Swamp Thing TV Series FAQ Pt. 2
6.1. WHO OWNS THE RIGHTS TO SWAMP THING?
The name "Swamp Thing" is owned by Batfilms (Ben Melniker and Michael E. Uslan) in New York. The TV show itself was bought by MCA/Universal.
6.2. WHY WAS THE SERIES STOPPED SHORT OF IT'S COMMITTED NO. OF EPISODES; AND WHO MADE THE DECISION?
The series was committed to 100 episodes and Dick Durock signed for six seasons. The ratings were reasonable, and at one point it was USA's top rated show; however, it was decided to stop at 72 episodes/3 seasons, despite the production team being ready to make a new series. It's not known to the writers of this FAQ who made this decision, or whether it was the USA Network or MCA/Universal who called a halt. It is known that the series wasn't cancelled per se (i.e. ordered to be stopped). It was more a case of it simply not being continued with. It is believed that the series was commissioned as a 'package', for the purpose of reruns, and it might simply have been that further episodes weren't deemed necessary as the profit was already made from the existing show, without further outlay for new episodes. This still doesn't explain the change of plans between pre-1st season, and the end of 3rd. Perhaps there had been a change of executives -- and thus ideas -- at MCA? Perhaps there were other factors at work? It's all supposition at them moment. If anyone has any information on this, please let us know.
6.3. ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR MORE EPISODES?
This is up in the air at the moment. BBK has expressed interest in reviving the series, and appear to be going through some official channels with regard to this; but there are certain legal considerations (these are unknown) to be overcome. There are several rumours suggesting that there is the strong possibility of revival, but these are as yet unsubstantiated officially. Nothing has happened so far, to our knowledge, but we do know for certain that BBK *DO* want to make another series, so get writing in and give your support (see next section) The Network need to know that there is interest in a new series (USA Network/MCA-Universal). Swamp Thing IS gaining in popularity, and the Sci Fi Channel has stated that they do get a lot of mail about it, but more still needs to be done. Don't put it off and hope someone else will write. Each and every letter counts. If this can be done, there IS a chance.
6.4. WHO DO WE CONTACT TO SUPPORT A REVIVAL?
There are several people to contact. Tell them how much you enjoy the series, and wish to see it continued; preferably with original cast and characters, & preferences (assuming that's what you want, that is.) Don't use angry wording or threats. Keep it as simple as possible, while still putting across all the points you want to make. Also, an argument for the financial viability of the series is always likely to be listened to more than anything else. Be polite and even if using an email address or fax no.; regular snail mail is taken much more seriously. Of the following list of individual people, Barbara Fisher, Ned Nalle, Ken Solomon, Kay Koplovitz and Barry Schulman are probably the best to write to first. A little friendly pressure on Sci Fi Channel to give the series more publicity and consider new programs wouldnt be out of order and would certainly help.
USA Network/Sci Fi Channel, Programming Department, 8th floor, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 (it would be best to write to both of these separately, despite them being the same company.)
Specifically: Kay Koplovitz, C.E.O of USA Network and Barry Schulman, Vice President of Programming at Sci Fi Channel
(until we get more details, simply c/o the general address for USA Networks)
email@example.com (for comments on the UK scheduling)
Then contact the following people at MCA/Universal:
President of MCA Television Entertainment (MTE)
70 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Executive vice president of Universal Television
70 Universal City Plaza
Universal city, CA 91608
President Universal Television
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City CA 91608
Greg Meidel, chairman of MCA TV group
70 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Louis Feola, president of MCA home video
70 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
(to try and get the uncut episodes released on video)
president, pay TV & TV business development
VP, MCA home entertainment group
70 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
MCA/ Universal: 70 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
1000 Universal Studios plaza, Orlando, FL 32819 Tel: 407 363 8400
And then we can try these guys:
Batfilm productions inc. 123 W.44th Street, Suite 10-K, New York, NY 10036, (Benjamin Melniker & Michael Uslan),
Other ideas would be to write to various SF and media magazines such as Starlog, Starburst, Cult Times, TV Zone, Spectrum, SFX, Dreamwatch, Sci Fi Entertainment etc. etc., and try to get them to print articles on the series and give it publicity. A campaign can only work with viewers, and a series needs publicity to help that. If Swampy is going to be revived, it needs better ratings on Sci Fi Channel and a lot of letters to MCA/USA.
On a last note, recent news has indicated that there has been some sort of buyout of Universal assets -- including USA Networks and Sci Fi Channel -- by the Home Shopping Network. How this will affect the Sci Fi Channel, or any possible revival (as well as re-run showing) is unknown. Any information on this would be most welcome. Either way, a letter to HSN wouldnt go amiss. Ill give contact details of who and where as soon as I find out anything.
7.0. OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTARY
No flames for this next section please (although polite criticisms and comments are always welcome :)) These are, when all's said and done, just personal opinions and not absolute fact. Also, it's best to give a *moderate spoiler alert* for many of these! These episodes are not in any particular order of preference:
7.1. SO WHICH EPISODES WERE AMONGST THE BEST OF THE BUNCH?
A JURY OF HIS FEARS:
A complete silly send up episode from start to finish and truly hilarious. Full of in jokes and throwaways. Great fun! For all Arcane's crimes against humanity, it's his hairstyle that gets him condemned! It's technically a clip show, but there's only a few short flashback scenes and the links are both entertaining and intrinsic to the story. There's far more new material than old footage though. Highlights: Impossible to individualise. The whole episode is a highlight.
WALK A MILE IN MY SHOOTS:
Another fun episode. Worth it just for the sight of Alec, in Arcane's body, criticising his own hairstyle, playing with a fruit bowl and sniffing Tressa, before feverishly porking out on the entire algae contents of a fishtank! Other highlights are Graham strapped to a chair with his mouth taped up and Arcane telling him to 'shut up' before storming off and leaving the poor sod there. And definitely not forgetting the scene where Mark Lindsay Chapman has to play Alec Holland impersonating Anton Arcane (in exaggerated British accent), telling General Sunderland he's a senile, impotent old twit and to 'buzz off'.
DEAD AND MARRIED:
A nice little ghost story not dissimilar to the old TV and movie series: "Topper". Lots of nice dialogue and interplay with good guest performances from Sheila Wills and Philip Michael Thomas (from Miami Vice) as the bickering spirit duo. Highlight is probably Will being romantically attacked on the front seat of a car while being watched by the two helplessly voyeuristic ghosts! Not to mention Alec's 'don't drink & drive' lesson. A episode that combines excellent humour with a touch of poignancy; with a lovely ironic twist to it. Very well written and a definite highlight to the series (see! It is possible for me to like a non-Arcane ep.)
[I really hate Dead and Married---Steve]
A good episode that manages to mix both humour and tragedy. Some very good interplay between Alec and Arcane. Includes Alec making Arcane strip off and bathe before he feeds him a stimulant plant. Highlight is Arcane starting out hopelessly depressed and gradually getting higher and higher on the effects of the drugs Alec's given him.
LESSER OF TWO EVILS:
A completely over the top episode. Tyne Daly probably gives the campest, most outrageous performance of her life as Carla Jeffries. She manages to make Arcane look sane and humble!! Highlights are poor old Arcane as an unshaven, homeless down and out trying to drain the last dregs of alcohol out of the bottle in his brown paper bag; and Graham looking at the old cave, chained up corpses and torture equipment, and reminiscing on the 'happy memories' he shared here with Arcane (said as he puts himself onto a rack.) One has to wonder about Graham!! One really does....
A MOST BITTER PILL:
An unusual episode in that it's almost a complete monologue from start to finish by Arcane. It manages to combine humour and pathos; and delves quite deeply into Arcane's psyche, background and motives, revealing him to be a somewhat tragic and pathetic figure rather than his more usual villainous self.
I always worry about any episode title with the word 'brain' in it (shuddering at memories of 'Spock's Brain'), but Mirador's Brain doesn't disappoint. Not a very realistic look at the serious subject of Schizophrenia, but forgivable since the episode never intends itself to be taken seriously. Highlights are undoubtedly Arcane rapidly turning nutty as a fruit loop before going on a crazed, assault rifle toting rampage in a bid to get somebody to bump him off!
Stella's introductory episode as Arcane's assistant in Graham's place during his science conference. A very funny episode, despite the fact that it covers the more serious story arc concerning Linda's death. Highlights belong to Stella as she's suffering the effects of Arcane's pollen experiment and unable to stop sneezing. First she keeps using Arcane as a handkerchief. It later becomes more problematic when she, Arcane and the other scientists are chained to a motion sensing bomb.
[this is a great show---steve]
HIDE IN THE NIGHT:
Technically, this very silly episode could easily come in the bottom of the barrel' section. It's a mutant episode and way over the top. However, it's silliness is endearing rather than annoying. Highlights are numerous: Graham becoming romantic and saccharinely sentimental over Stella; Arcane running through the swamp in full mutant prostheses howling at the moon and returning with 'dinner' (the wet end of some unidentified kill); Graham finally getting mad, snapping and threatening to kill Arcane. To be fair to the make-up guys, Arcane's mutant prostheses were better done than usual and he did come across as dangerous, not just silly. Another mystery of the series is revealed in this episode: Why does Graham keep a framed photo of Arcane on his desk?? (Still wondering about you, Graham!)
THE BURNING TIMES:
I'm really only including this in the highlights section because of what the episode attempts to do. Unfortunately, the writing, directing and truly awful acting of the lead guest star did not do this justice. It was refreshing to see a subject such as Witchcraft treated seriously and researched well, rather than just wrongly and sensationally lumped in with black magic and devil worship. This episode tried to put that straight, portraying witchcraft as a healing, nature religion which is most refreshing to see. Unfortunately, the lead guest actress turned what should have been a strong, empathic character into an annoying, whining wimp and spoiled much of the high ideals set by the writer (if the episode is judged on her performance, this would be well into the 'bottom of the barrel' section). Pity the production standards couldn't keep up with the ideals, but still....it was a worthy attempt to cover a maligned subject in a more well researched light than the usual incorrect sensationalism.
SPECTER OF DEATH:
General Sunderland does his best to ensure that Arcane gets to join him in the hereafter. Nothing especially marks it in the highlight category, but it's definitely Anton Arcane at his most arrogant, self-centred, sniveling best form.
YO HO HO:
Arcane doing what Arcane does best: terrorising little children, torturing innocent women, lying, bullying....even threatening Graham! i.e. he's really at his most sadistic here. Some good cynical humour: Where else but Houma could one buy some of Arcane's fiendish inventions in a yard sale!? Little Joshua never comes across as annoying, which is nice to see; and there's a jolly good swashbuckling swordfight at the end. All in all, a lovely, fun episode.
THE DEATH OF DR. ARCANE:
An early episode, but the characterisation being more reminiscent of the later ones. The beginnings of Arcane's cynical humour and his more detante sort of relationship with Alec is established here. The scene between them in the morgue has some lovely interplay. It goes against type but Oboe even started to be developed here, albeit slightly. He seemed to be the only one with the intelligence and foresight to wonder what Arcane was even doing out in the swamp, rather than just taking his death unquestioningly. If you can ignore the fact that the mutant monster is incredibly silly (not to mention the assumption that something that small could possibly ravage an entire swamp), this episode is definitely one of the better ones.
This starts out as a spoof when Arcane becomes nice. However, the tone is surprisingly and rapidly changed and becomes very poignant and tragic. A far deeper episode than it could have been and quite refreshing. Humorous highlights are Arcane giving money away and helping children. Serious highlights are the tragedy that Arcane knows he'll probably go back to being how he was, not wanting to, but still risks everything to save Alec.
A good episode, although far too many ambiguities and plot ideas that simply don't hold up and make sense when looked at carefully. However, I'd put it in the highlight category for a few scenes within; notably Graham sulking at Arcane, before getting invited to his quarters for a make-up-and-be-friends drink. The sight of Graham getting drunk, hugging Arcane, crying and telling him he loves him (with 'like a father' added on as an obvious addendum to avoid any possible offense by some people) is worth everything.
AN EYE FOR AN EYE:
Not dissimilar to Specter of Death in that there isn't any individual moments to set it apart; but nonetheless remains one of the best Anton Arcane episodes; showing all his vile characteristics in all their glory; although Arcane and Graham taking it in turns to abandon the other to the Panther; and Arcane's having to seek absolution at the end are rather nice scenes.
[personally this to me was a lesser episode, redeemed only by Arcane's confession at the end --- Steve]
Arcane's venture into both the emerald trade and serious romance. A lot of nice humour but also one or two serious touches. Refreshing to see Arcane showing some human touches in actually caring genuinely about Vanessa (fortunately, not made too much of a habit in the series, but a nice change on rare occasions, adding depth to the character.) Highlights belong to Graham. First entering Arcane's bedroom in a case of post-coitus interruptus, and proceeding to criticise Vanessa and her intentions for Arcane in an over protective stance (jealous, Graham?).....and Arcane letting him!! Later followed by Graham moping about the lab feeling left out and wanting to hang around.
HEART OF THE MANTIS:
A wonderful and affectionate play on Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Telltale Heart'. Arcane's finally being maligned for something he hasn't done (for once), and is a potential victim himself. Of course, nobody believes him. It's a nice running joke throughout the episode. Highlights are Arcane attempting to pick a lock and break into a house and being constantly interrupted, first by a righteously vengeful Alec; then by Louise, the occupant of the house who Arcane didn't know was there; Arcane's constant protestations of innocence; Will's final revelation of the heart monitor beeping noise followed by Arcane laughing ironically, with Alec coming in at just the wrong moment and assuming that Arcane's rolling about in hysterical laughter is over the deaths that have been caused. And not to mention Arcane getting ready for his date, with Graham again getting critical and disapproving; getting in a sly dig at the intensity of Arcane's cologne.
THAT'S A WRAP:
A truly superb episode only slightly behind Jury of His Fears in the hilarity stakes. It had the feel of a final farewell party for the series. Full of over the top dramatic, theatrical clichés: pretentious, troublesome actors, even more pretentious directors; over the top stereotyped producers; murder mysteries, phantom script writers, Agatha Christie style denouements; tons of in jokes and sentimental throwaways to previous episodes in the series; and a lovely twist in the finale. Highlights, like in Jury are too numerous to name individually. The whole episode is one. One serious and poignant touch at the end with Graham is in sharp relief to the rest of the episode, and works very well.
A fun episode where we find that Sunderland has been jerking Arcane around all this time. We get to see beautiful Heather Thomas as Tatania doing some nice dance moves. We see how sadistic Arcane can really be. And finally we see Arcane grovelling at Swamp Thing's feet. What more can you ask. A great episode that ties up a lot of continuity.
[A couple of the melodramatic bits get a little too overdone, but yes, most of it is great fun & very well done. Loved the grovelling too :) That was genuinely very well acted and directed ---Fran]
THE LIVING IMAGE:
The show that really got the ball rolling. Arcane is established firmly, and the origin of Swamp Thing is recounted. A nice episode to review frequently.
[Yes, a much better 'Pilot' episode than 'Emerald Heart' was (at least in terms of characterisation)--- Fran]
TREMORS OF THE HEART:
It would be easy to put this episode in the 'bottom of the barrel' section, despite it being highly entertaining, simply because so much of the dialogue is so over the top. Be warned! This episode contains some of the most cringeworthy dialogue imaginable. I dare anyone to keep a straight face at Arcane's romantic double entendres and chat-up set pieces; let alone the appalling technobabble that would put an episode of Start Trek: Voyager to shame! Okay, then. If that's the case, why is this episode in the 'best' section?
Simple: All this 'appalling' dialogue was wholly deliberate, and the entire episode written as a parody, and because it laughs at itself, it all comes across as extremely endearing rather than annoying. It adds a great charm to the episode, which succeeds greatly in its intent. There are also genuinely touching moments, and some classic straight good one-liners amongst the deliberately bad lines as well. Sienna makes a great foil for Arcane, finally giving us a strong female opposite for him; standing up to the good doctor and giving as good as she gets! (This is not a put down for Tressa. Sienna fulfilled a different kind of role.) "Watch your Magma Pulse Modulator, Sienna... He's reaching into his trouser pocket for his Dark Particle Spectrum Key!!!!
7.2. AND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL?
SMOKE AND MIRRORS:
I have no hesitation in naming this episode as my all time least favourite. Whereas a few were too silly, embarrassingly bad; most were at least entertaining. However, this episode is the only one that outrightly makes me irritated and annoyed. Preaching, cliched, and obvious are just three adjectives to describe it, but without the redeeming features of the other preachy ones. An entire plot centering on a rock star being responsible because two teenagers committed suicide due to the lyrics of his song. Am I the only one to think that Nathan Stone *wasn't* responsible, and that if two jerks decide to top themselves then *they* are the only ones responsible, not a singer they've never even met? It was good that the series tackled the occasional serious subject....but this wasn't it! I'm not especially a fan of heavy metal music, but I can see someone who is being highly offended by this episode and the way they are being stereotyped and portrayed. I find it difficult to believe that two kids would just kill themselves over a song without some other major cause; and this simply wasn't dealt with in any great detail. Just blame the singer! I'm sorry to have to slate an episode by Tom Blomquist, especially after all his positive input to the series (improved changes to the third season, not to mention his having written many of the best episodes), but this episode, quite simply, sucked!
