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I enjoyed the first SWAMP THING film for what it was, and despise the
for what it was. I had read the comics for many years but didn't know
to expect of a weekly show that would have a small budget. Looking back,
feel the series succeeded as often as it failed.
The best episodes were those that focused on Swamp Thing (or 'Alec' as he was referred to by the people who knew him). The series started out on shaky footing, and had Swampy act out of character. In the first episode he turns a bad guy into a tree until the writers establish that he would never take a human life. Any episode that had him turn back human was well done.
Most of the episodes made him a Rod Serling of the swamp, taking a back seat to the action. A lot of these weren't too bad, but the bad ones were terrible. These boiled down to two plots: bad guys hide out in the swamp, only to have to face their crimes in a nightmare-ish way, or people with problems wander in the swamp, to become better by facing their fears. The best of these was when Ray Wise (Dr. Holland from the original movie) guest starred as someone who might be an alien and almost kills Swamp Thing.
In my opinion far too many episodes chronicled Arcane's (Swamp Thing's enemy) foul adventures. I realize that there is a fan base of women (and some men) who found the character/actor too sexy for words and wanted even less of Swamp Thing in each episode. Be that as it may, I feel the series as a whole suffered for it, and that will keep people from rediscovering it.
The series lacked truly dramatic episodes, the ones that would get the media's attention (like how 'The Best of Both Worlds' episodes of Star Trek:TNG did). There wasn't a single two-part episode throughout the run, which would've allowed the writers to develop a deeper story. Plotlines were never adequately ended, such as the disappearance of Tressa's son.
In the face of all these detriments, I enjoyed the show (and have almost every episode on tape; doubtful there will be a DVD release). Although it could have been so much more, it was certainly better than many other shows or movies based on comic books.
I am surprised that I am only the second person to write a review for
this series, (which may simply be a testament to the fact that it is
indeed an obscure one).
I love the Swamp Thing. Both Len Wein's and Alan Morre's manifestations of him... and I find that this series approaches the character with great affection, and attention to his most important traits of compassion and wisdom. His moral code is complex, and his diplomacy restrained. He does not intervene in forceful and demanding ways, (as many super heros do), but rather works his miracles from the background, all but anonymously.
Now, it is possible this series was a victim of viewers' unfulfilled expectations of watching an entity of fury and unstoppable, unrelenting force demolish evil in every episode. It is true that he has such power, and he does indeed flex it when necessary... but what is most essential to his character is his remarkable ability to heal, care for, support, protect, console, and love all things alive. In this respect this series is a complete success.
Beyond the refinement of character, the series is also endlessly imaginative, and profoundly moral. The plots are original, and the script couldn't be any other way. Sometimes The Swamp Thing will say something, a bit of advice or an observational musing maybe, and it will just hit you hard for some reason, deep within.
I give this series 10 stars for it's painstaking attention to the things that make Swamp Thing so endearing and fascinating. I strongly recommend it, and this is coming from an avid fan of the graphic novels.
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