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Alice's Review: Supernatural 12.22 "Who We Are," aka A Family Healed

Wednesday’s Watching Supernatural 12.22 “Who We Are”

Thoughts on Supernatural 12.22 & 12.23: The Season 12 Finale

Supernatural Bits & Pieces May 20, 2017

Threads: Supernatural 12.22 "Who We Are" and 12.23 "All Along the...

Let's Speculate: Supernatural 12.22 "Who We Are" and 12.23 "All Along the...

WFB Supernatural Gift Guide

Latest Supernatural News and Spoilers

24 May 2017 15:07

TV Line has more details.

24 May 2017 09:41

 Now that season 12 is over, our stars are working for charity.

21 May 2017 09:14

Jared has launched part two of his AKF campaign.

20 May 2017 16:46

We have a few spoilers that came out of the Jus In Bello Convention this weekend.

19 May 2017 11:25

Here are the ratings for last night's finale episodes.

18 May 2017 21:38

Well, we were uninamous, but that's not necessarily good.  All four of us at the TV Fanatic Rou

18 May 2017 15:34

Jared talks about the season finale, season 13 spoilers and relaunching his Always Keep Fighting Cam

18 May 2017 12:05

We are getting our first spoilers for next season at the CW upfront presentation.

18 May 2017 08:52

The CW has released its schedule for next season.

17 May 2017 14:21

EW has published an interview with Andrew Dabb about the final episodes of season 12.

15 May 2017 07:44

The shows continue to fall as networks are poised to announce their 2017-2018 schedule.

13 May 2017 13:42

Yes, NBC changed its mind and renewed Timeless

13 May 2017 07:14

Our wonderful Lilah Kane made screengrabs of the Shaving People, Punting Things Promo.

13 May 2017 00:46

Apologies, but the total **** storm generated by 12.21 made me forget to put up the link for the TV

12 May 2017 14:02

Here are the pictures for the finale.

12 May 2017 12:20

We have the preliminary ratings for last night's episode.

11 May 2017 21:33

The trailer for the season 12 finale

11 May 2017 07:07

It's been a bad week for our former writing staff.

10 May 2017 13:01

We have a sneak peek for episode 21.

08 May 2017 19:16

The CW canceled two freshman shows today.

08 May 2017 10:53

Jeffrey Dean Morgan won the 2017 MTV Award for Best Villain for his role as Negan on The Walking Dea

05 May 2017 14:51

We have pictures for the next episode.

05 May 2017 12:45

The ratings for episode 20  'Twigs & Twine and Tasha Banes'

04 May 2017 21:16

The trailer for the next episode.

03 May 2017 15:09

We have the sneak peek for episode 20

30 Apr 2017 15:42

Supernatural won Best Writing in Canadagraphs's "Best of TV" Awards!

28 Apr 2017 15:08

We have the pictures for episode 20.

28 Apr 2017 11:16

Here are the ratings for Supernatural's 'The Future':

27 Apr 2017 21:42

The trailer for episode 20.

27 Apr 2017 21:15

The CW has released the synopses for episode 22 and 23

25 Apr 2017 23:27

It's really funny how Nightsky and I seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to a

25 Apr 2017 14:28

April 24 was Baby's 50th birthday and Eric Kripke's 43rd. Congratulations flooded in from our cast.

24 Apr 2017 20:32

Andrew Dabb sat down with TV Line to discuss the end of season 12.

24 Apr 2017 12:31

TVLine and EW have posted their Season Finale Previews for several shows.

20 Apr 2017 20:55

We have the synopsis for episode 21.

20 Apr 2017 07:46

We have pictures for next week's episode.

14 Apr 2017 15:14

The people from Shaving People, Punting things have done it again.

14 Apr 2017 11:46

Here are the ratings for 'The Memory Remains'

14 Apr 2017 00:08

At this week's TV Fanatic Roundtable, the good news is our group, myself, Nightsky and Christine Las

13 Apr 2017 21:20

The trailer for the April 27 episode

13 Apr 2017 19:06

We have the synopsis for episode 20.

12 Apr 2017 13:31

We have our sneak peek for this week's episode

12 Apr 2017 10:09

It's that time of year! The fun of GISHWHES is about to begin.

10 Apr 2017 16:13

Pictures for episode 18

07 Apr 2017 15:11

From Shaving People, Punting things.

