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Supernatural
fans have always been outspoken.  There’s no denying that, and a lot of that outspokenness has gained this fandom a lot of attention.  When it comes to expectation, no fandom is harder to please (that statement clearly subject to my biased opinion of course).  That high expectation puts new showrunner Jeremy Carver in a very pressure filled position for this upcoming season 8.  Or does it?  Better yet, should it? 

I just read an article from Cory Barker at TV.com (thanks to Candy Maize for the link) in which Barker gives a great commentary on whether there should be more separation between shows and their showrunners.  The entire debate came to be because the explosive behavior of producer Aaron Sorkin has ended up defining his show, “Newsroom.”  The issue raises the question, at what point did fans and critics adopt the belief that just one person was responsible for creating and driving a show’s vision?

The talking points in this article are fascinating, and I'm labeling it as a must read.  Barker goes on to talk about the increase visibility of the “showrunner,” a term that ten years ago meant nothing.  Thanks to Twitter and the fact that any fan now can have easy access to a showrunner, writer, producer, or actor on a TV show, fans are becoming more engaged in TV shows.  There are more critics out there writing reviews, there is a lot more vibrant discussion about TV, and television viewers are interacting with those that make these shows.  This increased engagement has had both positive and negative effects.  The positive is that TV is now more buzzworthy than ever, and the viewer enthusiasm never more widespread.  TV is actually gaining legitimacy as an art form, something it never had years ago.
 
This increased visibility of the showrunner though has led to the notion that anything that happens on a TV show is the sole responsibility of the showrunner, and that person is held accountable by fans and media alike.  The article raises the possibility that at least in Aaron Sorkin’s case, this belief is unfair, since Newsroom is ending up with all of Aaron Sorkin’s baggage that has been clinging to him for years from his other shows.  In the case of Dan Harmon, recently ousted showrunner for the NBC comedy Community, the outrage over his loss may end up hurting that program, even though all the writers, cast, and crew remain.
 
That’s where a sticking point comes up.  A TV show is made by hundreds of people, not just one.  Barker explains it this way:  “Certain singular voices might write the final scripts, have full control over a production and might make the final decision at all the important levels, but lots of people helped them along the way.”  He goes on to say “Perhaps more importantly, it’s troublesome to presume that everything we see on-screen is the product of a showrunner’s psyche, personal life, or family tree.” 

What Does This Have To Do With Supernatural?

In his closing paragraph, Barker makes a statement near and dear to our hearts.  “Today, the departure of Dan Harmon brings Community to its knees, while the appointment of a Jeremy Carver is cause for celebration in the Supernatural fandom.”
 
And there’s our discussion topic.  How much as a fan do you have riding on Jeremy Carver in season 8?  If you’re celebrating, what exactly is your expectation?  How will Carver succeed where Sera Gamble supposedly failed?   Will he be hailed the conquering hero or will he end up only pleasing part of the base and coming under the ire of others?  Considering the latter is exactly what happened to past Supernatural showrunners Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, what is Carver’s best case scenario?    

In looking forward to season 8, Jeremy Carver confirmed in my interview with him at Comic-Con that the entire writing team from season 7 will be back.  The only change is he is taking the place of Sera Gamble.  The Directors and Producers are the same for the most part as well, although we didn’t have a lot of complaints about production last season (other than the editing).  Is it fair to assume that by coming in, Jeremy Carver is going to change absolutely everything?  That he’s going to somehow meet every differing and lofty “Supernatural” fan expectation?  What will be his true measure of success?

Eric Kripke’s time as showrunner for five seasons was a very volatile one.  He took both all the praise and all of the heat from many Supernatural fans for everything that happened on the show.  Every single decision, from a sweeping religious themed mytharc, to killing off popular characters, to letting the amulet get tossed in the trash and never heard from again, was scrutinized.   When some fans weren’t happy with Sam’s arc in season four, they unleashed their wrath on Mr. Kripke (and still do).  The same happened for fans at the end of season five who weren’t happy with Dean’s ending role in the whole apocalypse.  Kripke was praised when fans were happy, and his name was burned in effigy when they weren’t.  Some still harbor resentment over creative choices made under his regime and don’t exactly show excitement about his new project, “Revolution,” for that very reason.  This type of stigma certainly didn’t affect showrunners back in the early 80’s. 

Sera Gamble took over in season six, putting herself in that line of fire even though she was only the co-showrunner.  It was perceived she was in charge of the vision, so anything that went wrong became her responsibility.  â€œSupernatural” in season six went into what they were calling a reboot, Supernatural:  The Sequel of sorts.  Even though they tried to paint the expectation that things would be different, a lot of fans just weren’t ready for that.  The fandom liked the original tone, the structure the way it was, even though a group of angry fans just gave Kripke the “don’t let the door hit you…” type farewell after season five.  Sera Gamble in their eyes was going to set things right.
 
Come the middle of season seven, the writing was on the wall.  Whatever this new “Supernatural” was, it wasn’t resonating with many long time fans.   I can only speak for myself, but come the middle of season seven, “Supernatural” wasn’t appointment television for me anymore.  I tried not to lay blame on Sera Gamble, often using the term in my criticism “the writers.”  But still, I couldn’t help but think that somehow she had lost control, either that or her vision really was no vision and she believed this show could live creatively on standalones.  To this day we don’t know what really happened and it still seems unfair at least in my mind to throw that blame onto Sera, especially when some fans were happy with those seasons.  But in the end she’s the one that left, and any successes that Jeremy Carver achieves at this point will look like her failures.  It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way it is in this landscape today of avid television fans.   

I’m just as guilty, if not more so, to giving praise to a showrunner where it likely wasn’t due and throwing criticism toward that person who probably didn’t deserve it.  I’ve also been very guilty of going with that mindset that one single person, aka the showrunner, is responsible for everything that happens on the show.  This article if anything has made me more aware of this when constructing a review in the future.  After all, writers break arcs and pitch ideas via committee.  It’s not one person calling the shots.  The showrunner has really become the scapegoat in a way, the one visible person for fans to throw all their displeasure at when the show doesn’t go as expected.  Think about it, there’s no greater scapegoat in the history of all of TV than “Lost’s” Damon Lindelof, and his Twitter access mixed with a passionate fan base has a lot to do with that.  Notice how none of the “Supernatural” showrunners are or have been on Twitter? (Sera Gamble’s inactive account doesn’t count).   I wouldn’t do it if I were them.  At the same time though, the showrunner can be elevated to God like status.  For that see Whedon, Joss. 

So, what do you think?  Is Jeremy Carver doomed to the same fates as Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble?  Is this kind of pressure and expectations on a single showrunner good or bad for “Supernatural?”  Do you think that a showrunner should be the one to take the heat for all the decisions that are made, even though as early as ten years ago that wasn’t the case?  Finally, what sort of hopes are you pinning on Jeremy Carver?  Are the expectations out there too lofty? 

I need to remind that in your comments, keep it respectful to other posters.  Otherwise, it’s an open forum.  EVERYONE’s opinions are valued.  Do not mock others for their opinions.  There is no right or wrong here.  Having said that, let the debate begin! 
 
 

Comments  

suzee51
# suzee51 2012-08-17 17:18
It is just my opinion but my prediction is that one or two seasons from now, Jeremy Carver will be feeling EXACTLY like Sera Gamble. For whatever reason, SPN fans are deeply passionate about their show. Those intense feelings generate a tremendous amount of expectation - so much that NOONE could ever make everyone happy. Depending on the character that has taken their heart, each SPN fan desires a specific and different outcome. When the actual show doesn't take the direction that they envisioned, fans are disappointed and often furious. Then all of the like-minded fans join together in their condemnation of the showrunner. It has to take a toll on the willingness of the showrunner to dedicate all of the extreme effort and dedication to put out this show.

