Ghosts, werewolves, vampires, demons, angels, and two brothers, who won the genetic lottery, but lost everything else. This is the basis (and fan-conceived tagline) for my favorite show on television right now. What show is that, you ask? Supernatural, of course. I'm obsessed. After joining Tumblr, I kept seeing Supernatural posts and GIFs. And, after some
wearing down convincing by some other friends, I started watching. To say I was hooked from the first is an understatement. I already love a good horror story. Add in Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles and I'm sold. I expected to like it. I didn't expect it to take over my life the way it has. I also didn't expect it to be such a well-written and well-acted show. But, it really, really is. I'm here today to tell you just why I adore this show so, so much.
**Some Spoilers ahead**
**Also, this was written pre-Season 9 finale!**
Team Free Will and Their Band of Merry Men
A great show is built on great characters. Supernatural has a cast of amazing and colorful characters. But, their foundation is two brothers and their pet angel, Sam and Dean Winchester and Castiel. The rest of the show is decorated with all kinds of characters ranging from humans to demons to angels to werewolves, vampires and other monsters from your nightmares. But, first, let me concentrate on the Winchester boys and their angel. Sam and Dean....where do I even begin? Sam and Dean are probably two of the most heroic, stubborn, loyal, and uncommunicative characters in television history. But, they are also among the most compelling. They are Hunters. Meaning, they hunt down supernatural beings and dispose of them. Dean is a hard-living, hard-drinking, emotionally stunted, kind of slutty, self-loathing man. But, underneath all of that, all he wants to do is live a life his dad would be proud of and take care of Sam, his younger brother. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve, Dean wears his in his eyes. It might only be there for a moment, but any emotion he's trying to hide will be in his eyes. And then, there's Sam. Sam is an intellectual who is kind, loving, and dependable, but with a bad-ass streak as long as his legs. But, he's also just a big puppy dog who wants to live a normal life with a normal job. Sam and Dean know that they aren't going to get what they want, but as long as they have each other, they know they'll be ok.
Then, there's the angel Castiel. Castiel was dispatched to rescue Dean and, minus a few snafus and issues to work through, he hasn't left the Winchesters' side for long. Cas (as Sam and Dean call him) was just an ordinary angel until he met them. Since then, he's rebelled against the angel garrison. He's no longer the sheep that he used to be. But, he's still socially awkward and he still has no concept of personal space. And a lot of Dean's jokes go over his head. But, he is also a great fighter and smart. I don't want to go into too much detail lest I give too much away. Suffice it to say that Castiel, Angel of Thursday, is an amazing, if somewhat bumbling addition to the show. I'm thrilled that he'll be back for season 10.
There is also a large cast of supporting characters that are beloved or loathed by the fandom at large. Each is more vibrant than the last. First, you have Sam and Dean's family: John and Mary Winchester, who are their parents, and we also see both of their grandfathers and a few other assorted family members. John is the family member we see and hear the most of. Let's just say that John isn't exactly father of the year and the fandom isn't terribly fond of him. There is also the boys' pseudo-family, Bobby Singer, Charlie Bradbury, Ellen and Jo Harvelle and Kevin Tran. All fan favorites, especially Bobby. Bobby is the boys' real father. He's the one that raised them when John was too busy hunting or drinking to care about what they were getting up to.
And, since the show is called Supernatural, there is a whole host of supernatural beings and other hunters. Garth is the fan favorite of the other hunters we've come across. There's demons, including Lucifer himself, and Crowley the new King of Hell, once Lucifer becomes...indisposed. There are other angels, including Michael, Balthazar, Uriel, Metatron, and my personal favorite, Gabriel. We've also seen vampires (Benny), werewolves (Madison), witches, deities, and various other monsters and mythical creatures. You name it, the Winchesters have tried to kill it.
That's Fake Me! This Must Be Fake Mine!
Dean, Sam, Cas, and the rest of the gang wouldn't be nearly as beloved if they didn't have absolutely fantastic people portraying them. Because of the nature of the show, the burden of carrying the show rests nearly solely in the hands of three of the most under-rated actors in the business: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins. I could (and probably will, eventually) write a Fangirl piece on Jared and Jensen and one of us already wrote one on Misha. So, I will try to keep this short. I love them. Is that short enough? I can't describe it in words other than those. They are just so utterly fantastic, I can't put it into words. They are talented, kind, goofy, loyal, creative and so many other things. Not to mention so gorgeous I want to cry. But, for me, the talented aspect is the most important thing. I am a sucker for talent. These three have talent in spades. With each passing episode and season, I am awed by what they can do. If the Emmy voters didn't have such a bias against the CW and sci-fi/fantasy shows (that aren't Game of Thrones), maybe the rest of the world would know what amazing talent these three have. But, what I love the most about these three is that even though they are all married men with children in their 30s, they are really giant five-year-olds at heart. They spend their days on set pulling pranks on each other and trying to make each other laugh on camera. Really, how they get anything filmed is beyond me.
There are also the extraordinary cast of guest stars to address. Mark Sheppard, Jim Beaver, Osric Chau, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Felicia Day, Richard Speight Jr, Ty Olsson, Curtis Armstrong, Kim Rhodes, Mark Pellegrino, Rob Benedict, and so many more. These people make you love them (or hate them) in a measly 42 minute time frame. That's no small feat. They also give up their time to attend conventions, live tweet episodes of the show, and just overall, become a part of the SPN family. In my experience, there aren't many guest stars that are so committed to a show they are so briefly a part of.
