Supernatural Still Holds The Power
Published: 17 October 2016
With its 12th season about to start, Supernatural is making genre-show history. Neither The X Files nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer managed to maintain the same momentum. Spawning books, comics, spin-offs and a powerful fan base, this is the little cult show that could. So what’s made it more bewitching than a zombie bite or a vampire’s glamour?
Supernatural follows a simple story: two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, travel America in their father’s 1967 Chevrolet Impala, hunting and disposing of evil monsters, like the one that killed their mother. Along the way they make friends, frenemies, allies, adversaries, save lives and the world, by fighting evil.
It has an ongoing, overarching narrative, but it follows a monster-of-the-week formula, meaning anyone can tune in for a dose of death, disaster and day-saving (if for some bizarre reason they haven’t been watching for the past 12 years).
Drawing on folklore and urban legends from all over the world, the show’s writers are never short of a monster for the big, complex, mythological universe they’ve created, which is fascinating, exciting, and dangerous.
It might be dark and scary, but it’s also funny. There’s plenty of banter between Dean and Sam while Jensen Ackles’ delivery and facial expressions alone make for excellent comedy.
Supernatural has no will-they-won’t they, on-again-off-again romance. It’s a tale of brotherly love, something the show’s creators decided to focus on when they saw the chemistry between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles way back in season one. It’s an on-screen relationship that’s had a huge effect on people.
In fact, the whole show’s really about family, the friends who become family, and the raw emotion and complexity within that. It’s moved viewers so much, they enjoy it more than all the action. As Executive Producer Andrew Dabb told USA Today:
“We will do things in production, a stunt or a special effect, and the episode will air and Twitter will be like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ And then the moment when Dean turns toward the camera and sheds one man tear, Twitter goes insane.”
These Twitter users are part of a large, powerful Supernatural fan base, whom the show’s cast and creators actively engage with.
Fans lobby to have favourite characters brought back from the dead, to have Supernatural win everything from People’s Choice Awards to magazine cover competitions. They play an active part in charity organisations run by cast members, and they write more fanfiction on the world’s largest fanfiction site than for any other TV show.
After 12 years, it's pretty clear that Supernatural holds a powerful magic.