I have decided to follow the likes of Lord Naseby and The Creep and do a review of a TV show. Now this review will be half a normal review and half informational, about the characters, major plotlines and such. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. P.S. I would put pictures in if I could, but RT is not letting me, so if you're really curious, that's why I had to post on my individual blog, which I try not to do. Warning: For those who care, there will be some spoilers
Now a few of you have maybe heard of this show, as it has been running since 2005. However, you may have dismissed it as just two attractive guys hunting monsters. It is, but there is so much more to the show than that. It is a clever, funny, intelligent, and occasionally quite sad show about two brothers who's lives are riddled with problems, having to do with their absentee father, a war between angels and demons, or any problems that might crop up on the show. This is my favourite show on television currently and it's not just because of the fact that the two brothers are extremely attractive. Granted, they are, but I actually like the show for its content, unlike the majority of the show's rabid fanbase.
OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS
The elder of the two brothers is Dean, played by Jensen Ackles. Dean initially starts out as a bit of a tough guy and comic relief, but we see over the course of the show that he is a man who loves his family and will do anything to save them if they are in trouble, including selling his soul for his brother Sam in the third season finale. That can lead to martyrdom, which is one of Dean's character flaws and a major source of conflict between him and Sam. A good deal of the conflict also comes from their absentee father, who Dean blindly worships and trusts, whereas Sam has the audacity to question him, and Ruby, a demon that comes along in season 3, who Sam summons to find a loophole in Dean's contract. He had to partially raise Sam due to their father being away for weeks at a time hunting, and thus he is extremely overprotective of Sam and is probably more of a father to Sam than his own father. Dean is also a very funny character, and to be honest, he's kind of a slut (Dean's sluttiness making the show occasionally quite hilarious). In the fifth season, Dean learns from one of the angels that he is supposed to be a vessel for the Archangel Michael, who would lead the angels in the war against Hell, which is the cause of the animosity between Dean and most of the angels. Despite the movies he has done, Jensen Ackles is a fantastic actor and he performs extremely well as Dean, playing both the comedic and dramatic aspects of the character perfectly. Dean is also an extremely fascinating character, possibly one of the best and most complex TV characters ever, and that's what makes him such a joy to watch, even as absolutely horrible things happen to him.
The younger of the brothers is Sam, played by Jared Padalecki. Sam was never on good terms with his dad, and when the show first starts out, he is not with Dean or his dad, but at Stanford University. He also lives with his girlfriend Jessica, who he intended to make his fiancee. When she is murdered in a similar fashion to his mother, Sam agrees to go along with Dean, hunting monsters and other supernatural creatures. Sam is shown to be the quiet, studious brother, and he is the one doing most of the research for the jobs they go on. It is revealed that on the night when his mother died, the demon that killed her went into his nursery and fed Sam demon blood, which later results in him developing precognitive powers. In the second season finale, he is stabbed fatally and Dean sells his soul to save Sam. Pretty much the entirety of Season 3 has Sam desperately trying to find a loophole to save his brother from Hell, including enlisting the help of a demon named Ruby, who will cause bigger problems and who we'll talk about later. In the fifth season, Sam is told that he is Lucifer's one true vessel and that he will lead the demon army in the war against Heaven, which is one of the main sources of conflict in Season 5. Jared Padalecki is a fantastic actor as well, and he and Jensen Ackles have great brotherly chemistry. He has had some less than exemplary movie choices as well, but don't let that detract from this great performance.
Sam and Dean's father, John Winchester, is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and even though he is not on the show very much, he is one of the main sources of conflict and one of the main sources of animosity between Sam and Dean. John Winchester is more of a symbol, because for a long while, he was all that Sam and Dean had besides eachother and he was absent from the majority of their lives. One of the popular theories discussed is whether or not John Winchester is a good father. I'm going to have to say no, disagreeing with the general fanbase. He keeps way too many secrets from his sons(lying to Sam about his mother's death and what he does even into his childhood), going against his late wife's wishes by raising the kids as hunters (as Mrs. Winchester was raised a hunter and didn't enjoy it very much), prevents Sam from going to university and having a happy life, and is solely focused upon vengeance as opposed to what's best for his children (what's best being that he is there for them as opposed to leaving them on their own for weeks at a time, and being there for a four year old who lost his mother. The six-month old lost his mother as well, but he would be far too young to remember her). He also hides another kid from the boys, a kid he did normal dad things with, who we'll talk about later. Needless to say, he won't be winning any Father of the Year awards. The majority of the first season involves Sam and Dean trying to find him, and after Dean is badly wounded in a car crash, John ends up making a deal with Azazel (the demon that killed his wife) to give up his life, his soul, and the Colt (a demon-killing gun) so Dean could live. This deal is important because the demons wanted to get this whole apocalypse thing (a major plot point in season 5) underway a lot sooner, and they hoped that John would break the first seal (that would set Lucifer free, the first seal being when a righteous man sheds blood in hell), but it didn't happen, so they had to settle for his eldest son. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a fantastic actor and he performs well as John Winchester, and even though his character is a deadbeat, he does have some very touching moments.
