Supernatural creator Eric Kripke seems like a man with a plan. Like most of the great minds working in television, Kripke appears to know exactly where he wants his story to go and how his characters should evolve. However, one of the toughest aspects of producing a series is making sure your vision isn’t too expensive. A creator can dream up the most fantastical things imaginable, but those things will only make it to the screen if they can be done cheaply.
In a recent interview with TV Guide, Kripke revealed his plans to have an all-out demon war in season 4 of Supernatural. Unfortunately, due to the shrinking budget imposed by Warner Brothers, the studio that produces the show, the war will have to be smaller and grittier than originally planned.
In the interview, Kripke mentions that it was originally the studio’s decision to open up the scope of the story and make things more epic in season 3. When Kripke let the studio execs know that “epic” would translate to a higher budget, the network told him to go ahead and go for it. However, after coming in “way, way over budget” on “The Magnificent Seven” episode from early in the season, the studio clamped down and insisted that Kripke stick to the budget for the rest of the year. When he asked how to present a full-scale demon war with such a small amount of cash, the network basically said, “Figure it out.”
“So here we are, a war without the money to mount it,” Kripke pointed out. “And our Season 4 budget is even smaller than our Season 3 budget. Therefore, we’ll be employing all kinds of tricks next year — the war will be smaller, more contained, underground, more guerrilla-style. I actually think it’ll improve the show. Looking back over Season 3, the spectacle and size is never as interesting as the episodes that focus on the brothers. I think we probably got a little too distracted at times. So in Season 4, there will still be the war, but we’ll be presenting it in our scruffy, angsty, Supernatural way, and we’ll return to concentrating on the relationships and the characters.”
While focusing more on Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) is never a bad thing, I’ve been a big fan of the more epic scope present throughout season 3. It gives the story a more propulsive feel, like it’s building up to something monumental and huge. The fact that it will be building up to “skirmishes and off-camera battles,” as Kripke puts it, is a bit disappointing. However, there’s not much that can be done when the show is on a small network with a limited amount of cash.
Despite the budgetary limitations, Kripke is optimistic that the important aspects of the story will remain unaffected. “I have a core story that I want to tell, and I’ve never wavered from it, not once,” he said. “It’s the saga of the Winchester clan — who the brothers really are, who their parents really are, why Demons are so closely intertwined with them, what their destiny really is. It’s an epic, emotional family story at its heart, and to me, that’s what Supernatural is really and truly about.”
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– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of the CW)