SUPERNATURAL (Eleven)

SUPERNATURAL

We all love “the boys”.

Into its eighth season, so much has been written about Supernatural, in books, the series magazine, and on websites by the series’ passionate fans.

Supernatural’s success surely must be because of the relationship between two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester and the chemistry between the two actors playing them (Texans Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles).

Maybe it also has something to do with the car….the 67 Chevy Impala. Or Dean’s smart mouth and his leather jacket? The story arc? The bold, risky writing?

Sam and Dean have been raised as warriors in the fight against demons, ghosts, witches and every other monster by their father, John, who’s obsessed with hunting down the demon who killed his wife, Mary.

In the pilot, the elder brother Dean has remained true to the “family business” but Sam has argued with their father and broken away to go to college. He’s drawn back into “hunting” when their father goes missing and when his girlfriend Jess is killed, apparently by the same demon who killed their mother.

Season one kicks off with monster-of-the-week episodes, often based on urban legends – series creator Eric Kripke envisaged a modern-day western where the good guys roll into town (in that famous Chevy Impala), kill the monsters, kiss the girls, and roll on out.

However as the underlying mythology is increasingly introduced by Kripke the five-season story arc is revealed, ending in the dramatic season five finale Swan Song, which left me in tears.

That arc picked up pace at the start of season four with the introduction of angels, particularly Castiel (Misha Collins), who rescues Dean from hell. That took Supernatural into the realms of Revelations and the apocalypse, which was averted in Swan Song at great personal cost to “the boys”.

Some fans believe the series should have ended there as it was originally envisaged.

But it was picked up for further seasons – thankfully.

For although season six proves uneven, it features episodes it’s hard to imagine living without (Clap Your Hands if You Believe, Appointment in Samarra, The French Mistake, You Can’t Handle the Truth – and who can forget the Supernatural western episode Frontierland). The underlying question of what is a soul and what does it mean to have a soul also made this a season that can be watched and rewatched.

Season 7 then proved very even, though particularly gruesome. However few episodes would make a top 20 for the entire show (perhaps Time after Time or the Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo).

Season eight is showing on Eleven and though episode four was a mistake of mammoth proportions, the season is shaping nicely.

Supernatural’s appeal lies not only in its mythology and wonderful characters but also in the humorous episodes (ie, the black humour of the ground-hog-day-like Mystery Spot where Dean dies over and over again).

The writers also boldly go where so few dare and they often shock us and take risks. In season three, for example, with Dean marked for hell, instead of a last-minute solution, we gasp when he actually is sent to hell.

In the finale of season four, again we have no trite endings, but instead Lucifer is released, a key character is revealed as being evil after all, and the apocalypse is upon us.

The show also acknowledges its insanely devoted fans; in Monster at the End of the Book (season four), Sam and Dean discover a series of books written about them and that the books have a following online, including “Dean girls” and “Sam girls”, and even “Dean/Sam fans, together”, much as it is with fans of the actual show (a key question for a female Supernatural fan is: “Are you a Sam or a Dean girl?”)

In The French Mistake, some jokes are very “in house”. You’d need to know Jared Padalecki is in fact married to the actress who plays the demon Ruby, for example, to appreciate the episode.

Fans of the show are particularly active, helping it win two People’s Choice Awards, for Best Sci-Fi TV series and Best Drama TV Series. And why not? Supernatural rates at number one of our top 10 list, without a doubt.

HOT GUY ALERT: Whether you’re a “Sam girl”, a “Dean girl” or a Castiel fan, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki must be among two of the most attractive men on TV.

HORROR ALERT: Supernatural is drama at its best, but given it deals with monsters of all sorts very few episodes don’t feature some sort of blood splattering effect.

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