Supernatural: Then vs. Now

Attention Supernatural Fans: I mean no harm. I know the show has surpassed popularity no one thought possible, however as a fan since season 3, Supernatural has betrayed me.

supernatural then vs now
Photo: itwikipedia.org

It’s been awhile since I’ve discussed Supernatural and my love/hate relationship with the show. I have not seen a full season since season 9, but I have seen episodes from all of them, even the most recent wrestling one.

That’s what sparked this post. As I watched the overly dramatic episode that I thought would be fun and pay homage to the greats, I thought, “Wow. Supernatural used to be so good. What happened?” I feel like the writers and producers have betrayed the show’s origins and ripped away what made it special. Let’s take a look at Supernatural Then vs. Now: (contains spoilers)

The Plots

I loved Supernatural’s main plots – whether it was finding their dad or defeating Lucifer – but the plots after season 6 aren’t as appealing. Seasons 7-11 have been heavily focused on “biblical” characters and plots, which has made the show less fun and interesting. With seasons 7-8 I enjoyed everything except for the main plot, and season 7 really lost my interest when they killed off the beloved Bobby. The early plots were simple at their core. They focused on natural good vs. evil, family relationships, and supernatural lore. All wins. However, once season 8 started, it focused the Men of Letters and characters who aren’t really interesting or relatable. The current plots are slow, boring, and convoluted.

Stories Within the Plots

This infuriates me. Supernatural has crossed a line with me in its current season. It has betrayed many of the major-minor characters by placing them in situations they would never have allowed five seasons ago. Cas, one of my favorite characters, has been possessed or accepted to serve as Lucifer’s vessel. No. Crowley is beaten and worn down and looks like a hobo. Um, no. Some speculate that Crowley will become human and start hunting. Really? The Darkness (Amara) threatens the world’s fate, but Dean can’t fight her because he’s in love with her. Sigh. And on and on.

The Boys

Sam and Dean aren’t the same. Sure, they’ve matured and been through everything imaginable, but their characters have become dry. In the early seasons, you appreciated Sam’s independence and struggle. Dean was somewhat unstable but always did what was right. As you watched the early seasons, both have relatable qualities that engage the audience. Now, they’re pretty much the same person. There’s no passion, and any brotherly conflict feels written. Since season 8, the characters actually feel like fictional characters instead of real people. The “this feels real” feeling you get when you watch the earlier episodes is priceless because you are on the adventure with them. Now, and since season 9, you’re just watching. And it’s not even interesting.

Misc. Issues With Supernatural

Aside from these issues, there are tons of little things wrong:

  • The first few seasons had amazing soundtracks, and now the music is just TV music.
  • The “fun” episodes – some of my favorites – do not exist. I’ve watched several that start strong, then half-way through, they go dark and grim. The show isn’t fun anymore.
  • Where’s the lore? Why are we learning about WWII and the Nazis? Oh, that’s right. The Nazis practiced dark magic because that makes sense.
  • Skeazy hotels no longer serve a purpose. They live in the Men of Letters bunker (yawn). No more Dean enjoying vibrating beds; no more picking up ladies; no more fairies in microwaves.
  • It’s now a drama. This hurts me the most. I don’t watch dramas because I like my entertainment to make me laugh. The world is serious enough, so I need fun, humor, and creativity. Supernatural hasn’t had that in a long time.

This will probably be my last Supernatural post that discusses current episodes or recent seasons. It is with a heavy heart that I say I will probably stop trying to watch it. I still love many of the seasons, but it has taken a direction that no longer interests or entertains me. I think I’ll stick to the reruns.
Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments!

Supernatural: Ellen and Jo

Jo and Ellen Supernatural
Photo from fanpop.com

During my recent Supernatural binge, I remembered two of my favorite characters, mother-daughter team Ellen (Samantha Ferris) and Jo (Alona Tal). I often jump around, but I stopped to watch the episodes featuring these characters, who are so well done. TV shows and movies need more women like them.

Beauty Within the Beast

Pop culture is big on women right now. We have strong female characters assuming more masculine roles, but if you think about it, few are really attractive or feminine. As much as I love Michonne from The Walking Dead or Ripley from the Alien movies, these ladies are not considered beautiful by today’s standards.

