I am in shock that this series has lasted five seasons (and counting). It is not that I think it is a bad show, not by a long shot, but it is the kind of show that I like to see hit the airwaves, last a few episodes, and then get unceremoniously dropped from the airwaves. I guess we should be thankful it got its start on The WB before it turned into the CW. You see, it is something of a lesser network and that brings lower expectations. At least that is how I read it. When it comes right down to it, be thankful it did not start on FOX. In any case the show has enjoyed five seasons with a sixth on the way.
Supernatural is a series that is easiest to describe as a combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files. That still holds true but it is more useful as shorthand to describe the show to the uninitiated. The truth of the matter is that the series may owe a lot to those landmark series but it has taken those influences and created its own flavor of genre television. Five seasons have seen the show build its own mythology, rules, and supporting cast. On top of that, the characters have grown and changed over the years, becoming welcome guests in our home week after week.
I must admit that I have not been watching religiously like I should. Actually, I was sure I missed almost all of this season until I started watching the DVD. As it turns out, I did see about half of the season and I really have no idea how I managed to do that! Still, I did miss a lot of the arc episodes and all of the build-up to the finale and for that I am sorry. However, something was revealed to me — it is very enjoyable watching these episodes fresh and in such rapid succession without having to wait a week between installments.
Season five picks up after Sam (Jared Padalecki) killed Ruby. This turns out to have been a big mistake as she was the final lock that released the Devil upon the world and now the Winchester brothers need to track him down and stop him unleashing the full force of the Apocalypse upon the world.
The season is a mix of one-off episodes that find Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) taking on some of the nasty spirits and demons. When they aren’t taking on these side jobs, they take on the Four Horsemen (you know, War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death), deal with the Trickster who has a somewhat related agenda, trust in the demon Crowley, team with a rebellious angel, and do it all with a smile and a shotgun.
The big picture story of the Apocalypse certainly is a compelling one. Besides the damage that the demons are doing, the threat of the Horsemen, and the eventual showdown, the brothers are written in a rather compelling fashion to make it all that much more interesting. The show has always been built on more than the demon-hunting; it is built on the two central characters. These are not the same guys that first hit the road five seasons ago, they have been through Hell, quite literally. They are built on emotion, frustration, love, anger, hatred, and whatever else you can think of.
Among the standout episodes are:
- “Free to Be You and Me” where the brothers have gone separate ways with Sam taking a job at a bar that isn’t far enough away to avoid trouble.
- “The End” pays off the Croatoan virus from a few seasons ago as Dean finds himself five years in the future dealing with the repercussions of past decisions.
- “Fallen Idols” is fun for the idea of wax statues coming to life, especially when one is a killer Paris Hilton.
- “Changing Channels” finds the brothers trapped in a variety of television shows like a hospital soap opera, a sitcom, a police procedural, and a Japanese game show.
- “The Real Ghostbusters” is fun because it brings us a Supernatural convention as a writer has been chronicling their real adventures in a “fictional” book series that have become quite popular. This is an interesting piece of the mythology, with the angels and such comes this writer as a prophet. Interesting world expansion.
- There there is “Swan Song” where the brothers have their long awaited confrontation with the Devil and the fallout it brings. It is a great way to end the season and leave us wanting more.
- Commentary. There is one track and it is for “The End” and it features Eric Kripke, Robert Singer, and Ben Edlund. It is a fun track that offers plenty of information and is very easy to listen to. You will be left wishing there were more of them.
- Ghostfacers The Web Series. A collection of clips about the show within the show. It is alright to watch once, but I did not feel terribly engaged watching these guys track spirits.
- Supernatural: Apocalypse Survival Guides. A collection of clips made by Bobby to help you survive. I didn’t spend a lot of time with this, but I cannot see it being something I will revisit.
- Gag Reel. Like on prior season sets, this includes your standard flubbed lines and such. Entertaining the first time.
Bottom line. I really like this series, the more I see it the more I want to see. It has an intelligence factor, a fun quotient, and it makes you want more. This season is solid and has a nice mix of myth and standalone episodes to keep you interested. If you are a fan you will want to get your hands on this set; just try not to be disappointed by the lack of extras.