Bobby Singer is a hunter on the show, and is played by Jim Beaver. The point of his character is that he's much more of a father to Sam and Dean than their own father, and he's much more normal and consistent than their own dad. Bobby is an old friend of John, and often helps Sam and Dean with cases. He's probably the most featured hunter on the show that's not Sam or Dean and is a general mentor and occasional traveling companion, and probably the most funny person on the show that's not Dean. He's probably the smartest as well, and he is willing to do what is necessary to solve the problem, whether it involves locking Sam in his demon-proof panic room for him to detox (I'll explain later). He oftentimes chides the brothers for some of their more moronic actions, but he does care for them and it is shown that he never thought much of John's parenting. He is confined to a wheelchair for the fifth season, but he still assists the boys in whatever way he can and still serves as a pivotal character. I liked that they gave Bobby a backstory that was completely unbeknownst to the boys, namely that he had to kill his own wife after she became possessed by a demon. Jim Beaver plays Bobby extremely well and is just one of the many fine actors on this show. I'm also glad that the show creators would probably never have the guts to kill off Bobby. They can kill off whomever they want, just not Sam, Dean, Bobby, or a certain angel character I will talk about later.
Here we come to our first female character on the show. Her name is Ellen Harvelle, and she is played by Samantha Ferris. Ellen is also a hunter and an old friend of John Winchester, and she runs a bar for hunters. She had not spoken to John for many years because a mistake John made in a hunting job caused the accidental death of her husband. She has a daughter named Jo who is supposedly around the same age as Dean (although I find that very hard to believe because Alona Tal looks much younger than Jensen Ackles and is about six years younger than him in real life) and she continues to hunt. Like all female characters on Supernatural though, Ellen doesn't last long, as Supernatural fangirls get pissy about any female characters added to the show. However, I don't see any problems with Ellen, as she is one of two female characters (the other we'll talk about later) that could be on the show without getting in the way of the brotherly relationship that is the core of the show. Ellen is sort of a mother figure to the boys, although she is featured on the show much less than Bobby, and she's obviously more of a mother figure to the boys because they both barely remembered their own mother (especially Sam). Samantha Ferris plays her well, and for the relatively few episodes she is in, her character is emotionally resonant and we actually grow to care about her.
This now brings us to Ellen's daughter Jo, played by Alona Tal. Jo was an extremely unpopular character with mixed critical reception and extremely negative fan reception. She was originally designed as a love interest for Dean, but transferred into a more sisterly role. Her father died when she was only a child and she longed to become a hunter to feel more connected to him, at the resistance and later, grudging acceptance of her mother. Jo only appears a few times in the show, and each time she is almost entirely useless. I know this description sounds quite biased, but I don't like her character much. She is either an appendage of her mother or of Sam and Dean, and the only real semblance of drama with her character was her finding out of John Winchester's involvement in her father's death, and even then, that was more interesting with Ellen, who always knew. Alona Tal is not a bad actress, Jo is just a bad character and she was someone who the show could have definitely lived without.
Ruby is a demon that Sam summons to try and help find a loophole to get Dean out of his deal. The first incarnation of Ruby is played by Katie Cassidy and the second incarnation of Ruby is played by Genevieve Cortese (who is actually married to Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam). Dean takes an instant disliking to Ruby, merely seeing her as another villainous demon. She shows plenty of tendencies towards that, but Sam seems to continue to trust her. After the Season 3 finale, Ruby possesses a different body and when Dean gets out of hell, he finds out that Sam has been working with Ruby and he has been drinking her blood to become stronger so he can kill a demon named Lilith who has been breaking the 66 seals that would free Lucifer from Hell. The mystery with her character is whether or not she really wants to help Sam or whether she is just tricking him and taking advantage of the fact that he is in love with her. Out of the two Rubys, I like Genevieve Cortese a lot more than Katie Cassidy. That could be due to the fact that Katie Cassidy isn't exactly a very good actress and her personification of Ruby is much more annoying than Cortese. I'm not a rabid fangirl that objects to her relationship with Sam, but I still don't really care for her character because I agree with Dean about her. Critical reception of the character has been generally mixed, and fans initially hated her (of course) but general consensus (my own included) points to Cortese's performance being better.
