Swamp Thing has always been a cult favorite among fans of DC comics ever since he was first introduced in 1971, but the character has never exactly been a high priority when it comes to live-action adaptations, despite being the star of a 1982 movie directed by rising filmmaker and soon-to-be horror legend Wes Craven.
There was a TV series that ran for three seasons between 1990 and 1993 that received relatively stellar reviews, but for almost two decades Swamp Thing was placed on the back burner until a new show was announced in May 2018 with Fast and Furious 7 and Aquaman director James Wan attached as one of the executive producers.
The project was ordered straight to series for DC Universe, the comic book company’s in-house platform that specialized in content based on more obscure superheroes like Titans and Doom Patrol, along with animated programming like Young Justice and Harley Quinn.
Former Teen Wolf star Crystal Reed was cast in the lead role of Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor who returns to her hometown of Marais, Louisana to investigate a virus. While there, she forges a friendship with disgraced biologist Alec Holland. When her childhood friend is murdered, Abby starts to discover that something mysterious dwells within the swamp, only to stumble upon a hulking creature within the marshes who claims to be Alec.
The first episode debuted on DC Universe in May 2019, and over the next ten weeks Swamp Thing gained something of a reputation as a criminally underrated show that deserved to be seen by a much bigger audience. An engaging blend of horror and fantasy married to the tropes of the TV procedural, it was certainly one of the better comic book shows around at a time when the genre had become almost ubiquitous.
The cast was solid across the board, the production design created a great sense of scale and atmosphere, while the effects used to bring the misunderstood title hero to life were undeniably impressive.
However, Swamp Thing had actually been canceled a month before the first episode even aired, with the official reason given being creative differences between the production company and WarnerMedia, who had already reduced the order from thirteen to ten episodes due to budgetary concerns.
Swamp Thing was originally planned out with at least three seasons in mind, but it didn’t matter how warmly received it was by both critics and fans, the axe had already fallen before a single frame had reached the airwaves. Online campaigns tried to save it, but WarnerMedia have so far refused to reverse their decision.
That being said, The CW did acquire the broadcast rights to Swamp Thing, and began airing the first season earlier this week. If it manages to pull in strong ratings over the remaining nine episodes, then there’s still a chance that a second run could yet be ordered. After all, the network is already very well known for its lineup of DC Comics shows, and there’s always going to be room for at least one more hero to join the Arrowverse as the roster is in constant need of freshening up every couple of years.