” the most amazing soviet super weapon 1979 had to offer.
Arthur sees the robot go slouching off, and attempts to do something about it, but then Bat Manuel - The City’s low-rent Hispanic nightclubbing knockoff of Batman - and Captain Liberty - a VASTLY hotter version of Wonder Woman - show up, and get to bickering with each other, then making out, and The Tick steps in gum, which