Swamp Thing has risen from the muck of what was DC Universe to find new life on The CW, where its "debut" ratings showed Swamp Thing could be a very big thing. The show stars Derek Mears in the title role, and while he may not be the most familiar face, chances are fans have seen much of Mears' filmography. After starting his career as a stuntman (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a few Pirates of the Caribbean movies), Mears has gone on to act—sometimes obscured by makeup and costume, other times with his distinctive face and bald head clearly visible—in Twin Peaks, Alita: Battle Angel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sleepy Hollow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and so many more. Perhaps his most prominent leading role was Jason Voorhees in 2009's Friday the 13th reboot. On Swamp Thing, Mears stars with Crystal Reed, Virginia Madsen, and Andy Bean.
Based on the DC Comics character created in 1971, Swamp Thing first emerged into live-action as a 1982 movie directed by horror icon Wes Craven (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street), then a USA Network series from 1990-93, before returning to the swamp for the next 26 years. When DC Universe launched as a standalone streaming service, one of its first original projects was a new series showcasing the plant-based creature produced by James Wan (Aquaman, Furious 7). The show was well-received by critics and fans, but that wasn't enough to stop the collapse of DC Universe, which is now transitioning into a digital comic books-only service called DC Universe Infinite. As a result, original series Harley Quinn, Titans, Doom Patrol, and Young Justice all migrated to HBO Max. But Swamp Thing headed for broadcast TV, with the May announcement that its first season would air on CW to fill gaps in original programming caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Swamp Thing made its long-awaited CW premiere, and even though the first season had already been available via streaming a year ago, the first broadcast still brought in 1.1 million viewers, which is a big number for The CW. As Bloody Disgusting noted, Swamp Thing gave The CW its biggest Tuesday 8 pm viewership since the May premiere of fellow DC Universe fugitive Stargirl. Overall, the swamp's defender gave the network its strongest ratings in the 90-minute time period since February. What that means is that Swamp Thing is a hit.
So now fans want to know if this means there will be more Swamp Thing on The CW, where Swamp Thing had already been folded into the Arrowverse thanks to a Mears cameo in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" cross-over saga. The network's president Mark Pedowitz is already on record as not ruling out a new, second season produced for The CW, which gave hope to fans left hanging after the show's sudden DC Universe cancelation left several plot threads dangling. Originally, Swamp Thing was planned for at least three seasons on the soon-to-be-defunct streamer.
The surprisingly successful resurrection of Swamp Thing is a welcome development. The show brings a creepier vibe than the standard CW fare, and it broadens the Arrowverse in unexpected and darker directions. Most importantly, any show that gives genre fans consistent doses of Derek Mears into their TV diet is good news. The actor has been lurking in the shadows for far too long, and even though his face is barely recognizable in that elaborate costume, his signature acting style—which always brings an underlying sense of fun to whatever role he plays, no matter how twisted or scary—can't be missed.