Supernatural is dark, dramatic, heart wrenching and humorous. It takes a fresh new slant on the supernatural, and has some of the best group dynamics since Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Season One introduces the two Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, who have had a rather unconventional upbringing. After the death of their mother in a mysterious house fire Sam and Dean were brought up by their father on the road, hunting the things that go bump in the night. As the brothers grow older their father becomes more maniacal, determined to kill the creature he believes to have killed his wife, the Yellow Eyed Demon. Sam grows apart from the family, deciding to go to Stanford and try to live a normal life. The season opens when Dean visits Sam on the eve of his law school interview with the cryptic message “Dad’s been on a hunting trip, he hasn’t been home in a few days.”
What follows brings together new and old elements of the supernatural, as storylines range from the ancient myths of the vampire (although given a complete aesthetic make over) to the urban legend of Bloody Mary. Each episode the brothers fight an interesting and unique creature – the showrunners have clearly done their research on supernatural myths and legends from around the world. Standout episodes include ‘Skin’, where the two brothers deal with a shapeshifting monster that frames Dean for the murder of several college students, setting the FBI on their tail, and ‘The Benders’, a chilling episode which explores the depths of human depravity. Season One also starts some of the strongest long running storylines that I have ever seen in a drama. It begins showrunner Eric Kripke’s 5 season plan, and moulds so cohesively with the ensuing series that you can very clearly feel that there was always a clear direction from the start.
What makes this show outstanding, however, is the characterisation and relationship between Sam and Dean and the hunters around them. There is true brotherly chemistry between the two actors, which is a credit to the friendship between Padalecki and Ackles. Dean is a brash, charming womaniser with a deep affection for family and dedication to his brother that immediately endears him to the audience. Sam is brooding, brilliant and managed to exude child like innocence and adorableness that, despite the fact that he is six foot four, makes you protective over the more sensitive of the two brothers. The dialogue between the two characters is believable and honest, with little moments sprinkled in the midst of the drama between the two brothers that establishes their relationship so well. The majority of the first season focuses on the two brothers, but has some fantastic guests sprinkled liberally through the series. Amy Acker, Amber Benson and Julie Benz, all Buffy and Angel alum, Linda Blair, Jake Abel and Sebastian Roche have all appeared on the show. The first series also introduces the ‘Ghostfacers’ who are truly hilarious – a testament to how successful the characters were is the fact that they got their own webseries spin off, and have starred in several subsequent episodes.
My only critique would be that the show doesn’t really get into its stride in terms of the wider character group until the second season, with the introduction of Bobby Singer, Jo and Ellen Harvelle. When they are introduced, you see some fantastic group dynamics, as the brothers interact with other characters. It establishes throughout that in Supernatural family definitely comes in many shapes and sizes.
The show has now been renewed for it’s ninth season, and with its on going ratings success, doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon. If you haven’t seen the show, now is the time to start season one. But I warn you now, be prepared for a long and bumpy emotional ride. Once you invest in Sam and Dean, you never look back.