The Dog Days Of Summer (Or Shows You Don’t Watch But Should): SUPERNATURAL

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The dog days of summer are upon us.  It’s starting to get hot outside and Network executives have decided that they don’t think we should have anything to watch over the summer but things like WIPEOUT!  What is a person to do?  Well that’s where this Summer Long Series of articles will come to play.  I’ll be writing about shows you may not have seen before but should definitely give a shot at renting, buying, or watching on the net.

So where is one to start?  There are so many shows out there deserving of some more viewers.  Some like BURN NOTICE are on cable (And new episodes start this Thursday!)  but the show that immediately jumped out to me was SUPERNATURAL.  It’s a show that is hidden away on “The Can’t Win Network,” (The CW) in the most competitive time slot on all TV:  Thursdays at 9pm EST up against GRAY’s, CSI, THE OFFICE, and soon FRINGE.

SUPERNATURAL is a simple show.  It follows two brothers in their quest to fight evil.  Evil happens to come in the form of ghosts, banshees, vampires, tricksters, zombies, and demons not to mention tons of other cool things I left out.  Created by Eric Kripke and executive produced by the likes of McG, Robert Singer and the late great Kim Manners (of X-Files fame) the show is extremely well written, well acted, and well paced.

Right from the first episode the team behind SUPERNATURAL were able to set a mood and feel for the show that hasn’t gotten tiring, something many other TV shows have failed to do.  The series starts with the introduction of Sam Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki) a Stanford student with a beautiful girlfriend and what appears to be a great life.  Then he answers the door and his fate is changed.  At the door he finds his brother Dean (played by Jensen Ackles) who delivers an ominous message that their father went on a hunting trip but failed to return. The Girlfriend doesn’t understand (because she doesn’t know hunting means hunting ghosts and goblins!) but in the end Sam ends up helping Dean look for their Dad.

The entire first season deals with the brothers trying to find their father and the demon they believe he was hunting.  While on the path for their father they fight different Supernatural beings to kill time because “Dad would have wanted us to.”  What makes the Series so compelling is that it’s following a 5 year plan that was written from the start.  The 2nd season deals with complications of Sam’s childhood.  The 3rd season deals with the brothers trying to save Dean from a deal he made with a demon (that will send him to hell after 1 year).  The 4th season deals with the brothers trying to stop the oncoming apacolypse.  The upcoming 5th and last season is going to deal with war against Lucifer himself.

Of course the issues and plots behind all those seasons are much more complicated than I wrote, because I’m not going to give away the great tense moments that keep popping up for the Winchester boys.  Simply put, this is the best “horror/supernatural/thriller,” TV show I can ever recall.  It makes the Night Stalker series look lame in comparison and it’s an improvement on even THE X-FILES (just replace Aliens with Demons).  The brothers Winchester fight all kinds of evil to a Classic Rock soundtrack and use just about every sneaky trick in the book to get information from witnesses.  They constantly fake being cops, fbi agents, etc. and the names they come up with are always amusing.  The fact that the show made a black 1967 Chevy Impala an actual “character,” on the show is impressive.  It’s a show made all the better by the details.  Where THE X-FILES was amazing due to Mulder and Scully, SUPERNATURAL is slightly better because they know where it’s going and how it all ends (something the X-FILES never really had a hold of).

The one truly great thing about the show is the cast.  It’s just 2 guys and they’re able to pull it off.  A “third,” character of Bobby Singer (played by Jim Beaver) appears in roughly 25% of all the episodes (but isn’t introduced until the 1st season’s finale).  Many characters come and go, but the core cast is always Sam and Dean.  Their relationship is what makes the show tick and it just doesn’t get old.  Bobby is definitely a breath of fresh air, and Beaver breathes some definite life into the show once he was added.  However it’s all about 2 brothers and the show has never jumped the shark by adding a girlfriend or other nonsense.

