Supernatural fully arrived on my radar around this time last year when I discovered the first two seasons were available for very reasonable prices and that I was able to get my hands on an advance copy of the third season. For a long time it was a show I was hesitant about watching due to the exceptionally photogenic duo who star in this, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. I was concerned that the show would be shallow and filled with eye candy moments for the ladies (and the more discerning gentlemen), or be little more than 'Buffy with blokes'.
But I dug around a little more and noticed one name in particular, Ben Edlund was involved with the project. The same Ben Edlund who gave us The Tick (or The Tick) and also worked on The Venture Bros., Angel and Firefly. This is class as a "good thing" and when combined with the low price tag it was enough to tip the balance across into 'worth a try'.
Upfront disclosure, I really like Supernatural (as evidenced in this short 3rd season DVD review). It's a show which genuinely surprised me in many directions. While the lads are very pretty and an obvious draw in themselves they are also very likable, down to earth and just fun. In fact the entire show is fun, it effortlessly mixes traditional horror along with schlock and B-Movie. Simultaneously parodying and honouring the genre at the same time while also providing an exciting ongoing story to follow.
Sam and Dean Winchester are monster hunters, their father John is also a monster hunter. When they were young their mother was killed by a demon; Dean embraced the life of hunting, Sam attempted to flee from it and until the pilot episode he succeeded. In the world of Supernatural demons, vampires, zombies, werewolves and much, much more are all very real. They lurk in the shadows and prey on the unsuspecting. Only the hunters know the truth, only the hunters know how to deal with them.
Supernatural runs with a mix of one off episodes combined with an on going storyline which grows from season to season and often provides huge almost unthinkable moments at the end of each. It's a show which grips the viewer with the constant danger these boys live in, but lightens the mood with a wry, knowing comment or an episode which pastiches another classic horror story.
The show has homaged a variety of other films, books and even TV shows in it's existance, and it's some of these which really raise the bar. Just about all of my favourite episodes come from this category and they've referenced things like Most Haunted, Evil Dead, Ghost Busters and even in my favourite episode Groundhog Day. Last season they also ran an episode which was rendered entirely in black and white and homaged the old classic hammer horror style films of the past. It's called "Monster Movie" and it's sheer genius.
In many ways Supernatural is the ideal show to watch for people who are fans of either horror movies or Josh Whedon's Buffy/Angel series. It's similar in tone but different enough to warrant watching and the humour in the show is so sharp and at times black that it really takes the experience of watching the show to another level. It's well performed, action packed, witty and just plain old cool.
And that's enough to make it worth watching...