Hey everyone! I'm Selina and I'll be joining the girls here at Chaos, yay! I am a loyal follower of this blog but I noticed that no one is talking about Supernatural! Having recently started watching this show myself, I thought I'd do my part to rectify that a little bit and hopefully peak a few readers' interest in the best show you're not yet watching! In this post I'm going to introduce you to Supernatural, tell you why your reasons for not watching this show are completely unfounded, and then give you the top five reasons why you should give it a go!
Considering the copious amount of television I watch and the variety of genres I enjoy, there is a number of popular TV series that I don't watch, that I've never even given a chance: some I just haven't gotten around to, like Bones (I know, scandalous!), and some I just don’t really feel like watching, for whatever reasons. It's very hypocritical of me considering how hard I judge those people who refuse to watch Lost, but really, we've all got those shows that we know nothing about except that we won't like them so why even bother giving them a try? Supernatural used to fall into the latter category for me, and I remember meeting my housemate for the first time last year – she was also a big Heroes fan see, and doesn’t watch Lost, so I was already skeptical of her taste – and smiling benignly at the Sam Winchester poster on her wall... and then doing a double take because next to that was a Dean Winchester poster, as in, "Omfg-it’s-Jensen-Ackles-from-Dark-Angel zomg I luuuuurve him!!11" (as I am pretty sure was my exact reaction). But I never gave it much thought beyond that, I just drooled a bit on her poster and left.
The thing about me, though? I’m a pleaser. I'm not even kidding, I really, desperately want people to like me. So after a while of me and my housemate not really clicking, despite both being real-life fangirls and her being the first person I’d ever met who actually used the words "flist" and "fanfiction" in sentences, I borrowed some Supernatural from her in the hopes that we’d have something to talk about. And also partially to avoid studying for my exam. Heh.
So I watched the first episode... and was notably underwhelmed. Uh, okay, they fought a random demon. Come on, it was fine for Buffy and The X-Files, but we're in a post-Lost era now! Monsters of the week are not really going to cut it for me anymore. But whatever, it's not like I had anything better to do (ahem) so I kept watching. It has to be said that while I appreciate the first season more now after having caught up, the show doesn't really get amazing until about halfway through season 2, when it writers also realized that weekly monsters wouldn't cut it, and started making the show funny. I’m not a big gore fan, was never able to watch The X-Files, but after four seasons of Supernatural I'm pretty much immune to it. I watch for the relationship of the brothers, the snarky, self-referential humor (the highlights being the episode commenting on the writers' strike where two random guys run around with a video camera looking for ghosts and calling themselves the "Ghostfacers", and when Sam and Dean discover that they have fans on the Internet – it sounds stupid but it’s hysterically funny, I kid you not), I respect the show because it's not afraid to poke fun at itself but is still good enough to turn from hilarious to poignant and heartbreaking in a moment.
Supernatural isn't the most popular, or highest rated show out there. The cast consists of two guys, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who play brothers, so really there is no chance of an ongoing, developing romance, which I'm guessing is a BIG turn-off for most of you. Well, let me tell you something: romance? After watching half a season of this show you will wish ill fortune on all the houses of those darn women who come in between the Winchester brothers! Seriously, the story goes that Jensen and Jared met while shooting the Pilot, are now best friends, share a house and never fight. And it's really paid off in terms of the show because I've never seen two actors with better chemistry, and I've never cared more about a relationship that had nothing to do with romance whatsoever (Wincest, you say? Ew, I say). Trust me, you will want those ladies OFF your boys, and the brothers' bond will only grow stronger as the show progresses.
So to sum up: I understand your hesitance, if you don't like scary and you got your fill of fruitless shipping with The X-Files (ok, it bore a little fruit. Like, a grape... and a baby), but you will not be disappointed in this case. Here’s my top five reasons why you should join me in my Supernatural frenzy and catch up before the fifth and possibly final season, beginning September 2009:
(SPN 4x05 "Monster Movie")
5. The specials: Starting around the second half of season two, Supernatural begins to introduce a lot of "special" episodes: the writers' strike episode, the black and white "classical horror" episode, the Hollywood episode, the Christmas episode, the flashback, the time travel... et cetera. This is good because while the ongoing storyline is really interesting (especially in seasons 3 and 4) there's only so many original places they can go with that, but within the scope of one episode Eric Kripke (the creator) can go all out bat shizzle crazy, with amazing results that are not only cool on their own but actually matter in terms of character development (the drive to return the characters to status quo and therefore resorting to overlooking any development is generally a prevalent fault in the use of standalone episodes on television), and then blame it on some demon and kill it off, resolving the problem. There's a giant teddy bear, guys. Few shows can get away with stuff like that. It speaks to the brilliance of the writing.
(SPN 4x01 "Lazarus Rising")
4. The shirtlessness: Hahaha. No harm in saying what is definitely a key reason for Supernatural’s dedicated fanbase (I like to compare them to the Twihards). Jensen is supernaturally attractive, pun totally intended, and Jared Padalecki is pretty damn fine too, and while there's not a lot of shipping going on in the show, that doesn't stop them showing off their um, assets, and you can probably manage to forgive the girls that get in their pants along the way because they allow us to see some different sides of our beloved boys. There's a reason why the audience of such a serious, shipping-free, dark action/adventure show is 99% female. Just saying.