SPIRIT OF THE SWAMP:
This probably does for Vodoun ('Voodoo', although that term is considered derogatory to those practicing this religion) what Smoke and Mirrors did for rock music. Not being a Vodoun practitioner I can't say for certain, but this episode is so silly I would imagine that any self respecting practitioner would be diving under the sofa out of embarrassment! (That or making a poppet/fetish of the writer and director, complete with the appropriate pins!) It does have it's moments and some very nice touches, though; and the dialoguic posturing and verbal sparring as Duchamp and Arcane battle for alpha male bad guy supremacy is pretty amusing. Not a good episode, but not in the same horrendous league as Smoke and Mirrors. Spirit of the Swamp is at least entertaining and fun (despite my putting it here, it is one I enjoy greatly and watch often)
Get plenty of coffee ready. This one's just plain boring, I'm afraid. Not a bad idea for a plot, I'm just sure it have been done in a more interesting and entertaining way. At least Tressa gets to do something useful other than just scream and be rescued (a fault the early episodes suffered from a lot, although this changed dramatically in the third season. Thank you Tom Blomquist and Steve Sears!) I suppose you might like this episode if your idea of entertainment is watching Tressa getting chased by a fly and seeing Jim lying in a hospital bed. Like I said, get the coffee...and make it real strong!
Same as for Natural Enemy. Just plain old boring. Not especially bad, but nothing to make you sit up and notice it. The ending seemed very rushed and abrupt as well, although the final line did have a nice little irony.
22 mins of very little other than Jim and his attempts to bond and make friends. *Yawn*!! I'm sorry, but the episodes that centred on Jim tended to have a better effect on me than a good old Mogadon! The end part with the rabbit was quite nicely done, and fairly moving; although I wish someone would explain to me why a house full of people have just seen a shot bunny; dead as a dead thing, come back to life... and nobody even questions this? Me, sure I'd be happy, but I wouldn't want to rest until I'd found out how this happened. Tressa seems to accept an awful lot of things at face value. Not the most realistic of attitudes.
Its a shame to have to put this one in the 'bottom of the barrel' section. It isn't boring and even has an excellent plot premise. Something different and a variation on the usual type of theme: The idea that instead of a man being turned into an animal, the reverse is done, making a man out of a bird. Nice idea. The acting was perfectly adequate as well, with Peter Mark Richman, a good experienced character actor, as 'Falco'. The failure wasn't his fault; nor completely that of the writer. I'm afraid this episode stank because of the direction. Any trace of subtlety and understatement (a good tool in achieving greater poignancy) is lost by the clumsy and obvious direction. Dramatic revelations are overstated; and instead of being surprising or moving (as they should have been), just come across as plain ludicrous. The ending was so conveniently contrived as well; it just wants to make you scream 'cliché!' at the screen. Pity really. With a little more thought it could have been an excellent episode.
NIGHT OF THE DYING:
What was said about 'Spirit of the Swamp' applies pretty much to this, it's sequel. It's very, very silly. The script isn't at fault here. Tom Blomquist has written a nice plot, and there seems to be a bit of research. There is also an excellent serious scene between Graham and Duchamp which reveals a lot of Graham's motivations. Possibly one of his best scenes of the entire series. Acting is also perfectly adequate (if somewhat 'enthusiastic' on Mr. Chapman's part.) Nope. I'm afraid the direction made the possession scenes just that bit too much over the top. Arcane's facial contortions, and writhing and frothing some two feet above the bed wouldn't have been out of place in 'The Exorcist'. The Vodoun ritual dancing is also embarrassingly laughable (Duchamp's that is, not his sister and company). It is a fun episode though; and a good vehicle for Graham. The hallucinatory scenes were nicely done. A little less of the campy writhing about etc. and this episode would definitely NOT be in this section.
CHILDREN OF THE FOOL:
Boring, boring, boring!! Wills cerebral capacity seems to have taken a nosedive here. Definitely boring....and forgettable....Sorry, what was I saying?
Another pretty boring one. Arcane greatly redeems the scenes that he's in (said even without my obvious bias), but they are short and few, and not enough to save the episode. It's a conservation episode, which is applaudable; but again overstated, making it lose impact. There is some very cliched parental bonding (or should that be anti-bonding) scenes. Pretty forgettable really.
RITES OF PASSAGE:
Obvious and predictable put this episode in this section. It is a reasonable Alec and Will episode though, with good dialogue between the two somewhat redeeming it. To be fair, the dialogue and direction are fine throughout, with some nice touches. It's the plotline itself that is pretty nondescript.
For me, it's a close race, but this just beats 'Night of the Dying' for title of 'most embarrassing' episode. It suffers from Falco syndrome in that the dramatic revelations are way overstated and come across as silly instead of poignant. Its conservation parallel on our Earth is again applaudable, but done in too ludicrous and contrived a fashion. It's also very predictable. Something of a waste of a fine guest actor.
Ooops! I was talking about silly and forgot this episode. How careless of me! It only just fits into this section though, because it is highly entertaining. David Ackroyd gives another good performance as Ian James. This is one of the extremely rare episodes that suffer from bad acting by Mark Lindsay Chapman. Doesn't happen often, but this is one of them. To be fair, it's only the latter few scenes where he gets possessed where the acting goes down the pan (he's well up to par with the rest of it). Perhaps it's the direction, but he's way too melodramatically over the top, even for Arcane. Mind you, to be fair, I doubt Lawrence Olivier could have saved the lines he was given to say in the possession scenes. Some obvious old stock footage of a plane in the opening scene, and some cringeworthy dialogue and direction towards the end which spoiled an otherwise good episode.
EYE OF THE STORM:
Nothing remarkably bad about it; just boring and not very memorable. The only thing of any note that it contains is that it resolves the Jim situation; annoyingly in only a couple of throwaway sentences. Ever felt like you'd been cheated out of a plot that should have been an episode?
BROTHERLY LOVE: See 'Eye of the Storm' (the first comment, that is)
HEART OF STONE:
Swampy's venture into Greek Mythology, which doesn't get off to a very good start when one of the Greek Gods isn't even given the correct name. Minerva was the ROMAN Goddess. Athene was the Greek version. OK, pedantic attention to detail aside, it's a very silly episode. Arcane's self analysis of the process as he's being turned into a statue is way too over the top.... entertaining though, in all fairness. Probably deliberately silly in parts, and something of a fun episode. A serious ending, though and done reasonably well. Mind you, try not to stare too hard at Zeus' *really* false beard. It's hard, I know. The eyes keep getting drawn to it. Nobody deserves a false beard that bad!
7.3. MOST OVERDONE CLICHÉS.
Alec constantly watching people from the bushes. I'll swear this guy's a voyeur! When Arcane finally utters the line "They put people in prison for that" to him, one felt like applauding that it had finally been noticed. It pretty much sums up what Alec's been doing for the vast majority of the series.
Most of the time during the first series (and a little bit of the second), Tressa didn't get much to do other than be a perpetual screaming victim....except when she was called on to worry about Jim. She is mentioned as being independent and strong; but the plots sure didnt demonstrate that. Fortunately, this didn't last long and she soon developed a much better character (see 'nicely avoided clichés' section.)
Graham as the bumbling assistant. At least initially you wonder why Arcane doesn't just blow this guy away or turn him into a mutant if he feels hes so useless. He does this to other useless employees [but later the reasons seem fairly obvious!]
Swamp Thing's philosophical muttering. What is he? The Greek Chorus? The Voice of God? C'mon Alec climb out of your Ivory Tower. This man's lived in the swamp so long he needs to get a life....or at least some prozac!
Tressa never suspecting anything about Swamp Thing. Loads of unexplained incidents happen all around her *Come to Houma: Home of the X-files!* The guy was in her house, for pity's sake!! I can't imagine she could ignore the mess or the smell of a swamp creature. "Jim, what have you been in now?!?!?!?!" Nothing, Mom...just playing in the septic tank again! "OK, Honey!"
Dr. Arcane: Geneticist. Dr. Arcane: Plastic Surgeon. Dr. Arcane: Nuclear Physicist. Dr. Arcane: Surgeon and General Practitioner. Dr. Arcane: Coroner. Dr. Arcane: Horticulturist. Dr. Arcane: Cyberneticist. Dr. Arcane: Biologist. Dr. Arcane: Biochemist. Dr. Arcane: Parapsychologist. Dr. Arcane: Virologist. Dr. Arcane: Neurologist. Dr. Arcane: Archaeologist, . What next? Dr. Arcane, Gynecologist? (Although it could have been worse: Dr. Arcane: Proctologist just doesn't bear thinking about!) Just how much does this guy know? How many years did he spend in school? He's not that old. What does he do? Read Popular Science while he sits on the toilet? [Nah, I'm betting it's 'The National Enquirer'....Oh, and let's not forget the time he gets to fit in being Arcane the Occultist, Arcane the Lecher, and Arcane the Martial Artist! --- Fran]
[Hey, I've just noticed that most of these clichés, while obvious and more than valid, still make for the best viewing --- Fran]
7.4. NICELY AVOIDED CLICHÉS
When Tressa finally becomes a more independent and rounded out character (starting nicely in the second season and continuing in that vein in the third), very often she's the one to come to Alec's rescue rather than the other way round.