Lilith is a demon played by Rachel Pattee (not pictured), Sierra McCormick, and Katherine Boechner, and she is the main villain through seasons 3 and 4. It is revealed that she is the demon that holds Dean's contract, and she doesn't want to let Dean go, as he would break the first seal like his father was supposed to. During season 4, Sam works tirelessly and gets addicted to demon blood in order to kill Lilith. During this season, she is breaking the 66 seals in order to free Lucifer from Hell and start the Apocalypse. There are over 600 possible seals, but only 66 have to be broken, so any attempts to stop or prevent seals from breaking would fail because nobody knows which seals Lilith would break so there is no way of preventing or stopping her. We learn that Lilith is the final seal, and knowing that her death would be essential in the starting of the apocalypse, she tries to make a deal with Sam, who refuses and kills her. Sam only finds out that her death frees Lucifer about ten seconds after killing her, making him the one that started the apocalypse. Lilith has a habit of possessing little girls, being played by two over the course of her seasons. Afterwards, she possesses the body of a grown woman who she is inhabiting at the time of her death. My favourite of the portrayals is Sierra McCormick, who plays the character really awesomely (if that's a word). Here is a compilation of her scenes in the episode where Lilith is being featured most. Like Ellen, she is one of the female characers that can be on the show without being extremely hated because even though she's a demon, she's not a love interest (especially considering she often possesses little girls and eats babies) and with the fangirls, that is ok.
Oh god, Castiel. Castiel is the main angel character of the show, and he is played by Misha Collins. He is the one that pulls Dean out of Hell in between seasons 3 and 4 on God's instructions. He is the main angel on the show and he was originally only intended for a five-episode story arc, he was so popular that now Misha Collins generally receives third billing next to Jensen and Jared. Castiel is very different from most angels generally portrayed in the media. He has angelic powers, but he is willing to kill to achieve his goal and eventually, he rebels against God, eventually declaring himself the new God (if you watch the show, you'll understand) possibly setting him up as a villain for the next season. He also pulls Dean out of Hell because God has work for him, which involves becoming Michael's vessel and leading the Angels in the war against Lucifer, which Dean does not want to do, because once a human is occupied by an angel and the angel leaves, then the human is a vegetable, a shell of a person, not unlike what would happen with the man that Castiel is taking up residence in, who Collins plays as well as Castiel in a fourth or fifth season episode. Plus, if Sam said yes to Lucifer, then Dean might have to kill his brother I kind of have a weakness for this character, because.....well....look at the picture. I don't care if Castiel is a villain next season, I'll still love the character. Misha Collins plays the part absurdly well and Castiel is probably my favourite character on the show currently, a lot of that having to do with his performance.
There is one last character that I would like to talk about, and that character is Bella Talbot, played by Lauren Cohan. She exists solely in Season 3, and we learn that she is not a hunter, but rather a highly skilled thief that purveys supernatural objects and sells them to the highest bidder. She screws over the Winchesters on many occasions and makes them look like asses, and for those reasons (and also the fact that she is female), she was unpopular with the fans. The Winchesters cross paths with her a few times over the course of the season and we don't really know much about her, but she dies just as she is getting interesting, and that kind of pisses me off. I won't give away too much more about her, but she is a definite antagonist in the series, because outside one brief dreamt sex scene and one comment about angry sex, there is not a trace of love interest in her. I don't really feel sympathy for her character, especially during her big reveal, but I don't mind her being on the show. Out of all the female characters that are hated on the show, she's probably the one I like most, because even though I don't like her all that much, I still like her a hell of a lot better than Ruby. Lauren Cohan is a decent enough actress, although she is far from the best female performer on the show, and Bella is a decent enough character.