07 Apr 2017 12:09

We have preliminary ratings for Supernatural episode 17

WFB Feature Articles

May 31 2017 | Alice

Thank you, thank you, thank you Robert Berens!  I just can’t say that enough.  I was lef

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May 31 2017 | Wednesday

  A Thirst Quenching Gem!

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May 31 2017 | Elle

Who We Are and All Along the Watchtower were excellent, both independent and united. Season twelve h

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week!

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May 31 2017 | Nightsky

The Morning After

I am overwhelmed. Emotionally drained and intellectually stunned. THAT is the Sup

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May 31 2017 | Bookdal

This recap will address both 12.22 and 12.23. The first hour of the finale was written by Robert Ber

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

It's the season 12 finale! Here's what we know. Now with sneak peek

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May 31 2017 | Nightsky

Six Days Later

I’m a little late to the party this week. Usually "Threads" is The WFB’s first r

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May 31 2017 | Wednesday

Aspects To Love & A Little Something About Eileen

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May 31 2017 | Alice

I've struggled with this review for several days.  I've considered, started, and then reconside

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May 31 2017 | Elle

While not at all what I expected from where we left off last week, There’s Something About Mary

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news.

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May 31 2017 | Bookdal

 

This episode, written by Ross-Leming and Buckner, is titled “There’s Something About Mar

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

What we know about episode 21.

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May 31 2017 | Wednesday

That was Scary! Craftily Entwined Resurrections and Reveals.  

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May 31 2017 | Alice

Episode 20 in this show has always been a bit of an odd duck.  It’s meant to be the warmup to

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May 31 2017 | Elle

Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes had all the perfect ingredients and knew exactly how to blend th

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week!

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May 31 2017 | Nightsky

The Morning After

Well that was a depressing, nobody wins episode! Supernatural’s “Twigs and Tw

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May 31 2017 | Bookdal

This episode, written by Steven Yockey and directed by Richard Speight Jr., is titled “Twigs &

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May 31 2017 | Percysowner

What we know about episode 20.

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May 31 2017 | Elle

Whoa! That was quite the unexpected episode in some of the best ways. The Future was all about addre

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May 31 2017 | Wednesday

The Script “Winging it” With Angelic Direction.

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Apr 30 2017 | Alice

Huh, that was interesting.  That’s good “interesting.”  I can’t explain how or why

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Apr 30 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week!

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Apr 30 2017 | Nightsky

The Morning After Another shocking Supernatural season 12 episode! I honestly thought “The Future

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Apr 30 2017 | Alice

Apologies for the delayed spec tonight.  Bookdal had a prior engagement and her fill in, aka mo

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Nightsky's New Book!

This is the article that started all this. My life as a blogger. Since I'm reposting it here, I'll also share the story about this article.

Right around late January, my husband and I finally caught up with all the Supernatural episodes. We watched seasons 1 and 2 through all of October and November, and caught up with season three by mid December. Then, we watched it all again, for we knew we missed many things. After going through that long exercise, I was ready to take on the online community. I started lurking on the fan sites, and one repeated discussion caught my attention everytime. Why doesn't The CW promote this show? I spent hours reading the threads, posting a few comments here and there, and then I did my own research.

A few weeks later, I typed up a rougher draft of what is below and posted it on my livejournal. Crickets chirped as about three people I think read it. I gave it some more polish and then I found blogcritics through someone on the House fandom. I contacted the editor and linked the article. He loved it and next thing you know, I was sent a user id and password to post it on blogcritics. A day later it was published, and I was not prepared at all for what happened next.

The article was a HUGE hit. It was one of blogcritics top articles for two weeks. It was linked to many sites all over the world. Then it got picked up for newspaper syndication. I was flooded with comments and emails from people all over the world, all sharing their love for this show. I went on fan forums and found actual threads about the article and read pages of their praise of it. Needless to say, I rode the wave of euphoria.

So, once that excitement calmed down, I had a choice. Walk away, especially since I knew that it would all be downhill from here (how could I top that type of buzz?), or start a Supernatural feature on blogcritics, who were very open to the idea. I went with the latter obviously. When I first started writing fanfiction a few years ago, I always had the attitude that I would be happy if two people read my stuff. I went into this blog with the same attitude. I was doing this for the love of my show, and if I managed to get one or two people on board, my work was done.

