'Swamp Thing' Review: Compelling DC horror-superhero show will captivate Arrowverse fans
To establish a setting for a horror superhero show, 'Swamp Thing' was a perfect choice as it had shades of the occult, political conspiracy and some love and reciprocation
Spoilers for 'Swamp Thing'
'Swamp Thing' has a whopping 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the critics' consensus reading, "By leaning into the horror of it all, Swamp Thing swims deep into the trenches of this strange world and returns with a scary good TV show." However, the audience didn't really seem to share the same enthusiasm as they voted it 67%, a stark difference when compared to the critic ratings. So when The CW announced 'Swamp Thing' as part of its roster, chances are DC is looking for a new breed of audience.
In June 2019, 'Swamp Thing' was the first of DC Universe original to be canceled. It was the third of the live-action series to be launched on DC Universe. The superhero-horror series, based on the elemental creature created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, was written by Mark Verheiden and 'It' co-writer Gary Dauberman. The story follows CDC investigator, Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), who returns to her home of Houma, Louisiana, to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus that has adverse effects on people. She meets with scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) and the duo set about investigating the cause until Holland tragically dies.
To establish a setting for a horror superhero show, 'Swamp Thing' was a perfect choice. In addition, the series had shades of the occult, political conspiracy and some love and reciprocation, all of which were tied together making a compelling watch. As the series progressed, the theme and the setting grew darker and scarier, a theme the DCEU hadn't explored much with its major shows — 'The Flash', 'Arrow' and 'Supergirl'. 'Batwoman' and 'Legends of Tomorrow' along with 'Doom Patrol' were rather quirky and dark, but never scary.
That was a new route. The story was tragic, yet compelling. Imagine life in the morgue. That's the sort of horror that leads to a good old fashion screamfest. Holland's adversaries are actually believable. Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) and Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) are sinister, yet show shades of being utterly human as they acknowledge themselves as the non-bad guys. Derek Mears as Swamp Thing showcases genuine emotion despite being the heroic grotesque creature.
Crystal Reed as Abby Arcane has to be the highlight of the series. She shines in her role as the CDC scientist and at the same time, her feelings for Alec adds a deeper relationship angle to the show. The clipped episode count from 13 to 10 came across as a bummer. The relationship angle between the two can be rightly called the soul of the series and as a concrete plotline that could go beyond a season. Woodrue's transformation was a story that we needed answers for as well while Sunderland coughing up some organic matter adds to the suspense.
Overall, it is a lease of a new life for the show as it has found a platform in The CW. With no Arrowverse shows in the calendar until January 2021, 'Swamp Thing's 10-episode run will be indeed crucial as it will take up the next few weeks until the OG Arrowverse shows make their way back with new seasons. But for now, there's some superhero content to look forward to every Tuesday.
'Swamp Thing' airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm ET on The CW.