Welcome to this new series in my arsenal of opinions called Stay Tuned! While I will only be writing these once a month, I hope you will come to enjoy them! They will include shows of murder-mystery, sci-fi, historical shows, some anime, and whatever else I watch semi-religiously. (Just you wait, if I’m low on ideas, Grey’s Anatomy will be on here too!)
This week, however, we’re going to start with a show whose seventh season began only a few weeks ago and which I have recently become a huge fan. Ghost, demons, angels, and monsters roam the night on the CW hit, Supernatural.
Supernatural began in 2005, and revolves around Dean and Sam Winchester, two brothers who have spent their entire lives hunting the creatures of the night. Rather than being just another campy monster of the week series, the show deals with a lot of the emotional strains and damage the brothers have because of their lack of normalcy. However, this too is well moderated with dry comedy, and intense action, keep every episode fresh, exciting, and entertaining.
Dean, played by Days of Our Lives alum Jensen Ackles, is the older brother, and is the most devoted to hunting. There are many things Dean loves – his Impala, his brother, greasy food, beer, guns, and fast women. He knows how to con people, he’s cocky, and he’s stubborn. Basically, all the things that would get someone labeled a red neck, and a sleezeball. And yet, Ackles makes him charming and likeable – he’s rough around the edges, sure, but he’s loyal, and strong, and he has a good set of values. Not to mention, he’s endlessly entertaining.
Sam, played by Gilmore Girls’ Jared Padalecki, is the younger brother who tried to have a normal life by going to college until his girlfriend is murdered. Sam is smart, eats healthy, tries to plan ahead, and is the one that tends to want be normal. But he also betrays Dean a couple of times throughout the run of series and can honestly be a little whiny (fangirls, don’t unleash your wrath yet!). Basically, he’s the “intelligent, sensitive” one. That doesn’t mean he lacks his own set of charms, and is arguably the more sympathetic of the two brothers.
As you can tell, these two are essentially fan-girl eye candy. You have the “bad” and “good” one, but even then that’s oversimplifying it a lot. The best part of these two characters is how they interact with each other. They’re brothers and they act like it – they fight over the car radio or who gets to drive, what course of action to take, how to deal with moral dilemmas – but they also really do love each other, and make the effort to support each other, even when that means sneaking into a mental asylum, or having one make a deal with Death to get their soul back (I’m trying to be spoiler-light people, but it ain’t easy). Their interaction, as well as how they try to remain a family, is what brings reality into this show, and actually makes you care about the characters.
The minor characters are also great. First, we have Bobby, played by Jim Beaver, another hunter who is an old friend of the Winchesters. He became a hunter after his beloved wife was possessed and he was forced to kill her. There are several other reoccurring hunters, like Rufus, Jo, and Ellen who all are well fleshed out characters, but they are more on the sidelines. Bobby is the researcher, and has become sort of the fill-in dad for Dean and Sam, despite being a little rough around the edges in a similar manner to Dean.
Two fan favorites are Castiel and Crowley. Castiel, played by Misha Collins, is an angel who at first is sent down to watch over Dean and Sam for reasons I cannot disclose due to spoilers. Because of this, he ends up bonding with the brothers and becomes their go-to guy to help them, even going so far as to defy God for them. He’s very monotone and naïve, learning slowly about humans, but he’s also a pretty epic character. There’s one episodes that focuses almost solely on him, and we see a vulnerability to the character that really complicates everything. Despite only being around since season four, he’s become a bit of a fan favorite.
Crowley, played by Mark Sheppard, is the crafty demon whose always got his nose in someone’s business so he can get ahead in life, or rather the afterlife. Being notorious for his deviousness, and penchant for using humiliation as a tactic, he can also be of help to the brothers, and Bobby, from time to time, though not without a price. Again, he’s just a very fun, well written middle-of-the-field character who adds extra spice to the show.
If your favorite minor character wasn’t mentioned, it’s probably to avoid spoilers, like Adam and Ruby, or because they’re just less important in my opinion, like Gabriel (though I do love him, he was hilarious!). Basically, the main point is the minor character might be a smaller part of the story, but they are as fleshed out and developed as the leads.
This show could have been a hot-bed for issues concerning the topic of religion, but the show steers through that land-mine-field nicely. Supernatural takes place in a world dominated by angels, but there is no mention of anything that could be considered purely from one of the three major religions. The most Christian-only imagery you see in the show is a church – that’s it. The show also brings in elements and deities from Greek and Norse Mythology, Hinduism, and Taoism, just to name a few.
Supernatural has a dedicated fan-base, which not only does the show acknowledge and, strangely enough for a TV show, respect. But that doesn’t mean the creator won’t have a little fun with them too, every now and then. By inserting a clever little tidbit about how one of the prophets (Yes, there are prophets in this show) views the Winchesters’ ordeals and writes a popular series of books on them, it opens a whole world of fandom on screen. This includes making jokes about incest fanfiction, crazy fangirls, and even a convention in their honor. The fans take it all in good stride, as none of the writers has been disemboweled yet to my knowledge.
The color scheme of the show is a little bland, but it’s been getting better about it. The special effects are really good for a TV show that started with a limited budget, and they knew where and when to use them effectively. The locals can blend together from time to time, but they’re always pretty well chosen, and can be fun depending on the episode. The background look is pleasing but it’s not grandiose or spectacular in any sense.
The general consensus, as far as I can tell, is that the earlier seasons are held in higher esteem, with some fans feeling like later seasons got too complicated. I am the exact opposite; while I love the first three seasons, season 4 and 5, and part of 6 are the ones I go back to time and time again. I feel these seasons are the show’s most creative, and there’s still a lot of heart put there too. It’s all really a matter of taste, and most have still stuck around to watch, despite their valid points about the later seasons.
I have to be honest here – I love this show. I love it to bits. It’s very creative, funny without being forced, deeply emotional, and exciting. It’s just a well-executed show without suffering from too many clichés. I try to find a major flaw in everything, but the worst I could find for this show is that sometimes it falls into lulled periods, which you can say of every TV show…that and they use that one song, “Carry On, My Wayward Son,” a bit too often. If you love scary, thoughtful story-telling then you will be hooked on this show. Check it out if you have the time, and once you’re all caught up, be sure to watch it on the CW, as its now running its seventh season!
Rating: (although in my heart, it’s a 5)
On the next Stay Tuned, I will be reviewing an old, cherished show of mine – Harper’s Island.