There are countless other hunters, angels, demons, and other human characters, but describing all of them would be extremely time-consuming (even more so than this whole venture is already)
RECURRING ELEMENTS AND THEMES
Brotherly relationships are an obvious theme in the series, whether being with Sam and Dean or Michael and Lucifer, who intend to use Sam and Dean as their vessels. The elder brother (either Dean or Michael) is the good brother, the son that is loyal, almost blindly so, to the father. The reason for the brothers being the vessels is quite ironic, because Dean is the good brother who is blindly loyal to his deadbeat dad and Sam actually has the audacity to question their father, which Dean genuinely does not understand. The same applies with Sam's relationship with Dean, another father figure. Sam has the audacity to question him and Dean continues to treat him like the weak little brother when he is getting stronger, becoming a better hunter, or becoming more independent. Like John did to him, Dean insists upon keeping Sam tethered to him. They do part ways occasionally, but it is and will always be temporary as Sam and Dean literally cannot live without one another. Plus, no matter how far away they are from one another, being brothers and being all that eachother have, they will be tethered together for life.
There are many common weapons used over the course of the show. The brothers use salt (including shotguns that are loaded with it) and holy water, things traditionally believed to drive away demons, as well as standard weapons like guns and knives with creatures that can die by them. They also use Devil's Traps, mystical symbols that render demons powerless. One of the recurring weapons on the show is the Colt, a magical gun that can kill anything, which is stolen by Bela in Season 3 and recovered in Season 5. Ruby also has a special knife with similar powers to the Colt, that being it can kill anything, which is heavily used in Season 4 and late in Season 3. One other significant prop that isn't a weapon is the Impala. Dean is absolutely in love with his car, which used to belong to his father, another symbol of Dean's worship of his dad. They also have to commit various illegal acts like breaking and entering, grave desecration (salting and burning the bones of the dead to rid them of the demon posessing them) earning money through pool hustling, poker, and credit card fraud, and they are framed for bank robbery by shapeshifters. They also imitate various federal agents using clever aliases based on rock music or movies. Their troubles with the law end through an explosion at a police station caused by Lilith (in her first appearance) ending in the FBI thinking the brothers are dead, when they had left the building a day earlier.
The Winchesters seem to have a chain of soul-selling going on. In a time-travel episode, we learn that Mary Winchester (back when she was Mary Campbell) made a deal with the demon that killed her to save her then-boyfriend John Winchester's life for permission to enter her house in ten years. She was unaware of Azazel's intentions to feed demon blood to Sam (as Sam hadn't been born or thought of yet). After Mary essentially sells her soul for John, he sells his soul for Dean after Dean is badly wounded in a car accident, resulting in one of the most tragic moments on the show. Sam being stabbed in the Season 2 finale ends up with Dean making a deal with the Crossroads Demon to give his soul in exchange for Sam's life, with one year between the time of the deal and the time the hellhounds come for him. His death (however temporary) is also one of the saddest moments, and considering the Season 3 finale was made in 2008 during the writer's strike, the last image seen in Supernatural very well could have been Dean in Hell strung up by countless meathooks in genuine agony screaming for Sam. Bummer. The chain of soul-selling stops at Sam, who essentially has to do the same to save the world from Lucifer.
Speaking of bummer, this show can be quite depressing when it wants to be, especially in the season finales. In the first season finale, John, Dean, and Sam are all hurt in a car crash, Dean more so, which ends in John selling his soul. In the second season finale, Sam is fatally stabbed and Dean sells his soul. In the third season finale, Dean goes to hell. In the fourth season, Sam accidentally starts the Apocalypse. In the fifth season finale, Sam sacrifices himself to save the world. In the sixth season finale, Castiel declares himself God and tells Dean and Sam to bow down to him or be destroyed. That's quite the ordeal, and probably the main reason why the quintessential song from the show is "Carry On My Wayward Son". The show has other depressing episodes, but it has some episodes that are quite funny as well, like "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" where Dean begins aging rapidly after losing a poker game. He's played by Chad Everett, and it's awesome, especially his interaction with Bobby. The show strikes a fairly even balance between comedy and drama, although some episodes are more focused on one particular element. I was going to do season overviews, but I figured that I've talked enough about them that you guys basically get the picture.
THE POINT OF ALL THIS
All in all, Supernatural is a fantastic show, and it is currently my favourite show on television. It may just be well-known because of its mostly attractive cast of both male and female actors, but there is much more to it than that. It has memorable characters, genuine drama as well as moments of great comedy, and genuine humanity. The actors are great, and a few weak spots aside (*coughJocough), I just can't run out of good things to say about it. Another great thing about it is that for a show of this subject matter, it still maintains an extreme sense of realism. We feel like this could actually happen, but we know that it's highly unlikely. If this isn't your cup of tea, then that's fine, and thank you for reading my blog. If you are interested, the show is still on, and the seventh season is going to start in a few weeks. Thanks to any and all who read and feel free to comment on the RT page I post the link on.