Swamp Thing as a monster show. The series steered clear of the "mutant of the week" syndrome, a trap it could have easily fallen into. In fact, except for the first few episodes, there were no real monsters other than Swamp Thing himself. This is in strong contrast to the two movies which feature Swamp Thing battling various mutants. Even in the early mutant episodes, they are usually incidental to the plot, and not used in a primarily combative way. In fact, out of the entire series, only one single episode centres on Swampy facing a mutant of power (in Hide in the Night), and since it was Arcane himself, and with a strong sub plot added, that can be accepted quite happily.
Graham was the bumbling assistant and foil in the second series, but the third rectified that. There are quite a few touches that show Graham to have far more cunning than this, and that being the buffoon is often an act, as well as him sometimes doing research and figuring out things that Arcane has missed (as in 'Tatania' and 'Specter of Death'.) In Hide in the Night he admitted to knowing a lot of stuff that Arcane kept from him. He now only comes across as a fool because Arcane treats him like one to make himself look better. He became depicted more as intelligent, but with very low self esteem, and highly unimaginative, if not downright nervous of the unknown, rather than a clumsy idiot. He also has very little, if any sense of humour. Notice that when not in Arcane's presence he loses the fumbling around approach and stammer. He acts like the bumbler in Arcane's presence because usually he's overawed by his mentor. Hes still Arcanes foil (and a damned good one), but at least now hes been given depth and character.
7.5. A FEW MEMORABLE LINES AND QUOTES FROM THE SERIES
Sheriff Andrews is just discussing what he and Arcane should do about Jim (from The Shipment)
(In an uncharacteristicly gentle and sentimental tone of voice)
"No! Im not going to mutate him.....Nor am I going to kill him."
"Well then, what are you going to do....adopt him?"
WILL (from The Shipment)
(having just seen Alec for the very first time)
"I thought the bugs were ugly! "
ALEC (from the Shipment)
(to Will, who hes just knocked to the floor and disarmed)
"Are you all right?"
"I dont know. I mean Im standing here talking to a giant plant. Does that sound like Im all right?"
"Depends what youre usually like "
ALEC (from The Shipment)
"Jim called me a monster??"
"Havent you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?"
"Jim didnt tell me you were such a wiseguy."
"Well, I guess he left out all the good stuff!"
ARCANE (from The Emerald Heart)
(Proudly showing his latest lover, Heather Jo, his cave for the first time)
"Do you know why Im showing you my cave?"
"Because youre a kicked out loony toon?"
ARCANE: (from 'Prometheus Parabola')
(on hearing Graham's grimly delivered report on some tainted water at his industrial complex)
"Don't be an idiot, Graham. Bottle it and sell it as next year's Beaujolais!.....It's a joke....heh....joking Graham?" (As Graham nods absently at the previous statement)
ALEC (from 'Romancing Arcane')
(after a plea from Arcane not to destroy the last of his emeralds because they are all he has left)
"You still have your vanity, your greed, and your distorted view of the world....Shall I go on?"
"No, that sums it up."
ARCANE (from 'Sonata')
(after spying on Ann Fisk and Alec together after she's tried to trick him)
"That lying, conniving, manipulative TART! She doesn't care about cell mutation or rejuvenation: She just wants to turn that asparagus sprig back into a man: And she wants me to help her do it! Bloody nerve!! I can't believe I didn't see through her plan......It's just like something I'd do."
ARCANE (from 'That's a Wrap')
(getting livid with the pretentious actor who's playing him)
"I don't speak with an authentic German accent.....BECAUSE I'M NOT A BLOODY GERMAN!!!......And where's his hair?"
ARCANE (from 'Judgement Day')
(after Alec's approached him, telling him he wants something from him)
"Oh, let me guess: My looks, my intelligence, my savoire faire; the list goes on..."
STELLA (from 'Hide in the Night')
(describing Arcane's apparent demise in the lab explosion)
"Boom. Splat....Splat....Anton Wallpaper!"
ARCANE (from 'Dark Side of the Mirror)
(Turning to his girlfriend as they stand outside a Houma restaurant where they've both witnessed his mutant viciously murdering the district attorney at his orders; police and ambulances everywhere and an embittered posse being formed. All in all, a very dramatic situation)
"Fancy a bit of cheesecake?"
ARCANE (from 'Tremors of the Heart')
(he's just been slapped in the face after throwing a tantrum at Sienna, his co-worker)
"I apologise, madam. I stand rebuked."
"Well don't stand rebuked. Stand about three feet to the left and hand me the Infra Red Beta Driver!"
SIENNA (from 'Tremors of the Heart')
(after being ogled lecherously by Arcane as she's bending over a console)
"You didn't hire me or my staff for our collective beauty, Doctor. We are engineers....not concubines!"
SIENNA (from 'Tremors of the Heart')
(Angry after getting very little help from Arcane on their project)
"Am I here to help build a machine to shake the earth....or a damned hotplate to warm your muffins!?"
ARCANE (from 'Tremors of the Heart')
(Ogling Sienna walking out of the room)
"Nice buns!.......What are you looking at!?" (Looking suddenly embarrassed at Graham, who's staring at Sienna
SIENNA (from 'Tremors of the Heart')
"Arcane, darling....let's make the earth move again."
ALEC (from 'Prometheus Parabola')
(In a *very* weary voice, on seeing Arcane helplessly drowning and crying for help, then pulling the man to safety)
"Urrrr.....I'll probably regret this!"
(To Alec, who's just entered his room where Arcane is holding Sienna's lifeless body)
"Don't you ever knock!!?"
GENERAL SUNDERLAND (from 'Tremors of the Heart'
(After hearing a problem at the complex during a conversation about his latest super weapon)
"Doctor, is there a problem?"
(unfairly blaming everything on Graham)
"Yes, General, there is. I have in my employ a first class twit with a second class education, who can't seem to walk in a straight line without falling over the furniture!"
ARCANE (from 'Mirador's Brain')
(Upon receiving the brain of his late great mentor, Carl Mirador)
"Look at it. Ten billion nerve cells comprising the supreme triumph of Man's evolution....The Human Brain!"
"It's....er...very nice, Sir."
DANA MIRADOR (from 'Mirador's Brain')
(Enquiring about Arcane when Will's warned her not to trust him)
"Why don't you like him?"
"That's a long story. Let's just say that we don't exchange Christmas cards."
GRAHAM (from 'Touch of Death')
(after returning to the grave and discovering that MacCyrus has been brought back to life after all and that the experiment was a success: A phenomenal leap in Arcanes research!)
"Lucky I came back for my shovel."
"Shut up, Graham!....You have the perspicacity of a boiled potato!"
SENTRY HUNTER (from 'Touch of Death')
"Don't you know it's dangerous in the Swamp at night?"
(Grabbing the hunter from behind & saving Will)
ARCANE (from 'Touch of Death')
(Gasping at Alec to himself; after losing his balance after being held over an acid pit by Alec and nearly falling in after being let go. He just manages to grab a railing and pull himself to safety)
"He has no sense of humour whatsoever!"
ARCANE (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
(Describing Carla Jeffries to Graham, who thinks Alec will stop her)
"She defeated me. She'll take care of the jolly green giant no trouble!"
ARCANE (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
(A drunken Arcane is now depressed and homeless, living on charity, when he's approached by Alec)
"Well, Holland. I was wondering when you'd finally show up to gloat over my demise."
"I get no pleasure from other people's suffering....even yours."
"Oh...really? Well, you missed out. It's one of the ten best things to do in Houma!"
GRAHAM (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
(Showing his new friend, Debbie through Arcane's old cave and torture chamber. Corpses are chained up in the background and unspeakable instruments of pain are all over)
"It's just that seeing all this brings back such wonderful memories. This is where he liked to relax." (Climbing onto a rack)
GRAHAM (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
"You're not thinking what I'm thinking?" (Climbing onto a rack and allowing himself to be strapped in, while laughing lecherously at Debbie)
"I doubt it!"
CARLA (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
"I'll have everything I want....Immortality!"
(Indicating Alec, who's held prisoner)
"Even if it means looking like him?"
"Even if it means looking like you!"
ARCANE (from 'Lesser of Two Evils')
(chained up to a wall when Debbie and two female assistants come to take him away)
"Hello, Ladies. What? All three of you? I don't know if I can manage it....But I'll give it a damned good try!"
ALEC (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
Arcane....Leave this place!"
"Haven't you got anything better to do than follow me around?"
ALEC (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(In a doom laden tone of voice to Arcane)
"We're going to die!"
"Huh! This can't be it! The end of an era. The end of all that is exceptional and special in the world....The end of ME!!"
ARCANE (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(to an almost comatose Alec)
"If people knew.... how difficult....How incredibly taxing being me is; I doubt if they'd be as envious as they are!"
