Swamp Thing is a 2019 superhero series on the DC Universe streaming service, the third show to be produced and premiered on the streaming service. Word of God is that despite being on the service, it is not part of the Titansverse Shared Universe.
Based on the classic Swamp Thing comic series, the series is about CDC Doctor Abby Arcane, who returns to her home of Marais, Louisiana to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus. Upon looking into the virus, she develops a bond with scientist Alec Holland. After Holland tragically dies, Arcane discovers the mysteries of the swamp and that Holland may not be dead after all.
The show stars Crystal Reed as Abby Arcane, Andy Bean as Alec Holland, and Derek Mears as the titular Swamp Thing. The show also stars Maria Sten, Virginia Madsen, Will Patton, Henderson Wade, Jennifer Beals, Jeryl Prescott-Sales, Kevin Durand, and Ian Ziering. Additionally, the series is created by Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman and is produced by James Wan.
It premiered on May 31st, 2019, with episodes being released weekly like other DC Universe shows.
After only premiering one episode, the show was cancelled because of dissatisfaction from both WarnerMedia and AT&T executives. Luckily, it happened quickly enough that the crew were able to rework the finale into a proper ending.
Swamp Thing contains examples of:
- Adaptation Dye-Job:
- Only time will tell if she gains it, but Abby on the series doesn't have her iconic white hair and is portrayed with Crystal Reed's natural dark brown hair.
- Alec Holland is usually depicted as blond in the comics, while Andy Bean is a brunet.
- Adaptive Ability: Thanks to Alec, Abby discovers that the infection mutates at an alarming rate when treatment is attempted; the only way to prolong the victim's life until a cure is found is to not fight it.
- Adult Fear: Jason Woodrue watching his wife slowly succumb to early onset Alzheimer's.
- Badass Bookworm: Alec is no mere scientist even before he becomes Swamp Thing. When the first victim of the vine-plague attacks him and Abby, he keeps his nerve and manages to destroy it with nothing but a pair of scissors, two containers of medical alcohol and a cigarette lighter.
- Badass Normal: While she's not exactly a warrior, Abby tries to keep a cool head when she can and strike back whenever possible. When she's attacked by a fly-oozing reanimated corpse, she actually goes on the offensive, holding it at bay with a lit magnesium flare and then attacking it with a fire axe when it turns its back. While it doesn't do much good, she definitely gets an A for effort.
- Beast and Beauty: Abby is afraid of Swamp Thing at first, but when she learns he's Alec transformed, all she sees is the man beneath the monster.
- Berserk Button: Anything that can even be interpreted as disrespect will turn Avery Sunderland from a Southern gentleman to an Ax-Crazy thug.
- Big Bad: Avery Sunderland. He inadvertently caused the plague when he commissioned Mad Scientist Jason Woodrue to make the swamp's vegetation grow faster and bigger with his mutagens. Now, he seeks to get his plans back on track and, more importantly, cover up his crime.
- Body Horror: The plague ultimately causes a horrific mass of living vines to erupt from a person's body, which then drag it around as it falls to pieces.
- Botanical Abomination: In addition to the title character, there's also a possibly intelligent plague that takes over people's bodies and turns them into twisted vine zombies.
- Bloodier and Gorier: While the other DC Universe shows are hardly bloodless, this one provides increasingly gruesome and creative Body Horror with practically every new episode.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Almost everyone who dies. Alec himself is shot twice with a shotgun, set on fire, and then possibly drowns before the vines take him.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: "Winning fights" is not exactly something the titular eight-foot-tall, practically invincible plant creature with super strength and control of nature has to worry about much.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Abby left town due to an incident in college where her best friend was killed, which everyone blames her for.
- Darker and Edgier: There's an overt horror vibe far beyond DC Universe's other shows.
- Deal with the Devil: David made a vague bargain with the Phantom Stranger in order to make it big as an actor. Part of the contract is that he can't take one step out of Marais, on threat of mystical immolation, until his end is carried out.
- Dying Town: Marais has little going for it, and only people who have put down roots live there. Avery has spent his entire life trying to put Marais on the map.
- Fainting Seer: When Madame Xanadu tries to unburden Maria's grieving heart, the fortuneteller senses Shawna's restless spirit and falls to the floor, shaking.
- Fair Cop: The local sheriff Lucilia Cable, played by Jennifer Beals. Her deputy Matthew Cable counts as the male equivalent.
- Family Business: Lucilia and her son Matt are both cops.
- For Science!: Woodrue all but swoons over the plague's symptoms. As he says himself:Nature is brutal. Life devours life, it's a fight to the death. To bring emotion to bear taints the scientific vision.
