Thursday, October 8, 2009

Supernatural: Season 1

Supernatural has always been a bad show for me to follow, not because the show is bad or written poorly, but because through school, retail jobs and everything else you can think of I was not able to follow the show week to week until season four. To make up for this, as it might be Supernatural’s last season I am watching the first three seasons again on DVD so I can see the episodes I missed, and put the ones I did catch in context.

Season one has a spectacular first episode that perfectly introduces us to Dean & Sam Winchester and their world. Dean & Sam are brothers whose mother was killed by a demon on the night of Sam’s 6 month birthday. Their father John quickly learned evertything he could about the supernatural world and took up the profession of hunter – he took the boys from city to city as he tracked cases and demons trying to help protect inhabitants from the demonic world that actually surrounds them. When season one starts Sam is finishing Standford, about be a law student and propose to his girlfriend after living estranged from Dean and his father for years. All of that changes when Dean shows up at Sam’s door telling him Dad’s been on a hunting trip and hasn’t checked in for a few days. Out of family loyalty Sam leaves his girlfriend Jessica and tries to track down his father with Dean only to uncover that their father is genuinely missing and returns home just in time to see Jessica murdered by the same demon that killed his mother. This even forces Sam out of the “normal” world he’d been living in and back on the road with Dean to track their father and find the demon that killed the women they love.

This is an amazing show, and one of the things I love about it is that it is not episodic, but the show runners include a recap at the beginning of every episode that is used as a opening theme almost. The recap shows you “then” and “now” and gives you the large chunks of info you need if you are just tuning in for the first time or are a long time viewer trying to keep up with a complex, and now, five year plot line.

One of the fantastic things about Supernatural is that while the first few episodes of the show seemed to be monster-of-the-week style, it became quickly apparent that Eric Kripke had a grander scheme in mind for the show and everything was actually carrying on from episode to episode and building towards a grand plot. Season five is bringing up things brought about in season one and as I watched season one I saw things that would be brought back in future seasons to have a grander meaning, one of the biggest is Sam’s abilities and the Colt – a gun that can kill anything.

Perhaps what helps sell this show over and over is the relationship between Sam & Dean and the chemistry between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. The two characters are so well written as siblings and brothers, and the actors themselves add that extra element of genuineness that makes you really wonder if Jared & Jensen knew each other before the show even started. These characters are written as the most genuinely accurate brothers I’ve ever seen on TV; they interact like my brothers would act – teasing, playing pranks, calling names, and bending over backwards to keep each other safe no matter how annoyed they are.

Supernatural’s first season has a lot in common both in tone and execution with The X-Files and that is not a coincidence. Some of the lead people on the show worked on The X-Files in its prime. This tone didn’t stay much longer after season one as once Kripke realized he would be allowed to have more than one season he did what most show runners do and slowly evolved into a more unique style for his show.

I cannot wait to see where Supernatural goes this season and if Kripke decides he can do a sixth season, but I am really looking forward to catching up on all the DVD’s as quickly as I can.

Creator: Eric Kripke
Dean Winchester: Jensen Ackles
Sam Winchester: Jared Padalecki
Bobby: Jim Beaver
John Winchester: Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Sam: No. No, whatever you wanna say, you can say it in front of her.
Dean: hasn't been home in a few days.
Sam: So he's working overtime on a Miller Time shift. He'll stumble back in sooner or later.
Dean: Dad's on a hunting trip, and he hasn't been home in a few days.

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