ARCANE (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(rambling on in his monologue about himself to the comatose Alec, thinking that he'd have made a fine actor)
"Course I excel at everything that I do; but the dramatic arts hold a special lure for me: And I'm not talking about film or television....There's certainly no art to be found there!"
ARCANE (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(Talking to an imaginary God, trying to deduce whether he exists or not; explaining rationally all the supposed miracles of nature)
"Got you there, didn't I?.....You forgot you weren't dealing with any ordinary man. You're dealing with ANTON ARCANE! And I grant you that I am pretty bloody amazing. Mere chance could never account for my astonishing presence on the earth; so, therefore, I suppose you must exist!"
ARCANE (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(Talking to Alec's recently deceased corpse)
"You know I've been called a madman, Holland? How absurd!"
AN UNNAMED ILLUSORY PRIEST LOOKING LIKE ARCANE (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(Standing over a gravestone bearing the inscription "Anton Arcane: nobody cared", at which Arcane is kneeling in shock)
"We are gathered here to pay tribute to a truly great man. Anton Arcane was a genius of legendary proportion....Or so he claimed. A person who will be revered and remembered for all his wonderful contributions to the human experience. What are they? Well I don't know.....I'm just a paid employee here!"
ALEC (from 'A Most Bitter Pill')
(The danger's over, and Alec and Arcane are free again, after some serious groveling and promises on Arcane's part)
"You said a lot of thinks in your final moments, Arcane. Do you remember the promises you made if your life was spared?"
(Arcane remembers his groveling and looks acutely embarrassed)
"The Swamp heard you.....AND SO DID I."
(Arcane looks even more embarrassed, having thought Alec was dead at the time)
(Thinking for a moment and his look of embarrassment turning to a smug grin)
"Oh don't be absurd, Holland. You can't take the ramblings of an incoherent man seriously. You should know that by now!" (Patting Alec gently on the chest before leaving him)
7.6. SOME TRIVIA (A.K.A, 101 THINGS YOU DIDN'T REALLY NEED OR WANT TO KNOW, OR ASK)
WHAT POWERS DID ALEC USE DURING THE SERIES?
HEALING AND RESURRECTION:
Well, it wasn't so much resurrection as the ability to heal the body and open an energy channel between the spirit world and the material. In that way, a soul could pass from the living to the dead (how he released Mirador in 'Mirador's Brain') or Vice Versa; essentially bringing someone back from the dead. Alec could only open the channel and contact the soul, the decision to return or leave was with the recipient. In that way, resurrection sometimes failed (seen in 'Tatania')
For healing, his blood (well, more like sap) acts as a healing agent against injury and disease (as in 'Natural Enemy' and 'Patient Zero'). Also, he had the ability to heal with a laying on of hands (demonstrated in 'Easy Prey', and in several episodes when coupled with resurrection)
COMMUNING WITH THE DEAD:
Sort of an offshoot of resurrection: Since he could link to the spirit world, he could talk to the spirits of those departed (demonstrated in 'Handyman')
Provided he had sunlight and was near the swamp, he could regenerate any wounds and limbs; even after near total dismemberment and actual death. This made him virtually indestructible under the right conditions.
Almost partial mind reading; he had the ability to feel people's emotions and surface thoughts and would know if anyone was lying, upset etc...(seen in 'Patient Zero' when encountering Graham; and 'Linda' in 'Living Image') He could also make people remember repressed or deeper thoughts (as in 'Powers of Darkness' and 'Vendetta'). This isn't completely infallible since he failed to see Arcane's actual innocence in 'Heart of the Mantis' (or more likely, didn't want to see it)
THE ABILITY TO INDUCE ILLUSIONS:
He would often teach people lessons by sending them into 'Twilight Zone' style illusory scenarios; which appeared to the victims to be completely real.
He could will plants around him to grow, as well as producing plant offshoots of himself. An interesting variation of this was his ability to convert animal tissue into plant tissue. The Pilot episode 'Emerald Heart' saw him turning a man into a tree. This was wisely decided to be too powerful a weapon for him, so it was never used again.
Well, not so much actual control as the ability to communicate with the flora and ask it to assist him.
Same as the above plant description. The ability to commune with the fauna of the swamp.
THE ABILITY TO ALTER TIME:
In 'Brotherly Love' he uses an ability for the first (and only) time to slow time down. A bullet takes several seconds to cross a room, allowing time to save Tressa.
POWER OVER ELEMENTS/ENERGY:
Since he's an elemental creature, he cannot be harmed by elements such as fire, water etc.; and can even control/summon them to a degree, such as the fire in 'Spirit of the Swamp' and 'Specter of Death', lowering surrounding temperature in 'Future Tense', and controlling electrical flow to open a door in 'Romancing Arcane', as well as causing a fire to intensify, as in Heart of the Mantis
CONTROL OVER THE WEATHER: He had limited control over weather conditions, such as summoning rain, lightning etc. (Seen in "Brotherly Love", "Pay Day" and many others.)
He can study an area and receive images of events and conversations that happened there (seen in 'Judgement Day' and 'That's a Wrap')
He has the ability to detect the auras around any living thing (demonstrated in 'Chains of Forever')
I'm not sure this actually qualifies as a power, per se; but he is bloody strong! Well, it is a power really, since it is linked directly to the swamp.
HIS LINK TO THE SWAMP AND NATURE IN GENERAL:
As part of the swamp, he can sense and feel everything it feels. Also, in accordance with the Gaia theory, the swamp can sense other similar environments from around the world (as in 'Romancing Arcane')
REMOTE VEHICLE OPERATION (I kid you not!):
Shown in "Mirador's Brain" where he takes control of Graham's vehicle and causes it to crash through a barrier before bringing it to a stop. Technically, it could be explained by his energy control power, to extend to kinetic energy, but this is clutching at things for an explanation here :)
Note: All his powers (and weakness) are derived from his link to the swamp. If the swamp chooses, it can take any and all away from him at any time. Also note that several new powers were planned to be added for the second season, as well as losing the ability to resurrect, but these ideas were abandoned.
WHAT WERE HIS WEAKNESSES?:
LACK OF SUNLIGHT:
Well, he is part plant. Denying him sunlight loses him his ability to photosynthesise and he grows weaker. Eventually he would die.
USING HIS POWERS TOO MUCH:
This weakened him, and although not likely to kill, would leave him fairly helpless (see 'Mist Demeanour' and 'Love Lost') A curious reverse of this (in 'Sonata') showed that by not using any of his powers, his human side would eventually return. This weakness/concept was brought in for the third season.
HE CAN BE HARMED BY ANYTHING THAT WOULD CAUSE A PLANT DAMAGE
(Mind you, shoving a human into a barrel of chemical waste probably wouldn't do much for them either!)
Although part plant and possessing the wisdom of the swamp, he is still part human, and subject to human emotions. He sometimes gets overcome by depression or loneliness ('Love Lost' and 'Swamp of Dreams'), or can be lured or tricked by his human feelings ('Spirit of the Swamp')
This may not sound like a weakness, but considering how powerful Alec was, it was the only plot device that limited him on many occasions. Without that morality he wouldn't have had a fraction of the trouble from Arcane and Co. (Imagine the scene: Arcane embarks on his first ever scheme. Alec finds and kills him. All rather simple really, and end of series.). Also, since it's something that can be exploited, it can be classed as a weakness.
WHICH CHARACTERS KNOW ABOUT ALEC?:
Arcane knows about him for years before the series' events begin.
Jim discovers him in the first episode ('Emerald Heart')
Will Discovers him when he first arrives in Houma to look for Jim ('The Shipment')
Graham presumably knows about him from the beginning through Dr. Arcane; but first actually meets him in 'Birthmarks'.
Sheriff Andrews knows about him because of his dealings with Arcane.
Abigail is helped by him, and hears his voice; but never finds out who or what he is.
Ann Fisk suspects him at the end of 'Better Angels', and comes back to confirm this in 'Sonata'.
Tressa is remarkably unaware until 'Revelations' where she gets thrown into Alec and Arcane's war and learns absolutely everything.
Stella knows of his name and reputation as a Doctor, but no details, and gets to meet him in 'Hide in the Night' (and is somewhat startled by his appearance.)
Arcane's mutants and various accomplices and acquaintances know about him through Arcane
The majority of the guest characters get to meet him.
You know, come to think of it, for a guy that shuns humanity as an outcast; most of Houma and it's visitors seem to know of him!!
[Remember he is a voyeur, always hiding in the bushes--Steve]
WHY DID ALEC NEVER USE HIS ABILITY TO 'TREE' PEOPLE AGAIN?:
No doubt a production decision that it would make him too powerful. See under 'morality'
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH STELLA? IS SHE DEAD OR ALIVE? (See under continuity):
Steve Sears has very kindly come forward with the information on this, and if there's any ambiguity caused by "In the Beginning" mentioning her as alive (as well as logic suggesting Alec might have brought her back), the fault is purely due to the episode being shown out of order. Alas, barring any merciful producers changing the official line, R.I.P Stella, I'm afraid, as she is most definitely DEAD.
