Sunday, October 4, 2009

Devilishly Good: Why you need to be watching 'Supernatural'

Supernatural has always been a series I was aware of (it was always advertised on TV3 and the DVD sets seemed to be available everywhere), but it's only recently that I have come to realise its brilliance.

The show is a stunning, ideal blend of one-shot adventures and mythology-arc based storytelling. That is to say, most of the time you can watch it without ever having seen an episode before, but gradually, seeds are planted that develop the overall story. It's a far safer formula than that of
Lost or Heroes; shows that insist on demanding constant viewership - or you won't know what's going on. It helps that most of Supernatural's 'filler episodes' (episodes that don't move the overall story along) are mind-rapingly brilliant.

The premise is laugably simple: two hunky brothers drive all over America in their '67 Chevy Impala, fighting ghosts, vengeful spirits and all kinds of other demonic presences. The concept is almost a love-letter to the classic, action-detective shows of the 70s and 80s that featured manly men and manly cars (I am of course talking about the likes of The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider and Miami Vice). To be fair, the concept is so criminally basic that the show should be awful. This is probably why it's not as incredibly popular as it deserves to be. People are judging the book by its cover. However, closer inspection reveals superb acting from the two leads (Jared Paladecki and Jensen Ackles), deceptively good writing and consistently badass choices of non-diegetic background music (no David Gray for me! We're talking AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many, many other classic rock bands).

Having viewed the first two and half seasons, I can tell you now that there is basically nothing unentertaining about the first 44 episodes. It was about ten episodes into Season One where I began to question whether I had enjoyed a TV series as much as this. The third season (so far) has displayed some awkward bumps, but has been saved by some excellent one-shots on par with the first two seasons. You have to keep in mind that Season 3 suffered greatly from the Writers' Strike of the time. From what I hear, Season Four is an improvement and Season Five (which is currently airing) is something "F****** magical".

With Halloween coming up, it is the perfect opportunity to go out and buy the first three seasons. They are available in a complete set at a very attractive price of just €46.99 (less than a euro per episode) in your local HMV.

Believe me, you will not regret this.

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