(SPN 2x02 "Everybody Loves a Clown")
3. The acting: It's funny that on this relatively narrow-reaching, unknown show, so much effort is just poured into its production every week, from everyone who's involved, but most notably (for the viewers at least) the actors. In most shows you'll have a decent sized cast to share the workload and the hours, but on Supernatural we've only got two regular cast members who are in almost every scene - every single week. And yet they manage to deliver amazing, funny, believable, heartbreaking performances. Every single week. You don't always see a great deal of consistency in- and attention being paid to characterization in shows like these, which you expect to focus on the action and monsters-of-the-week, yet Sam and Dean are both believable, multi-layered, understandable, surprising, relatable characters... a lot of shows could take a leaf out of SPN's book here! They are both incredible actors but Jensen Ackles especially stands out: his crying scenes are just top notch, and the range of emotions he can express on screen just make him so fully realized. You feel how much Dean cares for his brother, and how far he will go to protect him. Jared Padalecki is especially good at the humorous scenes, though Jensen's got some classic moments as well, but it's when they work together that they both shine the brightest. They just could not have picked two actors who worked better together, and the fact that they've gone so long and worked so much and yet the atmosphere is (as far as we know) still great on set just proves that fact.
(SPN 3x11 "Mystery Spot")
2. The "Wincest": Ew, no, not like that. I understand why some people wish that the two guys weren't brothers, because if they weren't the show could in theory set up a pretty epic romance, but the fact is that they are brothers. Full stop. And I don't wish that they weren't, because if you ignore the crazy people that want them to be together-together, the "love story" that Supernatural tells is one of the most beautiful that's ever been told on television and this is largely due to the fact that they are already family. They're all each other have. "You're my weak spot, and I'm yours," Dean tells Sam. They can only get away with sappy stuff like this because they're brothers and a romance is completely out of the question, and I'm glad because it's just so cute! Watching them fight evil together, looking out for each other, sacrificing themselves to save each other because they know they couldn't go on alone, that's what kept me watching through the first season (which is pretty generic, but trust me when I tell you to stick it out), and which just continues to pull at my heartstrings every episode. Their bond is so convincing, and it’s probably partially because the actors have gotten so close off-screen, and partially because of how well they are able to channel their characters, but whatever the reason it's really made the show what it is, and is one of the main reasons the show has made such a positive impression on me.
(SPN 3x13 "Ghostfacers")
1. The satire: This is my top personal reason why Supernatural stands out among the masses of shows I've watched. See, sci-fi/fantasy shows tend to take themselves hella seriously, and in most cases they need to in order to keep the audience invested in storylines that are completely implausible to begin with, and that's fine but when we're talking about B-list shows we tend to get a lot of recycled storylines, developments and character stereotypes. Take teen shows for example – they've got five or six different ways they can develop the story: pregnancy, death, appearance of unknown/missing relative, marriage, time jump, etc., and they always use them all! It's so repetitive. But see, Supernatural is not above clichés of its genre, and doesn't try to disguise something as original but rather goes to great lengths to point out the recycling. Supernatural doesn't claim to be anything more than what it is, and therein lies its brilliance. Supernatural knows it resembles The X-Files, and is not above referring to Sam and Dean as Mulder and Scully. It knows that there are certain gay connotations about the two main characters, and is not above commenting on this ("Don't they know we're brothers?!" "That doesn't seem to matter to them.") within the show. One of my favorite moments of the entire series is in season two when Sam and Dean are looking into a mystery in Hollywood and they go through the CW lot, and as they pass the Gilmore Girls set, they cut to Sam/Jared Padalecki's face (Jared used to star on Gilmore Girls) looking uncomfortable. These little moments that just say "we know this is crazy, but just go with us and enjoy it" are very precious and I feel very flattered as an audience member whenever I catch one of their little hint hint wink winks... if you’re a Lost fan, I'm sure this will appeal to you too. Like Geronimo Jackson posters or the numbers on the hatch door, only incorporated into the script.
(SPN season 1 gag reel)
Also, an honorable mention goes to the bloopers. Not really a part of the show, but Supernatural has the funniest bloopers I have ever seen – yes, better than the Alias bloopers! If you're still not convinced after reading this, find the season 1 bloopers on YouTube (I don't think they're too spoilery), and see how great an atmosphere there is on the set, it'll make you want to watch the show just cause of the positive energy that went into creating it!
And there you have it. Thank you for giving me a chance to convince you to give up your precious time on yet another TV series (as I'm sure you've all got plenty as it is), and I'm very excited to be with you here on Chaos - and for single-handedly establishing the little "Supernatural" link that now appears in the link to the right! So did I convince you? Have you already seen the show? Or do you share in the "CW snobbery", which I had no idea even existed before today?! Let me know what you think!
(Credit to Screencap-Paradise for the episode images used in this post.)