Bringing it Home: Season One of Supernatural

Supernatural

Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

It’s Terror Tuesday, and though Supernatural isn’t a horror show, there are definitely some scary moments. At the behest of Kristin McFarland, I started watching the show a couple months ago, but it wasn’t until this week that I really dug in and marathoned most of the first season.

I finished the first season yesterday. I had a lot of thoughts, both while watching and since finishing (I also watched the season 2 premiere), and I thought I’d lay some of them out here.

First seasons of shows can be a little ishy, and in my opinion, the first season of Supernatural was no exception. Don’t get me wrong; there was a lot of good, and I certainly intend to keep watching, but there were some head-scratching moments that took me out of the story.

For those of you who have not watched the show, be warned that here be spoilers. Mmkay?

The premise of the show is that these two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, lost their mother to a demon at a young age. After this horrific incident, their father started hunting the things that go bump in the night and expecting his kids to do the same. When the show begins, their father has vanished, Sam is in pre-law ignoring the beasties and considering proposing to his girlfriend, and Dean shows up to drag him out of his safe life and back into the world they grew up in.

It’s a pretty solid premise. They start out with the goal of finding their dad, who left them a journal full of dirt on the less-appealing creatures that roam the earth.

At first, I didn’t see much of an arc. Most of the episodes were sort of one-offs with Dad’s whereabouts occasionally speculated about and the boys tackling various spirits, ghosts, and ghoulies. If that’s all there was, I don’t know that I would have kept watching.

Supernatural

Like this episode, with the killer scarecrow. Erm, excuse me. Norse god Vanir. Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

There were even a couple of pretty blatant Buffy rip-off episodes that made me borderline amused. For instance, the episode “Something Wicked,” which bears erm, striking similarity to a season 2 episode of Buffy (“Killed by Death”) in which a monster attacks and steals the life force of children in a hospital. Buffy’s even mentioned a couple times (by a pair of Jonathan/Andrew-esque nerds who run a paranormal website). Aside from that stuff, the Winchester boys take on some well-known legends, like Bloody Mary.

All that’s cute, but what kept me watching first was the chemistry between Sam and Dean and the fact that they kept growing more layered as the season progressed. Dean goes from good ole boy to a big brother I think everyone wishes they’d had, a character with deep-seated emotions and an over-arching need to feel needed. Sam goes from a scared college boy in denial to someone who takes up the yoke given by his father with pride and learns just how much Dean sacrificed to preserve even a little of his innocence.

The dynamic between the brothers is striking, poignant, and often downright beautiful. Their dad, John Winchester, is sort of the weaker link in the family, because the writers didn’t seem to give him much consistency, which made his changing decisions seem foolhardy instead of touching. The brothers talked about him as a hard-ass, but it’s clear moving through the first season that he loves his boys, because even though he’s told them to stay away from him, John pulls an Angel and lurks in the vicinity, watching them.

He tells them they can’t help, then he changes his mind. He goes from singleminded demon-destruction plans to making a deal with one (okay, so that’s episode 1 of season 2), and his character gets a bit muddy because of it. Either way, the one constant in John Winchester’s character is that he loves his sons.

Supernatural

Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

 

Though there are some odd moments, the occasional killer truck, and a finale that was less cliff-hanger and more “What on earth are you trying to do?” but overall I really enjoyed the first season of Supernatural.

Through the last eight or so episodes, they did a good job of raising the stakes and cultivating tension on the show. My only WTF moment at the end was the finale, which seemed to suffer from a severe lack of thought. Demon leaves them for dead and just goes on its way? No. If that demon wanted them that dead that much (which, hello, it did), I don’t think it would have just assumed they wouldn’t come after it again after smashing them with a Freightliner. That said, the premiere episode of season 2 would have made a much better wrap-up to the first season because it is what more definitively ended the arc of season 1.

So, Supernatural fans, I’ll leave you with the knowledge that I’ll continue on. I’ll also give you a chance to let me know which Winchester boy I ought to have a crush on, because I’m torn. Vote below!

Advertisements

About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Supernatural, television reviews, Terror Tuesday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hahaha I forgot all about the racist truck. Clearly not the strongest episode ever.

    The relationship between the brothers is, to me, the shining beacon in this show. Going forward, the season arcs get much stronger but there are still episodes that will leave you wondering what the hell were the writers thinking? Sam and Dean have their struggles and their ups and downs, which, if anything, make it that much more believable when they inevitably work it out and stick together. I imagine it’s difficult to maintain a compelling relationship through 8 seasons, but somehow, the creators and writers make the brothers continue to work (literally and figuratively) together.

    I’ve never been able to decide which brother I have more of a crush on. I’ve just decided to love them both.

  2. We’ve recently finished season 7. Waiting for the current season to go to DVD. I found the first season pretty terrible for most of the reasons you’ve mentioned. But it does get better. Except the stereotypes. There is almost never a good female character who lasts very long. There is almost never a good person of color.

    Make good choices with your crush. haha.

  3. Sounds interesting. I saw part of an episode once and wasn’t too impressed, but maybe I should give it another chance. The trick will be convincing my wife to watch it with me.

  4. I love Supernatural! I was all about Team Sam in the beginning, but there’s just something that grows more and more off-putting about Sam. I guess for how self-righteous he tried to be, well, he’s far from it. Whereas Dean is content to be Dean. Don’t get me wrong, you want them as a package deal, but there’s just something cooler about Dean. I think I made it to season 6ish before taking a break. But yeah, stick with it, it gets crazier.

  5. My wife and I loved the show, especially the first season. It definitely gave plenty of WTF moments, and I believe some of them were intentional. The strong point of the show is beyond a shadow of a doubt- Sam and Dean’s relationship. Everything else in my opinion is just to add a spin to a family drama story in disguise. Scary, well not to many movies, if any, scare me. I only get scared when wife jumps and drop kicks in the forehead when she’s sitting next me, hell she jumps on Lords of the Rings, so go-figure.

%d bloggers like this: