As the Season 11 hiatus begins for real, many of us are making Supernatural rewatch plans. Fans who are new to Supernatural may be contemplating how to catch-up on ELEVEN years of our fantastic show. Nate Winchester's Official Supernatural Viewing Guide to the rescue!

Official because you know I'm always right (especially when I tell you I'm about to be wrong).

Now let's be serious a moment.  An acquaintance was asking me about how to watch one of my all time favorite shows.  I thought about it a moment.  In this story-rich age, where we have so much good stuff demanding our attention and with 11 seasons to its name, trying to watch Supernatural can be pretty daunting to the new viewer.  So how best to "get" the show?  How do we put the show's best foot forward? 

So I created a viewing guide to the original 5 seasons (I may update with more seasons if people ask).  Like any good editor, I needed to cut things.  While there are some obvious clunker episodes, there aren't enough to get the show trimmed down to a managable level for a completely new viewer.  (If they find themselves enjoying it all enough, then they can watch it all as they please.)  To that end I've created 3 categories.

  • For any episode listed "arc" - this is an episode relevant to the season's (or show's) overall story arc.  You MUST watch this to understand what happens later.  Some episodes also include something arc related at the beginning or end of an otherwise unimportant episode. Those few I've also marked as "bit at the beginning/end" so for time you can watch just the opening or closing scene.
  • For the episodes listed "character" - these are episodes relevant to a major character and will explain a lot about their motivations and reasonings for actions during the arc.  It's not quite as necessary to get the story, but helps a whole lot.
  • For an episode listed as "watchable" - this episode isn't important to an overall understanding, but it is of the highest quality and is worth your time.  These show off what is best with the show.
I know a lot of hardcore fans reading this list will cry out, "HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE ___?"  Well, let me stress again that this list is about CUTTING episodes to save time, identifying those that are absolutely necessary to the story of the show.  If the new viewer finds the below to their liking, hopefully they'll be encouraged to branch out and watch the rest.

Also each season header below will link to the WFB's relevant episode guide.




  • 1. Pilot - arc
  • 2. Wendigo - watchable
  • 4. Phantom Traveler - arc
  • 5. Bloody Mary - character
  • 9. Home - arc
  • 10. Asylum - character
  • 11. Scarecrow - arc
  • 12. Faith - character
  • 14. Nightmare - arc
  • 16. Shadow - arc
  • 17. Hell House - character (also starts an ongoing side arc for lulz)
  • 18. Something Wicked - watchable
  • 20. Dead Man's Blood - arc
  • 21. Salvation - arc
  • 22. Devil's Trap - arc


  • 1. In My Time of Dying - arc
  • 2. Everybody Loves a Clown - arc
  • 3. Bloodlust - character
  • 4. Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things - character
  • 5. Simon Said - arc
  • 6. No Exit - watchable
  • 8. Crossroad Blues - arc
  • 9. Croatoan - arc
  • 10. Hunted - arc
  • 12. Nightshifter - arc
  • 13. Houses of the Holy - character
  • 14. Born Under a Bad Sign - arc
  • 15. Tall Tales - arc
  • 17. Heart - character
  • 18. Hollywood Babylon - watchable
  • 19. Folsom Prison Blues - bit of arc at beginning, mostly watchable
  • 20. What is and What Should Never Be - character
  • 21. All Hell Breaks Loose (part 1) - arc
  • 22. All Hell Breaks Loose (part 2) - arc


  • 1. The Magnificent Seven - arc
  • 2. The Kids Are Alright - arc
  • 3. Bad Day at Black Rock - arc
  • 4. Sin City - arc
  • 5. Bedtime Stories - bit of arc at the end
  • 7. Fresh Blood - character
  • 8. A Very Supernatural Christmas - character
  • 9. Malleus Maleficarum - arc
  • 10. Dream a Little Dream of Me - character
  • 11. Mystery Spot - arc
  • 12. Jus In Bello - arc
  • 13. Ghostfacers - watchable (side arc continued)
  • 16. No Rest for the Wicked - arc


  • 1. Lazarus Rising - arc
  • 2. Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester - arc
  • 3. In the Beginning - arc
  • 4. Metamorphosis - character
  • 5. Monster Movie - watchable
  • 6. Yellow Fever - watchable
  • 7. It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester - arc
  • 8. Wishful Thinking - watchable
  • 9. I Know What You Did Last Summer - arc
  • 10. Heaven and Hell - arc
  • 13. After School Special - character
  • 15. Death Takes a Holiday - arc
  • 16. On the Head of a Pin - arc
  • 17. It's a Terrible Life - arc
  • 18. The Monster at the End of This Book - arc
  • 19. Jump the Shark - arc
  • 20. The Rapture - arc
  • 21. When the Levee Breaks - arc
  • 22. Lucifer Rising - arc

  • 1. Sympathy for the Devil - arc
  • 2. Good God, Y'All - arc
  • 3. Free to Be You and Me - arc
  • 4. The End - arc
  • 8. Changing Channels - arc
  • 9. The Real Ghostbuster - character and a bit of arc at the end
  • 10. Abandon All Hope... - arc
  • 13. The Song Remains the Same - arc
  • 14. My Bloody Valentine - arc
  • 15. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid - arc
  • 16. Dark Side of the Moon - arc
  • 17. 99 Problems - arc
  • 18. Point of No Return - arc
  • 19. Hammer of the Gods - arc
  • 20. The Devil You Know - arc
  • 21. Two Minutes to Midnight - arc
  • 22. Swan Song - arc
And that's the core 5.  Further seasons are... trickier.

What do you think of my list? What advice would you give a new viewer? How do you determine YOUR watch list for Hiatus? Most of all, which pictures would you have picked to represent each season without giving away the whole plot to the unsuspecting binge viewer?