I could write an entire Fangirl piece on these folks too, so I'm going to stop myself here and move on. But, before I do, just in case you didn't believe me when I said I don't know how they get anything done on set, here's an example of what they do instead of filming:
Season 7, Time for a Wedding!
Yes, that is the actual title of one of the episodes. If you are not a fan and happen to catch some clips of some episodes, you may walk away saying to yourself "What the hell is that show even about?" Most shows have what is called the fourth wall. The fourth wall is the "wall" that is taken down, so we can view the show or play or what have you. Supernatural doesn't believe in the fourth wall. They have tons of meta fiction episodes, episodes in which they acknowledge that the show isn't real. There is actually an episode in season 9 called Meta Fiction. But, that's a totally different story. Part of the meta they have created is a series of books within the show called Supernatural. They then introduce Supernatural conventions where people dress up like the characters from the books and they have panels where they discuss slash fan fiction and there are Sam and Dean cosplayers. There is also an entire episode where Sam and Dean are transported to an alternate universe where they become Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki who star on a TV show called Supernatural. So, in several scenes, they are Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean. It's confusing...and hilarious.
But, in addition to the meta episodes and the hilarity that comes with them, there are also generally hilarious episodes. Like, "Changing Channels", where the boys are basically stuck in TV land . They have to play their parts in a medical drama called Dr. Sexy, a crime drama where the lead characters say ridiculous things while wearing sunglasses, a game show, a prescription drug commercial, and a sitcom. Or, Dog Dean Afternoon, wherein Dean takes a potion that enables him to talk to dogs. There's more, but I'll leave it at those. And, move on to the heart of the show.
I am, of course, talking about the absolutely heart-wrenching episodes this show produces, generally in the season finales. These episodes will rip out your heart, tear it into a million pieces and stomp on it. And, then, set it on fire for good measure. Because of the nature of the show, we have had to watch more beloved characters die, again and again, than is healthy for any of us. There are some episodes I can't even think about without getting worked up. Their season five finale, "Swan Song", will forever be (for now anyway) the barometer which I use to judge painful finales. I think that nearly all of the fandom can agree that is one of the most painful things they have ever witnessed. There's a reason we refer to the breaks between episodes as a hellatus rather than a hiatus. As you read this, I am probably huddled in a corner somewhere rocking, crying and consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol. I don't know what the season 9 finale has in store, but I do know that it is going to be brutal.
It's A Supernatural Convention!
So, not only does the cast of Supernatural spend nine months of the year making this wonderful show, they also take time out of their breaks to do fan conventions. Of course, not all of them go to every convention. But, there are approximately 10-15 conventions per year. That's a lot of weekends they could be spending with their families or on their own vacations. Instead, they choose to spend them with their fans. There are panels, meet & greets, photo opportunities, autograph signings, cosplay contests, cocktail hours, karaoke, and, general shenanigans. Watching the videos, it looks like everyone is having the absolute best time. Plus, you get amazing behind the scenes info, personal stories, and you get to learn a little bit of what the actors are like outside of their characters. And, if you are lucky, you'll get to interact with them one on one, in a photo op, or even just in the hallway or elevator. Plus, you get incredible moments like these:
The Show That Would Be King
I just wanted to say a quick word about ratings. Now, Supernatural is on the CW, so their ratings can't compete with the likes of NCIS, The Voice, American Idol, etc. But, they pull in pretty stellar ratings every week. And, unlike most shows, who's ratings drop with each season, Supernatural's haven't. CW President Mark Pedowitz has gone so far as to say the show can continue as long as the stars and fans want, as long as the ratings hold. How many shows can say that?
Family Don't End With Blood
The Supernatural fandom itself is actually one of my favorite things about Supernatural. We consider ourselves a family. We help when needed. Supernatural is in a poll? We will come out in droves and vote our hearts out. We've won nearly every poll I've seen since I joined in this madness a little over a year ago. One of the stars has a favorite cause? We'll support it. Misha Collins, genius that he is, has harnessed this support into his own charity, Random Acts, which is based around performing random acts of kindness. Some other examples include donating to funds for some long-ago supporting actors' families. Read more about the awesomeness of the SPN Family in a previous Fangirl Friday here. Suffice is to say, like the sub-title above, in the Supernatural fandom, family really don't end with blood. We kick ass and take names.
We Will Find You.....
If you have a Tumbr account, you know this already. Supernatural fans are everywhere and we are ready with a gif or picture to go with any situation. That's right. We have a gif or other image for EVERY situation. Don't believe me? Here are some examples....
The Hunger Games
And, my two personal favorites, Tumblr staple, Gay Porn
c00kiedough:how thE HELL DO WE HAVE A GIF FOR THAT
sleeping in an oversized hoodie seems like a good idea until its 2am and it feels like you’re taking a bath with satan
So, lovely readers, you've listened to me ramble on about this show long enough. What do you think? Am I crazy? Do you love Supernatural too? Let me know below!
**All gifs and images come from Tumblr