Supernatural, which premiered on The WB in 2005, has lasted longer than anyone (including, probably, its creators) could ever have imagined.
Still, the prospect of Supernatural finally coming to a close with Season 15 has provoked more than my fair share of ugly crying.
The show follows the catastrophic lives of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (played respectively by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as they embark on a righteous mission of ‘saving people’ and ‘hunting things’.
Ravaged by grief, Sam and Dean are driven by an insatiable desire to avenge the deaths of their mother, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) and Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica (Adrianne Lee Palicki).
Having duly avenged Mary and Jessica, the Winchester brothers turn their attentions to (in no particular order): demons, Lucifer, Lucifer’s son, God, Death, the 7 Deadly Sins, the Apocalypse, Leviathans, grim reapers, rogue angels and a wicked assortment of monsters and ghosts.
Having haphazardly saved the world from every doomsday scenario conceivable, it’s absolutely right that Supernatural should come to an end.
Even if it’s natural ending was probably about 10 seasons ago.
Supernatural is (and always has been) problematic AF
As a feminist woman watching Supernatural, my internal misogyny alarm has been sounding since the pilot.
While Season 1 could be forgiven for its tendency to fall back on good ol’ fashioned sexist humour (the show was just finding its feet, after all), there was no need for misogyny to become the comedic staple that it did throughout its 15 seasons.
Mischa Collins (who plays the much-adored angel, Castiel) called out the show’s ‘gratuitously misogynistic’ nature, highlighting the brief life-spans of the show’s female characters.
Who could he mean, I wonder?
Well, there was Bela (mauled to death by hell hounds), Jo and Ellen (sacrificed in an explosion), Anna (internally cremated), Ruby (stabbed), Meg (stabbed), Abaddon (stabbed) and well… you get the gist.
Charlie Bradbury, a lesbian, geek and all-around queen survives longer than most.
Mischa Collins points out that Charlie’s relatively long life-span was due in part to her sexuality as ‘she’s not a threat to the boys as a romantic interest’.
Some fans have also been alienated by the word ‘bitch’ being thrown around as often as it is (usually by Dean).
Not only is it rooted in misogyny, it’s also painfully lacking in creativity and diminishing of some of the show’s most calculatedly evil female villains.
Dean’s penchant for porn magazines, in particular, Busty Asian Beauties, is also woefully out of sync with how Supernatural’s fanbase expect their hero to behave.
On an ordinary TV show, meandering plots could alienate viewers. Not Supernatural!
It’s not all doom and gloom (although there’s a fair bit of that too) as exemplified by Supernatural’s beloved filler episodes.
These episodes, while tangential to plot and character developments, bring sheer ridiculousness and joy to a show that would otherwise be as depressing as it is compelling.
Slumber Party of Season 9 sees Sam and Dean fighting the Wicked Witch of the West before she can return to Oz and unleash terror with her flying monkeys.
The episode ends with the aforementioned lesbian queen, Charlie Bradbury, stabbing the Wicked Witch with a ruby slipper before wandering into Oz with Dorothy.
Perfectly plausible I’m sure you’ll agree.
Dog Dean Afternoon also of Season 9 (were the writers ok this season?) sees Dean develop the ability to talk to animals in order to interview a dog who happens to be a key witness to a grisly murder.
Suffice to say by the end of the episode Dean has disgraced himself by behaving more and more dog-like, including finding a bizarrely feminised dog attractive.
The best filler episodes, however, are the ones that take the fourth wall and decimate it.
In The Monster at the End of This Book’ (Season 4) Sam and Dean discover that Chuck (Rob Benedict) has written a book detailing every minute detail of the Supernatural seasons so far.
The Real Ghostbusters (Season 5) sees Sam and Dean investigate a haunting at a fan convention celebrating the aforementioned Supernatural book series.
And who could forget The French Mistake (Season 6) in which Sam and Dean literally smash the fourth wall (made out of sugar glass) only to find themselves on the set of the TV show ‘Supernatural’ where they’re forced to act as Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki acting as… themselves.
Welcome to the trip.
Supernatural’s extreme self-awareness is a kind of love letter to the fans, simultaneously parodying and paying homage to us.
The show isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself (and its fanbase) and will probably go down as one of the most meta horror shows in telly history.
Supernatural’s consistent format ultimately makes it peak comfort TV
While Supernatural’s character arcs and plot developments are often limited by the writers’ ability to justify yet another season, the show’s winning trick lies in its familiarity.
It’s winning formula looks something like this:
Sam and Dean come across the reporting of a mysterious death, they hop into Dean’s 67 Chevy Impala, drive 300 miles across North America (which of course only takes 10 seconds of precious screen time), settle themselves into a sufficiently seedy motel, interview some hot witnesses, fight some monsters, solve the case and then have a brooding, brotherly chat over some beers.
From the fake FBI badges to the 70s soundtrack (with the CGI to match), the irresistible fashion choices (who doesn’t love a flannel shirt paired with bootleg jeans?) and, most importantly, the cringey proclamations of ‘family’ that unite the cast and fanbase, Supernatural provides ‘feel good’ telly at its peak.
How many other shows about slaying monsters can say the same?
What do you make of this article?
Will you guys miss Supernatural?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.