Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
The character of Swamp Thing has had a very rich history since Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson for DC Comics first created him in 1972. Thanks to the immense talents of his creators, the initial series turned out to be a surprise hit for four years or so. In 1982, Wes Craven wrote and directed a low-budget horror film based on the character, which led to something of a revival. The movie is fondly remembered by nerds everywhere for two things: the terrible Swamp Thing costume that looked like paper machè and for giving us an all- too-brief glimpse of Adrienne Barbeau’s breasts.
The ‘82 revival eventually led to Alan Moore’s classic run on the series which led to a movie sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing, a film notable for its awesome opening montage set to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Born on the Bayou” and it’s terrible sense of humor. Swamp Thing continued to live on in both animated and live-action form on the small screen. In 1991, the USA Network commissioned a total of 72 episodes of a Swamp Thing series. I enjoyed the series as a youth and for the past month or so, I’ve had the distinct privilege of watching the majority of them again. Oh, did I say privilege? I think the word I’m actually looking for is a little closer to torture.
The first volume of the Swamp Thing television series features the first two seasons totaling 22 episodes. Now, the first season is an absolute turd, but I have to admit that by the end of the second season, I was getting into it. The show had been re-tooled and was turning into something of a guilty pleasure for me. The scripts were getting better and while most of the acting was subpar, Mark Lindsay Chapman was a pretty entertaining Anton Arcane, and it’s always good to see Dick Durock in the big green moss-covered suit. When Volume Two arrived for me to review, I was actually pretty excited. It contained the first 26 episodes of the series’ 50-episode third season. With the groundwork being laid down in season two, I figured that season three was going to be a barnburner!
Turns out I was wrong. All of the interesting subplots that were introduced in the second season were still there, but they were downplayed a bit, and never really expanded upon. What’s worse is that Swamp Thing began to pretty much just appear in a brief cameo at the beginning and end of each episode. He might pop in to save the day and maybe spout some words of wisdom, but that’s about it. Everything went right back to the old formulaic garbage I had to sit through in the first season.
To make matters worse, there aren’t any extras on this set. Hell, they could’ve just thrown a commercial or two on there and I would’ve been happy. But it was not to be. Swamp Thing: The Series, Volume Two turned out to be a letdown, but since I had invested this much in the show, I figured I might as well see it through to the end. Slogging through that series was not unlike making my way through a dank and frightening swamp, but made my way I did, and I’d like to think I’m a better man for it. What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger, no?
I’m not sure when Volume Three comes out, but you can bet that I’ll be here to review it when it does. I have to give Shout! Factory a lot of credit. I can’t possibly imagine that anyone in the world has any interest in this series except me, but here it is in all its DVD glory. Is it a good series? No. But I can think of worse ways to pass the time and this can be done without expending any extra energy or brain cells. If you’re a die-hard comic fan or Swamp Thing completist, Swamp Thing: The Series, Volume Two is a must-have for your collection. Now bring on Volume Three!