IN 'TREASURE', WHEN TRESSA IS SHOT BY CYNTHIA. IS SHE JUST WOUNDED OR ACTUALLY KILLED?:
It's very ambiguous in the episode. Wounding looks more likely. However, later, in the episode 'Revelations', Alec is heard on tape clearly stating that Tressa was dead.
SAME QUESTION, BUT WHEN WILL WAS STABBED IN 'LOVE LOST':
Again, it isn't completely clear, but it does look like he was actually dead; and serves to give a glimpse into how Alec's resurrection ability works by seeing it from the point of view of the person being revived.
JUST HOW MANY FIELDS OF SCIENCE AND LEARNING WAS ARCANE AN EXPERT IN?
GENETICS/BIOENGINEERING (throughout the series, but predominantly in the first season)
GENERAL MEDICINE (throughout the series)
PLASTIC SURGERY (in 'Living Image')
CHEMISTRY/BIOCHEMISTRY (throughout the series, but mainly in the third season)
PATHOLOGY (several autopsies in various episodes)
PHYSICS (PARTICULARLY NUCLEAR/PARTICLE PHYSICS) (in 'Silent Screams', 'walk a mile in my shoots', 'Prometheus Parabola', 'Cross-Fired', 'Easy Prey', 'Eye for an Eye', 'Heart of the Mantis', 'Mirador's Brain')
BOTANY/HORTICULTURE (in 'The Hunt' and 'In the Beginning')
PHYCOLOGY (in 'A Jury of his Fears')
CYBERNETICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (in 'The Watchers')
SEISMOLOGY/VULCANOLOGY (in 'Tremors of the Heart')
BIOLOGY/HUMAN BIOLOGY (throughout the series)
METAPHYSICS/OCCULT SCIENCES (in 'Spirit of the Swamp', 'Night of the Dying', 'A Most Bitter Pill', 'Hide in the Night' (combined with genetics), 'Chains of Forever')
VIROLOGY (in 'Changes', and 'Patient Zero')
CRYONICS (the whole of the Tatania arc stories)
NEUROLOGY ('Mirador's Brain' and the ensuing episodes involving his 'brain drain' technique)
ARCHAEOLOGY/EGYPTOLOGY (in 'The Curse')
PARAPSYCHOLOGY (in 'Specter of Death')
MYTHOLOGY (Greek certainly, in 'Heart of Stone')
MINERALOGY (in 'Romancing Arcane')
NARCOTICS (in 'Swamp of Dreams')
HYPNOSIS (in 'Grotesquery')
And not forgetting his less scientific fields of study as well:
FENCING (in 'Yo Ho Ho')
MARTIAL ARTS (sword kata with katana in 'Dark Side of the Mirror')
ACTING (in 'That's a Wrap & 'A Most Bitter Pill')
THEATRE (constantly quotes Shakespeare: Something Tatania loved when she was alive)
VODOUN (not an expert, but has clearly done his reading up on it; in 'Spirit of the Swamp' and 'Night of the Dying')
WAS THAT GRAHAM IN 'DEATH OF DR. ARCANE'?
No. All the new characters introduced in season 2 were Tom Greene's creations, and he's stated that Graham was a totally separate character from the thug in "Death of Dr. Arcane" (also played by Kevin Quigley)
SO, IS THERE REALLY A GRAHAM/ARCANE SUB-TEXT?
This ought to be addressed since it seems to crop up more than most subjects on the series. There are noticeable hints that Grahams feelings towards Arcane are somewhat more personal and devoted than could be normally expected from even the loyalest of assistants. He keeps a framed photo of his boss on his desk; he keeps interrupting the man in bed with his lovers; Arcane doesnt blow him away for doing it!; he shows noticeable signs of resentment to any female getting close to Arcane to the point of wanting to dispose of them; he absently agrees with Stella, speaking from personal experience, when she mentions how Arcane seduced her mind; half the time Arcane and Graham behave like a bickering couple; their body language is very intimate with each other (closeness, hugging, fondling hair etc.); he admits to loving Arcane (albeit with a very obvious tagged on like a father line); he expresses a desire to join Arcane on his vacation and when, during the same phone call, Arcane starts to talk seductively to a passing woman, Graham mistakenly believes Arcane is talking to him; he helps Arcane get dressed (hardly the job of a lab assistant); and although a fairly benign character, is capable of becoming very nasty when being protective towards Arcane.
Night of the Dying explains some of his devotion as dependency and admiration, and while this is true and relevant, it seems clear that these are not the only motives he has. Arcane clearly knows Grahams feelings and exploits them. Graham makes him look better. Arcane also thrives on the dependency and devotion Graham feels. This is probably why he puts up with Grahams behaviour. As to whether theres anything more on Arcanes part is dubious. Aside from his very close body language, there arent really any hints of his affections, apart from perhaps in Patient Zero. Arcane is a man who terminates employees at the drop of a hat, yet Alec is astounded by the possibility that he could harm Graham. This implies a known closeness. Also in the same episode, why would Arcane even bother to care whether Graham was upset and sulking at him, let alone go to the effort of coaxing him back into his good books. The scene in the elevator when he invites Graham to his quarters for a drink is decidedly ambiguous. On the other hand, Arcane cheerfully left Graham to die in Eye for an Eye (albeit to save himself.) Lets face it, half the time these guys behave like Burns and Smithers from The Simpsons, or Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank from Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
My own opinions are that Arcane simply uses and thrives on Grahams devotion. I believe that Graham does have an awe of Arcane that could be construed as love (though I hesitate to use that word as there are many types of love, and under these circumstances it could give the impression of romance, which is not my intention). As to whether there really is a homoerotic sub-text is a matter for conjecture. There was little, if any evidence of it in the second series. It was a thing that really only started to develop in the third, and there IS considerable evidence for it there; however, there are a few occasional contradictory incidents that suggest that it isnt there. For instance, both characters are attracted to women. Arcane particularly is a complete womaniser. On the other hand, in real life this would prove nothing, and wouldn't preclude a dependence on each other, or could be construed as over-compensation -- but this isn't real life. In "Hide in the Night", Graham clearly loves Stella. It could be argued that this negates any possible sub-text. However, on closer inspection, it could suggest that his love for Stella reinforces previous feelings for Arcane by saying that those for Stella are stronger; and this is backed up at the end when he refuses to avenge Stella's death and favours Arcane again, despite his grief. Another argument against possible sub-text is that it's only there for humour. I totally agree that humour plays a strong part, and many of the more obvious ambiguous scenes could easily be construed as simply this. However, this does not explain the more subtle aspects such as the body language between the two, which is far too subtle to be used as simply jokes. I, personally, don't believe for one minute that any sub-text (if indeed there is one) means that there's anything actually physical between them (at least to date). I believe it to be a purely emotional thing, mostly on Graham's part, but with Arcane still needing Graham in order for him to thrive on it. This FAQ isn't trying to prove or argue anything, either way; merely to state the evidence for and against, and both the opinions of those who've mentioned it, and my own.
On another note, there is a possible forerunner to the Arcane/Graham sub-text in the first series, before Graham. In the episode "Blood Wind", where Arcane has another protégé, Crown Prince. This is even more subtle than any Graham sub-text, but the words they use, the body language etc. suggests that simlar type of emotional need for each other; only in this case, Crown Prince stands up for himself against Arcane and is more aggressive and defensive than Graham, and seems to thrive on him for his mind, and not just his personality as Graham does. It does serve to reinforce the idea that any sub-text isn't just on Graham's part though, and Arcane has that need to be admired and devoted to.
Another theory about sub-text is that in an episode of only 20 mins of story, there's little room for characterisation, and rushed filming. It's entirely possible this whole aspect was put in (if indeed it was deliberate) just for amusement, either by the writers, actors and/or directors.
So, whats the official line? Is it there or isnt it? What was really intended, and to what degree? Have several people, quite independently, just imagined it all? Well, from a Writer and Producer point of view, any idea of a deliberate sub-text is a definite 'no'. Steve Sears has stated that the relationship they intended putting over was that of an 'abused son to father' relationship. There was no sub-text whatsoever written in to the second season as well. However, this doesn't preclude input by either directors or actors. There's not a lot else I can say on this subject. For anybody wanting more detail on this aspect, see below:
A separate sub-text FAQ (written by JJ Arrows, not by ourselves) has now been created. An HTML version can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/6329/ag.html
A text version is available on the newsgroup: alt.tv.swamp-thing
WAS ALEC ACTUALLY DEAD IN "A MOST BITTER PILL", OR MERELY COMATOSE?
Alec was actually dead for half of that episode, NOT merely comatose. Of course, he is virtually indestructable, and was easily capable of regenerating and returning to life once given sunlight and the powers of The Swamp. This raises the question that if he was dead, how did he remember all the things Arcane said during that time? Simple: The Swamp heard Arcane, and therefore Alec learned from The Swamp's collective intelligence after being restored to life.