For my money, I am just thrilled to pieces when such talented people are willing to accept the showrunner position. Judging from the amount of fan disdain both Kripke and Gamble received, one has to wonder why anyone else would want to.
CandyMaize
# CandyMaize 2012-08-17 18:21
I'm glad you found that article as interesting as I did. :-)
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-08-17 19:26
Very interesting article, Alice. For my part, I find myself coming down somewhere in the middle on most of the questions.

I think the internet has allowed fans to get more of a look behind the screen and as a result there is more of cult of personality around showrunners. They have to be prepared to be part of the publicity of their show and therefore, they are an easy target when fans perceive things to be going wrong. As mentioned in the article, many voices go into creating a show, not just one.

At the same time, any project has to have a leader, someone who takes ideas but has the deciding vote on what the over all vision will be. Someone who allows all kinds of ideas to be raised but who has the clout to decide which ones fit the vision. To me, that is the showrunner's role. S/he doesn't raise every idea or write every script, but s/he does map out the trajectory and make sure the scripts fit with it.

And some showrunners do indeed put the stamp of their vision on every script. David Shore rewrote every script on House to make sure House's voice was right. Dan Harmon was well known for completely rewriting many scripts, making some of his writers feel less than valued. Same with David Kelly. Aaron Sorkin has a distinctive voice which can be heard in all his projects.

That doesn't mean I think these showrunners deserve to take the blame for every fan criticism. As mentioned above, no showrunner is going to please every faction of the SPN fandom because many of the fans' visions clash with each other. Supernatural resonates with different fans for different reasons and we all have the temptation to imagine where the story will go according to what we think we want to see. Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble both took a lot of heat because some fans wanted very specific story lines for their favourite character.

However, Kripke didn't take a lot of heat for not creating a believable world nor did he take a lot of heat for not managing long term arcs. He showed he could do both those things--and those aspects of creating the show do fall under the showrunner's umbrella. S/he has to have the over all vision of the show in mind, not just specific episode stories.

And it's here that I think it is fair to look critically at Jeremy Carver and wonder how he will handle the arcs of the show. Kripke had no lack of clunker episodes under his watch, but he had a good handle on the over all arcs. Sera wrote many wonderful episodes, but IMO had trouble plotting and integrating long term arcs.

Season seven had many wonderful individual episodes (Death's Door among them), but the arcs disappeared for stretches at a time until way too much had to accomplished in far too short a time. That's a showrunning mistake. Maybe Bob Singer was just as responsible as Sera, in which case she's taking too much of the heat, but if she was the one responsible for the story arcs, the buck stops with her.

I think the joy surrounding Carver's return has two bases: 1) Fans know he's a fantastic writer--but then, so is Sera. 2) He's shown with Being Human he understands long term arcs and character development. And that for me is the key to looking forward to his new stint as showrunner.

I don't for a minute think Carver has a chance at pleasing everyone. He couldn't possibly. 7 years in, many fans already know in their minds what they want to happen and any deviation will be loudly protested. What I hope Carver will do is have a vision of his own that he will hold on to and develop, so that the series is well written, no matter which group of fans is either furious or delighted. No fanservice.

I have great hopes for Carver because IMO Supernatural has been built around a quest arc right from the beginning and that was poorly developed in season 7. Carver specifically used the quest to structure season 8 around. Since he also knows his way around integrating character moments into stories, I'm really looking forward to season 8.
luciano
# luciano 2012-08-19 15:24
I agree completely with u.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-17 19:35
My feelings are that expectations for showrunners are indeed high. Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that the buck stops with them.

I felt that the Kripke years were the best the show has had but I did not blame Sera for all the wrongs of the past few seasons. EK's story and vision drew to an end. She (and others) took it and ran with it to the best of their ability. Who knows how it would have worked out if Jeremy Carver had come back two years ago. It might be him that got raked over the coals! Mr Carver will no doubt be held accountable for what happens under his watch. Is it fair? Not really ,but he is holding the buck now I guess.

Bob Singer seems to fly under the radar for the most part.

Thanks for the article Alice, I hope it stirs a lot of discussion!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-08-17 21:18
I haven't read the article yet, but I'll address the questions in your article.

I think there will be a few fans who will not be satisfied, thinking one brother or the other isn't getting enough attention, but if Carver has a plan, executes it properly, and has the focus on the brothers in a way that shows some characterizatio n for the leads, I think most fans will call that successful. Personally, I am willing to give a lot of leeway in whatever stories are chosen to be told, but I want them told; not dropped, and I want a story for each brother.

I was also one that blamed EK for a poor execution of his 5-year story for the very reason that I felt he threw Dean's two-year story out with the bath water, and only because to this day I believe he lost focus or interest in SPN. As a pioneer fan, I found that disrespectful.

I had great hopes for SG, but she ended up disappointing me big time. I gave her a lot of slack in S6 (by even hanging in there TBH), but when S7 was even worse, I feel my opinion was justified. I think the problem was that SG had her own idea of what she wanted these characters to be, but the fans already knew them, loved them the way they were, and didn't share her vision. You don't change characterizatio n on characters the fans have been intimately involved with for five years, and SG should have known that.

Does it take others to make a show? Sure it does. I feel that the SPN fandom is pretty aware of the work done by those 'others.' Serge and his lightning, the set people, the directors, the music people have not been disparaged by the fans, as far as I know. In fact, I think most fans acknowledge that SPN is lucky to have such talented people on the Show.

But, bottom line is that the showrunner does have final approval over pitched scripts (committee or not) and the scripts themselves. That's the job, and that showrunner should have a good handle on the overall story, on where the season is going, and on what the two leads are to go through, achieve, and learn when the season is done. That simply did not happen in S6 or S7. ( BTW, I believe EK gets some of the blame for S6, since he acknowledged being in the writers room the entire season.) I don't think anyone expects every script to work. But we do expect continuity, plot, pacing, and a satisfactory resolution to the season. So, yes, I'm afraid I do blame SG for not fulfilling her job requirements.

Is a lot being put on Jeremy? I don't know about others, but my bottom line is that Dean have a story this season. I expect Sam to have one, too, but I'm done with the Dean drought.

I already don't think I'm going to be too interested in Sam's love story, but if he has a story, if Sam and Dean's relationship is impacted in some way, and if Sam comes out of it having learned something and grown in character, then I'll be okay with it. A well-thought out plan that is executed in a coherent way is all I'm asking for, except that Dean must be included in that plan. That's my bottom line for Carver. As a loyal fan since the Pilot, I don't think that's asking too much and, if I get that, I'll consider Carver successful.

As far as the visibility of the showrunner? Hey, it's an interactive world out there. Interacting with fandom has it's benefits and it's drawbacks. The fans can voice their concern and the showrunner can speak to the fans about those concerns, they can have others talk for them, or they can ignore the fandom totally. They can further their careers with their visibility, or they can harm it. It's just a matter of how they choose to use it. One thing I think they absolutely must do is be honest. (Isn't it part of their job to pitch the story, time allowing?)

There's no doubt in my mind that all the interaction between the writers, actors, and others connected with a show boosts the TV experience and makes TV a more viable industry. Look how well Guy Bee and Jim Beaver have used Twitter.

Two examples here on that subject. Even though Ruby was not well-liked by the fandom, EK came out and said that she was important to the story, so tough -- Ruby was staying. Ruby stayed and she did have a vital part. I hated her, but saw what EK was talking about.

Other point is that I've always found JA to be Mr. Pentothal when interviewing for fan consumption, even though he doesn't give a lot away. I want honesty. I may not like what I hear, but I expect not to be lied to. JA and JP are both good about that, actually.

That's about it for me. Give me a Dean story, have both Sam and Dean's story make sense, don't turn the show over to guest stars, pass the hunter's helper and popcorn, and all will work out well.
Shelby
# Shelby 2012-08-19 14:00
Quote:
I haven't read the article yet, but I'll address the questions in your article.

I think there will be a few fans who will not be satisfied, thinking one brother or the other isn't getting enough attention, but if Carver has a plan, executes it properly, and has the focus on the brothers in a way that shows some characterization for the leads, I think most fans will call that successful. Personally, I am willing to give a lot of leeway in whatever stories are chosen to be told, but I want them told; not dropped, and I want a story for each brother.

