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The Watchman: Time Ticks by for Amazon Superhero, and Houston, We Have a Problem, Says Showtime


Sixteen years after the show debuted on Fox, the series returns Aug. 25 on Amazon Prime Video. The executive producers say Amazon gets the offbeat comedy better than Fox might have back then.

“Joe Lewis [Amazon Studios head of comedy, drama and VR] loved the idea and really got it,” executive producer Barry Josephson said. “It seems like a really good home for us.”

Ben Edlund created the character in the carefree days before we knew about Lyme disease. He says The Tick is a unique entry into the superhero world. “We represent a really good way for Amazon to do it, and wink at the same time, and not be as earnestly invested as a competitor of theirs.”

Amazon is on board for 12 episodes. Executive producer David Fury met Edlund when Edlund worked on early-aughts drama Firefly and on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Joss Whedon shows shared office space. “We became fans of each other,” said Fury. “We always wanted to work together.”

Through Buffy, Fury knows the feeling of hearing from fervent fans of a series decades after it wrapped. He hopes to experience a similar thing from Tick fans years down the road.

Sounds good to Edlund. “There’s an audience out there for sure,” he said. “We don’t know the size of it, but it’s sizable enough to probably keep it going for a while. We don’t want to fail that audience. Anything beyond that is gravy.”

And decades after she broke through, the late Whitney Houston still has her share of fervent fans. They’ll catch a candid glimpse of the star when Showtime’s Whitney: Can I Be Me comes out Aug. 25. The documentary depicts a pained artist — a gospel singer marketed to a mostly white audience and, the film suggests, perhaps a bisexual woman whose true self was hidden from her fans.

Whitney details Houston’s relationship with childhood friend Robyn Crawford, which may have been more than a friendship.

“There were so many periods of her life where she was asked not to be who she was,” said Whitney executive producer Vinnie Malhotra, the senior VP of documentary films at Showtime.

The film speaks with several members of Houston’s inner circle, Malhotra said, including her hair stylist and bodyguard. “What we see is a different portrait of Whitney than you’d see from the top down,” he said.

Showtime initially had Aug. 26 for its Whitney premiere. Then it landed a certain boxing match, and the debut was moved up a day. “It’s hard to go up against Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather,” Malhotra conceded. “We’re OK with being bumped.”

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.