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Supernatural Featured in This Week's Entertainment Weekly - Why I Didn't Like It

I've been a subscriber to Entertainment Weekly for a number of years, and I'm very pleased to see that they finally have given some deserving space to Supernatural after years of only giving them little blurbs in upcoming previews.  They're even mentioned on the cover, which is cool for those skimming at the newstand.

Still, I wasn't thrilled with the article.  True, I appreciate any mainstream press for the show, and this was long overdue, but the writer Alynda Wheat went for sensationalism instead of capturing what makes this show great.  The cover states, "Supernatural.  It's Sexy!  It's Scary!  So Why Do the Stars Want out?"  Huh? 

The inside explains a little more.  "So why do the stars and creator want to vanish after one more spooky season?"  I still don't get it.   

After turning to page 28, the pretty is there.  There's a fantastic two page shot of Jensen at the wheel of the Impala, looking all sexy, while Jared can be seen leaning in through the passenger side window.  Then there's two pages of story, but the main focus seems to be on how everyone's burned out and wants the show to end.  Sure, season five is a given, but no one seems thrilled about it. 

I hated the slant and the way quotes were used to serve the purpose of stirring up trouble.  Of course Jared and Jensen are tired and Kripke doesn't want to go more than five years.  That's been said by them several times in interviews.  We also know from those interviews they love what they do and appreciate the fans.  There's only a hint in one sentence that they love their work.  "Ackles and Padalecki are also eager to move on, even as they affirm their love for the show."

Even Ken Tucker, and EW critic who has said in other columns he's only recently started watching the show, had a chance to list five pivotal episodes to catch us up.  He didn't exactly nail it.  Here are the episodes he picked:

"Home"
"Born Under A Bad Sign"
"All Hell Breaks Loose Part I and II"
"Bad Day At Black Rock"
"Lazarus Rising"

I agree with three of those, but the Pilot should be on that list, as well as "Mystery Spot."  Considering it was Bela that got the mention for "Bad Day At Black Rock," we know they've got it wrong and really don't know this fandom.  

Overall, I had hoped that this article would be a way to intice new fans, and it failed miserably.  If anything, it managed to stir up trouble in an already turbulent fandom.  They didn't really get to the heart at all of what the fan experience is all about, and why the "show's fiery fan base," is that way.  They didn't even give an adequate explanation as to what drives the show and makes it successful, aka the chemistry between the lead actors and the family drama behind the horror.  

There are a few positives, like they did give Misha Collins a good mention.  They also got a quote about the show from CW President Dawn Ostroff, showing that Hell has indeed frozen over.  They also preview a few episodes to come, so WARNING SPOILERPHOBES.  

I know that the rule in Hollywood is there's no such thing as bad press, so I guess exposure is something.  Still, I hate anything that misses the point.  Luckily, loyal fans will know the difference.    
 

Eric Kripke's Heart and Soul

 

Sometimes it's difficult to be transparent with the one who knows you and loves you the best; Sam and Dean evidence that. Now, imagine trying to do it with millions who think they know you and openly profess to both love and hate you. Eric Kripke, your willingness to be transparent is why I love you, as a showrunner, producer, writer and creator. As a person, I cannot say simply because I don't know you and thus will not presume; I do, however, appreciate your openness.

The premise for this mental journey is based on Pages 8 - 17 of Supernatural, The Official Companion: Season 3. If you haven't gotten your copy, I suggest after completing this 1000 or so word article you head off to pick yours up; I got mine yesterday. After Alice asked me to become a contributor, I decided such an honor requires research and sacrifice; I picked up a copy and began marathon viewings of Supernatural episodes; I'm nothing if not dedicated.

Eric on Bela:

"But I think we did a great disservice to the character because we didn't spend enough time thinking about how to tie her into the boys' story." [Page 10 of the Season 3 Companion, Eric Kripke]

"The other mistake we made was we had so much fun with an antagonistic female"¦were so taken with a woman who could screw the boys over at every turn"¦we weren't careful about balancing it and made her screw over the boys so badly"¦she became unlikable to the fans because she was irredeemable." [Page 10/11 of the Season 3 Companion, Eric Kripke]

"We didn't really think through the implications [of having her shoot Sam] as carefully as we should have. For a character that's going to come back and slow dance with Dean, that's not the best notion"¦.People watch the show for Sam and Dean, so a character who makes them feel like idiots is not a character that people are going to warm up to"¦Had we figured it out in time, I think we could have made Bela work. You create all these things with enthusiasm and the best of intentions, but hindsight is twenty-twenty." [Page 11 of the Season 3 Companion, Eric Kripke]

He goes on to discuss the creative turbulence of having killed off the YED, trying to write the "˜politics' of a demon war that no longer has a leader all the while balancing notes from the well-meaning [yeah, right] PTB: more women, brighter colors/lighting, bigger scope - less of two guys and "creepy little rooms" open it up more; as in more characters, more scope, more, more, more - all with the same budget; which really means less as the dollar shrank, shrank, shrank.

Pages 8 through 17 of the Season 3 Companion are revelations into the heart and mind of Eric Kripke, his vision of and heart for the show breathe through the lines. I wonder how someone like that can fits into the narrow vision of Hollywood TV which is about "˜ships' and formulas and cookie cutter shows such as "¦. [I won't name names but you get my point.]

