There are few television programs that manage to capture the hearts and minds of viewers like the long-running series Supernatural. This adventure into the realm of the dark and unknown pits heroes against monsters, monsters against monsters and sometimes even heroes against other heroes. The complex writing and excellent portrayal of the many characters sometimes makes it hard for the audience to know whether the good guys are actually doing good or not, though it is this complexity that makes the series so addictive. It has been airing for nine years now, and the 10th and final season of the show begins October 8. For those that have never been introduced to the world of Supernatural, now is the perfect time to jump onboard.
Supernatural at a Glance
There are two main characters in the show though many other interesting personalities show up throughout the course of the seasons. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester are brothers. When they were children, they lost their mother to a demon, though for what reason they do not know. Their father, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), driven by the need for revenge, becomes what is known as a “hunter.” Hunters track down and kill the nastiest creatures in the world, from vampires to demons to gods and more. It is a hunter’s calling in life to ensure that the rest of the world never has to know about all the dark denizens that wait within the shadows and prey upon humanity. John trains his two sons to follow in his footsteps, a decision that traps them forever in a lifestyle that threatens them and everyone they love in every moment.
Monsters, Demons and Angels
For the first two seasons, the series concentrates on John, Dean and Sam as they track down the demon responsible for the death of the brothers’ mother. They discover more about the reasons behind the murder, including the fact that Sam was given demon blood as a baby so that he might evolve into a sort of super weapon that demons could use in a bid to take over Earth. Eventually, Sam and Dean defeat their nemesis and stop what ends up being the first of many end-of-the-world scenarios that will haunt them throughout the seasons to come.
As the series progresses, the writers bring a new faction into the endless war for Earth – angels. This is when viewers were first introduced to Castiel (Misha Collins), who quickly became a fan favorite and eventually evolved into the biggest personality in the series besides Sam and Dean. Once again, the brothers must do what they can to stop the end of the world, this time going head-to-head against Lucifer himself.
As the seasons continued, the “monster of the week” format that characterizes the first few seasons begins to fade and longer story arcs became the norm. These arcs span anywhere from one full season to several seasons, adding continuity to the show that its early years did not possess. Audiences are invited to ride along with Sam and Dean as they battle increasingly powerful villains that all seem intent on taking over or ending the world in one way or another.
Everybody Loves Somebody
One of the show’s greatest strengths is its characters. The combination of the actors and the way the writers flesh out the characters’ back stories draws the viewer in and creates a level of attachment that most other shows never achieve. Fans of the show have very strong opinions about whether Sam or Dean is the better Winchester. People rally behind the devious and evil King of Hell, Crowley (played amazingly by sci-fi legend Mark Sheppard). Arguments ensue about which actress was the best at playing the demon Meg. The Internet erupts with anger and tears whenever a main character dies. It is impossible to watch the show without eventually becoming very fond of one character or another, and the way they are all excellently portrayed means the characters one becomes fond of are just as likely to be villains as they are to be heroes. When you become addicted to Supernatural, you are in for a real treat.
It’s Quirky, Fun and Horrible at the Same Time
One minute, the series will be making fun of itself as is the case when Sam and Dean get transported to an alternate reality where they become Jared and Jensen, the two stars that portray the Winchester brothers. The next minute, the writers will be viciously killing off a favorite character. One of the chief rules of the show is that everybody dies at least once. Many of them come back, but more often than not they just end up dying again. Sometimes, they end up dying a third time. It is one of the defining features of the show: Viewers are not allowed to get comfortable knowing their favorite characters will come out okay in the end. It is this tension that makes the show even better. When the stakes are higher, investment in the well-being of the characters becomes more important for viewers. The deaths feel like real losses, and when someone comes out of danger unscathed, it is a genuine relief. But just as you are about ready to put your foot through the screen for something that the writers did to your favorite character, they turn around and release an episode that is so ridiculous and fun that you forget they just did something to upset you. It is this balancing act that leaves audiences coming back again and again.
Catching Up With Supernatural
The show has been going on for nine seasons now, so newcomers may find themselves a bit intimidated when they realize that they have nearly 200 episodes to watch to get caught up. Luckily, the Internet makes it easy to watch Supernatural online. Even better, someone just joining the series does not have to wait a week for each new episode. Considering just how addictive Supernatural can be, it is easy to get lost in the show and watch 10 or 15 episodes before realizing that the sun has gone down and come back up again, and you only have a few hours before you need to be at work. For those that have not seen the show, now is the perfect time to get started. Season 10 is the last season of the show, and from the way things ended in Season 9, it promises to be one of the best yet.