Sunday, February 19, 2006

Supernatural

Supernatural, on the WB at 9, right after the Gilmore Girls.

In the true tradition of good genre shows -- in this case, horror -- doing a nice one line plot description can be a bit giggle inducing. Yes, even we fans, we happy fans of genre TV realize that when we describe it outside the fanbase the show can sound a bit odd. So what? One of the things I like about genre shows is, perhaps because the giggle has happened with the plot description, they have a certain amount of freedom, at that freedom results in great TV: unique characters, sound plots, suspense, action, editing, stunts and camera work.

But I digress.

The Plot: Two brothers, Dean and Sam, drive from town to town, hunting demons and other evil things. Backstory: the boys' mother was killed by a demon when they were little, inspiring the father to start hunting demons and pursuing information on what killed his wife. Sam tried to get away from the family business by going to college & law school, but, was pulled back in after his father disappeared. Oh, and then Sam's girlfriend was killed by the same demon that killed his Mom. And now Sam is having dreams about the future and, upon occasion, can move things with his mind.

It's probably quicker to give what I imagine was the pitch for Supernatural: "Route 66 meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a nod to Frailty" .

The Good: All of it.

Dean and Sam bring the hotness; I think I would watch Jensen Ackles read the phone book. Seriously.

The Big Bad shows up and the boys hunt it down. This requires research (yay!), both using books and computers and investigating. And, this being a show that is also about the hotness of the stars, there is always a cute girl who happens to be the sister of the missing guy, or the reporter at the newspaper with the critical information, or the blood drinking demon worshipper. And there are guns, too, for when the brothers finally track down the weekly evil.

The sibling relationship is very good. The brothers bicker, and Dean is the typical older sibling: he's done what is expected and continues to do what is expected. I don't think Dean himself knows what he would want to do outside the family business. For him, it was never an option so why even think about it? Dean has some anger that Sam selfishly went to college and didn't pursue the demons, just as Sam has anger towards Dean for never questioning their father.

The balance between monster of the week and season arc has been done very nicely. They are moving things along in the season arc, yet there are enough questions -- What happened to Mom? Where is Dad? When did Dad start hunting demons? Who is the mystery girl? Are these 2 alone in this or is there a Watcher's Council somewhere? -- to have future season arcs or even a series long arc.

The writers have given enough thought to the annoying questions fans ask to give quasi-answers. While on the road, Dean and Sam hardly live it up -- they stay at run down motels and the like -- but they do always have the money for the hotels and gas. Yet they don't work. The answer? Apparently, one is allowed to steal credit cards and use forged credentials when one is pursuing the higher good of fighting evil. I doubt this will be pursued further, but it's enough of an answer.

I hope this show survives the WB/UPN merger, and it'll be interesting to see what time slot it gets.

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