- Genius Bruiser: Once Swamp Thing comes to grips with the initial trauma of his transformation, the sharp mind of Alec Holland still shines through.
- Harmful to Minors: The preteen daughter of the first plague victim is awakened from a hospital bed by the sight of her dad's reanimated corpse. In pieces. And then it attacks her. And then the poor little girl gets to see Swamp Thing rip a guy to pieces with his vine-tentacles.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Alec has a pet dog, whom Abby quickly becomes fond of as well.
- Ill Girl: Caroline Woodrue suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Both Alec and Abby have a moment of this in the pilot.
- It's All My Fault: Abby never challenges Maria Sunderland's belief that she is responsible for Shawna's death because she believes it herself. The truth is more complicated; Abby playfully pushed Shawna into the swamp, but it was something below that dragged her down to drown.
- Kill It with Fire: Alec destroys the first vine-zombie by emptying two bottles of medical alcohol onto the floor and lighting it with a cigarette lighter.
- Logo Joke: The WB logo is set in the swamp, and is covered in plant growth., seen here
- Love Makes You Crazy:
- Woodrue is only working for a backstabbing piece of crap like Avery because he hopes the coveted miracle drug will cure his wife Caroline's Alzheimer's.
- Maria never even tried to overcome Shawna's death, so when her daughter comes back as a ghost, she is only concerned with how to keep her from leaving again. The mother tries to use Susie as a meat suit for Shawna, and later follows her to the swamp to join her in death.
- Mama Bear: Threatening Matt is the quickest way to get on Sheriff Cable's bad side. Deconstructed in that Lucilia is not a very stable woman, so those who she does think are a danger to her son are at risk of getting riddled with bullets.
- No OSHA Compliance: The Marais Hospital morgue doesn't appear to have any fire suppression system forcing Alec to use an extinguisher to put down the burning vine zombie after he put it alight.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sheriff Cable doesn't buy that Avery works hard to bring life back to Marais because he loves his home, but that he just wants to reinstate his place as top dog around town.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're reanimated by possibly intelligent root systems of living vines that drag the body around, usually one piece at a time. It's sort of a plant-based version of the infection from the 1982 film.
- People in Rubber Suits: The title character is portrayed by professional monster actor Derek Mears under a couple hundred pounds of gloriously mossy prosthetic makeup.
- Pietà Plagiarism: The above poster, itself based on an iconic scene from the comics.
- Race Lift: In the comics, Madame Xanadu is a Caucasian woman whose origins are connected to the story of King Arthur. Here she is a black Blind Seer.
- Remake Cameo: Adrienne Barbeau as Dr. Palomar. She played Alice Cable in the 1982 film.
- Replacement Goldfish: Maria takes in Susie to once again have a little girl in the house. Shawna's ghost is not amused, and possesses Susie body.
- Screaming Woman: Abby sure gets to exercise her vocal cords quite a bit. If you had to see what she has to see, you'd be screaming too.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Alec Holland is introduced trespassing in a restricted area of the hospital in order to peruse blood test data, and later is caught breaking and entering at the home of outbreak's patient zero, all in the pursuit of answers about what's causing the disease.
- Synchronization: People who are affected by the swamp mutagen and survive seem to develop an emotional and mental connection. When Alec tries to tear off his new plant-based flesh, Susie mimics his movements and panicked expression in her hospital bed.
- Swiss Cheese Security: The little girl who is a high priority patient keeps easily escaping from her hospital bed and the isolation ward she's on despite having sensors and monitors go off loudly whenever she unplugs them. The show does deserve a bit of credit for having her break the window in her room instead of opening it — real hospitals do not have windows that can be opened without tools, for security reasons and suicide prevention.
- Tarot Troubles: It's stated that every time Madame Xanadu performed a tarot reading for Daniel Cassidy in the past eight years, the cards have been the same: The Fool, The Hanged Man and The Wheel of Fortune. In "He Speaks" Xanadu reads them again for him, drawing the same three cards. Only this time, they're reversed, indicating that Abby's return to Marais has changed something for him.
- Too Dumb to Live: Shout-out to the guy who tries to stab the eight-foot-tall plant monster with a kitchen knife. The only surprising thing about his immediate violent demise was that it was over very quickly.
- The Virus: A swamp-borne virus is unleashed upon the town, leaving many people sick and ill.
- You Should Have Died Instead: It's no secret that Maria feels this way about Abby. It comes to a head in "Drive All Night," when Maria snaps and tries to drown Abby.