Supernatural: The Complete 1st Season
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
New York University '00
"I don't think you're dumb... I just think at times you're under-exposed to information." -Murphy Brown
Supernatural: The Complete 1st Season
Review By: Dan Deevy
“Demons I get… people are crazy.”
- Dean Winchester, The Benders
A monster-hunting, demon-slaying road trip with two of the hottest actors on television; why the hell didn’t I jump on board with this show 5 years ago when it first premiered!?!? All I know is I’m super excited to finally get up to speed on this fan favorite with the release of the first season of Supernatural on this 4 disc Bluray collection.
Most hour long dramas on television now-a-days are ‘who-dun-it’s’ like the many incarnations of Law & Order, C.S.I., etc. While Supernatural follows a similar weekly formula it’s less of a ‘who-dun-it’ and more of a ‘what-dun-it’ which definitely changes things up a bit. The same type of investigation that usually leads to a slew of suspects in an episode of Law & Order, for example, instead leads to some kind of other worldly demon, ghost, or other ‘supernatural’ phenomenon as that week’s baddie. So unless you are very well versed in the paranormal don’t expect to be solving any mysteries before your on screen heroes do.
Speaking of heroes you really can’t get better than the two guys we have here. With a road show like this where every week they’re in a new city with new people it’s absolutely essential that the relationship between our travelers is layered, interesting and has tons of room for growth and change; and that’s exactly what we have between brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki).
Whoever was in charge of casting new exactly what they were doing when they put former Smallville and Dark Angel star Jensen Ackles together with the less likely choice, former Gilmore Girls star Jared Padalecki. These two have fantastic chemistry and are never, ever boring to watch. I’ll admit I’d rather they were lovers than brothers, but that’s just me (and probably tons of other gay men and women out there too, but I digress). There’s not a false note to be found in their scenes together and after 5 years of doing a show where you share practically every single scene together that is saying a lot.
The pilot sets up a world where ‘the things that go bump in the night’ actually do exist but are only known to a select few people. After witnessing the bizarre and unexplained death of his wife, Mary (Samantha Smith), John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) becomes a student of the occult and all things related to it and raises his two sons with the skills necessary to hunt down and destroy all of the evil monsters that they encounter in life; the whole time the entire family has one eye fixed on finding the demon that killed their mother and exacting revenge.
While Dean has always embraced his destiny to follow his father into battle time after time, younger brother Sam tries to escape the
What’s odd about the show is that each episode should be bringing them a step closer to finding their father but it doesn’t. Each hour is basically just a one off adventure with an occasional mention of their overall mission which is to track down the patriarch of this evil fighting family. On the upside this means that unlike most shows with a continuing story arc like this one, you can come in pretty much anywhere into the season and have a good idea of what is going on. A lot of shows require you to see every episode because each one is an important piece of the puzzle; the first season of Supernatural isn’t like that. Each new episode begins with a ‘previously on’ segment that sets up the entire storyline for you so you’ll never be lost. Of course the richness of the characters develops over time so from that perspective its best to see it from start to finish, but either way each hour is contained within itself.
I’ll also say when you watch this show all in a row over the course of a couple of days as I did, you definitely find yourself looking down hallways and over your shoulder with a far more discerning eye than you had previously. I’m not saying I believe in any of this stuff, just saying the show has a way of working itself into your bones.
Some stand out episodes in this inaugural year include Hook Man where we see how prejudice and hateful feelings can have a negative impact on the world around us, even when the intent to cause harm may not be a conscience one. There was also Scarecrow which was great episode where it shows that the Winchesters aren’t the only people in the country who know about supernatural things. The Benders was a very Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ish episode that veered from the norm by not having any kind of non-corporeal element to it, just really bad human beings. Something Wicked is an episode that reveals through several flashbacks why Dean is so devoted to following his dad’s orders and why he’s so protective of Sam and it makes for an all around great hour of television. There’s also a killer (pun intended) Vampire episode called Dead Man’s Blood that rivals True Blood and puts the Twilight series to shame when it comes to Vampire mythology. And, as expected, the two part season finale Salvation and Devil’s Trap were so fantastically done that
This season had a few fun guest stars (though I’m guessing subsequent seasons will have even more recognizable names) like Cory Monteith in a pre-Glee performance as a doomed camper, Loretta Devine as the most perfectly cast resident psychic, Julie Benz as a cancer patient whose life may or may not be worth more than Dean’s, and of course the king of recurring characters on television Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the series lynch pin pop-in pop-out dad, John Winchester.
I can’t say that watching this in Bluray as opposed to regular DVD really added anything positive to the experience; in fact the enhanced visual quality may actually be a slight deterrent as the green screen special FX that are used for a lot of the driving look very obvious. It’s abundantly clear that for a lot of their driving scenes together Sam and Dean are sitting in a stationary car on a sound stage surrounded by nothing but green screen and lights. You try to ignore it because it’s television that was produced over 5 years ago, but the Bluray quality definitely makes it more of an issue.
The special features include some deleted scenes for select episodes, a really funny gag reel that runs for over 7 minutes and is always the best feature in my mind, and some various featurettes. A Day in the Life of Jared and Jensen takes you through a typical filming day for the guys. This featurette really gives you a sense of how much fun these two have working on this show. If you don’t feel like these are two guys you wanna hang out with after watching this, then you weren’t paying attention. Of course you will also realize how hard everyone else on set has to be working to make it possible for them to have as much fun as they do but hey, that’s why they’re referred to as the ‘talent.’ We also have Supernatural: Tales From the Edge of Darkness which is a look behind-the-scenes with primarily the creative team behind the show explaining the process of how it came to be and what it takes to produce it on a weekly basis. Also, there’s an interactive feature called Devil’s Road Map where you basically follow the road map of the first season stopping on your favorite episodes to learn more about them with interviews with cast and crew and also background on real local legends, etc. This is an awesome feature if you’re really into the show and you can tell that the team behind it put a lot of work into bringing it to life.
I have to admit back in 2005 when I heard that Jensen Ackles was giving up his role as
So if you are like me and for some unfathomable reason still haven’t seen this series, now’s the time to check it out as it hits Bluray for the first time!