Some of the true gems from the series are the 1st season episode “THE BENDERS,” season 2’s  “EVERYBODY LOVES A CLOWN,” “SIMON SAID” (Written by the great Ben Edlund who joins the series in season 2), “THE USUAL SUSPECTS,” “TALL TALES,” and “HOLLYWOOD BABYLON” (a great satirical piece written by Edlund about a ghost that haunts a tv show set just like SUPERNATURAL), season 3’s “BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK,” “FRESH BLOOD,” “A VERY SUPERNATURAL CHRISTMAS,” “GHOSTFACERS,” season 4’s “IN THE BEGINNING,” “YELLOW FEVER,” (with the infamous Jensen Ackles lip-syncing “Eye of the Tiger,” during the credits), “WISHFUL THINKING,” (Guest Starring the incomparable Ted Raimi), “CRISS ANGEL IS A DOUCHE-BAG,” “AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL,” “THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK,” and “JUMP THE SHARK.”  Some of those episodes I mentioned are easily some of the best TV ever made.

SUPERNATURAL is great fun.  It’s what a supernatural thriller for TV should be.  It engages both the intellect while providing scenes to make you smirk, laugh, cringe, and jump all in one hour.  It doesn’t always succeed but what TV show does?

If you have just one new show to catch up on this summer while basking in the greatness of shows like BURN NOTICE, WEEDS, and LEVERAGE give SUPERNATURAL a chance.  It’s simply the best damn show on the CW (ok, ok, ok that isn’t much of a compliment, but it IS good).

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32 responses to “The Dog Days Of Summer (Or Shows You Don’t Watch But Should): SUPERNATURAL

  1. Hmmm, I don’t much like horror or thrillers, or particularly supernatural stuff – guess i won’t like this, eh?
    And just two guys – no girls around? Dubious *g*

  2. Oh, but they are *very* manly men RickyG. 😀

  3. season one – Faith and Devil’s Trap
    season two – In My Time of dying, What is and What Shall Never Be, Heart
    season three – Bad Day at Black Rock, A Very Supernatural Christmas, Mystery Spot, Jus in Bello
    season three – Lazurus Rising, In the Beginning, on the head of a Pin

    Supernatural is really a hero’s journey with a lot of subtle commentary on the morality of what is justified in fighting evil and how do you retain your humanity when fighting demons. In fact, humanity often wins because it is complex, dirty and fights to survive while protecting innocence. The brothers spiral into conflict when they take different paths in the battle against darkness but they always back one another because of their bond.

    Despite the horror and good/evil play it happens to be very funny and never veers into too much darkness. It is an absolute fabulous show and well worth the investment. This is from someone who avoids horror movies and the entire genre.

  4. Nick, I concur. Been watching Supernatural since season 1, and it is quite awesome.

    Ricky, the two guys are the main cast, but almost every episode has at least one girl playing a secondary role.

  5. Its not for certain its the last season by the way. Even the creator says if the support he is still there then he would think about it.

    Personally i think with the right money etc it will continue

  6. It is the last season. Eric specifically said he’d leave it open but he wouldn’t be involved. Jensen Ackles has said they’d have to back a brink truck up to his house. Jared Padalecki has said that he wouldn’t do it at all no matter how much they offered him if Eric wasn’t involved.

    It’s over. 5 year plan. It’s going out on a high vs. dragging on forever. That’s a good thing.

  7. EDIT: Sorry but even the shows stars said they are back for a sixth season.

    http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/thegeekfiles/2009/06/supernatural-stars-sensational.html

  8. That’s your source the coventry telegraph? They dropped the bomb to coventry telegraph? Ok. The problem here is that Eric isn’t contracted for it, and he can make it so they do it without him or so they can’t.

    Jensen obviously still doesn’t want to do it. He “has to,” and Jared again mentioned Kripke.

    It’s a bad idea, and likely won’t matter because the CW won’t be around another season anyway.

