This week the CW aired a very different episode of Supernatural, a backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off series, Bloodlines. Like with The Originals last season on The Vampire Diaries, it was an episode designed to set up a new show that might come to the CW this fall.
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But should the CW pick up Bloodlines to join the schedule next year? Here’s a look at the pros and cons.

What’s Good About Bloodlines

The backdoor pilot for Bloodlines made it feel like a perfect fit for the CW. The drama about the five monster families who secretly rule Chicago, their desire for a war and the new Hunter determined to stop them has all of the elements that make CW dramas successful. There’s a good-looking cast, romance, action and family drama.

In many ways, Bloodlines resembles shows like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, only it benefits from a more comprehensive monster mythology that Supernatural has built up over nine seasons. This isn’t just another show with vampires, werewolves and witches (like almost everything else o TV). There are shapeshifters, djinn, ghouls, wraiths and the possibility for countless other creatures that other shows don’t have.

The backdoor pilot for Bloodlines also created a lot of open-ended mysteries that could easily translate into a long-term series. There’s new Hunter Ennis Ross’ quest for revenge and the last-second revelation that his presumed dead father is not only alive, but also a Hunter. There’s the Romeo and Juliet-style love story between shapeshifter David Lassiter and werewolf Violet Duval. And there’s also the surprising news that mortal enemies Sal and Julian once worked together.

All of that is great material for a solid CW show with a lot of potential. Most importantly, Bloodlines stars Nathaniel Buzolic as the prodigal shapeshifter son who returns to the family business. The actor, who first caught the eyes of CW fans as Kol, one of the original vampires on The Vampire Diaries, was funny, charming and instantly the kind of character fans could root for in Bloodlines. Will he stop his sister from going to war with the werewolves? Will he ever win back Violet? Will he become unlikely friends with Ennis the Hunter?

These are all questions I would like writer Andrew Dabb to answer in an actual Bloodlines TV series.

The Problem with Bloodlines

The biggest hurdle for Bloodlines is that it was pitched as a spin-off of Supernatural. When The Originals got its own spin-off from TVD, it featured several characters who were established on the original series. Bloodlines, however, just brought in a completely new group of unfamiliar characters.

More problematic is that Bloodlines is so different from Supernatural. The original show has always been an anomaly on the CW. It’s not an ensemble show and it doesn’t have romantic subplots. In fact, when the show tried to add female characters back in season 3, the decision was met with resistance from fans.

Bloodlines is, in many ways, a more conventional drama for the CW than Supernatural has ever been. That split, however, could hurt it. The show doesn’t have the same appeal as Supernatural, but will potential new viewers be turned off by the idea that it’s a spin-off from a show they might not watch? Getting a new audience for Bloodlines could be tricky.

I think Bloodlines is worth the gamble for the CW. If the network marketed it as a new series and not just as a spin-off of Supernatural, it could work. All of the elements are there and it offers something different for viewers bored with the same old vampires, werewolves and witches.

Bloodlines may not be successful as a part of the Supernatural universe, but it could definitely work as its own show, a new twist on the world of monster drama.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.