Swamp Thing: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

DC Comics has made a concerted effort to release some top tier programming on their streaming DC Universe platform.  Amidst their growing library of shows include Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, both of which are live action, and the insanely fun Harley Quinn cartoon.  Within that list of title is the king of the green, defender of the bayou, Swamp Thing.  The live action series debuted in 2019 and was unfortunately cancelled after one season, largely due to budget issues.  To put it plainly, the show got too expensive.  Swamp Thing comes out on Blu-ray this Tuesday, February 11th, and I had a chance to check out ahead of time. Let’s take a look how the ten-episode, two-disc series looks.



The show follows the familiar comic book tale where do-good scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) demise is mixed with a curious occurrence taking place in a Louisiana swamp. As he morphs into the Swamp Thing, fellow scientist and CDC doctor Abby Arcane, played by the beautiful Crystal Reed, returns to her old stomping grounds of Marais, Louisiana where she encounters a slew of mysterious happenings with the plant life in the area…like petrifying a man where he stood at his bathroom sink.

Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) is the wealthy man of the town and also the series’ main villain. Sunderland is certainly a cunning scoundrel as the show establishes that early on.  While I wouldn’t use the word sidekick here, there is a creepy scientist counterpart, Jason Woodrue, played by Kevin Durand.  Other notable actors include Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame and Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210.

So how does the show stack up?  It certainly sets a strong precedent with the pilot episode, which runs about an hour. Proceeding episodes can be found in the realm of 45 minutes each.  The problem is once I arrived at the fourth episode, things began to deteriorate with the series.  The writing felt sluggish at times, which carried over into the next several episodes. As a result, the show became a tad unruly going off into several different directions that did not add to the overall storyline.  If anything, these side jaunts dragged things out and created some minor confusion when it all ended. Honestly, I feel like the ten-episode series could have been relegated to seven and it would have been better, while still getting its point across.

At the tenth episode’s conclusion, you can tell its creators had more in store for a follow-up season. Sadly, that will never come to fruition…or maybe it’s not so sad because there were moments that watching this series was rather taxing.  There was good, there was bad, and in the end I was entertained a bit.  The show just lacked focus.



Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Swamp Thing displays in the expected 1080p high definition.  Details show up magnificently on the expertly created costume of the Swamp Thing itself (played by Derek Mears).  You will find that an earth tone, muted palette is commonplace throughout the show.  Laboratory scenes can be plentiful which are often very sterile, and again, muted in color. Nothing jumps off the screen here but nothing looks bad either.  On the deep end of the spectrum, there is not an overwhelming richness of blacks, although flesh tones do show up well in this visual presentation.  Overall, it is a decent visual experience that one has come to expect from Blu-ray.



The audio format found here is DTS-HD English 5.1 with no foreign subtitle option.  I found the dialogue volumes to be inconsistent at times, having to adjust the volume so I could hear one actor the same as the other they’re involved in a conversation with.  Surround sound worked well, especially when the extending root effects of the Green occurred.  That knotty-twisting sound of rapidly growing plant material played out well from the rear speakers and added to the overall experience.  In summary, there is nothing to knock your socks off here, but the two-disc set gets the job done.



This was unexpected. Outside of a digital code that expires at the end of March of next year, there are absolutely no extras on these two discs. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.  In all the years I’ve done Blu-ray reviews, this is the first where this category has been absent of a score.  Shame on you DC and Warner Bros.  You guys got lazy on this one.  Was the show such a bust that you couldn’t wait to get this out on disc and be done with it?  It sure feels that way.



Swamp Thing had its moments, but the way the show played out, those moments were more like book ends in the sense that the show started off and ended well.  What was in between, like I mentioned earlier, seemed to go down too many rabbit holes and explore too much.  Ian Ziering’s Blue Devil, an obscure DC character from decades ago, gets shoe-horned into the series, Avery Sunderland does a lot of bad stuff and Swamp Thing mopes around a little more than he should.

Crystal Reed gets the majority of the screen time and does so quite well.  As the show progresses, you realize more and more just how much of a tortured soul she is.  She and Will Patton’s villain ultimately drive the series, however, my problem with that is this is Swamp Thing, not the Abby Arcane and Avery Sunderland Show.

On a final note, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Adrienne Barbeau, the female lead from the 1982 Swamp Thing movie, made a cameo here as a senior doctor with the CDC.  Unfortunately, I enjoyed that nod more than several of the episodes.  If only to dream what Swamp Thing could have been under the tutelage of a more effective storyteller.

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