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).