I was also one that blamed EK for a poor execution of his 5-year story for the very reason that I felt he threw Dean's two-year story out with the bath water, and only because to this day I believe he lost focus or interest in SPN. As a pioneer fan, I found that disrespectful.

I had great hopes for SG, but she ended up disappointing me big time. I gave her a lot of slack in S6 (by even hanging in there TBH), but when S7 was even worse, I feel my opinion was justified. I think the problem was that SG had her own idea of what she wanted these characters to be, but the fans already knew them, loved them the way they were, and didn't share her vision. You don't change characterization on characters the fans have been intimately involved with for five years, and SG should have known that.

Does it take others to make a show? Sure it does. I feel that the SPN fandom is pretty aware of the work done by those 'others.' Serge and his lightning, the set people, the directors, the music people have not been disparaged by the fans, as far as I know. In fact, I think most fans acknowledge that SPN is lucky to have such talented people on the Show.

But, bottom line is that the showrunner does have final approval over pitched scripts (committee or not) and the scripts themselves. That's the job, and that showrunner should have a good handle on the overall story, on where the season is going, and on what the two leads are to go through, achieve, and learn when the season is done. That simply did not happen in S6 or S7. ( BTW, I believe EK gets some of the blame for S6, since he acknowledged being in the writers room the entire season.) I don't think anyone expects every script to work. But we do expect continuity, plot, pacing, and a satisfactory resolution to the season. So, yes, I'm afraid I do blame SG for not fulfilling her job requirements.

Is a lot being put on Jeremy? I don't know about others, but my bottom line is that Dean have a story this season. I expect Sam to have one, too, but I'm done with the Dean drought.

I already don't think I'm going to be too interested in Sam's love story, but if he has a story, if Sam and Dean's relationship is impacted in some way, and if Sam comes out of it having learned something and grown in character, then I'll be okay with it. A well-thought out plan that is executed in a coherent way is all I'm asking for, except that Dean must be included in that plan. That's my bottom line for Carver. As a loyal fan since the Pilot, I don't think that's asking too much and, if I get that, I'll consider Carver successful.

As far as the visibility of the showrunner? Hey, it's an interactive world out there. Interacting with fandom has it's benefits and it's drawbacks. The fans can voice their concern and the showrunner can speak to the fans about those concerns, they can have others talk for them, or they can ignore the fandom totally. They can further their careers with their visibility, or they can harm it. It's just a matter of how they choose to use it. One thing I think they absolutely must do is be honest. (Isn't it part of their job to pitch the story, time allowing?)

There's no doubt in my mind that all the interaction between the writers, actors, and others connected with a show boosts the TV experience and makes TV a more viable industry. Look how well Guy Bee and Jim Beaver have used Twitter.

Two examples here on that subject. Even though Ruby was not well-liked by the fandom, EK came out and said that she was important to the story, so tough -- Ruby was staying. Ruby stayed and she did have a vital part. I hated her, but saw what EK was talking about.

Other point is that I've always found JA to be Mr. Pentothal when interviewing for fan consumption, even though he doesn't give a lot away. I want honesty. I may not like what I hear, but I expect not to be lied to. JA and JP are both good about that, actually.

That's about it for me. Give me a Dean story, have both Sam and Dean's story make sense, don't turn the show over to guest stars, pass the hunter's helper and popcorn, and all will work out well.
Thank you. The body of this post just about says it all for me, too.
Supernatural hasn't truly been appointment TV for me since the end of S5 and I miss it being that way as I've never been a big television viewer to begin with. Like some others here, I believe that the person who gets the lion's share of the praise when things go well, should also be willing the shoulder the same lion's share of the blame when things go wrong and that for a television show, that person is the showrunner. I'd even be willing to bet that it might just be an unspoken and unwritten part of their job descriptions. I think that both Kripke and Gamble were very weak showrunners, but I think Kripke had much better help and support during his tenure. I wish Carver the best, but will try to make no judgements on his work until this time next season-as I've tried to do every season, for every Supernatural showrunner and will contiune to try and do as ong as the show stays on the air.
Thanks for this article and for asking for our input.
Bunyip
# Bunyip 2012-08-18 00:00
I've never complained about Supernatural. Storylines, mytharcs, characters coming and going, none of these things have ever kept me up at night. I love the show. I will grieve when it's over. But I'm the audience, so whether I'm in a theatre or my lounge room, I'll watch in respectful silence right to the end.

So does this make me a bad fan?

:)
luciano
# luciano 2012-08-20 03:43
no it makes you a respectable one.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-08-18 02:58
Not expecting anything because until a showrunner takes a actually interest in Sam has a person( not a plot point or something for Dean to react to) then nothing will change.
People think Sam gets the storylines but as I have said before he doesnt get the storytelling and last years dreadful display of the storytelling for his so called devastating wall break is a testament to that.And now they give him normal because they have tried everything else with him .

So I hope Jeremy Carver can do the simple things first like proper narrative storytelling for both boys but esp for me for Sam that he gets a voice that is supported by the writers however the Sam doesnt look for Dean scenario even if it is a wrong perception later to be revealed ? is both disappointing and again will just simple get Sam off to a bad start when he ill deserves it .
luciano
# luciano 2012-08-20 03:47
These last few seasons Sam has gotten quite a storyline in my opinion. I just didnt like d ending wer Castiel just took the memories and now they are not even mentioning it. I hope Carver will mention it, that particular story arc didnt have an ending yet.
As for Sam in season 8 we only have spoilers and teasers I think they know what dey r doing. Sam has a story arc dis season it seems and so does Dean.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-18 09:16
Interesting questions.

That high expectation puts new showrunner Jeremy Carver in a very pressure filled position for this upcoming season 8. Or does it? Better yet, should it?

Yes, it should. A lot of pressure should be expected for a leader of any organization - especially one that has been suffering. I don't expect everything to be perfect, but as the leader it's his job to set the vision and direction, monitor the quality, and address quality issues as they come up. In the end he'll be judged by the overall success of the show, as he should be.

The entire debate came to be because the explosive behavior of producer Aaron Sorkin has ended up defining his show, “Newsroom.” The issue raises the question, at what point did fans and critics adopt the belief that just one person was responsible for creating and driving a show’s vision?

I'm unfamiliar with the show Newsroom, but from what I gathered in the article, it sounded like the issue was about obvious personal pontificating about political or social issues in the show. That's not a big issue with SPN, IMO. I'd argue that the SPN fandom (and when I say fandom, I'm talking about the online fandom only) knows far more about all of the other people who impact the show than most other fandoms do. SPN fans can distiguish between, and have opinions about, Edlund episodes vs. Dabb & Loflin episodes, Carver episodes vs. Glass episodes, etc.

How much as a fan do you have riding on Jeremy Carver in season 8? If you’re celebrating, what exactly is your expectation? How will Carver succeed where Sera Gamble supposedly failed? Will he be hailed the conquering hero or will he end up only pleasing part of the base and coming under the ire of others?

Personally, I'm very happy to see Carver's return. But to be honest, my expectations are extremely low right now. I sort of checked out of the show last season. Whereas last year I couldn't wait for its return, this year there are other shows I'm looking forward to more. So anything Carver can do can only be an improvement in my mind. I think there are always going to be fans who have way more personal attachment to Sam, Dean, or Cas than they should, and feel a exagerated protectiveness toward their characterizatio ns and storylines. Being protective is fine, but some fans really expect to be able to control the direction of their storylines. As an example, one thing that never made sense to me was the comment that Dean didn't have a storyline in season 6. He was at the center of a noir mystery. His brother came back mysterious and wrong, Cas was acting strange, his grandfather had come back from the dead, Crowley was involved somehow but it was unclear in what capacity. He went through the process of unravelling the mystery, with his sidekick Bobby, as a detective would in mystery novel. Saying Dean didn't have a story is like saying Sherlock Holmes didn't have a story in his mysteries because he was never the murder victim or the murderer. The writers are going to write their own story and fans do not get to vote on its direction. For fans who can accept this, then Carver will succeed if he cleans up a lot of the sloppy writing and characterizatio ns, and develops a strong storyline that gets people excited again. For fans who cannot let go of the control, they're never going to be happy, but that's to be expected. An example of the impossibility of pleasing both sides is the debate on whether the show should go back to a season 1-MOTW format, or whether it should continue with angels and more complicated mythology. Carver's best approach would be to come up with a storyline that is neither of these two, and to get people excited enough about it so that they forget about all of these old issues.

Is it fair to assume that by coming in, Jeremy Carver is going to change absolutely everything?

I don't assume that.

Think about it, there’s no greater scapegoat in the history of all of TV than “Lost’s” Damon Lindelof, and his Twitter access mixed with a passionate fan base has a lot to do with that.

Please don't go there. I was a pretty big Lost fan back in the day, and Lindelof received mostly worship until the last season. It was when it started becoming apparent that all of the times the fans were told "trust us," "there's a plan," that this wasn't true - they were just making it up as they went - that the fans turned on him. Some felt conned - that Lindolof and others had kept feeding clues and cliffhangers to the fans, encouragaing them to spend hours researching them, when in reality all of those clues meant nothing - and in the meantime, Lindelof and others capitalized on the engagement of the fans and the show's success. That's not the case here, so it's a bad comparison. Lindelof was not a scapegoat.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-08-18 11:06
Quote:
I think there are always going to be fans who have way more personal attachment to Sam, Dean, or Cas than they should, and feel a exagerated protectiveness toward their characterizations and storylines. Being protective is fine, but some fans really expect to be able to control the direction of their storylines. As an example, one thing that never made sense to me was the comment that Dean didn't have a storyline in season 6. He was at the center of a noir mystery. His brother came back mysterious and wrong, Cas was acting strange, his grandfather had come back from the dead, Crowley was involved somehow but it was unclear in what capacity. He went through the process of unravelling the mystery, with his sidekick Bobby, as a detective would in mystery novel. Saying Dean didn't have a story is like saying Sherlock Holmes didn't have a story in his mysteries because he was never the murder victim or the murdered.
I couldn't agree more with this.

Quote:
The writers are going to write their own story and story and fans do not get to vote on its direction. For fans who can accept this, then Carver will succeed if he cleans up a lot of the sloppy writing and characterizations, and develops a strong storyline that gets people excited again.
Perhaps I'm alone on this, but I am a firm believer that every story has a natural progression based on the characters. A good story stays true to that momentum, where ever it leads. It bothers me greatly to think that a great show like SPN would cave to the fanbase, or part of it, just to please them. And I was greatly disturbed during S7 to see evidence of that very thing happening. To me it is almost like a violation of the story. SPN has shown itself in the past to have some pretty big Kahunas in the storytelling department. I don't want TPTB afraid that taking a story will piss off fans - I want them to be bold, fearless, and utterly creative. I think S6 was excellent in that regard, and that is what I hope for Carver's S8.
E
# E 2012-09-04 17:43
CD28, I couldn't agree with your assessment more, so I just had to respond to your post. I too cannot understand why there is such a belief that Dean has had no storyline. I really, really don't get it. Perhaps the storyline is less obvious or plot driven (Soulless Sam, psychic powers, demon blood) than some of Sam's story lines, but he has them nonetheless, and in general they are much more fleshed out, meaningful and complex than anything Sam gets. He also gets all of the perspective, unlike Sam who gets plot points and nothing else.

Not liking the storyline, (Michael's meat suit, Lisa/Ben) is not the same as not having a story. Too many fans IMO equate one with the other and start complaining and then comparing the brother's respective stories. I love both brothers equally, but think it's high time Sam got a little bit of perspective. We know almost nothing about what he THINKS or LIKES or even WANTS now that he no longer is expecting normal anymore. I absolutely love your assessment of Dean's storyline for season 6. It's right on the nose; Dean was like the Mikey Spillane of the Supernatural world. All of the issues of the season and all the other characters revolved around him, and he was the one required to pull everything together. How is this not a good, complex and satisfying storyline?

Both brothers got the shaft storyline wise this season though. Dean's ongoing depression and escalating drinking could have been very interesting if it had gone somewhere, if he gained some insight or had a crisis related to the drinking, but instead he just wallowed and never grew or learned from the experience. It made him seem morose, self-indulgent and self-pitying. Very un-Dean like. Sam, likewise, got some interesting plot points with Lucifer running around his head, but the buildup was sporadic and unbalanced and the payoff really lacking, rushed and weak with a magic fix-all at the end. Also missing was the brother's connection to one another; they were like surly roommates rather than affectionate brothers, and I hated it. Again, if this had been a purposeful storyline that had a payoff in some kind of crisis, maybe I could have enjoyed it. There was no personal connection to the story at large this season, no stakes that compelled them to stick with the situation and fight to see it through. I found myself several times in season 7 asking myself, "why are Sam and Dean even bothering with this? They could pass the whole Leviathan issue on to some other hunters and take a vacation." There was a fight, but it didn't have to be Sam and Dean's fight, so I couldn't invest myself in it. Even the somewhat uneven season 6 had a season long arc that related only to Sam and Dean.

Sera is/was one of my favorite writers, but in the 'big picture' department she didn't really seem up to the challenge.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-18 09:32
I thought Gamble, despite the flaws of season 7, left a very fruitful set-up with the finale. After hearing where Carver is taking that set-up, well. Overly high expectations are definitely no longer a problem I'm having with s8!

I do wonder, though, whether some of Carver's (to me) more dubious initial decisions do spring from feeling pressured to remake the show rather than to work soberly from the point he's picking up at. The sense of discontinuity in his characterizatio n choices and the theme of reversion to s1, both of which I find problematic, might be less likely directions if the changing of the guard were less high profile and people were setting a higher premium on continuity with improved execution (uneven writing episode to episode has been a major problem, and not one I can see being magically solved by a change of showrunner with the same writing team) and were less inclined to demand a brave new world.

I think there's a good chance that he'll do a reasonable job with his vision of the show, but I suspect that the join is always going to look awkward, and that that is partly a result of excessive emphasis on the showrunner and subordination of the organic wholeness of the show.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-08-18 10:43
I think, as someone else above pointed out, that the leader of any organization bears ultimate responsibility for the product. Of course there are circumstances,s uch as division of labor and collaboration that limit the hands-on input of the person in charge, but on things where that person can say 'yay' or 'nay' - the buck stops with that person. There are massive constraints on the product that is Supernatural -- budget, standards & practices, time frame, budget and did I mention, budget? -- that will limit the options for the vision/story. But ultimately, the options chosen are Jeremy Carver's and Robert Singer's responsibility. In large part, providing the options to choose from is the writers' responsibility (both Carver & Singer are also writers). And as we in the SPN Family are aware, breathing life into the options selected is the responsibility of a whole cast and crew of wonderful talented people.
In terms of the fandom -- if Carver follows Kripke's lead have an overall story that you're telling and tell it. If a side plot is pissing people off, drop it or fix it. IF they don't like the main story - they should watch Grey's Anatomy. ;) UNLESS and here's the big one - ratings are noticibly dropping. IF they are, than dissatisfaction is more widespread than just the vocal (and unrepresentativ e insofar as ratings are concerned) online community.
JC isn't going to please everyone. He can't possibly. The things that people want are diametrically opposed.
Tell a good story, maybe use the fan chatter as a barometer for specific feedback and watch the ratings. To me, where showrunners fail these days is when they refuse to at least acknowledge some of the vocal complaints. Nowadays its not letters to a studio that nobody sees - its right out on Twitter in fornt of God and everybody. Of course, maybe they're not looking at Twitter. Maybe they're too busy running the show!

