The road so far – Supernatural
I sometimes struggle to write about current shows whilst working for the GWW crew. I mean living in Britain means that a lot of what I watch has already been aired over in the USA, so I’m usually a little behind. But the other day someone asked if anyone knew of any shows that they could get into, and some of the answers made me realize that some shows that have been around for a while could still be new to someone. So with that in mind I wanted to talk about one show that has played a large part in my viewing pleasure over the last decade… Supernatural.
A Brief History
What’s it about I hear you ask? Well where do you want me to start? The show revolves around the theory that there are things out there in this world we live in that can’t be explained by normal means, be they ghosts, monsters, demons or angels for that matter. Some of these things have been seen by everyday people, ghosts/spirits have been mentioned throughout history by various civilizations. We’ve heard rumors of an Abominable Snowman by different cultures, but the worst of these we dismiss as myths; just childhood stories to scare us. But what if they’re not stories? Why haven’t we seen or encountered more of them throughout history? Well in the case of Supernatural the reason is simple, Hunters! Hunters are people who have been bought up knowing that what we consider fantasy and fairy tales are actually as real as you or me. They know the gruesome truth behind the lore and track down these various creatures and prevent them from doing harm to people who have no idea that really was something going bump in the night.
Now two of these hunters are the focal point of our Supernatural journey, and for me they are the reason for the longevity of the series. Ladies and Gents, meet Sam and Dean, the Winchester boys! Dean (Jensen Ackles) is the older of the two brothers and as we learn through the years is a wise cracking, simple kind of guy who loves his car, food and women (probably in that order too), but tough as boots! Sam (Jared Padalecki) is the younger sibling and since we meet him at Stanford, its obvious early on that he has the brains, but as we learn, he can hold his own.
Spoilers From Here On! You Have Been Warned!
Now the life of a hunter isn’t an easy one, and the Winchesters learn this the hard way. At the age of 4 Dean had to carry his 6 month old brother from their home at the command of his father John, when their mother, Mary, was killed by a demon. Now John was a hunter himself and from that moment on the boys had little choice but to follow in the family business. Now even though Sam went away to study (as I mentioned), it didn’t mean he was out completely, as his brother and further tragedy drew him back into the battle against all things evil.
While many shows have come and gone, Supernatural has continued to fight on (we currently are on season 10) and this owes much to its loyal fan base and to some original storylines from Eric Kripke and his fellow writers. The show has many features that make it memorable, I for one can’t hear the song Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas without thinking of the show, but for this fan there are two main reasons for coming back year after year, Dean and Sam aka Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. These two have clocked up over 200 episodes each, which in an industry that’s based on viewers and essentially money, is no small feat. The way these guys portray the characters is fantastic, you could actually believe that they really were brothers, and with 10 years of working together it’s hardly surprising. Sam is forever confusing Dean with anything technological or intellectual, time after time making him look like a simpleton, while trying to always take the moral high ground on cases they investigate. Dean however is a little bit of bad ass you could say, willing to get his hands dirty and enjoying it a little too. He continues to protect his little brother, putting body and soul on the line, literally in one season when he sells his soul to save Sam. While they hunt, the pair often use fake ID and impersonate FBI, CIA or whomever they like, often using names from their favorite rock bands. As you’d expect from a show with this title there is no shortage of weird going on, during the many episodes we have encountered a variety of ghosts, monsters, demons and also angels! I have learned the names of some creatures that I never knew existed, from all different kinds of origins such as Inuit, Native American and even some from Europe. We’ve met crossroad demons, archangels and even Lucifer himself! But rest assured that the classics like vampires, werewolves are also covered on a regular basis which you could argue may get repetitive, but that’s where the writers do the work and create a variety of stories that make you keep on guessing. One week Sam and Dean may be killing vampires, the next they’re working with them on a case that involves something even worse. Good work Kripke & Co.!
They’re Not Alone!
Now I can’t mention this series without talking about the supporting cast, because even though we focus on the Winchesters’ on the bulk of the episodes, they have friends that are always helping them out and keeping their feet on the ground… which takes some doing as you can imagine! After the death of John Winchester, Bobby Singer helped Sam and Dean in their exploits against the darker forces of this world. Bobby (Jim Beaver) got involved with the unknown after his wife was possessed and he was forced to kill her (I know, talk about drastic measures)! He was the go to for anything supernatural related, and on more than one occasion got many hunters out of some hair-raising situations with his expert knowledge. Not to mention that he became a father figure to the Winchester boys, and even though he would often call them ‘idjits’ it was obvious that if they were in trouble, he’d run through the flames of hell to help.
In season 4 we encountered an unlikely ally for the fight against evil, in the form of an angel named Castiel (Misha Collins). Castiel reveals that he was the one who pulled Dean from hell (yes I said hell, Dean was in hell for a while, I’m trying not to tell you everything here people), letting him know that God has a plan for him. Talk about peer pressure! Angels take people as hosts so they can appear to mortals, as their true form can blind you. Castiel is a great character for the show. He has little understanding of human emotions, including humor or sarcasm, which leads to lots of awkward yet hilarious moments, with Dean especially getting the confused look plenty of times. And I have to mention the demon we love to hate, Crowley (Mark Sheppard), who is a constant thorn in the Winchesters’ side yet, as we learn, has a bit of a soft spot for them too! That’s got to be a conflict of interests since they just want to kill each other… most of the time anyway! We also have repeat characters throughout years, a demon called Meg appears from time to time whilst various hunters, such as Garth (DJ Quails is fantastic as a goofy hunter) makes regular cameos. Not to mention Death himself pops in on occasion, who I might add also has a soft spot for Dean! Can you say man-crush? And I cannot mention supporting cast without talking about one other member of the group who time after time holds together the very fabric of the show, a 1967 Chevy Impala! Now I know that many of you may think “well, that’s just a car…” But when you watch Supernatural you will realize that it’s so much more. In fact after Jensen and Jared, it is the most recognizable feature of the show. With its creaking doors and thundering engine, it has appeared in most episodes and onscreen it’s something that Dean cherishes as much as his brother (sometimes maybe more).
I’m trying not to reveal too much, even though it’s killing me! This show for me has a little of everything. We have action, gore, monsters/demons, time travel, resurrection, romance (or maybe Bromance) and more times than I can mention it’s just outright funny. I know that 10 seasons is a lot to catch up on but it’s so worth the journey, and that’s what you’re taken on with the Winchester men.
So buckle up, sit back, put the 8track on, and join us on the Highway to Hell!