CC2K newcomer and Guest Writer Nelle Stewart introduces us to the phenomenon that is Supernatural, which has a fan-base so fiercely loyal, you have to wonder what all the fuss is about.
With the urban fantasy genre exploding all over any and every available marketing opportunity, why would one more show tacked on to the end of CW’s prime time line up be worth the watch? Supernatural, though, isn’t like the average urban fantasy show. Sure they’ve got their share of vampires (non-sparkly, thank you very much), ghosts, wendigos, demons, and even fairies, but it’s more than just a show about other worldly creatures. At the heart of Supernatural is a pair of very human brothers and essentially the show is about them, being human.
Dean and Sam Winchester, played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki respectively, spend their days, and often their nights, fighting to save innocent people from the myriad of supernatural nasties who feed on and terrorize humanity. Their Marine Corps father John, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, raised them with the skills and mindset to do what it takes to get the job done. Though John set forth the best example he could, this militant gypsy lifestyle lead to a unique and yet very realistic family dynamic.
With the pilot episode of Supernatural, we find Sam living la vida collegiate. He’s in a small apartment with his smart blonde girlfriend, talking about his interview for law school and the pressures of graduation. He seems normal, apart from his quirk of hating Halloween. When we meet Dean, he’s driving his dad’s ’67 Chevy Impala with an arsenal in the trunk. He’s still living the vagabond lifestyle, traveling from place to place, hunting monsters, and living out of cheap motels. They are very different, and yet when you stop to look at real life examples you realize that these sorts of life paths are the classic reactions to a difficult childhood.
By the end of the pilot, Sam’s seemingly idyllic college life is gone, and he’s decided to help his brother find the monster who’s responsible for taking away the good things in their lives. From there, the show starts tackling urban legends and old world mythologies one creature at a time. Through it all, Sam and Dean are always searching for something: their father, their mother’s killer, or a measure of peace in a world crumbling to chaos around them. The answers they find only lead to more questions. Along the way the brothers are also faced with decisions tougher than those of other CW shows. It isn’t just what to do at the after prom party, it’s more about what family means, where their priorities in life lie and how far are they willing to go to do the right thing. The viewers can relate to these issues in most circumstances and I think it lends to the characters’ believability.
This show isn’t all seriousness though. They have a distinct sense of humor and aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves. There is a bit of cheese factor and some points where it is better to suspend your disbelief, but that’s to be expected. My friend and I who have watched this show together had a theory that in the first season their special effects team was mostly an overworked fog machine. We still, 6 seasons in, like to point out the random fog scenes. Also, beware of the storyline-convenient shortening of nights and days. The capricious coming and going of daylight has led Kim and I to watching other shows and going, “Wow! That was sure a Supernatural Night.” One of our friends, who we dragged almost unwillingly into watching it with us, advises that if you watch Supernatural expecting a comedy, you’ll be much better entertained than if you are expecting a drama.
As an additional enticement, Supernatural has a history of bringing in a string of attention-grabbing guest stars. In addition to the hunky stars of the show, you’ll see the aforementioned Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen), Mitch Pileggi (X-Files), Sebastian Roché (Fringe), Mark Pellegrino (Dexter, Lost), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Fredric Lehne (Lost), A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY), Jim Beaver (Deadwood), a very young Aldis Hodge (Leverage) and the incomparable Mark Sheppard (umm… everything!). There’s also Misha Collins. I can’t properly describe or introduce Misha. Let’s just say he has minions and leave it at that for now.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a show with action, camaraderie, mystery, guns, explosions, layered fashion choices, muscle cars, classic rock, overworked fog machines and the epic battle of good vs. evil, watch Supernatural. Of course I encourage you to start at the beginning, but you can catch new episodes on the CW on Friday nights at 9/8c. There are also two episodes of reruns on TNT, Monday-Friday mornings at 10/9c.