Personally, my expectations for JC are no different than any I had for SG. I loved S6, didn't find S7 to be as compelling as S6 but I still liked it better than S3.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-08-18 10:51
Great article!

I will say that Supernatural is the only show I've ever been a fan of where I know the names of the showrunners, writers, directors, and guest cast, and even some of the crew.

I discovered SPN at the end of S6/beginning of S7, so perhaps I have a slightly different perspective. I haven't come across fans who disliked Eric Kripke. But I have come across many who dislike Sera Gamble. This confused me greatly, because I did my research and found that Sera has been with SPN since S1, and is responsible for some of the greatest scripts of the show. I can't speak to her job as showrunner, because I'm not sure what all it entails. But I don't think it's her fault. Like I said, she's been there from the beginning, and has written some of the most beloved episodes. Not only that, but S6 - whether you liked the fact that Sam was soulless for part of it or not - was downright entertaining. Great storytelling. I absolutely loved S6. But something happened with S7 - especially the second half of it. The storyline became incoherent, continuity was lost, and the writing was no longer compelling. I don't know what happened BTS, but I am not going to villainize anyone for it.

As for Jeremy Carver - he's been there from the beginning too, but has only written two episodes that were hits with me. The rest I didn't care for. Unlike Gamble, it's his fresh vision, not his writing history, that gives me hope. One thing SPN has been lacking is proper character development. From what I gather, character development, as opposed to heavy mythology, is a major focus for Carver's S8. And I do have high expectations for that. :) The problem Carver faces is the fact that he's been gone for several seasons. Continuity may become an issue if he doesn't know what all the boys have been through. But I will give him, and the show, the benefit of the doubt. As a fan, I think I owe them that. Even with S7, I stayed positive until the the very end. It wasn't until the finale aired and left me disappointed at the lack of answers and lazy writing that I became frustrated. I plan on giving Carver, and S8 the same chance and courtesy.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-08-18 11:16
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How much as a fan do you have riding on Jeremy Carver in season 8?
Honestly, as a fan of the show, I don’t have much riding on Carver. I don’t know him or his plans so my enjoyment of the show really isn’t dependent on his presence. I’m going to be watching whether it’s Jeremy Carver or Attila the Hun who is showrunner.

Quote:
If you’re celebrating, what exactly is your expectation?
The expectation of 23 episodes of SPN?? I'm also expecting that there will be some episode I'll love, some I'll like and some I'll dislike, the same as always. On a whole, I think that Gamble has left Carver in a much better position storywise than Kripke left Gamble (and Singer, I keep forgetting about him. Whoops!) two years ago. Carver has a wealth of ingredients from which to conjure something enthralling, should he choose to use them.

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How will Carver succeed where Sera Gamble supposedly failed?
Ah, I don’t think Gamble failed. I think she told the story that she wanted to tell, and fair play to her for it. It was a monumental task given that what Kripke left her to work with was, unfortunately limited. I feel she aimed too big in season 7 but there’s no crime in that. SPN is a show that has, for me, worked better on a smaller, more intimate level but my opinion of it isn’t the definitive view of it. There’s a lot of love for season 7 out there and there was a lot I liked about it so for me, Gamble didn’t fail. I’m actually appreciating the nuances of season 7 the more I rewatch it and I must be the only person out there who thinks the characterisation fits whats the character was going through at the time. I’m hoping Carver will do the same, to tell the story he wants to tell and not be swayed by the shouts of the fans.

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Will he be hailed the conquering hero or will he end up only pleasing part of the base and coming under the ire of others?
I dare say he’ll be hailed the ‘conquering hero’ (he already has in many quarters) but I think is going to put a huge amount of unneeded pressure on him. I also think that, for a time, everything Carver does on the show will be held up and lauded in comparison with what Gamble did but I hope this doesn’t last (I hope it doesn’t happen at all, to be honest) because that’s a burden neither one of them deserves.

However, I’m sure that Carver knows that he won’t please everyone and he’ll also know that SPN fans are fickle so he will undoubtedly also be prepared for the ire. A pat on the back is, after all, only a foot away from a kick in the ass. I hope he’ll be strong enough to not be bothered by either.

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Considering the latter is exactly what happened to past Supernatural showrunners Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, what is Carver’s best case scenario?
In relation to best case scenario, define ‘best case’! He can’t satisfy all the fans, nor should he try because that would be like serving weak tea; it would have all the hallmarks of something we enjoy but it’d be too diluted to be memorable. He just needs to tell the story that he wants to tell, like Kripke and like Gamble. The characters react to the story, not the other way around. I’d like to think that at the end, regardless of when it is, Carver will be treated with respect by the fans for what he contributed to the show, regardless of whether or not we are satisfied with it.

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Is it fair to assume that by coming in, Jeremy Carver is going to change absolutely everything?
Change it to what? Gamble didn’t take the show apart, she didn’t take the characters apart. She took what was there and developed it. The fundamentals of Sam, Dean and the show were still evident in seasons 6 and 7. It wasn’t early season Sam and Dean but given what they had gone though I think it's unrealistic to expect that it should be.

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That he’s going to somehow meet every differing and lofty “Supernatural” fan expectation? What will be his true measure of success?
Carver is not going to be able to meet every fan’s expectations (so if he has that idea in his head he’d want to get it out of there quick sharp!), there are too many cliques in the fandom for that to happen. For example, If Bobby makes a return in season 8 then it will be considered a success by some fans and a copout by others. If John is dragged through the mud again then I’ll be disappointed while others will be thrilled. Carver has inherited a poisoned chalice, though I’m sure he’ll have an antidote handy.

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Is Jeremy Carver doomed to the same fates as Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble?
Ah yes. I think that ultimately, he will be. People are fickle and unfortunately, most people are pretty selfish (ah come on, we are!); we want what we want. If we don’t get what we want then we’re not shy about being vocal about it. However, as long as Carver is happy with what he’s done then he’ll be able to stand over it, as Kripke did.

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Is this kind of pressure and expectations on a single showrunner good or bad for “Supernatural?
I guess good because it shows that Supernatural has a fanbase that is invested in its show but bad if it prohibits the showrunner from doing what he/she wants. I also think it's bad if the expectations that fans bring to a season dictate their enjoyment of it.

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Do you think that a showrunner should be the one to take the heat for all the decisions that are made, even though as early as ten years ago that wasn’t the case?
Unfortunately, being the face of the show means that they take the heat when things aren’t going well, even if it's a group effort (though strangely, very often they don’t get the kudos when things are going well). I don’t think it’s right that this happens, but we live in a culture of blame where we are loathe to consider what role we ourselves played in not getting what we wanted out of something. (It’s exam results season, the culture of blame is rife at the moment!) If I expect to see something and I don't see it then that's my fault, not any showrunners.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-18 11:33
You're not the only one who thinks the characterizatio n worked in s7! (Well, I do think it sort of faded to neutral after 7.17, but I'm inclined to attribute that to the fact that they knew Gamble was leaving and a new showrunner coming in, and wanted to leave him a bit more freedom than following through all the way on Gamble's character arcs would have, bringing Dean's suicidal tendencies to a crisis or leaving Sam with chronic mental illness, as Gamble's interviews suggest was her original plan).

By and large, though, I think characterizatio n, accompanied by a rather dark view of heroism and its costs, was Gamble's forte, along with some extremely interesting ideas like the economy of souls. I thought she was less successful at juggling plots, and that the satirical monster vein of the Leviathans didn't really suit the atmosphere she worked best with. But Dean struggling with the "I'm a killer" aspects of hunting as well as with his tendency to get locked in guilt and despair, and Sam, with his proneness to fragmentation, dissociation, and isolation, and strangely functional modes of dysfunction, both really, really worked for me, and generated some amazing unsung moments like the last scene of Slice Girls.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-08-18 12:11
I agree. I also thought the characterizatio ns in S7 worked in the sense that the brothers responded pretty believably to the horrible, soul-destroying situations they endured. That being said....

