Created by: Gary Dauberman, Mark Verheiden
Starring: Crystal Reed, Andy Bean, Virginia Madsen
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
Abby Arcane returns home to Marais, Louisiana to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, only to discover the dark, terrifying mysteries of the swamp.
Swamp Thing has had an interesting journey so far. The show was a highly anticipated adaptation of one of the more unconventional heroes. However, rumours of trouble were already making waves after it was announced that production was shut down early, turning a planned 13 episode series into a shortened 10 episodes. Nevertheless, initial reviews for the show highlighted its potential, but then, after the first episode, DC pulls the rug from under and cancelled the show. It was a shocking move and one that brought about a lot of confusion and speculation. It also makes the viewers think twice about committing to a show that has no future. Nevertheless, there was something about this show that dragged me in, and the results were surprising, in the best possible way.
Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor, is called back to her home town of Marais to investigate a mysterious, life-threatening illness that’s spreading around town. During her investigation, she meets disgraced biologist, Alec Holland, whose own investigation brings him the conclusion that the swamp is behind this illness. Together, they search the swamp for answers, but a shocking turn of events leads to tragedy and the ripple effect of this incident unravels Marais’ deepest secrets and forces, Abby, to confront the past she thought she’d left behind.
Swamp Thing primary focus is not on the superheroes. Instead, it places the emphasis on the occupants of Marais, highlighting a string of conspiracies and corruption that threatens to destroy the swamp and the town. There is a strong psychological component to the show, one that is emphasised in the exploitation of memory, grief, and greed. The Swamp Thing is charged with protecting the swamp, and with that, he comes to understand how the swamp shaped Marais. It’s a fascinating concept and the superhero components are utilised as a means of exposing the best and worst in humans. With a strong cast to carry the show, we are treated to a story that takes its time to explore what makes our characters tick, grounding both the heroes and villains in their humanity, making the events in these 10 episodes even more horrifying as we come to understand the motivation of our villains.
The show is far from perfect. Some side characters are left gathering dust in favour of Abby and the Swamp Thing’s search for answers, but what the show does is highlight the potential a second season had. The show touches upon the introduction of other heroes, but the shortened season gave little room for those seeds to be developed. The same can be said about Swamp Thing’s supernatural component, as we are introduced to a fortune-teller whose psychic connection gives her the ability to connect with the past and glimpse at the future. We get hints at the influence she’s had on Abby’s life and her guidance is sought out by many of our characters. Yet, we never really got to explore the core of her abilities.
The cancellation of Swamp Thing puts a damper on a show that has so much potential. The post-credit scene teases us with what could have been had those at DC Universe shown more faith in the show. If you like your shows on the dark side, then you will definitely be interested in the psychological horror that is Swamp Thing.
What did you think of Swamp Thing?
Which superhero would you like to see on TV?