Cult TV Essentials

Cult TV Essentials: Swamp Thing

“The swamp is my world. It is who I am; it is what I am. I was once a man. I know the evil men do. Do not bring your evil here, I warn you. Beware the wrath of Swamp Thing.”

Swamp Thing was a TV series based on the DC Comic and movies of the same name and it debuted in 1990 and ran for three seasons (72 episodes). Dick Durock, who played Dr. Alec Holland/Swamp Thing returned to the role which was now being taken a lot more seriously than it had been in its movie incarnations.

The series follows on through the movies where we again learn that Dr. Alec Holland was caught on fire, doused with strange chemicals, and then dumped into the Louisiana swamps by the evil Dr. Anton Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman). Alec’s body then mutated making him no longer human, or even an animal. His body is made from the muck and plants of the swamp.

In the very first episode “The Emerald Heart” we meet 11-year-old Jim Kipp (Jesse Zeigler) and his mother, Tressa (Carrell Myers) who are spending some time at her mom’s house in the swamps of Houma. Jim is introduced to the mysteries and the danger of the swamp while Tressa struggles to bond with Jim. As the story unfolds Jim encounters Humphrey (John Edward Allen), a dwarf who has escaped from the evil Dr. Arcane. This series of events will allow Jim to cross paths with Swamp Thing!

The second episode, “The Living Image” involves Arcane making a woman look like Holland’s wife Linda (Martha Smith) and ensures Swamp Thing sees her. When he does Swamp Thing approaches her she runs away. Later he does catch up with her and tests her. She then asks him for his notes saying she could help him but in reality Arcane is after one of his formulas.

Further episodes saw Jim abducted by a South American child stealing ring acting under the orders from Dr. Arcane, and Jim never appeared again in the series. Jim’s fate was resolved in the third seasons where his mother Tressa said Jim was had been found (off-camera) and sent to live with his father far away.

As the series developed more storylines focused on Dr. Alec Holland’s quest to find a cure for the affliction that had turned him into Swamp Thing. They explored his desire to rediscover his human nature, including his unrequited love story with a beautiful scientist, Dr. Ann Fisk (Janet Julian), who dedicated herself to helping him. Another innovation in the second and third seasons was an exploration of Dr. Arcane’s madness, in an attempt to explain his penchant for evil.

 

 

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