The latest original series to premiere on DC Universe is none other than Swamp Thing, which definitely goes in a different direction than more traditional originals like Titans and Young Justice. The show cast a DC TV veteran as its leading lady, with former Gotham actress Crystal Reed tackling the role of Abby Arcane. Although Gotham was known to feature some swampy shenanigans in its day, Swamp Thing is an entirely different series.
Crystal Reed recently chatted with CinemaBlend, and she talked about the differences between Gotham and Swamp Thing.
[Sofia Falcone] was really fun for me. I've never played the villain, so it was nice. But I think they're so different in terms of...because one is a network and one is streaming, we had a lot, we had a lot more freedom, I think, in the level of which we could take the horror, and also pushing the limits in terms of story and character. You know, one of my favorite adjectives is 'fuck.' It's not the most graceful word to say, but oftentimes it comes out a lot in my life and Abby's life; I think she's so frustrated. So it was very freeing to be able to actually swear on set, it was really fun. And I hope you can print that. [Laughs.]
When Crystal Reed debuted on Gotham as Sofia Falcone, it wasn't 100% clear if she was one of the good guys or the bad guys, but she ultimately proved to be a formidable villain. Gotham aired its final episode earlier this year, so the Fox version of Sofia Falcone is presumably gone for good, and Reed's Swamp Thing character is no villain. Abby Arcane seems destined to remain one of the good guys.
That's not to say that Abby won't be able to drop as many F-bombs as she likes. Fans of Titans and Doom Patrol won't be surprised if Swamp Thing sees its characters dropping the kind of language that definitely would not have been allowed on network television.
But hey, non-network TV language doesn't make one a villain! Honestly, swearing could make Swamp Thing feel all the more realistic. Who wouldn't drop at least an F-bomb or two when facing off against a mysterious creature that may or may not be submerged in the depths of a Louisiana swamp?
Swamp Thing airing on a streaming service as opposed to broadcast network television does mean fewer boundaries, and it's not like there can be any doubt that a DC Comics streaming service wants the best for one of its DC TV properties. Crystal Reed went on to describe differences between the looks and feels of Swamp Thing and Gotham:
So yeah, that was a major difference, and then also, [Swamp Thing] wasn't really glossy and pretty. It was really gritty, as you saw the first episodes. In terms of tone, I feel like it plays a lot more like a film, where at Gotham, I was very aware of the act and the beat and the commercials. It all felt a little more like a formula than this, and I feel like that is because it's on a different platform. But also, [it's been] really fun for both of them, because both of these characters are comic book characters, so to be able to go through all that and try and bring someone to life was very fascinating.
Yes, there are more limits to airing on broadcast network TV than just how many four-letter words characters can drop in the heat of the moment, or how graphic the violence can get. Swamp Thing doesn't have to pause for commercials and therefore lose some of the tension that built. The two shows look significantly different as well, and not just because the horrors of Gotham came from very different places than a swamp. Solomon Grundy aside, of course.
Gotham wasn't a huge ratings winner in its last few seasons, but Swamp Thing doesn't have to worry about the same kind of numbers. While there's undoubtedly some viewership data very important to DC Universe, the typical ratings system used by the big networks won't apply to a streaming series without any advertising breaks. Unfortunately, that means it's hard to guess about the future of Swamp Thing. For now, we can enjoy the scary ride that has been produced so far.
You can catch new episodes of Swamp Thing releasing Fridays on DC Universe.