DOESN'T ARCANE'S ATTITUDE TO ALEC VARY CONSIDERABLY?
It certainly does! Part of the time (mostly the earlier episodes, although not confined there) it seems that this guy's got nothing better to do than spend his entire life trying to senselessly hurt people and try to reduce Alec to a dissected corpse! The second season gave him a reason (i.e. creating weapons for Sunderland), but he still spends his time positively salivating over causing death and pain. Later on though, he seems more benign; still causing pain, but as a side effect of his work, not the reason for it. There are exceptions though. In "Most Bitter Pill", "Lesser of Two Evils", "Handyman" etc., Arcane doesn't seem to care too much about Alec, even openly admitting to an old friendship; yet later, in "Revelations" and "Cross-fired" he's back to wantonly trying to destroy him for no other reason than he exists. In "Touch of Death" Arcane tells Alec that he can destroy him now because he no longer needs him. Stop me if I'm wrong, but hasn't he been spending most of his time up till now trying to destroy Alec? Nothing much about keeping him alive! Half the time this guy's the nemesis from Hell; and at others he's just a feuding neighbour popping into The Swamp for the scientific or social equivalent of borrowing a cup of sugar!...and there doesn't seem to be a gradual progression of their relationship. One episode he's an evil wacko, the next might see him as halfway human; and the next back to being a wacko again. Perhaps Arcane has a rare form of male PMS, his feelings towards Alec varying depending on that little time of the month!? :) Seriously speaking though, the continuity order is likely at blame for some of this; as is the fact that much of the differences were probably down to artistic license, depending on what sort of role was needed from Arcane for the particular plot. Also, it's always possible (just a guess though), that different writers might have had different interpretations.
SO WHY DOESN'T ALEC SIMPLY KILL ARCANE?
A sensible question, really. Arcane has tried to destroy Alec and his friends and environment more times than one has had hot dinners! The incident causing Alec's transformation occured 7 years before "The Emerald Heart", during which time it's made clear that there have been many occasions of them continuing their war as in the series itself. How can Alec put up with over 10 years of this shit?? The simple answer would be Alec's unswerving morality; his inability to harm or kill his enemies, however provoked. Right?.....Wrong! In "Emerald Heart" Alec cold-bloodedly turned a thug (a nasty thug, but he'd still done far less than Arcane had) into a sentient tree. OK, that wasn't killing him, but life imprisonment as a tree could be construed as worse than death. If he was capable of that, then why wasn't Arcane turned into a rest room for dogs 10 years ago!? But Alec was made more compassionate after this. He'd never kill a helpless opponent in cold blood in the later episodes. Right?....Wrong! In "Children of the Fool" Hurly hadn't actually killed anyone (he did try to kill Will, but failed and was actually running away at the time). What did Alec do? He sent a lightning bolt to fry the guy. We're talking all that's left of Hurly are his boots! & Alec merely shrugs it off as though it's the swamp that did it; and that Hurly brought it on himself. Alec IS the Swamp; and Hurly still did far less harm than Arcane. Clearly, trying to hurt Will once is a far greater crime than doing it multiple times, actually murdering wives, friends and destroying the swamp, not to mention continuing to wreak havoc around him (as Arcane continually does.) Then there's the swamp gators who always arrive to help Swampy mop up those tasty little villains (to save Alec getting his own extremely moral hands all bloody.) Everett Baxtor ended up as gator chow, as did the Caleb Brothers and numerous mercenaries in "Revelations" (I recall Alec throwing them to the gators himself then.) Every single time Arcane's in the swamp, where are all the bloody gators!? On vacation?? Not a single one attacking him. It goes even further than this. Not only does Alec not try to harm Arcane on the numerous occasions he gets the chance, but he actually goes out of his way to try and save the man on occasions! If he's so disgusted by the idea of helping Arcane (as he says in "Most Bitter Pill"), thenWHY does he continue to do it like it's his life's work!? Well, again the answer is simply artistic license. The thug, Hurly and the mercs etc. were only going to ever be in a single episode. They were expendable. Arcane's needed for the entire series. To be fair, while this whole concept was totally reality challenged, it made for wonderful viewing (Arcane having his butt constantly saved making for some of the finest, ironic scenes.) It's one flaw that needed keeping, rather than fixing.
Addendum: There was an explanation put forward prior to the second season in the initial planning stages, which was to have been used for the season 2 finale, but wasn't actually followed up on during the season's run at all; and that was that there was to be a revelation that Alec and Arcane were in fact brothers (Alec knew about this, Arcane didn't). This idea was completely dropped by the creative team for the 3rd season, and never intended to be implemented. More information on this can be found in the series 2 bible (see section 4.7, under trivia)
WHAT PLOTLINES WOULD WE HAVE SEEN HAD THE NEXT SERIES BEEN MADE?
At the moment, this one's pretty impossible to answer really. It's very likely that there would have been a continuation of the Ann Fisk story arc. It's likely that General Sunderland would have popped up again, either as a spirit or in flashback or illusion. Any more Jim stories would have been unlikely since the whole thing was wrapped up with just one casual comment. A shame really since something that important should have had a whole plot dedicated to it; and despite the fact that I disliked many of the Jim stories, a reappearance by Jesse Zeigler (or even a re-cast Jim) for one episode wouldn't have been out of order. As to other plotlines, who knows? It would have been nice to have seen the somewhat important event started in 'Patient Zero' to have been resolved. Also, clearing up the Stella confusion would have been good. It's all supposition though. Note: If anyone actually knows what stories were planned, we'd love to know. Of course, if the series does get revived, it's moot point since we'll find out.
WAS THE RUINED BUILDING IN LIVING IMAGE MEANT TO BE THE RUINS OF THE HOLLANDS LAB AFTER THE ACCIDENT?
This is unclear. It is suggested since its mentioned that there was a fire, and Alec has hidden his formula there. However, the fire is mentioned as being as a couple of years back, not the 10 mentioned in the episode; and the materials of the building and location are all wrong, suggesting its a separate ruin. Also, if it was the lab, surely Arcane would have looked for and found the formula by now. My guess is that its a separate building; although being forced to use the building in the middle of the Universal lagoon for the explosion could have put practical limits on what it looked like, in which case, its most likely it WAS the Hollands lab. If anyone knows the official line, please pass it this way.
WAS ARCANE'S HAIR REAL, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO IT BETWEEN SEASONS 2 & 3?
Many of the jokes from the series stemmed from the mane of hair Anton Arcane sported. It was literally and metaphorically a crowning point of the character... but was it all natural? Also, it's not hard to notice that throughout both the first and second seasons, Arcane's hair sported a little blond streak to the left of his forehead. Come 'Night of the Dying' and the rest of the third season, where is it? Zip, zilch, nothing. Hair a uniform brown. Was it a production decision to remove it? Did Mr. Chapman get fed up of dyeing it? Did the hair get fed the wrong type of milk and die!?
And the answer: The second answer is the correct one. Mr. Chapman didnt want to dye it anymore. Simple as that. As to whether that rather abundant tonsorial concoction was for real: Well, the first season was all Mr. Chapmans own hair, but he didnt want to grow it longer than that, so for seasons 2 and 3, a combination of hair extensions and wigs were used. As to which were used when, I dont know, (but judging by the difference in hairline and natural look, Id hazard a guess that it was extensions for season 2, and a wig for 3 with occasional use of extensions instead. If Im wrong, please write in and let me know)
8.0. OTHER ASPECTS OF SWAMP THING
8.1. THE COMICS:
8.2. WHO CREATED SWAMP THING?
Len Wein and Berni Wrightson
8.3. WHERE IS HE CURRENTLY FEATURED?
He had his own comic series which ran for well over 20 years (over 2 series). When DC comics introduced the Vertigo banner, Swamp Thing was moved to that. The series has now finished, although guest appearances, new one-off stories and mini series are still planned. Also, the Alan Moore run of the comics are being currently reprinted by DC comics under the aforementioned Vertigo banner. Also, recently, a mini-series "Swamp Thing: Roots" has been published.
8.4. WHERE HAS HE MADE GUEST APPEARANCES?
He made his origin in a guest spot solo story in DC's "House of Secrets" #92, which led to his own series. Swamp Thing made frequent appearances throughout the DC Universe until his title was moved to the Vertigo Universe. One notable appearance came during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He teamed up with Batman a couple time in the Brave and The Bold, with wonderful results. Hes recently made a guest appearance in Aquaman. Recently, in "The Dreaming" #22-24, Matt Cable, Abigail and Arcane are featured, and Swamp Thing himself makes a guest appearance in "Spectre" #62.
8.5. WHAT MOVIES WERE MADE?
Swamp Thing in 1982 and Return of Swamp Thing in 1989. Both movies show up frequently on television, on TNT. The first one is quite removed from the series and was directed by Wes Craven. The second movie was more or less a straight to video film (though it did have some theatrical release) It is much closer to the series, and may have served as a blueprint for the television show. For more information on the movies see the movie page at CultTVman's site: http://members.aol.com/CultTVman/STmovies.html and the House On The Hill: http://xray.chm.bris.ac.uk:8000/naj/films/swamp.html features some images from the first film.
