Picks and Pans Review: The Tick

updated 11/12/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

FOX (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Recall tall, broad-shouldered Patrick Warburton, the sly fellow who played that lug Puddy on Seinfeld. Now feast your eyes on Warburton in the photo above, looking like an absurdly overmuscled arachnid. Next imagine him with a pretend beard made of shaving cream, standing before a mirror and intoning, "I am the Man of La Mancha. My dream is impossible." Getting the giggles? The Tick is for you.

This new show has been adapted from a comic book that previously served as the basis for a Comedy Central animated series, so to call it cartoonish is less a criticism than a redundancy. In the world of The Tick, Warburton's positive-thinking, nonsense-spouting title character is part of a whole subculture of second-rate superheroes, among them the conceited Bat Manuel (Nestor Carbonell) and the curvaceous Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey). Joining this society of would-be world savers in the Nov. 8 premiere is the Tick's new junior partner Arthur (David Burke), an ex-accountant with big dreams whose ill-chosen outfit gives him the appearance of a scared rabbit.

The first two outings are uneven, but watch for a hilarious future episode in which Arthur meets a support group for disgruntled superhero sidekicks. As for the Tick himself, I agree with a military man who remarks, "I'm starting to like the cut of this man's gibberish."

Bottom Line: This Tick will get under your skin

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