Supernatural writer Jeremy Carver joined the show from virtually nowhere in season 3 and has quickly made his mark with episodes like “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” “In the Beginning,” and BuddyTV’s best episode of 2008, “Mystery Spot.” This Thursday Supernatural returns at 9pm on the CW with another Carver episode, “Family Remains.”
BuddyTV spoke to Carver about how he joined Supernatural, his upcoming episode, and his reaction to co-writing BuddyTV’s best episode of the year. Continue reading for the transcript and to listen to our exclusive interview.
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What is your writing background and how did you get to join the Supernatural writing team?
I think I am probably more typical to some writers out here who had written for various things; you can sort of make a living as a writer yet be working on stuff that never sees the light of day. I had started out when I came out here, I was working on the features side and a feature I’d written that was never produced happened to catch the eye of some TV people. I went on and worked on a couple projects with them, stuff for ABC, stuff that was all executed before it ever had a chance to get going. But maybe to answer your question even in greater detail, I started out writing in New York for MTV. I was doing independent film there, I was doing some writing and directing. And then I worked in magazines for a couple years, for Rolling Stone and US Magazine. And then I came out to L.A.
Were you a fan of Supernatural before you started writing for it? Or had you seen the first two seasons?
Yeah, you know the process of joining Supernatural was sort of generic in the sense of, every year there’s a staffing season, where writers who aren’t on shows are trying to get on shows. And your stuff is sent around, your material is sent around to various show-runners like Eric [Kripke] and Bob [Singer]. And they’re reading it and they’re interviewing people when they are making decisions as who to hire. As far as my awareness of Supernatural, I was a fan, I was not a huge fan. I mean, I’d seen several episodes, but I was not like an avid watcher. My wife actually was the one who introduced me to the show, because she was a pretty big fan. And that’s what got me into it. But when I came on staff, I had a lot of catching up to do in that way.
You must have because “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and this season’s “In The Beginning” are both deep in the Winchester family history mythology. Do you feel like you have a good understanding of the whole Winchester family tree?
You know, I have a good understanding and I by no means have the best understanding of anyone on this show. I think, to be honest with you, the hardest episode for me to get my head around was the first one that I ever wrote. And I co-wrote it with Bob Singer, which was “Sin City.” And that’s because that episode was something that we had never done on the show before. We were basically going to have a demon sitting in the room with Dean, just talking about demon stuff. And I didn’t have the slightest clue what a demon and Dean would possibly have to talk about. And actually, Bob did that part of the writing.
The heavy mythology stuff, it was specifically “In the Beginning,” it was daunting and a little terrifying to be given the responsibility to do it. But it was also, so much fun. And Eric does give you a pretty good amount of freedom to run with it and present him with what you think. And he gives you a lot to play with and a lot of room to present him with what your version of what the Campbell clan would look like. He has very firm, fixed ideas but there’s a lot of room to play with that stuff.
You talked about the demon and there’s you obviously have to catch up on the mythology and you want to write somewhat “accurate demon information,” or at least as it’s presented. And now this season, with the religious component, with the angels and the 66 seals, how do you do that research to get a grasp on all of this? Is it just reading the Book of Revelations?
Yeah, you know I’ve probably read more of the Book of Revelations than of any other religious text in my entire life. Constantly going back and referring to that. You know not everything we do, is directly from the Book of Revelations. It’s that we’re taking little pieces of it and we’re manipulating it to serve our means, and I think very much in the spirit of what it represents. I don’t think we’re totally mangling anything.
What is coming up in the next few episodes?
The next episode I wrote is called “Family Remains.” Basically it was, I don’t come from a horror background, so it was me challenging myself to make a horror movie in one episode. And that’s what I attempted to set out to do.
BuddyTV has the 100 Best Episodes of the Year and we’re actually choosing one of your episodes, the “Mystery Spot” as the number one episode.
Yeah, I think the innovation, the comedy, the drama, the deep emotion, all of that stuff. So we’re actually going to call it the Best Episode of 2008.
That is alarmingly, terrifyingly awesome. Wow. Thank you.
Was that an idea you came up with? What was that whole process like, because that’s a very unique, weird episode.
I think I share story credit in that episode with Emily McLaughlin, who was the writer’s assistant last year. And I think it was her original idea that we have a Groundhog Day-based episode. And then it was taking Emily’s base, her initial ingredient there and then getting in the room and working out how exactly we’d pull that off. And it was an absolute blast from the get-go to conceive that. And what generally happens is, you will talk about in general what we call a story-arena, where we talk about in general what we want the episode to accomplish, A to Z. And then I go off into my office and break out what my version of the story would be. And then Eric would come in and we’d sit down and then obviously other writers would come in also. And we all sit around and try to poke holes at it and try and make it better and everything. And I remember the notion of of going to tragedy, that was one of the last pieces we came up with. And was sort of for us, a real big deal. You’re talking about going forward, into the future?
Yeah after Dean “really dies,” the day after, and then Sam, you see him in almost a preview of what actually happened when Dean really did die.
Yeah and I remember sitting in the room, and I think at that moment, I think it was me, Eric, and Ben Edlund were sitting in the room and somebody threw that out. And, it was like, it really hurt all of our heads for a while and then we decided to really take a gamble and do that. Because it really seemed like, as crazy as it was, we were already starting with a really crazy story structure. And then to go one step further, we knew it might leave some people behind. Like not everyone might go for it, but I honestly believed at the time if you really sat down and really paid attention to the episode, it held together. That was total fun to write that episode. And that’s my favorite kind of episode to write, is the notion of going from comedy to real serious emotion and drama.
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of the CW)