Supernatural Part II

Okay, I wanted to keep talking about Supernatural, but it didn’t feel right to put it in that last post.

So this was originally supposed to be the series finale, not just the season finale. And it would have been a great cap to the show. Everything that had been building up for the entire series finally came to a head, with a good and satisfying ending. But then, the show was picked up for another season.

Where do you go after defeating Satan and aborting the apocalypse? Isn’t anything else going to seem a little silly? You can’t really escalate from that. And Sam is trapped in hell, which means there has to be some stupid explanation about how he can escape. And what do you do next season, when you have to end things? Because this seems to be the ending you were working towards all along, so now you have to throw some hasty new ending together.

In other words, though I love the show, they should have let it be done.

I can think of two other series that had this same problem, where they came up with an ending and then the show got extended, forcing them to back their way out of it. On Charmed they changed their identities and walked away for good, only to be back next season with some throw away line like, “Oh, that was a nice vacation, but now we’re back!” And of course you have Buffy, who actually died and had to be resurrected. In both cases, the “final” ending ended up not being as good as the original ending. Interestingly, Supernatural is on the CW, formerly the WB, which hosted both Charmed and Buffy. So maybe the network is to blame. Regardless of who is to blame, I sure hope Supernatural can pull it off.

I have to leave you with a clip, so here you go. (Sorry, I looked long and hard for one you didn’t have to click through to see, but I couldn’t find one. I still recommend you click through and watch the clip. It’s short, I’ll wait.) In order to re-open Satan’s prison, the Winchesters had to get the keys by defeating each of the 4 horsemen, including Death himself:

How Janesville stopped the apocalypse

There’s an awesome show by the name of Supernatural.

This season as been about the appending apocalypse, and the efforts of the Winchester boys to avert said apocalypse. The final episode of the season aired a little while ago, so I think I can talk spoilers here, but if you don’t want to know how the whole thing comes out, you might want to skip a little bit. However, there is no way I can talk about the crucial role that the Janesville GM assembly plant played in stopping the apocalypse without talking about how the apocalypse was actually stopped.

So, the entire season (nay series, I’ll get to that later) was culminating into this last episode. Satan wanted to use Sam as his vessel to destroy the world (since he was currently in the body of Jacob from Lost, but I digress), and Sam came up with the plan of letting Satan possess him, and then leaping into the prison they had accidentally let Satan out of in the first place. Long story short, it didn’t go according to plan, and Sam was not, in fact, able to master Satan.

Here’s where the Janesville assembly plant comes in.

Throughout the show, the Winchester brothers travel around in an awesome ’67 Impala.

In the final moments, Sam catches sight of the Impala and remembers all the good times with the car, his brother, his dad (it was originally their dad’s car), etc. Using these memories, he is able to throw off Satan, and jump into the prison.

Now, since the car played such a pivotal roll (THE pivotal roll), the show devoted probably a good 10 minutes of the final episode to discussing the place where the car was manufactured: the Janesville assembly plant. They not only mentioned it by name, but they played old clips of the plant and talked about its history! Sara and I kept looking at each other, like, “Did they really just say that? Are they really talking about the Janesville assembly plant?”

So, to all of my relatives who worked at the plant (including my father): you might have lost your job and had your town ripped apart, but you stopped the apocalypse. That has to count for something.

Supernatural

There is a show on the CW called Supernatural, and I’m here to tell you, this show is awesome. The show stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. They were raised as “hunters” by their dad, and basically go around disposing of supernatural baddies.

I wanted to write this post a long time ago, so that people would start watching this show and it wouldn’t get canceled, but I guess people were watching it anyway because it never got canceled, and I think it is in the final season.

This show gets better and better the more I watch it, and I highly recommend it. Obviously, two guys who fight supernatural creatures is sort of up my alley to begin with, but believe you me, there are PLENTY of shows with that premise that are wretched. The acting is good, and I could genuinely believe the two of them are brothers. Supernatural is creepy, funny, and (perhaps hardest of all) doesn’t come across as cheesy. Maybe this is because they don’t take themselves completely seriously. All of that is hard enough, but there are two other traps the show has avoided falling into, which are most impressive.

First off, the show manages to maintain the balance of throw away episodes and story arc. When the show began, there wasn’t much connection between episodes. The Winchester boys would show up, kick some supernatural henie, and ride off into the sunset. These kind of shows are great escapes because you don’t need to engage your brain. However, after a time, shows like this get a “what’s the point” kind of feel, and the writers usually transition to a more over-arching storyline to tie the season together. Sometimes when this happens, a show loses it. Some shows really are cut out to be single episode, stand alone shows. For example, I personally feel that Buffy worked better this way; in the last season, every episode was working towards the finale and it was awful. Supernatural somehow manages to have an overall storyline, with plenty of individual, stand-alone episodes and yet the stand-alone episodes frequently tie-in in some way, without seeming awkward.

The other trap the show manages to avoid is “villain escalation”. Often in books or T.V. shows (or even movie franchises), the heroes have to defeat certain bad guys in order to prevail. If the book or show is successful and a sequel is needed, the writers feel the need to out-do their previous effort. This usually results in a new, even MORE POWERFUL bad guy showing up. This happens time and time again, until the heroes are so powerful that the original bad guy wouldn’t have lasted a second against them. This is sort of the natural progression of things, and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen in Supernatural, but to at least some degree, anything from the first season is still trouble. For example, although they know how to deal with ghosts, an episode that has them fighting a ghost is still a good episode; you never feel like they should easily be able to defeat it.

I have only two quibbles with the show, one small and one large. The small one is that this show followed directly on the heals of Gilmore Girls, also on the CW. On that show, Jared Padalecki played a character named Dean. Then he comes over to this show and immediately becomes the brother Sam, NOT the brother named Dean. I understand he’s just an actor playing a role, but did Supernatural just HAVE to use the name Dean for one of its characters? This was very confusing for at least 2 seasons.

The bigger (biggest) problem with the show is that it is not available online! (legally) This is particularly a problem since it is on Thursday nights, up against Grey’s Anatomy and The Office. I think the show is popular, I don’t know the numbers, but there’s no way people are tuning in to it over Grey’s and The Office. Those people (like myself) are forced to try to catch reruns when they can, missing many episodes. What reason could their possibly be to stack your network’s best show against such heavy hitters, and then not make it available online. It’s like you don’t want me to watch it.

Well this season my friends, we’re putting our money where our mouths are (and by mouth, I mean this blog post). Sara has moved Supernatural to the top of our TiVo queue, over Grey’s and The Office. That’s right, you heard me. But the fact is, those shows are available online. Maybe this was the CW’s ploy, but I can’t imagine it’s working.

Okay, so final word on the subject. This was an outake from one of the episodes. The shot in the episode ended right before the “rising up”, but Jensen Ackles decided to take it to the next level. You can hear the camera guys laughing, but they let the camera roll:

EDIT: Okay, boo, they disabled embedding on that one, but it’s the best copy. So just click the “watch on youtube” link in the middle of the screen.

You can also check out some good clips (mostly) from season 2.