  9. Nick he was actually quoted. Why say it and never mean it?

    My opinion but it will continue after season five. CW will just keep throwing money or even the Studio will. Kripke is playing hard to get. HG did it for 24 after season 5, i think it was 5 anyway.

    And since when does saying ‘Has to’ mean he dont wanna do it? Kiefer HAS to do a season eight of 24 but he loves the show. He has always said he loves it and will continue to make it if the fans want it.

  10. The ladies are just some of the *cough* [shallower] reasons I’ve enjoyed SUPERNATURAL. They cast really well with their *ahem* “Babes of the Week”; something SMALLVILLE always seemed to spectacularly fail at. Many have been a terrific marriage between looks, screen chemistry and delivery.

    My favorites include Whasserface that was in the haunted painting episode as an antiquities dealer (???); the bartender who’s rear end Dean thought he “could fit a quarter onto” and Season 3’s Ruby.

    As for Season 5 being the end, well, I hope that it is. Sure. I’d love to have more show. But where else can they take the show after bringing Lucifer into the mix? I mean, it’s LUCIFER; he’s about as “end boss/final battle” as one can get. What else is there? Not the ‘First Evil’ again? *g*

  11. Well Supernatural is without a doubt the best show on the CW but I’d go one step further and say its one of the best shows currently airing on any network. It has consistently grown each season and like you’ve said never had a “jump the shark” episode, other than the one titled that and that was an excellent episode.

    Kripke perfectly balances the heavy episodes with the lighter comedic ones.

    I’ve watched this show since episode one and its my favorite show (well tied with Chuck) and I desperately want it to end at five seasons. Kripke has a five year plan and it is so much better to end on a high note than to drag on well past your storytelling prime (X-Files I’m looking at you). I genuinely hope the CW lets Kripke tell his story on his terms and not try to drag this on with some other show runner turing it into a joke.

    I know its hard to say goodbye to a show we love but its so much better than to drag the corpse of a once brilliant show around like Weekend at Bernies to prop up your dying network.

  12. The CW won’t be around in a year so it won’t really matter. Seems Jensen has a contract that would make him do Season 6, Jared expects to be doing Season 6 but doesn’t want to, and Jensen “has to.”

    Other than that they were just giving out the PR words they were told to say. The truth lies in how they said it.

    It is a great show, and I’m rather convinced Season 5 will be it. No Kripke, No Edlund, No McG. They own the rights…

  13. Dunno why you seem to reading between the lines Nick. To me this all seems like a publicity stunt.

    Personally, i feel SN will continue.

  14. I just started up with this show on a bored night whim with the Xbox video marketplace. I dl’d a few eps and was hooked. I made my roommate watch them and he was hooked. Cannot believe my Buffy/XFiles/Angel/horror/classic rock loving self didn’t watch this from the beginning.

    With help from Netflix, we caught up in a month’s time so that we could see the last two episodes of this season as they aired. The newbie in me wants this show to go on forever. The scorned X-Files fan in me understands that they need to end it where they planned it.

    It really is one of the best things on tv right now. Amazing storytelling. Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester knocks it out of the park every week. From Episode 1 you completely believe in these characters. I’ve never felt they went off track or lost focus.

    Kudos to the writers, producers, actors, everyone on that show. Its a labor of love and you can tell.

  15. Supernatural is the best show on TV that most of America has never heard of! I saw something online about it before the show premiered, and I’ve loved every episode. It is so well written and acted—I cannot wait for season 5 to start!

    But, I must say, if the same people who are behind it now are not behind it for season 6, I’m a loyal fan that would question watching it. It’s a great show, and should end the way they want it to end, not being dragged out by desperation on the CW’s part to continue its ratings.

    But, like Nick said, there is a good chance the CW won’t be around anyway, so I’m thinking I have nothing to worry about!