This is one reason Ellen and Jo are different. Especially for her age, Ellen is a simple but elegant woman. She will kick your a$$ in a heartbeat, though. The producers seem to have wanted her to be beautiful even though she runs a saloon. Her hair is always down, she always wears a little makeup, and has a nice figure, especially for a woman now pushing 50. Her facial expressions make her tough looking, but she still has nurturing eyes and worry lines to show the caring, softer side.

Simply put, Jo is a tiny hot blonde. When you think of petite blondes, you may think fragile and not very bright. Jo is tough and smart. Upon first meeting (Everybody Loves a Clown), Dean takes her shotgun away, and she punches him in the face. At first, he’s actually scared of her. Jo proves you can have a small, trim figure, long blonde hair and a great smile, and still beat the crap out of anyone who gets in the way.

Hard on the Outside, Soft in the Center

Sounds like a strawberry bon bon, doesn’t it? That’s the best way I can describe these two ladies. They are tough as nails on the outside through verbal expression, mannerisms, and weapon usage, but both are sensitive souls underneath.

In the show, Ellen instantly becomes a maternal figure for Dean and Sam, but shows she won’t take their crap. She wants to help them but kicks them out when they resist. She doesn’t want the same life for Jo as they have. In Good God, Ya’ll, she hugs Dean, then slaps him across the face for not calling to check in. Ellen cares for hunters, providing food, shelter, and much needed booze. She is every hunter’s mother.

Jo may punch you in the face, but you can see her vulnerability. In No Exit, Jo joins Dean and Sam on the hunt and is taken hostage. She’s terrified, but nothing will stop her from escaping and putting the spirit to rest. She even offers herself as bait, even though you see both her fear and insecurity. Jo seems fearless but learns quickly she needs Dean and Sam, and they need her.

The show’s producers don’t over testosterone these female characters or make them anti-men. Many producers create female characters on one end of the spectrum or the other, but Supernatural delivers both the independent and dependent spirit of the true modern-day woman. It’s not that women need men, or vise-versa, it’s that we all need each other.

If you haven’t seen the show or the older seasons recently, I recommend them – the older seasons rank among my favorite TV of all time. Happy hunting!

Ghost Story #1: Lurking Around College

My belief in ghosts is complicated.  My logical side can’t quite grasp why the spirit of a deceased life would linger around here and creep people out or repeatedly do the same tasks over and over.  On the other hand, my willingness to accept that we know very little about the natural world causes me to believe that all that energy a life possesses must go somewhere, so why not retain a consciousness as a “ghost” or something we don’t fully understand?  At the same time I think if my energy, consciousness, or spirit lingered around after I died and could interact with people and my environment I would ABSOLUTELY creep people out, so that’s a double tick next to the “maybe there are ghosts” column.

Even my logical side struggles with some of what I experience and this month, as the far more fetching half of RevPub stated in her last post, I thought I would share some of my more unexplainable experiences.  Starting with one from college.

I lived in an internal, single dorm in college.  Roommate life was definitely not for me so sophomore-senior years I lived in a dorm where I had a room to myself.  Unlike the 1960s-style hotel dorms on campus where all the rooms opened to the outside, this building was a brick structure with offices on the first floor, a keypad (with a 4-digit number to unlock it) that opened to the second floor where all the dorm rooms were.

One night I was carrying groceries in several bags.  I shifted bags when I got to the locked door to the dorms, so I was holding them all in one hand so I could input the unlock code into the number pad.  I glanced over my shoulder and saw another guy behind me.  He had an annoying, hipster-ish Hey, Hey we’re the Monkees Mickey Dolenz haircut and wore a retro orangey striped shirt.

The Monkees
That’s him second from the right. Hair just like that!
Shirt
Not exactly like this but close. It was more like this without the broad yellow bands, just rows and rows of the narrower stripes.

