by Chris Lovato
In honor of Halloween month, we are reviewing a number of TV shows with supernatural themes.
Dad’s gone on a hunting trip…and he hasn’t been home in a few days. – Dean Winchester
The series Supernatural kicks off with these words and it doesn’t stop there, Brought to life in 2005, it’s been tearing apart the hearts of those who view it and inspiring more out-of-context GIFs on tumblr ever since, thanks to one Eric Kripke.
Following the adventures of Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and his younger brother Sam (Jared Padalecki), the show gives us a glimpse into a world where the things that go bump in the night are very real, and there are people, like the Winchester Bros., who deal with them (they’re known as “Hunters”). As they slay Wendigos, Sirens, Vampires and a cadre of other nightmares, we see what Hunters’ lives are really like: miserable, unstable, and most importantly, constantly putting their loved ones at risk.
Dean and Sam, raised as Hunters since they were kids, search for their father but start to learn of a more sinister evil setting plans in motion. We learn of Demons, creatures from Hell who can possess humans and of their plan to, almost quite literally, unleash Hell on Earth. Along the way, we meet Bobby (Jim Beaver), a fellow Hunter and father figure to the siblings, Ellen (Samantha Ferris), a former Hunter, and her daughter Jo (Alona Tal); the Winchester “extended family.” As the Demons draw closer and closer to achieving their goal, the show delves into Christian mythology, eventually introducing Angels, Heaven and eventually, God.
While we can see what happens to a Hunter after a life of brawling evil, Dean illustrates what occurs on the way there. Called a “good soldier” by his brother, Dean never hesitates to protect his brother, a quality that proves to be his kryptonite on more than one occasion. Sam, on the other hand, despises the life his father wanted for him and consequently “ran away” to college, only to be brought right back in by Dean. His resentment to his father’s plans and the Hunter’s life in general makes him more susceptible to temptation, something that he has to deal with constantly as time goes on. It presents itself in different forms, and even John and Dean fall prey to it after we learn that humans can make deals with the Devil (in Supernatural‘s case, demons).
Angels are dicks. – Dean Winchester
Although we meet Castiel (Misha Collins) first, most Supernatural fans consider the rest of the Heavenly Host (sometimes including God Himself) dicks; in fact, most of the angels in the series challenge the traditional idea of an angel, while incorporating a very accurate Biblical portrayal. Once Hell roams free on Earth, however, the lines between good and evil blur further when the Winchester brothers come into play. They too must take sides in the mounting war between Heaven and Hell, always deciding between the good of humanity and the only familial bond they have. That bond is tested further as both angels and demons exploit it, something that also becomes integral to the storyline.
Amid the demons, angels and everything in between, Supernatural brings in actors and actresses for very memorable guest roles. You might recognize Julie Benz, Amber Benson, Charisma Carpenter, and James Marsters, all of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer fame, as well as Felicia Day (the Guild), Lauren Tom (Futurama), Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars), and Candice Accola (The Vampire Diaries). In addition to memorable faces, the series is punctuated by memorable songs like “Carry On Wayward Son” (Kansas), “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Bon Jovi), and “Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor).
Although it falls under the category of shows that came before it, like Buffy and Charmed, it continues the grand tradition of supernatural shows based in the real world in a bold, new fashion. It’s another glimpse into how the hero’s ending isn’t always happy, and as the premiere of the ninth season draws ever closer (October 8, 2013), Supernatural viewers will be on tenterhooks to see what Kripke has in store.
Catch Supernatural starting October 8 Tuesdays on The CW.