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Supernatural Season One

04 May

TV Binge

Supernatural Season 1 DVD 001I spend so much time watching TV series, binging on entire season in one go so I thought I may as well write about them. I cannot see how to avoid spoilers since even the presence of a character in one episode is often a spoiler to previous episodes, especially in this series. I’ll give an overview of the season as a whole before discussing the episodes in more depth in later posts.

Supernatural is about two brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester who travel around the United States hunting down dangerous supernatural creatures or phenomena and putting a stop to them. They have been raised in this life by their father John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) after their mother Mary (Samantha Smith) was killed by the demon Azazel in Sam’s nursery when he was a baby. Azazel’s signature method of killing is to slice his victims open and pin them to ceiling then set the place on fire. This scene is recapped at the start of every early episode so they really get their money’s worth out of it.

Sam and Dean are very different. Dean is the older brother and never lets Sam forget it, always calling him Sammy just to annoy him. He’s brash and straightforward while Sam is more studious and thoughtful. Dean is totally committed to his family and sees their life as hunters as an important task in itself while Sam hopes to see an end to their troubles and a return to normal life. Dean is always trying to live up to what he thinks his father wants while Sam questions his father in everything. These differences lead to a dramatic tension that runs through all the seasons.

Each season does have its own story arc but in the earlier ones most episodes are standalone “monster of the week” episodes where the Winchesters discover something strange is killing people and they figure out a way of putting a stop to whatever is happening. Although the episodes stand on their own there is often a development related to the main story arc and there’s usually an important lesson for one of the brothers.

The story of the first season is about the quest for vengeance for the murder of their mother and Sam’s girlfriend Jess (Adrianne Palicki). First they need to find their father who has been on this same quest for 22 years. He has left behind his journal with details of all the supernatural creatures he has dealt with over the years and it contains many scribbled notes and newspaper clippings and is one of their most valuable sources of information.

After ten episodes of running all over the country Sam starts getting the impression their father is keeping them out of the way. John does finally contact them only start giving them orders but his only pisses Sam off and he goes off on his own which is something that seems to happen at least once every season. He wants to find John right away while Dean carries on with the job that John gave them. While he’s gone he meets a young woman called Meg Masters (Nicki Aycox) who is actually possessed by a demon. Meg is a recurring character in this show and is actually working for Azazel. As soon as Sam thinks Dean is in trouble he rushes back to rescue him but the episode marks a change to increased emphasis on the search for a way to kill Azazel.

John discovered the existence of a revolver created by Samuel Colt that  according to legend can kill any supernatural creature and this is what he needs to kill Azazel. Acquiring the Colt and keeping it out of the hands of Meg and her demon buddies is a good part of the end of the season and leads to a very violent and intense climax.

This series really got off to a strong start with its first season thanks to the main characters that really get fleshed out. Sam is a fiercely independent man on a mission of vengeance and is much more similar to his father John than Dean is and this why they are always butting heads. Dean is much more committed to his family than the mission and is not prepared to see either Sam or John throw their lives away for vengeance. Dean’s the joker, the jock, the lad but that is really a front for someone who is terrified that those who he loves will leave him.

There are a few important supporting cast member who often return but none are more important than the grouchy old drunk Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) who in later seasons becomes like a surrogate father to the boys as well as providing important knowledge, helping to back up their cover stories when they are on jobs and having to listen to brothers bitch about each other. He only appears in the very last episode of the season but it is nice to see him

There is nice mix of stories with some more serious than others.There is quite a bit of humour in the stories mostly from Dean quipping and making references to films and making jokes at Sam’s expense. Late in the season in the episode Hell House the boys meet a pair of ghost hunters called Harry Spangler (Travis Wester) and Ed Zeddmore (A.J. Buckley) who think they are experts because they have website. They return in later seasons so we can enjoy seeing the brothers taking the piss out of them again. The more serious side comes in episodes like Faith in which Dean is dying and Sam takes him to faith healer. It is the first time that the series actually discusses the beliefs of the brothers.

This is series where bingeing on one season is not enough for me and I often go on to watch all the available episodes again

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