My problem has been that there's been characterizatio n without growth. Dean's alcoholism and depression was a huge theme throughout S7, but we never got to see that climax or come to resolution. It was presented as a problem, but never given a solution. From Carver's interviews, it seems that Purgatory may somehow - entirely unexpectedly - pull Dean out of that spiral. Personally, I think that's a tall order, and hope it doesn't turn into a lazy 'quick-fix'. But I will give the benefit of the doubt. I also would have preferred the alleged scenario of Sam learning to deal permanently with a mental illness. That would have been balls-y, moving away from the portrayal of these Winchester boys as nigh-untouchabl e mortals. It certainly would have been better than Castiel's quick-fix - just my opinion. (I didn't have a problem with Cas healing Sam, as it was foreshadowed in the S7 premiere, but I did have a HUGE problem how it played out).

This is why I'm looking forward to S8, because Carver keeps talking about character development for the brothers. Growth. Cutting back on the mythology a bit to focus more on the brothers and the relationships with each other and the people around them. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out, one way or another.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-18 12:02
I do think that showrunners get more criticism than is deserved. When Jeremy Carver was initially introduced as the new show runner, I was happy. I didn't expect him to be a miracle worker and right the ship immediately, but I remember that he was a quality writer, had experience with Supernatural and I was willing to trust him to pull the show together. Then due to certain spoilers that came out at Comic Con, I became incredibly discouraged. So I am actually going into next season with low expectations, lower than in any other season.

Whatever he does, I don't think Carver or any other show runner will be able to please every faction of the fandom. There are splits and fissures that have developed over years and it would take huge effort to bridge those gaps. However, I don't expect Carver to ever be on the end of the absolute hatred that was directed at Sera Gamble. Even before she was made show runner, there were I Hate Sera Gamble sites on the Internet. Carver will probably let certain factions down, but I do not expect his "failures" in those areas to be blamed on the fact that he is sexually interested in one of the actors or because all he wants to do is to see one actor naked. SG started with a part of fandom ready to criticize from the word jump.

I am fascinated with the fact that Bob Singer, the announced co-showrunner has always escaped any criticism for the last 2 seasons. Sera became the public face of the show, doing interviews, doing the producers commentary while Singer was nicely hidden in the background. I admit that I am unsure if Singer remains co-showruner and if he is, will he continue to escape the bulk of the criticism.

I actually liked season six. It had pacing problems and I felt that it stuffed too many stories into the season. Since I always wanted to know the story of Mary's family, I wish it had not been part of season six. Considering the lack of flow in season seven it might have fit in better there, although it did not fit with the theme of the boys losing everything.

The fact that the writing staff remains the same is of concern for me. I have been open about the fact that I have issues with the writing of Dabb and Laughlin and that I dislike the writing of Adam Glass. Since I felt this way under about D&L both Kripke and Gamble, I'm not certain that a change in showrunner will change my mind on these writers. Adam Glass came in during season six, but I dislike his writing so much that it Carver would have to really work to change what flaws I see in AG as a writer.

I do know that things happen in series that no showrunner can account for. The writers strike made Kripke change the entire arc for Sam, to the detriment of Sam's character IMHO. Not being able to get the rights to Freddy Kruger forced a change in story in DALDOM that had the show bring in Lisa as a love interest for Dean. Continuing that story in season six did not work for me. The Lisa storyline ramped up criticism for SG because "she developed the character" and people then said SG loved Lisa for that reason alone. I saw it as Lisa being one of the few women that Dean had formed a connection with who was still alive and the fluke of using her in DALDOM pushed her to prominence. Plus, the original idea, IIR, was that the major pull for Dean was supposed to be Ben and when the actor who played Ben announced he didn't want to be in the show as much as the writers planned, the idea of Lisa and Ben took a hit that it never recovered from. Similarly in season 2, JDM's career taking off immediately after his stint in Supernatural made it harder to schedule John for a return. The one time the writers really needed him, for AHBL2, JDM was unable to get to the set and his scenes had to be filmed in LA and inserted into the episode. None of this were controllable by a showrunner.

Then there are ideas that sound good, but just don't work out in practice. Soulless Sam is my prime example. It was not SG's idea, but on paper it sounded interesting. Intended to play out all year, it could have been a great examination of what is human? Could a soulless being learn to act ethically? Was the bond Sam felt for Dean so strong that he agreed to act the way Dean wanted in order to stay with Dean? Fan reaction was so negative that the storyline was pulled halfway through the year. That left the storyline being a lot of "what is wrong with Sam THIS YEAR" questions a weak storyline and a resolution that didn't allow any examination of the issues of soullessness. It also cut out any development of the Campbells because they were tied to Soulless Sam.

Season seven went off the rails pretty quickly, IMHO and I have no idea why. The idea of Sam battling mental illness after being returned from the cage was shoved into the background and the entire season felt like it lacked coherence.

If Jeremy Carver can help bring a coherent view to the show, that will be a massive improvement, IMHO, but there are fandom factions that are at odds with each other and it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to please them all. Storylines may well fall apart if certain guest stars can't be booked. There are a host of things that can go wrong that are not the fault of the showrunner and at the end of the day, Carver will be held responsible. I doubt that we the audience will ever know exactly what behind the scenes issues will make the season play out the way it will play out.

I have some hope for the Jeremy Carver reign, but I also know that taking on a show with an established mythology and a deeply committed and frankly picky fanbase (me included) will be an enormous challenge. Carver may well get more of the credit if the season succeeds than he deserves, but he may also get more of the criticism if it doesn't . It will be interesting to see how things play out whatever happens.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-18 15:47
Quote:
I am fascinated with the fact that Bob Singer, the announced co-showrunner has always escaped any criticism for the last 2 seasons.
I'm fascinated by this too, especially since Singer has been credited with pitching the Soulless Sam, the wall, and the Butch and Sundance theme (which led to everyone being taken away from them) - all pretty controversial story directions.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2012-08-18 13:56
I didn't start reading blogs on SPN untill mid S5 when I got my own computer so I was not aware of how some did not like Sam's arc in S4. I loved it and also the S5 ending I am sometimes amazed at how fans get so upset at the plots. They're not writing the show and many times the fans are just plain wrong. The critics can also be wrong.

I didn't know they shelved the soulless Sam gig, which I loved and so did Jared. I think a lot of what fans write about the show and want the writers to do is just plain STUPID!!
The showrunners should stop being so concerned with the fans. The show is great because of Kripke and all the rest, not because of what Jane in Iowa wants them to write. These are talented people and if they keep worrying what the fans think the show won't be good. They should do what they want and every once in a while give a shout-out to us (like bring back the pendant).
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-08-18 14:26
Daisymae, I like your style!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-08-18 14:44
Quote:
I didn't start reading blogs on SPN untill mid S5 when I got my own computer so I was not aware of how some did not like Sam's arc in S4. I loved it and also the S5 ending I am sometimes amazed at how fans get so upset at the plots. They're not writing the show and many times the fans are just plain wrong. The critics can also be wrong.

I didn't know they shelved the soulless Sam gig, which I loved and so did Jared. I think a lot of what fans write about the show and want the writers to do is just plain STUPID!!
The showrunners should stop being so concerned with the fans. The show is great because of Kripke and all the rest, not because of what Jane in Iowa wants them to write. These are talented people and if they keep worrying what the fans think the show won't be good. They should do what they want and every once in a while give a shout-out to us (like bring back the pendant).
With due respect but Of course they can do what they want. How I feel isnt going to change anything either for them or me.I can only say how I feel and yes I am one of those that didnt like Sams arc in Season 4 I cant pretend I did.