The regular feature has been slow in building, but its been a blast. In June I got to do a Sera Gamble interview, which thrilled me to no end. It's taken me almost a whole season to find my groove with episode reviews and recaps. The first ones I ever did were "Malleus Maleficarum" and "Dream A Little Dream of Me". Those are very rough compared to what I do now. In September, I found the Warner Brothers contact and got on their distribution list. When the critics package for "Lazarus Rising" hit my doorstep two days before the premiere, I knew I'd made it. Still, that doesn't top finding out this weekend from both Jensen and Jared they read the below article, even thought the publicist had told me that Kripke read it too. I figured there was a huge distance between LA and Vancouver.

Anyway, enough rambling, here is what was published in March, and here is what changed my life.

---------------------------------------------

Building a following for a TV show in its third season isn't easy - especially if the show is part of a paranormal genre containing a mythology arc that has been slowly developing since season one. Another obstacle would be if it's on a low-rated network that many people have either never heard of, or forgot was there. So, when a hidden gem that fits into both categories exists, it's up to loyal fans to get the word out. So far, that has been the main key to this show's success.

I'll admit, this time last year I heard of the CW, but never thought to give it a try. After all, it was a network that aired soapy teen dramas and bad reality shows. In September, while hopelessly flipping through the channels of endless reruns, I stumbled upon a show I'd never heard of, and on that network I chose to ignore. I saw a scene where two brothers were facing the epic battle of their lives and how they dealt with the emotional ramifications afterward in front of one really cool car (I'm a bit of a car buff, being raised in Detroit). I had no idea what was happening, but the chemistry between these two actors instantly sucked me in.

Once I got the name of the show, "Supernatural," I rented the first few episodes on DVD from Netflix and was so impressed I went out and bought the first two seasons. Considering my previous love of sci-fi shows like "The X-Files" and "Star Trek," I don't know how I missed it. My husband and I went through six thrilling and entertaining weeks of getting to know this show's history on DVD. It's easily one of the best television series I've ever seen. I launched a full scale investigation as to why I'd never heard of this show before now. The results were revealing, but not that all surprising given today's state of network television. First, go to any website that gives the brief synopsis of the show. The general concept doesn't sell it. Read this one from Yahoo TV:

Though he wants nothing to do with his family's paranormal investigation business, a Stanford junior pairs up with his estranged brother on a road trip from the Bay Area to Los Angeles when their father goes missing. Along the way, they encounter mysterious people and situations from American myths and legends.

Doesn't sound very exciting does it? Another "X-Files," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Roswell," "Everwood," etc ripoff, right? All anyone has to do is watch the pilot to realize this show's main feature isn't really about hunting the paranormal. That's just the backdrop. The show turns out to be a compelling family drama about the relationship between these two brothers and their very damaged lives as sons of a demon hunter. The main actors, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, have huge chemistry and sell the brother act extremely well. On top of that, it turns out the show's writing is top notch, offering a brilliant mixture of witty dialogue, action, paranormal lore, humor, and many heartwarming moments between two brothers who have seen a lot of crap in their young lives. The directing is great also considering they snagged Kim Manners, an "X-Files" alum and Robert Singer, who has a long and impressive resume as director and producer of a variety of shows in this genre.

The show also celebrates the great American road trip. These brothers criss-cross the US hunting supernatural phenomenon in a black 1967 Chevy Impala (the unofficial third main cast member), finding adventures in just about any Godforsaken spot in the country. Another unofficial cast member, the hideously decorated and delightfully tacky motel rooms they stay in each week. My favorite is the Schlitz themed room in Milwaukee. Second place, the hunting lodge in Michigan (I've actually stayed in a few of those). So why have so few people heard of "Supernatural?" My investigation found the other big reason.

The CW. To give a brief history, the CW was formed in 2006 by merging the UPN (United Paramount Network) and WB (Warner Brothers) networks. Both networks were formed in 1995 for the same purpose, to target younger audiences and to build a catalog of shows the studios could sell for syndication (and later DVD sets and iTunes). In the eleven years of their existence UPN reported losses of $1 billion, while the WB reported $700 million. These studios chose to fold their networks and create a new one in a joint partnership in hopes of cutting losses and building a stronger network with less overlap and competition for a smaller segment of the total audience. In its second year, the CW has gotten off to a rough start. Ratings in the 18-34 demographic are down 21 percent, while ratings in the 18-49 demo are down 50 percent. The expected losses this year are in the $50 million range. When UPN and the WB started back in 1995, there wasn't competition with over 250 cable channels for original programming, as well as other platforms such as iTunes, DVRs, and the Internet. Despite all that, the CW was formed with notion it could find an audience.

