TV Show Review: Supernatural

TV Show Review: Supernatural

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What is it?

Supernatural is an American television show that debuted in 2005. The Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam, travel around the country in their father’s 1967 Chevy Impala, investigating paranormal events and hunting monsters. The show is currently in its eleventh season on the CW network.

Who’s in it?

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

Good grief. Who isn’t in it? After eleven seasons, I think just about everyone’s been in it by now, right? The main characters (who are literally in every single episode of every single season) are played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.

These guys are lunatics, and it’s so funny because they play such serious characters. In real life, they’re best friends. Part of the reason why I enjoy this series so much is the relationship these two have off camera. More about that later.

And just a funny aside? Jensen Ackles (on the right) is the “short” one. He’s nearly 6’2”. Jared Padalecki, of Gilmore Girls fame, is 6’4”.

What’s it about?

The Winchester brothers, Season 1

The Winchester brothers, Season 1

The main storyline of Supernatural deals with the relationship between Dean and Sam Winchester. Jensen Ackles plays Dean Winchester, the lascivious older brother who never stops eating. Jared Padalecki plays Sam Winchester, the puppy-dog-eyed younger brother who can’t keep a girlfriend alive.

As children, their mother was murdered by a demon, and their father, John (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) became a Hunter. When Sam’s girlfriend meets the same fate as his mother, he and Dean set off on a journey that puts their relationship to the test (more than once).

The Winchester brothers, season 10 (and the Impala!)

The Winchester brothers, season 10 (and the Impala!)

Along the way, they meet all sorts of interesting folks. Vampires, werewolves, wendigos, witches, the list goes on and on and on. The demons start cropping up in season two and three, and the angels come in around season four, which heralds the arrival of Castiel (played by Misha Collins) who pretty much becomes a Winchester himself.

Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard)

Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard)

Mark Sheppard, known for his work on Joss Whedon’s Firefly as Badger and Doctor Who as Canton Everett Delaware III, plays a demon named Crowley starting in season five.

Of course, the full cast is enormous. What’s also lovely about Supernatural is that once you’re in an episode, you’re considered part of the family. Even if your character is killed (spoilers: most of them are), you’re still considered an active member of the cast.

Just about every character in this show (main character or sideline) has a fully developed personality, back story, and a host of memorable quirks.

Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki), Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins)

Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki), Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins)

What did I like?

Sleeping in the Impala

Sleeping in the Impala

Hands down, my favorite part of Supernatural is the relationship between Dean and Sam Winchester. It’s heartbreaking at times and heartwarming at others. Supernatural presents one of the most impressive examples of the psychology of birth order that I’ve ever seen.

Technically, the show is supposed to be about Sam, the younger brother. But honestly? I relate more to Dean, the older brother. I see things from his perspective. I usually end up rooting for him. Why? I’m an older sibling too, so I track with Dean’s POV because he’s written so well.

It’s fascinating how the brothers are written, and I’m constantly trying to understand how it’s done because it’s so effective.

I also love the themes of family that permeate the show, that your parents make mistakes but they do the best they can, that you’re going to run into difficult times, but some things never change.

I also appreciate the main theme in the show that trying to rule your own life rarely works out well for anyone.

Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Mark Sheppard

Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Mark Sheppard

I mentioned this above, but I also love the relationship the actors have off set too. Everyone loves each other. Honestly. And they’re all very active in several charities. Most recently Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins have started a program that’s involved with To Write Love On Her Arms.

I also love that nobody takes themselves too seriously. It’s the only show I’ve ever seen that makes a habit of poking fun at itself, its actors, popular culture, and life in general. There’s even an episode where Sam and Dean Winchester end up being sent to another world where they are Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki on a television show called Supernatural. It’s hilarious.

Additionally? I love the fandom. I’ve never seen a more active fandom. These people are just plain rabid. Get on Tumblr or Pinterest. Look for memes. Granted, if you haven’t seen the show, none of them will make sense, but wow! Once you understand some of the inside jokes, you won’t be able to stop laughing.

What did I not like?

Warning: This is some crazy stuff.

I’m just going to get this out in the open so everyone can know what they’re walking into in case they decide to watch Supernatural.

In the theology of the show, God is distant and absent. The archangels (Lucifer, Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel) are brothers, and they’re vying for control of heaven at some point. Demons are humans who’ve been in hell too long. Death is older than God. And, the most recent development in Season 11, is that God has a sister.

Yup. I warned you.

Obviously, the theology of the show is completely skewed, if you address it from a biblical worldview. If you don’t care about worldview or how a show matches up with the truth of the Bible, it’s not a big deal, but as a Christ-follower, where does a show like this leave me?

I had to consider my beliefs and my own relationship with the Lord very carefully before I started watching Supernatural.

One thing to remember is that the show isn’t presenting its theology as a faith system to be believed. The show is fiction. But to them the whole thing is fiction, and that’s the danger you run into when you see the Bible as just a story.

There is also an enormous amount of alcohol consumption in the show, presenting it as something to do that’s cool. The same with sleeping around. Although, I will say as the brothers get older, they start realizing that living for the next high doesn’t fill the empty spot in their hearts. I wouldn’t exactly say the show glorifies an immoral lifestyle, but I can’t say it discourages it either.

Should you watch it?

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The Winchesters in the Impala

All of my reviews are from a biblical worldview because that’s the way I live, so I’m not going to say you should or shouldn’t watch Supernatural. It’s a personal decision. I made sure I knew what I was getting into before I started watching it. I did my research, and I understood the difference between fiction and reality.

I believe it’s important to watch popular shows, to be engaged with the culture we’re living in. That means you have to walk where people walk. But just because you watch the same stuff the culture is watching, that doesn’t mean you have to live your life based on it.

This is one of those shows that you shouldn’t watch with your brain switched off. You need to decide very certainly what you believe before you turn it on, and you need to ask questions throughout (and you need to make sure you’re finding your answers in the Bible).

You have to decide for yourself where you’re comfortable. For some folks, this sort of thing won’t bother them at all. For others, it might.

If you do decide to watch it, I can tell you you’ll laugh a lot and cry a lot too. These characters are beautiful. The struggles they face are real. And while their solutions are humanistic and flawed, you can’t help but root for them.

And, personally, I mourn for them, because they’re living in a world without God, where angels are petty and demons are free to possess anyone they want. It’s a hopeless world without any certainty of salvation. If nothing else, it’s an interesting show to watch if you want an example of what a world without God would look like.

Their Halloween costumes. They dressed up as each other's characters. Misha Collins as Castiel as Dean. Jared Padalecki as Sam as Castiel. Jensen Ackles as Dean as Sam.

Their Halloween costumes. They dressed up as each other’s characters. Misha Collins as Castiel as Dean. Jared Padalecki as Sam as Castiel. Jensen Ackles as Dean as Sam.

 

Supernatural Episodes to Start With
If you decide to give it a try (especially because right now seasons one through ten are on Netflix), I thought I’d give you a list of episodes you can start with.

  • S1:E1 – Pilot
  • S1:E15 – The Benders
  • S2:E12 – Night Shifter
  • S3:E3 – Bad Day at Black Rock
  • S4:E5 – Monster Movie
  • S5:E7 – The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
  • S6:E15 – The French Mistake
  • S7:E14 – Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie
  • S8:E8 – Hunteri Heroici
  • S9:E5 – Dog Dean Afternoon
  • S10:E9 – The Things We Left Behind

 

 

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