At the end of the day if I dont like what I see I can stop watching and the show will continue on its merry way doing what it does . :-)
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-18 15:54
Quote:
I didn't know they shelved the soulless Sam gig, which I loved and so did Jared. I think a lot of what fans write about the show and want the writers to do is just plain STUPID!!
I'm usually in the "writers should finish what they started" camp, but in the soulless Sam case, I'm glad they stopped it when they did. They never seemed to get a handle on what Sam was supposed to be. He said he didn't feel fear, but he was obviously feeling fear when he was screaming as Death reensouled him. So was he like an animal, just operating on a basic survival level, or was he a little evil, as he appeared some times? But more than that, I could never figure out if that was supposed to be Sam. Was the real Sam in the cage, and that thing something else (as Dean seemed to feel)? Or was that an impaired version of the real Sam? If that was really Sam, then they should have done more to show his point of view and help us to understand him a little better. I was on Dean's side and thought that it wasn't the real Sam, so for me a full season would have been too long to go without having Sam on the show.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-18 16:44
Quote:
I'm usually in the "writers should finish what they started" camp, but in the soulless Sam case, I'm glad they stopped it when they did. They never seemed to get a handle on what Sam was supposed to be.
And this is why I'm conflicted on ending the Soulless Sam storyline early. When SS finally said to Dean that he was willing to try and get his soul back, I think the writers were about to go into an arc that defined what Soulless Sam was supposed to be. Then due to fan dislike, the plug got pulled and that was that. It's too bad that so much of the storyline was trying to figure out YET AGAIN what was wrong with Sam. Personally I am sick of what is wrong with Sam and having his soulless state revealed early would have been great for me. (This is my biggest fear about the spoilers, yet again Sam is acting odd and we have to wonder if he loves Dean, ENOUGH). If they had plotted ending the SS storyline midseason, they could have had Cas reveal Sam's soullessness in episode 3, explored what Soulless Sam was until midseason and then resoulled him because really you can't leave Sam in the Cage for all eternity. Then we would have had a much better handle on how SS functioned. But with the decision to truncate the storyline, any exploration of Sam without his soul got lost. It was a missed opportunity.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-18 21:46
Quote:
This is my biggest fear about the spoilers, yet again Sam is acting odd and we have to wonder if he loves Dean, ENOUGH
I'm not sure that's what they're using this year. Maybe this time there's nothing wrong with Sam, because I think Carver believes (or used to, because I have the impression he's seen the negative fan reaction and is changing things) that there was nothing wrong with the way Sam is sypossed to act in season 8.

I actually agree with everything else you said in this post or the one above.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-18 22:05
I really hope he is changing things, because I love Sam and him just moving on and not even attempting to look for Dean would turn me off Sam completely.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-18 22:09
Agree. It would turn me off SPN as a whole. Maybe he was just playing with us, I don't know, but he's putting a lot of emphasis on 'perception' being important this season and how we will change our minds, when asked about Sam.

I don't know, we'll see.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-19 08:13
I'm skeptical that more time with soulless Sam would have provided more insight. If they didn't know what soullessness meant in the first half, I doubt that would have changed in the second half. It also seemed that about midway through the first half, the serious exploration of soulless Sam had stopped, and he'd just become a comedic sidekick to Dean. I think that's what we would have seen in the second half had they extended the arc.

What I had expected and hoped to see was to see an exploration of Sam's soullessness through Sam's eyes in the second half. Sam knew more about what he did during that time, and he would have been more critical of his own actions than Dean had been. While I can understand why the writers set up the wall to block out the Hell memories, I can't think of a single good reason to write it so that the wall also blocked out the soulless-Sam memories. It didn't even make sense narratively - unless they were saying that there was a more direct tie between Lucifer and soulless Sam. The only explanation I can come up with is that they were done exploring the soullessness and wanted an excuse to not have to touch it further.
E
# E 2012-09-04 19:00
I really loved the Soulless Sam storyline. I guess I am one of the few who did. SS was so unpredictable; clinical and unfeeling one moment, vicious or hysterical the next. And Jared was phenomenal in the variety of ways he played the character, not overstating the issue but letting the fans know that something was very, very wrong with Sammy.

So many fans have said that his reactions were written inconsistently, but I found his reactions completely understandable for a person acting on instinct and logic. Animals have no soul (so they say) but they feel fear, contentment, curiosity, even affection. I felt like Soulless Sam was no different. He approached problems with a clinical detachment that was very un-Sam like and did what he felt was necessary regardless of who was in the way. His very unpredictabilit y was highly dramatic, and set Dean's character into the role of trying to figure out what the hell was going on. If the story line fell apart in any respect for me, it was in his relationship with Dean. Why did he feel compelled to seek Dean out in Episode 1 of season 6? Why were things 'better' with Dean around. They could have explored this angle a little more.

Having said that, I relished the Soulless Sam storyline. I thought it was a really gutsy move on Gamble's part to take away the heart of the show, so to speak. I found this disconnect between the brothers far less irritating and pointless in season 6 than in season 7. The distance between the brothers in season 7 was glaring and unexplained. It's like we, the audience, weren't supposed to notice that the brothers didn't speak, didn't work together or show concern for one another. With their estrangement in season 7 left unexplained, there was nothing for them to overcome or fight for. At least in season 6 Dean had high stakes in figuring out what was going on and righting it. I could have happily taken a whole season of Soulless Sam, but I still cheered when Death jammed his soul back inside him.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-08-20 03:44
I completely agree, Daisymae. Sam's arc is season 4 might have been hard to watch, but I still thought it was a damn good plot. Same with season 5. I've been aware of the criticism for Sam's story in S4 since S4 started and I was actually shocked by how upset fans were. It bothers me that for some, this still shapes their opinion of Sam today. I hope Carver doesn't get mixed up with trying to please the fans. If he does, he'll b fighting a losing battle!
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2012-08-20 08:56
Quote:
I completely agree, Daisymae. Sam's arc is season 4 might have been hard to watch, but I still thought it was a damn good plot. Same with season 5. I've been aware of the criticism for Sam's story in S4 since S4 started and I was actually shocked by how upset fans were. It bothers me that for some, this still shapes their opinion of Sam today. I hope Carver doesn't get mixed up with trying to please the fans. If he does, he'll b fighting a losing battle!
My problem with S4 wasn't the arc. It was the fact that it was shown from Dean's POV and we got nothing at all from Sam's POV. To this day, we don't know how he felt about the things that happened to him. We do not how Dean felt about it. That is what I hated and do to this day.

For S8, I want to see Sam's POV about the story arc, whatever it is. I'm not interested in romance as to me that's not a SPN story and shouldn't be. I want a return to the horror story we used to have. That's why I started watching.

And, yes, JC has a lot riding on his shoulders. He will have to deliver for me to continue to watch.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-20 09:17
That's how I feel. Sam's arc was fine, but only seeing it through Dean's eyes made Sam unsympathetic and hard to relate to because Dean didn't sympathize and couldn't relate. Sam turning to a demon who had been trustworthy, becoming addicted to demon blood and releasing Lucifer because of the manipulations is a great arc. Not knowing what he was thinking or how the HECK he even got started drinking demon blood hindered my enjoyment of Sam's arc.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-08-18 15:19
I like your style too, Daisymae!

Jeremy Carver will never please every fan. It's just impossible. The fanatical factions are just too far apart. There is the "Dean has no story, he's just a chauffeur to Sam" group, there is the "everything is from Dean's POV and we never know what's going on with Sam" group, the "Castiel must have more episodes" group, and the "Cas/Dean" bunch that want to eliminate most of Sammy's participation. There is also a group who want Dean to have some superhuman powers like Sam had! There was a bunch whose panties got in a twist when Dean refused to become Michael and fight Lucifer/Sam and actually quit watching because of that. Poor Jeremy has no hope in hell to please all of these factions. :sad:

Personally, I'm in the brothers' relationship group who has loved this show with very few complaints since the middle of season 3 when I discovered it. I believe the first 3 seasons together make the epitome of tv entertainment, and still would never ever consider missing an episode aired. I admit I did enjoy season 6 immensely, after I found out what was going on with Sam and the rewatching made it even better than the first time. Season 7 as a whole was not quite as riveting, even though it had some awesome episodes indeed.

