Bookmans Recommends: Supernatural
What do Chevy Impalas, salt rounds, and demonic possessions have in common? They are all Supernatural. A once-small budget show on an even smaller network, Supernatural has successfully survived thirteen glorious seasons, network declines, and an apocalypse (or ten). Here’s what makes the Winchester’s adventures a must-watch for fans of high drama, extremely quotable lines, and some of the best meta episodes ever to air on television. I dedicate this installment of Bookmans Recommends to my favorite hunters, the Winchesters.
I have been a fan of Supernatural since 2005. At that time, the show was just two brothers crisscrossing the country saving people, hunting things, and keeping the family business together. It was episodic and featured stories about urban legends, was chock-full-of-daddy-issues Sam’s psychic abilities, and the yellow-eyed demon roamed free as John Winchester relentlessly hunted him.
Back then (meaning seasons 1 and 2), Supernatural was more serious and the dialog was cheesy. “Why don’t you talk about Dad, Dean?” can only be tolerated so many times without making your eyes roll. It was scary and the storyline centered around American folklore, but something about it was still very watchable and somehow addictive. The great-looking cast and Dean’s Han Solo-like swagger helped, of course, getting my 16-year-old self hooked on the series.
As it matured in season 3, the show focused more on the bigger, more interesting stories and evolved to include crossroads demons, apocalypses, stints in hell, multiple deaths and resurrections, angels, monsters of all ilk, and one unforgettable angel in a trench coat. The cheesiness gave way to riveting drama, serious belly laughs, and some of the most addictive content to be found on television. If you want to skip the cheese and dive right into the show’s major storylines, you won’t miss much by skipping season 1.
Creator Eric Kripke intended the show to be about tabloid writers reporting on the supernatural goings-on in America’s backyard. After WB execs nixed the tabloid idea, Kripke replaced reporters for brothers and the news van for a 1967 Impala. The show gained an audience for its premiere on the WB because of the pilot which was available online. That’s how Supernatural was born.
The Winchesters arm themselves with salt, iron, guns, and their father’s journal to vanquish demons and evil creatures. They soon discover Sam’s position as a pawn in the yellow-eyed demon’s plan for humanity’s demise. Every episode begins with a case, like a child’s mysterious disappearance or suspicious murders. Sam and Dean pose as FBI agents named after famous classic rock musicians like Agent Tyler and Agent Van Halen. The Winchesters hold up in hotels they pay for with stolen credit cards. Sam researches while Dean kicks butt and all of it is awesome!
The show gained rhythm and when the WB became the CW in 2006 and managed to stay on the air. Kripke intended the show to last five seasons. With its overwhelming success, Supernatural got a sixth season and has continued to gain fans day after day more than 7 years later.
Don’t be fooled by the show’s beginning as pretty boys prancing around the country. Supernatural is as witty as it is heartbreaking and delivers interesting story arcs at every turn. Touching on all subjects from Cain and Able to evil fairies, Supernatural remains a consistently entertaining series. It’s a refreshing take on the classic good-versus-evil story.
What makes Supernatural extra special is its ability to make fun of itself and its genre. Supernatural is so self-aware of the show’s cheesiness that it dedicated its entire seventh season to one joke. With a villain named Dick, you can imagine the puns. I can’t believe they got away with that on television.
The Supernatural fandom is huge. This runs from immeasurable amounts of GIFs to Misha Collins’ (Castiel) Twitter (howdy, Mishamigos!). On August 1, 2014, Supernatural fans across the world wrote “Croatoan” on their forearms in homage to episode 4 of season 5. There are entire Supernatural conventions around the world. And yes, the TV show references that too.
Will the show go on forever? The CW says that the show can last as long as fans watch, so we’ll have to wait and see.
I implore anyone and everyone to watch this show. It’s remarkably clever, creative, and fun to watch. Supernatural is about family, and as the show puts it “family don’t end with blood.” The brothers are on humanity’s side, no matter what the supernatural world throws at them. Plus, the soundtrack consists entirely of classic rock songs and every season finale begins with Carry On My Wayward Son. I promise it will rev your engine every time you hear it once you get into the show.
Get caught up on Supernatural by picking up the seasons at your local Bookmans. Call ahead and reserve your Blu-rays and DVDs like a good Winchester would.