A murky beginning to a convoluted character, Swamp Thing may take awhile to germinate. The latest addition to the DC streaming community, this superhero (antihero?) show has definite strengths muddled with a few structural sink holes, making the overall product as clear as the swamp water from which it came…
Let us commence with the niceties. From a thematic perspective, Swamp Thing veers more toward the horror genre than the typical comic book program, which was the correct choice to make from inception. Using specific lighting techniques, auditory clues and excellent visual effects, plenty of which are practical, fear-laden gore is the prime factor driving the plot. The elements that scare and frighten audience members accentuate the true monstrosity of the the half elemental/half human protagonist. Keeping in the same vein, it seems that the show creators are pulling from Alan Moore’s run on the comic more than other writers, given the tone set forth as well as the establishment of what will most likely be the core villain of the show, the Sunderlands.
Speaking of which, the Sunderlands are played by veteran actors Will Patton and Virginia Madsen, both of whom provide gravitas and emotional weight not seen by any of the other cast members, save of course Andy Bean. Mr. Bean (not to be confused with Rowan Atkinson) provides the best moments of the pilot episode, playing the ill-fated Alec Holland who, like in the comics, meets an untimely end before a chlorophyl fueled resurrection turns him into the titular titan.
On the other end of the spectrum, some of the supporting cast suffers, though not from their performances, but from cracks in the foundation stemming from the story. Too much time was spent on somewhat needless exposition and certain character moments landed a little flat. Likewise, mostly within the aforementioned moments, many edits and cuts seemed jarring or mistimed, taking away from the emotional through line of the scene.
Furthermore, the addition of a whodunit style of mystery, while a good idea in theory, did not produce the desired results. It’s like socialism — it works in theory. Perhaps the next few episodes will weed out the crab grass, but some fertilizer is definitely needed to get this Thing growing. 3/5 Bibles.