  16. Oh gods, I hope they don’t drag it out to a sixth season; that would be such a terrible mistake. The loose arc plan was for five season only. I was thinking this was the one show that would show some wisdom and end on its own terms, while it was at the top of its game in terms of quality. Please don’t continue on without Eric Kripke into a sixth season. The man is only contracted for five. Shows that lose their original creators turn to crap. Supernatural is not immune. If you end the way you want to end, you don’t have to dilute the story to artificially extend it. Where do you go creatively after defeating Lucifer? You go backwards is where you go. You get cheesy and anticlimactic.

    I love Supernatural and that’s why I don’t want a season six.

  17. Ant, I know these people. They don’t want to continue doing the show. Jensen especially. He wants a career and he’d like something that wasn’t a horror movie!

  18. Yeah i suppose you are right Nick. Sorry if it seemed like i was a jerk. Hope we are cool.

  19. Siri Atiragram Lleof

    Nick, you constantly make my day! Always bringing me the good news.

  20. Is the CW really going under, Nick? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit. It’s not the most profitable or well managed network in terms of strategy, is it? I’ve never understood how a broadcast network could continually program to such a small niche audience as females 18-34 only. It doesn’t make sense. Heck, their suits don’t know what young females really want to watch anyway. Young girls like other things besides cheap soaps and romance. Supernatural is a perfect example.

    I’m not surprised to read that the two leads are exhausted and don’t wish for it to continue after a fifth season. It’s understandable that they’d like to stretch their wings past genre. It’s not a matter of being ungrateful–just realistic. Typecasting happens and the show must be physically exhausting in the extreme. I don’t want to see either of them in a sixth season if they’re forced to do it. Let the show go out on a high with a big blow out in season five. Let it be remembered as a classic. If the CW ends up twisting in the wind, too bad. Ostroff never promoted the show. Now all of a sudden she’s interested? Tough noogies, Ms. Ostroff.

  21. galveston, and lets not forget the last time she backed up a brinks truck (which is what it took to get Tom Welling back on the Network) she took that show and banished it to Fridays! She’s smart and stuff!

    They lost close to a $100M last year and they’re likely to break that mark this coming season. It’s a dead network. It needs two shows to explode and be a hit, and all the other shows to retain their viewership.

  22. The boys do get mixed up with girls–and pretty ones–from time to time. They’re not exactly celibate, LOL! This show is amazing, well worth your time, and if you haven’t given it a chance, do so. You won’t regret it. If you can start from season 1, that’s your best bet; go to the library or whatever you subscribe to and get begin SUPERNATURAL from the beginning. It’s an amazing show with depth and beautiful characterization, and the relationship between the brothers is SO real, it will make you laugh and break your heart, all at the same time!

  23. I should also add this is the only show my DVR records ALL episodes of vs “Just New Episodes,” because I’ll look and go “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing that episode again,” just about 50% of the time.

    It’s the best show on the CW and imho the best dramatic show on any network truly aimed at the 18-34 demo target.

    Heck if I gave out awards it would be a finalist for Best Drama easy.

  24. The CW has lost $100 million? Criminy, I didn’t realize it was that far in the red, Nick. That sounds terminal to me. I wouldn’t count on the Vampire Diaries drawing high enough numbers to save the network.

  25. The CW lost $58 million last year. That is a confirmed figure published in the Wall Street journal. The projected losses this year are $69 million. Warner Brothers is recouping almost all of their losses in International syndication and DVDs. CBS, that’s iffy, but they’re still digging in.

    Second, Nick C, with no disrespect, but your sources are very wrong. My sources say The CW will be around for a few more seasons no matter what they lose. Supernatural, now that its paired with the Vampire Diaries, will be around for two and likely three more seasons. There is a 3 year plan currently in place for the network. Now, you have my agreement that long term The CW is still doomed, but it’s not going away that quickly.

    Also, Jensen and Jared are VERY open to a sixth season. They’ll do it, and yes, Dawn will open her checkbook. The ONLY question mark is Eric Kripke.

