Jessica Jones, Swamp Thing, and Lame Duck TV Shows
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love that there are–and wish that I could travel back to 1995 to tell myself we would eventually have–so many comic property based television programs that I can feel free to ignore half of them. The Gifted? Who cares? Legion? No interest. Runaways? Wait, did that actually happen? And so on with Cloaks and Daggers and What-Have-Yous. It’s ridiculous to me that comic book properties are as ubiquitous on television as sitcoms starring bumbling fat dudes with hot wives were in the 90’s and 2000’s. It was all I ever wanted as a kid! And now I’m so spoiled by it that I can just actively disregard them! I’m honestly kind of a brat!
That said, when it comes to Netflix’s Marvel properties or the DCUniverse streaming service, I haven’t missed a show yet. I have gobbled up everything those services have offered. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Punisher, Young Justice, Titans, and more… I have watched it all. Shows on other channels are negligible, but, to me, these have been must-views.
Still relatively new to each service are the third season of Jessica Jones and the first/only season of Swamp Thing, and both were put in the precarious position of having been canceled before they started (technically, Swampy was cancelled after the first episode aired, but it’s close, whatever! Bear with me for argument’s sake). Both seasons are going to air (JJ was released as one-shot binge-able content; Swamp Thing is coming in episodic chunks), but with the specter of their own irrelevance hanging over them.
And I have to admit… it’s killed my desire to watch either. If I hear one or both ends up being stand-out, I’ll go back and check it out, but it’s going to take some strong word of mouth to get my attention at this point. I watch precious little television as it is, and my interest level for tuning in to an irrelevant property is low. None of this is helped by the fact that Swamp Thing was never a book that interested me and Jessica Jones’ second season having been an abhorrent mess.
Maybe it makes me a bad fan, but it just feels hard to engage, especially when Luke Cage and Iron Fist both had second seasons that were left dangling on intriguing finales. If I’m never going to see the resolution to Luke Cage becoming the crime lord of Harlem, what do I care about where Jessica is going to end up in her third outing? I know it will never go anywhere further, and that’s frustrating.
As mystifying as Netflix’s decision to can all of its Marvel shows was at the times they were individually announced, DCUniverse’s cancellation of Swamp Thing after the first episode is even more bizarre. Even if the executives had made up their minds and no amount of critical praise or viewership was going to matter, to announce it when they did feels inherently self-destructive. As when there were rumors that Netflix pulled the plug on their Marvel universe because Disney wanted them off of a service they don’t control, there has also been word that Warner Brothers wants to create a new service for all of their properties and fold the DCUniverse into that. I fail to understand how these plans would stop a Swamp Thing show from continuing on, though. Worst case scenario, wouldn’t it just resume on said new site?
I’ll also be honest and say that the idea of a WB-centric streaming service appeals to me about as much as a service that sends hungry mosquitoes straight to my door. The DCUniverse service has a super duper price point and is comic book centric, giving me access to OH MY GOD SO MANY great books online. A WB streaming service will give me… maybe reruns of Blue Collar TV? I have no idea, really. But it will probably cost more and not have comic books! Instead, it might have Jeff Foxworthy! Travesties all over the place, is what I’m saying.
Regardless of what the future holds for DCUniverse, it apparently doesn’t hold a second season of Swamp Thing… unless you are a bit conspiratorial, and you believe they canceled Swamp Thing just so in the event that it is a big hit, they can revive it and look like benevolent heroes (I have to admit… this has crossed my mind). What this means for the announced Stargirl show in 2020 is up in the air, and I’m much more excited for that program than I was for Abby Arcane and her moss-covered chum. I guess all I can do at this point is hope that not only do they not take Courtney Whitmore’s knees off at the starting line, but that they also follow through with airing it at all.
It’s possible this is all ado about nothing. Vincent D’Onofrio has said the cast of Daredevil would be excited to return for a 4th season whether it’s picked up by Hulu or Disney’s upcoming service, so the Marvel shows may make landfall elsewhere after their non-compete clause with Netflix is up. And again, it’s possible an eventual WB service saves Swamp Thing and the rest of the DCUniverse shows. But for now, we’ve just got two new shows airing amidst the sinking of their own ships, and yeah… I can’t bring myself to watch that.