Well that was quick. The streaming service known at DC Universe just began airing its latest entry, Swamp Thing on May 31 only to cancel the series one week later. While it appears that the show will continue to air all ten episodes of its first (and last) season, the decision to end it seems rather abrupt. At this time it is unclear why the show got cancelled, but the bayou, the waters at DC Universe appear to be rather murky.
The service has originally intended the first season of Swamp Thing to feature 13 episodes but was cut down to ten on April 17, 2019. Then the cancellation came earlier today with many assuming the show was too expensive to continue. But despite the fact that it featured a human-like creature made up of vegetable matter, the show is actually pretty good.
Based on the comic book character, the Swamp Thing series is a bit of an anomaly. The new series appears to be quite different from its original source material. It’s more horror than superhero, with a ghost story and voodoo overtones. And despite he’s the main character of the show, the Swamp Thing only makes a brief appearance in the first two episodes. Like the Louisiana bayou, the show takes it time telling its tale.
The show stars Crystal Reed as CDC investigator, Dr. Abby Arcane who is sent to in investigate strange happenings in Marais, a small Louisiana town involving a deadly swamp-born virus. The pilot episode opens with a young girl, Susie Coyle (Elle Graham) getting sick at school and later coughing up green plant material. But that’s not the only strange thing happening. This was Abby’s hometown but left when her friend died many years earlier. Her friend’s mother, Maria Sunderland (the wonderful Virginia Madsen) still blames Abby for her daughter’s death and finds it odd that out of the hundreds of people for the CDC, it was Abby that was sent to investigate the situation. As Maria cuts through old wounds, Reed is surprisingly good showing emotion as the grieving and hurt friend. Maria is married to Avery Sunderland (Will Patton), a prominent businessman with a silver tongue who seemingly gives back to the community but you know he has something hidden up his sleeve.
Abby is aided in her investigation by former childhood friends Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) who once had a crush on her and Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) now working as a reporter. She also meets disgraced scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) who knows something is up with that swamp and has been doing his own investigation before Abby shows up. Of course, we the viewers get a glimpse of some of the strange goings on in the swamp when it seemingly comes alive and kills some locals.
Just as Abby starts to let her guard down, Alec gets shot while investigating the swamp and falls in. Presumed dead, it is then that a mysterious Swamp Thing creature begins to emerge. And then there’s that little girl who keeps leaving her hospital bed and running to the swamp because she has some odd connection to the creature.
In the second episode we get introduced biogeneticist Jason Woodrue who apparently created a formula that would dry up the swamp providing more land for Mr. Sunderland to build on but of course, something has gone terribly wrong but Woodrue doesn’t believe he is at fault.
Based on the first two episodes, the show is pretty good, but definitely not family fare. The show is violent at times with lots of swearing, something you don’t expect from a superhero show. It is also feel politically correct. The show mentions a bi-racial couple and features a few gay characters. Why I don’t really have anything to base this one, this doesn’t seem to ring true for a small, Southern town and these attributes don’t seem to factor into the story at all. They are just there to add diversity whether it makes sense or not.
Swamp Thing also stars Jennifer Beals as Sheriff Lucilia Cable, Jeryl Prescott as fortune teller Madame Xanadu, Kevin Durand as brilliant biogeneticist Jason Woodrue and Ian “Sharknado” Ziering as Daniel Cassidy, a former actor/stuntman who played a character called the Blue Devil. How his character fits in the story is still unclear after the first two episodes. Also, according to IMDB, Adrienne Barbeau is said to appear as Dr. Palomar. Barbeau appeared in the 1982 feature film version of Swamp Thing.
Even after watching the first two episodes of Swamp Thing, it isn’t entirely clear where this story is headed. There are a lot of characters here and some really good, better-than-you-would-expect special effects and some genuine scares that will make you jump.
Swamp Thing debuted Friday, May 31, with new episodes released weekly. Episode two begins airing on June 7th.
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.