made a big move behind the scenes when it
was announced that Sera Gamble, who has served as co-showrunner
alongside Robert Singer for the past two seasons, is leaving the show.
Former producer and writer Jeremy Carver, who left Supernatural
after season 5 to run Syfy's Being Human
with his wife, will return to run the show's almost inevitable season 8 with Robert Singer. My initial reaction
was one of excitement as Carver is responsible for some of my favorite Supernatural
episodes ever. He gave us the origin story of Dean's amulet necklace in season 3's "A Very Supernatural Christmas." He offered a Groundhog Day
-esque adventure in "Mystery Spot" and used the Trickster once again in season 5's TV parody episode "Changing Channels."
In my rush of elation over Carver returning to the show, I may have been quick to dismiss Gamble's work for the past two seasons. I'd like to make it clear that I'm not and there have been many great things about these two years. The expanded roles of Sheriff Mills, Crowley and Death were great decisions. The introduction of new characters like Dr. Visyak, Garth and Frank Devereaux has added some fun new dynamics. "The French Mistake" is easily one of my favorite episodes ever in terms of pure entertainment.
I can also appreciate some of the larger elements of storylines that I feel didn't quite live up to their potential. The ongoing reference to souls throughout all of season 6 was a great way of trying to tie together several disparate storylines. And I still adore the underlying concept of the Leviathan storyline playing out in season 7, I simply wish it was more of a focal point. In the first half of the season, 70 percent of the episodes dealt largely with the Leviathans. But since Bobby's death in the mid-season finale, only two of the next eight episodes ("Adventures in Babysitting" and "Out with the Old") advanced that storyline.
My criticism of these past two seasons is more like grading the show on a curve against itself. The first five seasons were so strong, and the mythology that Eric Kripke created surrounding these two brothers was so deep and profound, that I can't help but wish the show could always be at its peak. It's not that Supernatural
is bad, it's just that it isn't as good as it was at its best, which is a high bar to hit.
With that in mind, here are my three biggest hopes for Jeremy Carver's time as Supernatural
showrunner.Establish a Clear, Season-Long Plot from the Start
For the first five seasons, the thing Eric Kripke did so well was let us know exactly what the season would be about from the start. Season 1 was about finding their dad, season 2 was about uncovering Azazel's plan, season 3 was about rescuing Dean from his deal, season 4 was about stopping Lilith from breaking the 66 Seals and season 5 was about stopping Lucifer and the Apocalypse. In a few simple words, you could sum up the motivation of the season.
But what have the past two seasons been about? Season 6 was one long noir mystery where we didn't know what it was about (Crowley and Cas getting the souls from Purgatory to rule Hell and win Heaven's civil war) until the very end of the season. And while season 7 is presumably about stopping the Leviathans, large chunks have had nothing to do with that and everything to do with Sam's wall, Bobby's ghost and Castiel's death. It's not really about stopping the Leviathans as much as it is a meditation on the futility of the Winchesters' actions.
The biggest challenge for Jeremy Carver will be to get back to basics and establish a clear-cut purpose for the brothers as opposed to leaving them in an existential wasteland.Use the Angels or Drop ThemSupernatural
had an almost impossible task after season 5 was over. The brothers had stopped Lucifer and the Apocalypse and met angels. They searched for God and may have had his divine help courtesy of Chuck Shurley. But since then the show has tried to have angels and religion be a component of the story without it being the primary focus.
While I adore Misha Collins, I think the show would be better off if it wrapped up the angels and got rid of them for good. If not, then they need to be the focus. Angels are such a large-scale concept that they can't be used as a second, minor storyline. They need to be the center of the mythology or dropped completely.Make It FunSupernatural
has had a handful of entertaining episodes over the past two seasons ("The French Mistake" and "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"), but it hasn't been that fun. Sam and Dean, as characters, seem weary of the world and bored with fighting monsters. It feels like they know it's all pointless, that there will always be evil and monsters in the world. They beat the freaking Devil and that's still not enough?
I get it, but it doesn't make for a particularly enjoyable show. I remember my review for the recent episode "The Slice Girls" in which Sam killed Dean's half-monster daughter and then the baby mama and her monster pals got away. It was incredibly depressing and reminded me of the line from the finale of the Buffy
musical episode: "The battles done / And we kinda won."
The Winchesters need to stop kinda winning and start actually winning. Watching characters get depressed, lose all their loved ones and start drinking heavily to escape the pain is only interesting for so long.
There are also a few specific things I'd like to see again, like Dean's amulet necklace which was thrown away in season 5, but that's not required. And I fully expect the Impala to return this season, but if not, it must be Carver's first job to find a way to get the boys back into that car.
What do you hope to see from Supernatural
season 8 featuring the return of Jeremy Carver as co-showrunner?(Image courtesy of the CW)