Friday, November 05, 2010


I was late to the Supernatural party.  I admit it.

I thought the show looked stupid and I really wasn't interested in another Monster-of-the-Week show when it debuted.  And much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel before it, I skipped it and was forced to go back and catch up once my dumb-ass realized I was missing out on something good.

Hmmm.  I'm noticing a pattern developing in my TV Viewing History.  Nearly all of my favorite all-time shows are shows that I sampled in their first season, or just dismissed without trying.  Then, when some trick of fate forced me to sit and pay attention, I was hooked.

That might be why I'm more lenient towards shows over the past few years during their debut seasons.  Not that I'm averse to quitting a show if it gets annoying (See: Bionic Woman, Dollhouse, and The Event), but if the core concept is innovative or imaginative, I'm more likely to stick out that first season and see what shakes out (See: Surface, Threshold, and Caprica).  Unfortunately, the shows tend to get canceled after one season anyway.

Anyway, back to Supernatural.

As Season 5 was getting ready to launch, I asked a friend of mine who was praising the show, just what was so good about it and after hearing a bit of the mythology, my interest was piqued.  So he gave me a list of the important Mythology Episodes over the previous 4 seasons.  I tracked them down, and in a matter of days I was, once again, hooked on a new show.

For those who haven't watched it: Supernatural follows the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel the country killing monsters and demons.  Initially they were looking for their mysteriously vanished father, too.  Sam had quit the hunting game a while earlier and was getting his degree and settling down with a nice girl when Dean re-entered the picture.  Dean had never left the life, and wanted Sam back at his side.

That's when a demon showed up, killed Sam's girlfriend in the exact same manner the boys' mother had been killed all those years earlier: Pinned to the ceiling by mystical forces and then bursting into flame.

So Sam was back in the game.

The first season was mostly Monster-of-the-Week episodes, but they were subtly building toward establishing the mythology of the show, as the search for Dad, tied the season together.  Each season from then on had an overriding narrative arc that built on a 5-Year Plan (much like Babylon 5 had done years earlier).  This Plan involved the absence of God from Heaven.  And in his absence, a faction of Angels had rebelled, deciding to urge on the Apocalypse and cleanse the Earth to begin again.  In order to do this, Lucifer needed to freed from Hell and Michael was itching to do battle.  But the Angelic Brothers needed meat-suits in which to interact with this reality.  And, as fate would have it, Sam was marked as the living vessel for Lucifer, while Michael was promised Dean.

And Season 5 saw the Apocalypse take place and the battle occur.  Sort of.  And when the dust settled, the story of Supernatural tied up in a nice neat bow.  It was an ending that was incredibly effective and would have been a fantastic place to end the series.

But then they announced Season 6.

And I'll be damned if it hasn't been just as good as the previous seasons, even without the show's creator on-board playing an active role in the development.  It wasn't just turned over to strangers, however, and that's been the secret.

So Season 6 has been about New Rules.  Monsters are doing things and showing up places they've never done or been before.  There's an all-out Civil War in Heaven going on.  And there's something weird going on with "Alpha Monsters" or the progenitors of various Monster Species.  In other words, there are a lot of people running around with Father Issues, our heroes included.

But, because of the events of Season 5, there's been a shift in the roles of Sam and Dean.  Whereas before, Dean was always the bad-ass hunter and Sam the more emotional and volatile partner, now Dean is more hesitant and questioning while Sam has turned into the hardest of the hard.  It's good stuff and it's on every Friday.

And now, without warning, our cable company has splurged and we've got a handful of new HD channels, including CWHD, which is the home of Supernatural!!!  No more low-res versions, baby!  As of tonight, we're watching Supernatural as it airs and in glorious HD.

I can't recommend this show highly enough.  It's not streaming from Netflix, but if anyone's interested, I can find that list of episodes that I was given and pass it on and you too can rent the discs and get hooked on a show that's been around for years but still going strong.

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