Starting a streaming service is not the easiest task and it takes a lot of hard work to reach the level of Netflix and Hulu. While DC Universe isn't nearly the size of either and isn't perfect, it shows a great deal of promise as one of the smaller services.
While there may be some room for debate, it's not hard to argue that the strongest thing DC Universe has going for it is its original programming. Some doubted Titans on first impression, but it gained solid reviews and acclaim, and Doom Patrol was even more celebrated than that. With critics heaping praise on the newly released Swamp Thing, it seemed DC Universe had another big hit on its hands.
Of course, now we know that DC Universe has given the axe to Swamp Thing after just one episode. While there are established and potentially noble reasons for why it happened, I'm of the opinion DC Universe made a bad call in how this was handled, and certainly could've taken some different courses of action that were way better than the cancellation news.
A Quick Note On Swamp Thing's Cancellation...
While it seems like an awful idea to cancel Swamp Thing after one episode, there probably was a valid reason behind it. It seems Swamp Thing's studios had no plans to film in North Carolina again, and while executives could've stayed vague and kept audiences in the dark, there were local crew members in North Carolina wondering if they still had a job for Season 2. Better to clue everyone in accordingly rather than waiting until the season is completed.
Second, Swamp Thing constructed an expensive swamp set in North Carolina that was apparently costly enough that it wouldn't be very feasible to build it elsewhere. You can't have Swamp Thing without a swamp, so if there's truly no way another set could be built, then perhaps it's for the best DC Universe let the sun set on this series.
With all of that said, there are also other things to consider. Obviously, no one in Hollywood likes a show that nets a loss, but this isn't the first time a series has had costly production issues. Was immediate cancellation really the best play? I don't think so, and there's absolutely some potential consequences that run the risk of hurting both the Swamp Thing brand and DC Universe.
Immediate Cancellation Gives Swamp Thing A Bad Stigma
While there are people keeping a watchful eye on the Swamp Thing situation and doing additional research, there's absolutely a good deal of people who only read the headlines that it was cancelled after one episode and moved on with their day making their own assumptions. Had someone only read that, there's two common assumptions that can be made.
The first is that Swamp Thing must have been a real stinker, and DC Universe dumped it almost immediately because of that. Now, those who've read reviews could probably guess that isn't the case, which leads to the second assumption that the first episode didn't get much attention from subscribers. Then there's the people who might believe both are true which, suffice to say, is a devastating one-two combo for a show.
Whatever the case, the end result is not a good look for Swamp Thing, nor is it the best look for DC Universe. After all, would anyone want to subscribe to a service that has only a few originals if they think one was so bad it was cancelled after one episode? Sure, more educated folks on the situation can fill them in, but until they do there will certainly be those who think Swamp Thing was cancelled for these reasons.
Swamp Thing's Quick Cancellation May Discourage Viewers
While it wouldn't have been the best thing in the world for DC Universe to keep folks wondering if Swamp Thing Season 2 was happening, the early cancellation may have shot this series in the foot. Few people want to tune into a doomed series, especially if there's a risk it'll be good enough for them to want more episodes.
Swamp Thing will likely die a slow death with episodes still rolling out on a weekly basis, as opposed to establishing a strong fanbase via word of mouth and getting continued viewership. This show could've become popular enough for the show to actually consider rebuilding that expensive swamp set, or finding a way for it to continue elsewhere. Now with the immediate cancellation, it feels as though the odds of this series getting a big fanbase is pretty low.
Which may actually be what DC Universe wanted, actually, as a small to insignificant fanbase isn't as loud as one that's grown incredibly attached to the cast and characters of a doomed show. Passionate fans can be pester-some, and make for bad PR, so perhaps the hidden logic was to kill any fandom by cancelling it before one could emerge and petition for its return.
Swamp Thing's Immediate Cancellation May Be A Deterrent
Even if the financial situation wasn't great, it seems Swamp Thing wasn't important enough for DC Universe to try and see if it was worth keeping around for another season. Even if a new season couldn't happen immediately, couldn't a decision have been made to halt but explore options for it to continue down the line?
When paired with the fact that there is no connection to Swamp Thing and the two other live-action DC Universe shows, it feels like there wasn't a lot of stock put into the series to begin with. Swamp Thing is far from the most popular DC Comics character, and it's possible the decision wasn't that hard because there was some fear the hero wouldn't connect with anyone but the most dedicated of fans.
To be fair, this is mainly speculation, and there have been legitimate reasons stated for why Swamp Thing would be disconnected from other DC Universe shows. Still, the fact that it was dumped so quickly seemingly without much fight may deter those hoping to get other series centered on more obscure heroes made, or other bolder ideas that may not be as safe as others.
One Final Thing To Consider
Swamp Thing was the first cancellation at DC Universe, and there's been speculation something bigger is on the horizon. Namely, there's been speculation that with AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner complete, DC Universe could very well fold. It may then return as part of a new streaming platform from WarnerMedia, but potentially different than subscribers know it right now.
Right now, though, things are looking good for these other shows with Bruce Wayne headed to the confirmed Titans Season 2, and Doom Patrol seeming on a path towards renewal. Is that a sure thing anymore though? Is anything a sure thing with DC Universe following this Swamp Thing news?
Swamp Thing is still rolling at DC Universe, so subscribers can check out Season 1 and the upcoming series finale in the coming weeks. Stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on superhero shows, and other updates in the world of television and movies.