Genre shows take risks, they make you think, they're the embodiment of entertainment be it surface or hardcore: "I've got a demon-fighting tattoo on my chest" [or elsewhere *ahem*]. Genre shows take risks with their storylines: Who kills off not one but both of the two lead characters? Then after actually "going there" had the nerve [or intelligence, my opinion] to make that have an effect [or is it affect - I always get that wrong] on the other. Sam dies in Dean's arms; Dean goes off and makes a deal to save his brother. Dean dies in front of Sam; the resulting separation and experiences have had real, lasting and continuing ramifications all of Season 4.

Genre show writers challenge themselves as well, note: Ben Edlund's recent triumph of "On the Head of a Pin" to Sera Gamble's "It's a Terrible Life." If that wasn't enough, they go all out and poke fun at not only their early clunkers and oh-so-forgettable episodes [to which we even almost get an apology] but also poke fun at the fandom, the very fandom that has kept the buzz and very likely the show going for four seasons. Awesome!

As a former television junkie -- I had two to three shows charted for each of the seven days per week to watch, rewatch, hash and rehash to now having one, and only one that I watch, rewatch, hash and rehash -- I can appreciate this show on all its levels, superficial to deep. I love rewatching S1 as much as watching the latest episode; clunkers to classics they're all worth something.

I've got lots of ideas to explore; hopefully I'll have the time and creative energy to do so. I'll explore Sam's "daddy issues" in seven episodes from S1 and S2, I'll explore why clunkers are worth viewing, how S1 set us up to where we are now, what makes a classic [I think] and more.

For now may I suggest something, enjoy the remaining four episodes. Breathe them in deeply, savor them and settle in for the long, hard wait until the start of Season 5. We've made it, my SPN friends, the CW somehow had the intelligence to renew this show for it's fifth and perhaps final season. I'll not worry about whether there's a sixth [Eric says no, the 2J's say no, or yes, or not sure - I'm not worried.] Let Season 4 finish and Season 5 come when it comes. Enjoy the now. Enjoy the show.

Coming next, my review of The Monster at the End of the Book.

Why Corporate America Will Never Be Like Supernatural

Yikes! I don't think I've seen a scarier horror story in all my life. Supernatural takes on Corporate America. Those tricky angels put both Dean and Sam in a situation so horrific, so vile, that hunting looks good. I could see Sera Gamble, this week's writer, pitching the idea. "Oh, I got it, put them in an office!" Even the head angel is appalled, reminding Dean, "Look around. There are plenty of fates worse than yours." 
 
Considering I know a thing or two about a corporate job stripping away your humanity, plus I'm late to the party again this week (spring break travel this time), I'm doing something different this week. By using what we've learned from "It's A Terrible Life," you're about to find out why Corporate America will never be like Supernatural.

"It's A Terrible Life" - Another Guest Opinion

I finally saw the episode last night after downloading on iTunes.  Awesome.  I'll be pondering my review and recap while in the car for 9 hours on the way home. 

In the meantime, I'm fortunate enough to have gotten Robin V's thoughts on "It's a Terrible Life" also, so here you go!  Thanks so much Robin for sharing!

Read more: "It's A Terrible Life" - Another Guest Opinion

"It's A Terrible Life" - A Guest Review

This week, since I'm on vacation for Spring Break, I'm not sure when I'm going to see "It's A Terrible Life", let alone get a review out of it!  Elle this time sent me a great write up of her reaction to the episode.  I haven't read this since I don't want to be spoiled, so thanks Elle for sending this and I promise I'll read it as soon as I watch! 

Since this seems to be a new thing for me, please note from here on out, all guest reviews are welcome.  Just send them to me in the "Contact Us" section and I'll be happy to post them.  Elle2's review last week of "On The Head Of A Pin" went over very well, so if you like reading them, I'll share them!  Enjoy everyone.  

Read more: "It's A Terrible Life" - A Guest Review

Recap - "On The Head Of A Pin", Part 2

Okay, now for the devastating part. Alastair chokes, blood comes spewing out, and he says “Sounds like something’s caught in my throat. I think it’s my throat.” Dean’s still acting tough, so Alastair goes for the jugular. “You know, it was supposed to be your father, he was supposed to bring it on, but in the end it was you.” Dean foolishly asks bring on what? Okay, you asked. The first time Dean picked up Alastair’s razor and sliced into that “weeping bitch,” that was the first seal. Dean at first doesn’t believe him, so Alastair knows some scripture should fix that. “And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. As he breaks, so shall it break.”

Read more: Recap - "On The Head Of A Pin", Part 2

Recap - "On The Head Of A Pin", Part I

Man, why does this show keep doing this to me? Thursday at 10:00 comes around anymore and I’m a jittery mess, going back to the TiVo for a rewatch. This one earned a third re-watch, then one the next day and I think I’m up to number ten now. I lost count around seven. 

 
This episode is even more action packed than the last one, and that was huge. As a matter of fact, with the exception of “Mystery Spot” and “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” no episode is more crammed with details in the entire series. As a result, I even have to break this recap into two parts. It’s that long. Things are intense from the opening teaser, so let’s get started.  


Read more: Recap - "On The Head Of A Pin", Part I

Episode Review - "On The Head Of A Pin"

Yes, its at least a day late, maybe two, but blogcritics has my review of "On The Head Of A Pin" posted.  It's a long one, so dig in!  Full recap will be along tomorrow.  The pictures are taking me the longest, because there are SO many great ones. 

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/03/23/220136.php

Also, bardicvoice has her review up as well.  No one does meta better, so check it out!

http://bardicvoice.livejournal.com/51406.html