Excerpt from my full article for Geekscape.net’s Fall TV 2015: Top 10 New & Returning Shows!
(Oct. 7th, 9pm, CW)
If you were able to take the very best things about the greatest buddy-cop teams, blend that with the cream of campfire ghost stories and then throw open the doors of possibility—you’d have only the jumping off point for the series. It continuously finds ways to keep folding in more—more character dynamics, more storytelling structures, more deep questions tastily sandwiched into monster mayhem. . . If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that they were taking notes from Doctor Who.
The brilliant minds behind Supernatural have successfully built a dynamic that feels comfortable for the returning viewer week to week and at the same time allows for amazing flexibility. Much like The X-Files, one episode may be extremely dramatic followed by one that is practically an hour-long comedy! In fact, I might describe it to a potential viewer as a healthy combo of The X-Files, Ghostbusters and Starsky & Hutch. A sort of on-the-road dude version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if you will.
The Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean (irreplaceably played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), crisscross the country “saving people, hunting things.” The entire series started as a buddy-cop, road-trip, monster/ghost of the week flavored sort of affair—with the boys chiefly fueled by burgers, unleaded, damsels in distress and the hunt for the demon that killed their mother and Sam’s girlfriend. In those early days, the season-long story arc would take a distant backseat, in their black 1967 Chevy Impala, to each episode’s encounter.
Since then, the Supernatural universe has been massively fleshed out and now each week is most often about another piece in the puzzle for the season’s storyline. The boys have graduated from tackling urban legends come to life each week to taking on hell, purgatory and even a rebellion in heaven over the course of a season.
Every time I think, “Well, that’s it. The end of the series. There’s nowhere to go after that season finale,” they pick up on some unfinished aspect I missed to spin a fresh new season around. It’s a magically delightful sort of 3-Card Monte—”Whoa, I was looking over here while they were setting that up over there!”
They’ve picked up an excellent entourage along the way of reoccurring characters, including my current favorites, Crowley (I can never get enough of Mark Sheppard), the new king of hell, Castiel (Misha Collins is awesome!—he should be cast in everything), a rebel angel who once took over heaven, and now Claire (a very impressive Kathryn Newton) the orphaned teenage daughter of Castiel’s vessel (long story), who brings a fresh new dynamic and energy to the show for each episode she’s in.
One of the remarkable feats that Supernatural has pulled off, quite a few times now, is reaching through the fourth-wall. They’ve done it in several different ways and haven’t fallen on their faces yet—if anything, it has actually enriched the experience of the show each time—extending the definition of “supernatural” in a deeper way that seems to defy the physics of television shows themselves. (Tried a couple different ways of explaining more here—but I don’t think reading about it would give the experiences justice. I would rather not rob you of those first experiences yourself, if you don’t already know what I’m talking about.)
Without giving too much away, the ancient (original?) curse that kept Dean alive in the previous season has consequences that pit the brothers against each other last season. Now, with the setup for The Darkness impending, the new season of Supernatural looks promising indeed.
Read the whole article at Geekscape.net.