I input the correct number and gently, but firmly, kicked the door open.  I nudged it open with my elbow enough to let the dude behind me get in too.  I hadn’t seen him before and didn’t get a good look at him.  Technically I wasn’t supposed to let a stranger in, but rather than be a jerk I thought I’d just let him tailgate through the door and not have to go through the trouble of entering the entrance number.  I got a little annoyed by how close this guy was behind me up the stairs (which curved twice and had one landing), and I glanced at him again over my shoulder with kind of a “want to give me some space?” look as I heard the door close downstairs.  My room was RIGHT next to the top of the stairs, and as I approached my door and put my bags down, I glanced back at him again and he was gone…  I calmly held my keys quiet and walked to the stairs, looking over the rail and listening for footsteps.  No one was on the stairs.  No one opened the door downstairs.  No one went down the hallway.  My logical side took over and said, “maybe I just missed him…maybe he went back down as soon as I reached my door…maybe I even imagined him.”  But I knew he was there.  I saw him.  Got annoyed at him.  Remembered what he was wearing and how he looked…  And more than anything there was a feeling that someone WAS there and something wasn’t right about the way they just weren’t there anymore…  To this day I can’t say for sure, “I saw a ghost!” but that was a little unusual…

Stay tuned for more personal supernatural stories from both RevPub authors during the whole month of October, leading up to our favorite holiday!  Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year, the only day I can legitimately dress like a killer, monster, or zombie and everyone thinks it’s fun.

A Supernatural Love/Hate Relationship

Supernatural fans around the world (10 million-plus on Facebook) anxiously await season 8’s premiere on Wed., Oct. 3.

I became a fan of the show after borrowing seasons 1-3 from my awesome RevPub partner. After the third episode, I was hooked. Since then, I have recommended the show to friends, co-workers, and family.

However, my relationship with Supernatural is not all roses and rainbows. I recently finished season 5 in full, which left me with the question: should the show have ended then? So, what better way to hash out an argument, than to start a discussion?

Oh Supernatural, how I love (and hate) thee. Let me list the ways…
(contains spoilers)

Love: The Winchester boys. You’re either a Sam fan or a Dean fan, but you like both. They are attractive, funny guys who have a good time and love what they do. I had the pleasure of attending the convention last year, and I loved them even more. The guys have great chemistry, entertain their audience, and truly care about their fans. They are some of the nicest celebrities you will ever meet.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles
Jared Padalecki (Sam) and Jensen Ackles (Dean)
Photo from ign.com

Love: The creativity. The show covers lore from witches to windigos, to shape shifters to ghosts, and genies to the Four Horsemen. If it’s supernatural, it has been in the show (or will be). I am often surprised by the plot and dialogue, and most times it’s well written and fun. And the soundtrack is perfect.

Both: The weak minor characters. For example, Meg, Becky, most of the angels and demons, the Leviathan. These characters are either disposable, or the actors aren’t great. Most times, they are only there to move the plot or irritate you.

Hate: My favorite characters being killed off. Bobby, the Trickster, Ellen, Jo, and Cass has died more times than I can count. Bobby’s death was cheap to his character and legacy, and bringing him back as a ghost was unnecessary. If one character deserved instant peace, it was Bobby.

Bobby Singer from Supernatural
Jim Beaver (Bobby)
Photo from chrystaldreams.centerblog.net

Love: The variety. In each season, there are episodes that will make you laugh, creep you out, and always give you a conversation starter. Some scenes have been a little goofy – such as a unicorn impaling a man – but it adds to the charm. They even made a show based on the show. That is one of the funniest episodes ever.

Hate: The drama. You need a little drama, but sometimes it’s too much. They don’t need to talk about their feelings that often. They’ve been through a lot and will never be “normal”. We get it.

Both: Seasons 5 and 7 plots. The angel/demon war dragged, and Leviathan were not nearly as bad ass as the writers wanted them to be. However, there are some really great episodes and new characters introduced in these seasons, so they’re must sees. Garth is one of my new favorites, and I hope he returns in season 8.

As you can see, Supernatural and I have a complicated relationship. It may seem crazy, but in every relationship, you must decide if it’s worth it. I remain a devoted fan, even though I don’t always agree with the writers and producers. They must be doing something right though, as the show is set to be the longest-running show in CW history.

As you tune in to watch season 8, be sure to check in next week as we kick off supernatural stories of our own. In celebration of Halloween and all things spooky, we will tell our stories – all true – of unexplained ghostly goodness.

In the meantime, enjoy one of our favorite videos from the show. Meet Death.