  26. Alice, I’ve seen projected losses for this year from $60M to $90M, with $80M being the last projection. Also WB makes money off the CW and their shows, CBS doesn’t. SMALLVILLE alone makes Warner profit from it all.

    My source on the future of the CW is no one at the CW but people at the parent company (even above CBS). They are allowing Dawn to do her thing and she does have a multiyear plan, but it won’t work. VAMPIRE DIARIES may crash and burn. Without serious success and an immediate turn around towards profitability the network will come to an end. It can’t do $40M in losses. It has to turn a profit next year. If you think that’s going to happen I’ve got this bridge I’m selling…

    Also my source on how the actors feel are from the actors themselves. They don’t want to do more, but they might be forced to. Also Eric isn’t the only question mark. There are other producers and writers just as convinced that after the LUCIFER storyline the only direction to go is down in terms of quality. What is after beating Satan? The fact is the actors are pros they do what they’re told and they act excited because THEY ARE ACTORS. That is what they do. Behind closed doors they want careers and it isn’t disrespectful to say “I’m done after the PLANNED five year arc.”

    Personally I myself and most fans I talk to want the series to end after 5 seasons. Do what they planned and end on a high.

  27. Supernatural is my second favorite show on television. It’s simply amazing. And I would be annoyed at it ending next year, but since the CW will be no more, they might as well go out with a bang. Long live Sam and Dean!

  28. Thanks for pointing me to this show! I normally don’t watch anything on CW, but was looking for something to watch this summer. I watch seasons 1-4 in about 2 weeks, and I have to say SN is probably in my top 5 all-time entertaining shows.

    I agree that after the 5th (as long as there is a 5th season) it would probably be best just to end on a high note. That is as long as the series finale is as satisfying as the season finales have been (and not a crap ep like Seinfeld went out on).

    Though, I must say the selfishness in me would love to see more, if they could keep the quality up. Anyway, my only regret is that I have to wait until Fall for new eps… (and that SN is so addictive that I burned through the eps with half the summer left.)

  29. robinhelene

    Good for you, finding SUPERNATURAL!

    It’s the very best show on TV, IMHO! The acting, writing, production values–all top notch, especially considering how skimpy their budget is! I give kudos to Eric Kripke, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles for breathing life into the genre and television itself for this incredible show!

  30. Richard Steven Hack

    I may check this out, but it takes a lot to get me interested in a spook show, especially if it’s a “spook of the week” procedural deal. There has to be a central conflict.

    I had no problem with “Blade – The Series” despite the relatively poor writing and acting because there was a nice central conflict and I like the main character from the movies. Supernatural doesn’t seem to have that central conflict based on the descriptions above.

    “Spook of the week” isn’t going to work for me any more than “Terminator of the week” did.

    But I’ll check it out.

  31. RSH, there is a central conflict. I don’t like to spoil like other sites, and the information in my article has more spoilers than I like.

    Something happens to make the one brother go out and help the other brother besides their dad going missing. Something bad happened when he was just a baby, and that leads to a season long conflict in season 2. Dean has to get out of a pact with a demon that will send him to hell in season 3. Season 4 has the brothers trying to stop the apocalypse. All of it ties together and all of it is even set up clearly in the pilot. It’s not clear when you watch the pilot, but it is later.

    All the season arcs are part of a series arc. So yes, it has filler of “spook of the week,” but hidden in those episodes is generally a realization about something or someone. There is definite character growth and definition as well as some seriously fun ass kicking.

    This is a show that truly should be nominated for best drama, but never will because the CW won’t throw money at voters for it.

  32. robinhelene

    SUPERNATURAL has one of the best mytharcs you will find anywhere! It starts in the first episode, really, but you need to keep watching to see how it all ties together. It’s very cohesive and exciting, and by season three, you realize just how wide-spread it is! Trust me, watch SUPERNATURAL from the pilot and you’ll be as hooked as everyone else! Trust me, I’m not an easy sell, but I am SOLD on SUPERNATURAL!