Wednesday, April 4, 2018


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...

Anton Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman) is once again set upon by the visions, wraiths, spirits and wrathful whatever-elses of those he has wronged in the past. This has been such a consistent theme in the show that it is literally the plot of the second episode I covered ("Falco," in which the sins committed against German pop star Falco by the wretched Anton Arcane come back to haunt him).

In recent episodes, it seems to have been picking up pace; LaRoche used hypno-ghost powers to harass Arcane, DuChamp's children came after him, the spirit of Linda Holland and the daughter of Sunderland -- they've all had a shot to get their own back at Arcane. So now it's time for the ghost of General Sunderland to exercise his wrath, which absolutely sounds like the opening line to a Confederate marching song.

"Hey YouTubers, what's up? Today I'm unboxing the September Lootcrate ..."
Strange lights congregate in the middle of the swamp, straight original-series-Star-Trek style. Flashlights shined into the camera lens and stuff, old school special effects. Between the dry ice and the unwisely-low-to-the-ground camera angle of the opening shot which thereby revealed all the lightning rigs, I appreciated it.

Spiritual forces emerge in the swamp, and Swamp Thing can only stand there and watch, killing time on this show which -- at 22 minutes per episode with a 90-second intro segment -- it shouldn't need to do it. BUT OH LORD DO THEY. Later on, we'll witness the entirety of Arcane calmly getting into his SUV, backing out of his parking spot, and driving away sparing not one single frame. Time is hardly of the essence.

But at least there's these guys.
Back at Arcane's lab, the insidious doctor, his assistant Graham (Kevin Quigley) and some nearly-pantsless lady lab assistants are attempting to unveil the secrets of human immortality! That is until the flashlights start dancing around, and the whole thing goes up in a blast.

Arcane blames the technicians, but Graham suspects POLTERGEISTS! Speaking of Graham, I know I've known this since the beginning, but he really leaned into it this episode -- Graham, despite sounding and looking like a 90s standup comic doing shit Jack Nicholson impressions, is actually doing the fawning, nasal intonations of an "Igor" type. I know I knew this, but I always default to referring to it as a Jack Nicholson impression. He really lays on the Igor in this one, though.

It stands for The Arcane, The

Tantalized by the idea of poltergeists -- which are specifically calling his name, and identifying himself as Sunderland -- Arcane takes to the swamp with some totally fake-looking Ghostbusters equipment. There, Swamp Thing slowly and calmly tries to talk him out of doing ... something. They have a long, half-heartedly antagonistic conversation, and then they slowly fuck off, eating up more spare film. I wonder if anything ever ended up on the cutting room floor.

Arcane faces off against the ghost of Sunderland inside the tugboat or whatever it is (I yam not a sailor man) that they blow up during the Universal Studios water stunt show, and which they've blown up on this show two or three times before. I bet I know how this ends.

Sunderland calls some supernatural assistants to his side, all three of whom are undoubtedly dressed from the leftover Halloween wardrobe from the theme park. You know, I've never been to Universal Studios. I should go and see if I can find Jim.

Sunderland possesses some remarkable powers, shooting big bolts of fire at Swamp Thing and leaving him hollowed out and blown apart like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Once he collects himself, Swamp Thing figures out that fire is actually the poltergeists' weakness. It makes sense -- after all, I could set someone on fire, but I'd hate it if they went and did it to me. The math checks out.

He blowed the fuck apart.
Arcane sends an explosive fireball through the tugboat and we cut outside for the appropriate stock footage. Everyone's dead except Swamp Thing and, after fifteen tense seconds before his discovery, Arcane. 

All of this being said, Chapman and Durock got a couple cute lines to throw at each other at the end. I give this eight out of nothing in particular, inasmuch as I have never rated this program before and don't intend to start now...


1 comment:

John said...

That first screen cap is absolutely perfect.

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