Supernatural has become one of my creature comforts. There is something about the familiarity of a television show that creates a sense of well being—of time among virtual friends. I was resistant to the show when it started fifteen years ago, but it takes time for fictional characters to take hold. In today’s binge-watching society, the familiarity is fleeting—mere acquaintances—with a rush to the newest, shiniest thing. The time and commitment to return week after week, across the years, creates a bond and an easy shorthand to drop into a story. Familiarity and virtual friends must be the reasons soap operas have endured from radio on. Unfortunately, all creature comforts come to an end.
Supernatural is the story of the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, and their journey as monster hunters in a grand saga of heaven and hell and all in-between. The brothers solve cases around the country in a classic 1967 Chevy Impala to a rock soundtrack including the iconic “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas. The characters make the show. Sam is the soulful one and Dean is the rebel. Personalities clash, but they always come to together as family. Supernatural is a horror show that I did not give a chance at first, but over time grew on me. I tried watching different episodes from the first few seasons in 2005-2007, on occasion, and for some reason the show did not gel. Even though there are stand alone episodes, I felt it hard to connect without knowing what was going on in the show’s wider fictional universe. The moment my curiosity peaked was during a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in Austin, TX in January 2008. At the horror convention, I saw a barrage of fans packed in a room to see Jared Padalecki (Sam) and Jenson Ackles (Dean) and could not believe the fandom on display. Their excitement was something I had only seen at concerts with girls going wild over the stars. I learned during the panel that the show was almost cancelled at the time and saved by the fans in a similar way that had kept Star Trek Enterprise on the air for a fifth and final season. Figuring it was all about to end, I began watching episodes as they appeared, out of order in reruns, on the CW and slowly came to like the show.
Strangely enough, Supernatural kept going, year after year. In 2012, the seasons began streaming on Netflix and I was able to truly get into the show and understand the mythology. The cast became a family with the show coming into its own by season 4 with the introduction of the angel Castiel, in season 5 with the king of hell, Crowley, and even Lucifer, and (in season 13) his son Jack Kline, literally the lore of heaven and hell. Each episode connected to the last and to the overall arc. Characters would return from earlier seasons to expand the story like Mary and John Winchester, hunters Bobby Singer and Charlie, the demon Ruby, and the amazing witch, Rowena Macleod, to name just a few. Side stories added character points or, believe it or not, moral lessons. Ghosts, witches, men of letters, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, hunters, leviathan, the darkness, and many other good, bad, and grey characters appeared as I caught up. The lore expanded into a true multiverse in a battle against God. I won’t spoil the many twists or turns, just know the ride is worth it. Supernatural has everything a horror fan could want presented in an engaging and fun manner—for chrissakes, there even was an animated Scooby Doo crossover episode. Setting the tone is hard. Shows seem to go too dark or too campy. Supernatural is the rare horror show that gets the balance right.
Now, Supernatural is ending in 2020, after fifteen seasons, and there is no going back. The long road home is coming to an end. Sure, I can see an old episode on television or buy the series to re-experince moments, but truthfully there is no moment like the first time. Carry on wayward son!
Attached are some pictures of the 1967 Impala from Comicpalooza in Houston, TX in 2014.