Swamp Thing – 2019 - Episode #1. Was it Unfairly Cancelled or Did it Deserve to Sink into the Swamp?
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
So, there I was sitting at my laptop, going through my next review and working on my opening text when that little notification window popped up to remind me that the Swamp Thing series is now available on amazon prime. Having forgotten all about the show, I thought that I may as well take a look at the first episode and see what it’s like.
Turns out, things start off on a very good horror-filled vibe that is just perfect for me to write about on the site.
The series opens with 3 guys driving their boat through the swamp in the middle of the night, dropping packages of unknown purpose into the water at pre-determined locations. Clearly, some pretty shady shit is going down here. Although, even if these chaps are involved in something that isn’t exactly legal, they probably didn’t deserve to have the swamp foliage come alive and rip them apart. They probably didn’t deserve it, but it happened anyway.
It was a great opening to what seems to so far be a good series with its roots (if you’ll pardon the pun) sunk deeply into horror.
Before this new series, Swamp Thing started out on the pages of DC Comics and was created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson and he first appeared in a standalone horror story in issue #92 of House of Secrets in 1971. Not long after that, Swamp Thing appeared in his own solo title.
The character has been through various incarnations, but originally, he was a plant/human hybrid. A kind of elemental homunculi that not only sought to protect the swamp that he called home, but to protect the environment in general.
In 1982 the first Swamp Thing movie was released. Directed by none other than Wes Craven, the movie starred genre favourites, Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), Ray Wise (Robocop) and David Hess (Last House on the Left). Swamp Thing himself (itself?), was played by actor and stuntman, Dick Durock, who had also played the role of a hulk-like creature a year earlier in 2 episodes of The Incredible Hulk TV show.
In 1989, the sequel, Return of Swamp Thing was released, this time directed by Jim Wynorski, who had also directed Chopping Mall. Dick Durock reprised his role as Swamp Thing this time being joined by Heather Locklear.
This was followed by a TV series that ran from 1990 – 1993. The show was due to run for 100 episodes but was cancelled after 72. Dick Durock continued his role as Swamp Thing throughout the series.
Since then, things have been pretty quiet on the screen as far as Swamp Thing is concerned. Until recently of course…
Crystal Reed (Gotham) plays the role of CDC agent Abby Arcane. Abby returns to her hometown, after reports of contagion but along with all the problems involved with that situation, her return brings back painful memories due to an event from her past, and not everyone is happy to see her. Abby teams up with disgraced biologist Alec Holland (Andy Bean - IT: Chapter 2) who has been studying some strange growth patterns with the swamp vegetation.
The titular Swamp Thing is being played by actor/stuntman Derek Mears, who played the role of Jason in the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot.
Like I said at the start, the show is firmly rooted in horror, not surprising I suppose when one of the producers is James Wan (Saw franchise/The Conjuring). As well as that great little pre-credit intro that I mentioned, there is a wonderful moment in a morgue that was very reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing with some stunning effects that really sold the horror of the scene. And that’s something else great about the show. The effects which are practical and digital have no over-reliance on either resulting in a great blending of the two, to where they are almost indistinguishable at times.
The camerawork and cinematography all worked well with the score fitting the tone nicely.
Swamp Thing is currently available on amazon prime after it originally aired on DC’s own streaming network, DC Universe. Strangely though, after the first episode aired, DC announced that the show had been cancelled. The episode received positive comments from critics and fans alike, so the reason for them to suddenly drop the show started all number of rumours.
The cast and crew were apparently completely surprised by this decision as they had no idea at all that the show was going to be axed, and based on what I’ve seen so far from the pilot episode, I’m surprised too. It looked to be going great. The news of the cancellation meant that #saveswampthing started trending on Twitter as soon as the announcement was made.
So where does that leave us?
Well, there are still 10 episodes available and even though there were originally 13 planned with the idea being that the series would run for at least 3 seasons, maybe more if it was a hit, from what I’ve seen so far, the show is pretty good.
At the moment there are no plans for the series to continue but who knows? Maybe with it being picked up by other networks its popularity will rise and someone will be able to give it a go, but with DC belonging to Time Warner, it does seem unlikely.
But you never know. Maybe sometime in the future, we’ll get to see Swamp Thing on the screen again and until then, I’ve still got 9 more episodes to watch.