When the CW was formed, they started with a lineup of established shows with set production contracts, so that left them little money for expenditures like promotion. In the second season, a few of those expensive established shows like "The Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars" are gone and have been replaced by three new critically acclaimed scripted shows, "Gossip Girl," "Reaper," and "Aliens in America," but there is still only a small amount of money available for promotion. Most of the budget goes to promoting these new shows and cheaper reality series, so the older shows must thrive by word of mouth from the fans.

Believe it or not, many CW shows have been getting a good audience, but it's in a way the network doesn't want to see. The primary target demographic for the CW is the 18 to 34 age range. In the advent of DVRs, online streaming, and iTunes, this age group doesn't turn on the TV at the scheduled times and instead watches their shows when they want at the click of a button. CW shows usually rank higher in DVR time shifted percentages and iTunes downloads. That's great for the shows, but bad for networks that want to attract advertisers.

Despite all the efforts to build up the new shows, the top three rated scripted shows are "Smallville," "Supernatural," and "One Tree Hill," all leftovers from the WB. "Smallville" is in its seventh season and creatively is in decline, and many are surprised "One Tree Hill" has made it this long, thanks to a season five creative surge. Of all the existing scripted shows, only "Supernatural" and "Gossip Girl" seem to be shows that can bring the network steady viewers beyond the next season.

"Supernatural" is a weird fit for the CW, and it often is perceived not to get a lot of support from the top ranking people at the network. For one, their viewing audience skews higher, more in the 18 to 49 range, which isn't as appealing to advertisers. The show also airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m., going against shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "CSI," "The Office," and for right now, "Lost." To a show trying to find an audience, that slot is often labeled the "time slot of death".

However, despite its network, the show thrives. "Supernatural" pulls in a consistent three million viewers every new episode, and around two million with repeats. The numbers for their repeats beat many of the existing CW shows first run numbers. All this happens in the so called "time slot of death". Three million once upon a time at the WB would have gotten the show canceled, but at the CW, it's a bona fide hit. "Supernatural" also does very well for Warner Brothers television, who owns the show. It's proving to be very popular internationally and is syndicated right now in almost fifty countries. In many of those markets it gets consistently good ratings. For example, "Supernatural" is one of the top shows in Russia right now, where unofficial reports have the ratings there higher than the US. It's also a big hit in many Asian countries and Australia, and does well in bigger countries like Germany, Italy, and England. The DVD sales have been strong, as well as the iTunes downloads.

So why is this show holding its own in this time of declining ratings for all networks? "Supernatural" is the type of show that because of its cult status doesn't attract casual viewers, and the people who do watch are extremely loyal. The rabid and active online community promotes the show in huge ways that the network couldn't possibly do. For example, recently new episodes of "Lost," which is a similar genre show, were scheduled to air opposite new "Supernatural" episodes. The fans launched an online campaign urging people to watch "Supernatural" live and tape "Lost." The message was, "Don't let Supernatural get lost." A network can't beg for that type of publicity. It seemed to work too, as the most recent episode pulled a season high in both key demographics.

Studios like Warner Brothers like having cult shows in their catalog because the fans assure the show sells well on DVD, can go for years in syndication, and the studio can make a lot of money on fan conventions and merchandising. Fans will keep buzz alive with a cult show for years. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Star Trek," and "The X-Files" are prime examples of how a cult show will last long beyond the last episode. The latter has even ventured into feature films, with a new one due to shoot soon.

Finding this show by mere accident has given me a huge lesson in TV viewing habits. I can't turn on the TV every evening now and check the TV guide to see what's on. I need to seek out shows in other ways, via Internet buzz, Netflix rentals, iTunes, or just checking out episodes on websites. TV viewing habits are changing, and my choices are no longer limited. I found a hidden gem, so I challenge people out there to do the same and forget about the bad reality TV that has been dominant of late. Oh, and give "Supernatural" a try. You won't be disappointed.