8.6. WASN'T THERE A CARTOON SERIES?
Animated advert might be a better description, but yes, DIC Entertainment and Batfilms produced a series in conjunction with the Kenner toy line. Only five episodes were produced. Previously turned down by CBS, they eventually aired on Fox Saturday Mornings (the pilot: 'the Un-Men Unleashed debuting unannounced on October 31st 1990 (Halloween)) The first episode was released on home video. The theme song from this 5 part blatant toy ad was 'Wild Thing', with the word 'wild' substituted with 'swamp'. And with lyrics such as "You fight everything nasty", it's no surprise it didn't really take off. Andy Heyward, President of DIC entertainment, was also an Executive Producer of the live action series. The series is currently being shown on The Children's Channel. Episode titles were: "The Un-Men Unleashed", "To Live Forever", "Legend of the Lost Cavern", "Experiment in Terror" and "Falling Red Star". Its believed that most or all these are now on video.
8.7. HOW MANY TOYS WERE THERE IN THE RANGE?
17 Toys were planned for the Kenner range, with an investment of approximately 6 million dollars. The toys became available from Spring 1991 and according to Kenner, test results using male children between the ages of 6 - 11 showed them to be more popular than G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. An illustrated guide to the range has been written by Ryan Anthony Summers.
The figures were divided into three groups: Swamp Thing, Heroes, and Evil Un-Men Villains. The Swamp Thing figures included Snare Arm Swamp Thing, Camouflage Swamp Thing, Bio-Glow Swamp Thing, and Snare Up Swamp Thing in the first wave. Second wave figures included Climbing Swamp Thing and Capture Swamp Thing. The Heroes were Bayou Jack and Tomahawk. The Evil Un-Men were Anton Arcane, Dr. Deemo, Weed Killer, and Skinman. There were also two vehicles: a Bog Rover and the Marsh Buggy. Playsets included The Swamp Trap and Arcane's Lab.
8.8. WERE THERE OTHER TOYS?
Numerous other toys were produced in the early 1990's including paint by number sets, punch bags, and (my favorite) a piece of chalk shaped like Swamp Thing.
All the toys were spin-offs from the animated mini-series, NOT from either the movies or the live action TV series.
9.0. WWW / MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES.
9.1. INTERNET RESOURCES
SWAMP THING FAN CLUB WEB PAGE
All the latest news and info on the club and the cast, crew and series itself. Includes the:
SWAMP THING REVIVAL PAGE
Maintained by JJ Arrows for Carol Ann Chwal.
ARCANE KNOWLEDGE: A GUIDE TO THE SWAMP THING TV SERIES
Features episode guide and episode summaries, images, this FAQ, series overview, cast and crew biogs, fan fiction, quotes, viewer survey, a small amount of background on the comics and movies etc. Maintained by Fran White.
CULTTVMAN'S SWAMP THING PAGE
Features information related to the Swamp Thing television series, including an episode guide, production information, background on the movies, cartoon and toy line and this FAQ. Maintained by Steve Iverson
FRIENDS OF SWAMP THING. A MAILLIST FOR FANS OF THE TV SERIES.
To join, email cultTVman@aol.com. To send a message to the list email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE UNOFFICIAL MARK LINDSAY CHAPMAN PAGE
http://www.best.com/~shadorat/www.best.com/~shadorat/mlc.html Your guide to the man behind Dr. Arcane. Maintained by Robyn King-Nitschke
http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/8827/index.html A fun page with lots on Arcane and Graham (as well as non Swampy stuff for Star Trek's Q, and Elves), including images, captions, fan fiction, actor sightings for Mark Lindsay Chapman and Kevin Quigley, and the Arcane/Graham sub-text FAQ. Maintained by JJ Arrows
TIFF'S SWAMP THING PAGE
http://pinkrabbit.simplenet.com/swampy/ New website for the Swampy TV series, with screen captures and fan fiction scripts. Still in its beta phase (but looks pretty good to me :-)) Maintained by Tiff Noteling.
THE GRAHAM ZONE:
http://www.angelfire.com/co/grahamzone/index.html A page devoted to our favourite henchman, the one and only, Graham. With pics, fan fiction, quotes and links to other Swampy sites. Maintained by Leslie Downton
THE SWAMP THING TV SERIES NEWSGROUP:
alt.tv.swamp-thing (not all servers have this yet, so get nagging them for it if yours doesn't)
http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/3395/ More on the Swamp Thing comics, TV and movies. Complete with a mail list, chat room, classified ads section and message boards. Run by Jon T. Day and Michael Huffman.
THE GREEN SWAMP THING MAILING LIST
To join, email: email@example.com To send a message to the list email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOO'S SWAMP THING PAGE:
http://www.dlc.fi/~ccjmp/swamp.html A new website for the Swampy TV series. Maintained by Jennifer.
JONAH WEILAND'S COMIC BOOK RESOURCES (Formerly "Jonah Weiland's comic Book Themes")
Includes the music to both the live action TV Series and the Animated Series. A wonderful source of info for all aspects of comics, with message boards, polls, chat, and much more.
http://www.scifi.com/swamp/ See the latest schedules for the series (but very little else. There's only one paragraph of text and an old photo from the 1982 movie....not even from the TV Series!) The Latin version: Sabados http://www.scifi.com/sabados/series/swamp.html at least has a picture of the TV Swampy and Arcane.
THE AVIMALL SWAMP THING EPISODE GUIDE
http://www.avimall.com/entertain/SwampThing.txt Written by Audrey De Lisle
HOUSE ON THE HILL: features some images and a brief synopsis from the first film.
SWAMP THING: A general fantasy and TV site which includes a small section and episode list for Swampy
9.2. IS THERE SWAMP THING FAN FICTION, EITHER ON THE NET OR IN ZINES?
Yes. Fan fiction is sometimes posted to the newsgroup alt.tv.swamp-thing. There are several stories there currently. Also, fan fiction by JJ ARROW and other writers can be found at: http://members.aol.com/honeybows/swampthing/ or by anonymous FTP at: members.aol.com/honeybows/swampthing/. This is the archive of all Swamp Thing fan fiction available on the net (maintained by JJ Arrow), containing text versions of the stories. The web page for the archive is at: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/8827/archive.html
Also, a round robin story is currently being written between several members of the cultTVman Swamp Thing mailing list. Its a parody X-Files crossover called 'The Houma Files', and can be found at the Arcane Knowledge fan fiction page (see below), and at the archive.
Fan fiction is also available at Arcane Knowledge: http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~ishtar/fanfic.htm (HTML/.doc format, including an HTML version of the aforementioned X-Files crossover), at The Graham Zone (HTML format) at: http://www.angelfire.com/co/grahamzone/index.html and at Tiff's Swampy page (HTML format) at: http://pinkrabbit.simplenet.com/swampy/fic/stfiction.htm (which so far contains a couple of 2nd season fanfic scripts)
9.3. WHERE CAN YOU BUY MATERIAL ON THE SHOW (I.E. WHAT SHOPS STOCK PHOTOS ETC.)?
There is absolutely no official merchandise for the live action TV series (more's the pity!). However, some movie/TV memorabilia shops will stock material such as publicity photographs. The following are some that do stock them:
STILL THINGS: Jeff Sillifant, 13622 Henny Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342. 001-818 367 0654. Fax: 001-818 367 1765 They have a good selection of photographs.
STAR TECH: PO Box 456, Dunlap, TN 37327. Fax order line: 001-423 949 4443 (no Tel. Line) The Epi-Log back issues with the first two seasons episode guide (illustrated) is available from here, as is 'The Superhero Illustrated Guidebook' which reprinted it.
JERRY OHLINGERS MOVIE MATERIAL, 120 W. 3rd St NY 10012. Tel. 001 - 212 989-0869 Fax: 001 - 212 989-1660
Open daily between 1 - 7.45 pm. They have many photographs, both B/W and Colour of most of the main characters.
HOLLYWOOD BOOK & POSTER CO. P.O. Box 539, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90078. 001-213 465 8764 Fax: 001 213 465 0413 They have about 14 or 15 photographs, all very good quality.
To date, no scripts have been found in either these shops or any others. Props and Costumes also seem very hard to come by (well, almost impossible, really)
9.4. IS THERE A FAN CLUB FOR THE SERIES?
Yes. A fan club for the series has now being set up. For info, or for suggestions on what you'd like from the club, contact Carol Ann Chwal at email@example.com, or visit the fan club's website, mentioned above in section 9.1 of this FAQ.
This concludes the FAQ for now. Should more information be obtained it will be regularly updated (yep, that is a hint to send in anything you have.) We'd also like to know if you have any questions that aren't covered here.
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