Pilot – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Worlds Apart – | Review Score – 4/5
He Speaks – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Darkness on the Edge of Town – | Review Score – 4/5
Drive All Night – | Review Score – 4/5
The Price You Pay – | Review Score – 4/5
Brilliant Disguise – | Review Score – 4/5
Long Walk Home – | Review Score – 4/5
The Anatomy Lesson – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Loose Ends – | Review Score – 3/5
Deliciously dark and dripping in a gnarly, grim aesthetic, Swamp Thing is a surprisingly faithful, well written horror series. With roots firmly hooked to the comic books of the same name, DC Universe’s Swamp Thing is another hit for DC who appear to have nailed the right formula following the success of both Titans and Doom Patrol.
The story follows researcher Abby Arcane who returns home after an extended leave working with the CDC. Despite an initially frosty reception, she quickly gets pulled into a strange, horrific tale that sees local scientist Alec Holland transformed into the monstrous swamp creature. As the episodes tick by, the real threat reveals itself in the form of the slimy, opportunistic businessman Avery and unhinged scientist Woodrue. All of this builds to a finale that leaves things wide open, in a series with a cloudy, uncertain future.
A good ending can be the difference between a memorable and indifferent show. In the same vein, a bad ending can sour the entire experience. While Swamp Thing’s premature ending isn’t outright bad per-se, it does leave things wide open for a second season that will probably never arrive. Given the mystery surrounding just why this show was cancelled and a clear 3 year plan mapped out for Swamp Thing, its cancellation is a particularly difficult pill to swallow given how much the show does right here.
Tonally, Swamp Thing confidently nestles itself in the realm of horror and mystery, with the episodes peppered with a good array of frightening scenes and unsettling imagery. The first episode in particular has serious The Thing vibes and the show is all the better for it.
What’s particularly impressive here though is just how well Swamp Thing differentiates itself from everything else that’s out there. There’s clear comic book influences, right down to a few nicely implemented Easter eggs that tie it back to the graphic novels. There’s some good tension and scares as well but it’s not quite an outright horror either. Instead, Swamp Thing marches to the beat of its own drum.
The characters are well written and there’s a good use of foreshadowing throughout the series too, hinting at later events to transpire. Of course, this does backfire late on when the series comes to a frustrating, premature end but before that, the series does well to keep things consistent.
If it wasn’t for the ending, Swamp Thing could be one of the best shows of the year. It’s particularly disappointing to see this one end in such a way, especially given the great work the show manages to conjure up until that point. The lavish budget does help with this though, boasting a strong set design and on-location shoots involving the swamp, which both help bring you into this world.
Existing somewhere between the realm of what-could-have-been and disappointment, Swamp Thing is a show well worth checking out if you’re prepared for the open ending and accept this one is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, if at all. The production design, acting and faithfulness to the source material are top notch though and for that alone, Swamp Thing is easily one of the freshest series released this year. Unfortunately it stumbles at the last hurdle, making it a difficult one to recommend unless you want to feel immensely frustrated by the ending.
Verdict - 7/10