I have a horrible confession to make: I have yet to see every episode of Supernatural. I watched about half of the first season when it originally aired, then fell out of it due to circumstances beyond my control. Though I absolutely despise tuning into shows when I’ve missed episodes, I started watching again at the beginning of season 3 because I desperately needed a Supernatural fix. Since then, I’ve picked up seasons 1 and 2 on DVD and have slowly been catching up with the Winchesters. Watching new episodes while also watching season 1 is a strange experience, and it really helps highlight all that has changed on the show over the years. Most things have changed for the better, but there are a few things from the old days that I wish would return.
Here are a few things that have changed on Supernatural:
— The balance between monsters and mythology. The show always had an overarching story, but many of the episodes in season 1 were “monster of the week” outings with little sprinkles of continuity thrown in. Of course the monsters are still important in season 3, but the mythology of the series has become much more interesting and complex. The world of the Winchesters now feels more lived in and expanded upon, with other hunters involved and an all out demon war brewing. This type of storytelling really sucks me in, and I’m happy that creator Eric Kripke has deepened the world of Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) since the first batch of episodes. Unfortunately for some fans, this expansion also means adding new characters like Ruby (Katie Cassidy) and Bela (Lauren Cohan).
— Sam. Remember back in season 1, when Sam (Jared Padalecki) was a reluctant hunter with a grudge against his dad and a hatred for his family’s lifestyle? Ah, how times change. Now Sam is more cold-blooded than ever after being brought back from the dead. His character is darker, deadlier, and more interesting than he used to be, which are all the signs of a great character arc.
— The music. One negative change for Supernatural has been the music that is now used in the series. Season 1 is full of classic rock tracks that have me banging my head during every episode, but in season 3 many of these songs seem to have disappeared. I’d imagine this is due to the cost of securing the rights to these songs for the DVD releases. It’s expensive to purchase the rights to so many rocking tunes, and a show like Supernatural doesn’t exactly rake in millions for the CW. If spending less money on music helps keep the show on the air, I’m all for it.
— The urban legends. While season 1 dealt with such famous legends as the Wendigo, Bloody Mary, and the hook man, season 3 has had to deal with less famous beasties like ghost pirates and fairy-tale obsessed coma girls. I don’t expect the show to stick to real myths all the time, as that would be rather limiting, but I could use some more throwbacks to classic legends. The episode “A Very Supernatural Christmas” was a good start, as it dealt with some of the real tales behind Santa Claus. It was easily my favorite episode of season 3 behind “Bad Day at Black Rock.”
Despite all these changes, the one thing that has remained consistent in the series is the bond between Sam and Dean. I felt that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki had the bickering brotherly bond down right from the pilot episode, and their relationship has only gotten stronger as the years have progressed. Watching them together is always a treat, and the longer the show goes on the more moving their bond becomes.
All television shows change from year to year, but some tend to change for the worse and lose the magic that made them special. As I’ve caught up with Supernatural, frantically scrambling to see every episode, I’ve come to believe that it’s changed for the better. The show hasn’t just changed, it’s evolved into something bigger and grander than what it started out as. That’s the mark of a great series.
Now, what would it take to get the CW to realize that?
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of the CW)