What I want from Carver is the reassurance of the bond and love between the brothers as that is what drives my enjoyment of any episode. With that in place, they can plot and plan arcs any whichway and I'll still be loving it. I want Dean to remain human and would really enjoy if Sammy would regift the amulet to Dean and if Bobby and Gabriel would be resurrected. But if what I want doesn't happen, I'll not really bitch too much, and still be grateful my show is still being produced. :P

I have loved every episode written by Jeremy, so I can't help feeling pleased he is back. He writes the brothers' relationship beautifully and I feel he will take good care of that bond as show-runner.
st50
# st50 2012-08-18 17:27
I haven't read all the comments here, or the original article, but my take is that whenever someone takes on a lead role, then - rightly or wrongly - that is where the buck stops.

Be they President, or General, showrunner - or anything in between - we all know that Nobody makes decisions in a vacuum, but ultimately, they have the final responsibility. .... So yes, the show runner becomes the scapegoat.

Sometimes, or more likely often, that is unfair, but a leader must be prepared to take both the credit and the blame. No leader can please everyone. Ultimately, they must/can only lead in the direction that they deem to be the right choice, and pray that the majority will agree.

Never a comfortable position to be in! Regardless of whether we agree with the direction chosen, those who choose to take leadership roles should be treated with respect. The problem with the way we're connected to our shows now is that every comment is essentially anonymous, so there is less onus on us to be courteous.

Yes, I'm pleased Jeremy Carver is back. I enjoyed Eric Kripkes tenure more than Sera Gambles... But I respect them all for their terms of leadership. Both of them led in such a way as to:
1) have Supernatural renewed,
2) maintain a passionate (and vocal) fan base, and
3) have both lead actors willing to remain engaged.

Success stories all 'round. If Carver can achieve these three points, he'll be a success, too. That'll earn him my respect, whether or not I agree with the direction the show goes in.
emmau
# emmau 2012-08-19 01:20
I’m not sure the showrunner question is a yes or no one, really. Well, not the “Will Jeremy Carver be treated the same way as Kripke and Gamble?” part, because that’s a resounding yes, at least in my mind. It’s all about the perceptions and biases you bring to the viewing table, so to speak. The ones whose vision of show Carver comes the closest to will praise him as a savior, and the ones whose visions are diametrically opposed with will dog him out as loudly as they can.

The question of responsibility, I think, lies on the same continuum of fandom. If you like a showrunner, whether because their vision aligns with yours or you see them as an ally to your favorite character or you just like the way he or she comes off in interviews, you’re more predisposed to like what they do and forgive their mistakes in press and in show-running responsibility. It’s a lot easier to exalt in the good and spread the blame for the bad to others when you’re trying to protect your confirmation bias. On the reverse side, if you don’t like a showrunner’s vision or tone or the way they come off in interviews or think their vision is terrible for your favorite, you won’t give them credit for any good ideas or episodes and will claim that they alone killed the show by doing all the things you hate. Of course there are always going to be exceptions, but I think what you bring to the table when viewing the show and the showrunner is going to affect how good or bad a job you think they’re doing.

So where is the truth? I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle. Of course it takes hundreds of people to make a show, and no showrunner is an island. They don’t write all the episodes or make all the decisions unilaterally. There are committees, studio decisions, network decisions, etc. At almost any job, you’re working with other people, and your performance can be dependent on others’ ability/willing ness to do their jobs well.

At the same time, to try to absolve Sera or Kripke or any showrunner of any blame for the tone of a show, the major plot and character decisions made, or any number of behind the scenes doesn’t work. They are the leader, and with that comes great power and responsibility, to borrow the phrase. They are put in charge to approve scripts, have final say over the overall arc, direction, and tone, and ton of other budgetary and behind the scenes things we’re not privy to. To say that they don’t deserve the blame when things go wrong means they don’t deserve any of the praise when things go right either, and that doesn’t work for most people. There’s almost always a boss at a job, a frontman or frontwoman, to make those calls, if needed to explain why those decisions were made, and to ultimately take responsibility. If they’re not really in charge and aren't leading the way, they shouldn’t be there. Some showrunners are better than others at accepting that accountability, no matter how fairly or unfairly it might come.

Let’s hope Jeremy Carver has thick skin and good ideas both.
emmau
# emmau 2012-08-19 01:30
Oh, and my Jeremy Carver wishlist:

1) Sam and Dean both have relevant, interesting personal arcs with actual resolutions and the POV to explore them.
2) Sam and Dean as brothers, not as colleagues in the same terrible trauma they can't escape or brothers in contrived conflict to ramp up the angst.
3) Interesting, likable supporting characters that support Sam and Dean, not push them to the back corner in their own story or arrive solely to be killed for more angst purposes.
4) Pacing and continuity. I know show's never been fantastic at that, but they can do better than what we've gotten the last few years.
5) A good mix of mytharc and stand-alones, but mostly a well-planned mytharc that isn't stretched out over a whole season when it's clear there isn't enough meat. If it can't go the distance, finish it and start a new one.
6) A new sense of purpose, and God help me, hope. Be dark and scary and intense and emotional, but the last several years have been a slog through nihilism. The PiPs should be important enough to save, the mission should be important enough to care about, not just something the Winchesters are dragged kicking and screaming through. Show once declared hope is the whole point--let's give the show an injection of hope and drive instead of pointless meander through Angsttown, occasional monsters sighted.

So, yeah. That.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-19 11:09
Excellent posts Emmau, totally agree with everything you said. Especially #6!!
B_Y_O
# B_Y_O 2012-08-19 01:57
I'm in complete agreement with the article. I think overly invested fans can actually damage the creative decisions the showrunners make.

Fans generally have wishlists for what they want to happen to their favorite character but then when they get it, they're horrified by the results. Chris Carter made the fatal mistake of getting Mulder and Scully together because of some of the more vocal fan base and I think that pretty much killed the show.

If you think about it, Supernatural fans have been getting what they wished for - they wanted Sam and Dean to be back to two brothers sticking together and essentially the show being all about the brothers. They got that when the Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble between them made the creative decisions to kill off Ellen, Jo, Rufus and then Bobby.

Some fans hated the angels so along came the Leviathans. Then everyone hated the Leviathans so Castiel reappeared.

Sam Girls hated that Sam doesn't get the same emotional story lines as Dean so Sam gets to go to hell too, come back without a soul, then gets his soul back but he also gets Lucifer in his head and then he goes crazy.

And Dean doesn't do much of anything even vaguely interesting these days because the few storylines that could have been spun out of a longer relationship with Lisa and Ben were quickly squashed.

So fans, the showrunners have given us everything we ever wanted. I think that's probably why the showrunners should completely ignore us (and we should be less critical) because it's clear we couldn't have a good idea about the show to save our lives. ;-)
emmau
# emmau 2012-08-19 08:00
With respect, if the showrunners bend to the fans' will, then that's the showrunner's fault. Yes, fans have their own vision of how the show should go, and some of them are very vocal about it (The "We Hate Misha Collins" day of the hiatus comes to mind). But ultimately the showrunner is the one who makes the decision, and if they allow their choices to be influenced by fan wishlists, then it's not the fans' fault that the showrunner didn't stay true to their vision.

Given the wide displeasure (not from all fans, but most), I think I'd have to disagree that the showrunners gave us everything we wanted. Sam fans didn't get the POV they've been clamoring for. Dean fans didn't get the relevant plot they've been asking for. I don't remember anyone asking for Bobby to die and become a vengeful ghost dispatched unceremoniously in the finale. So, again with respect, I think it's a cop-out to blame fhe fans for what's gone wrong in the show.
Hades
# Hades 2012-08-20 10:56
Would it not be fairer and possibly less upsetting for fan groups if Sam's story was told through his own POV, DEan's story was told through his own POV and the times when its the brothers story it is just shown 50/50?
E
# E 2012-09-04 19:19
I think to heap all the blame on the showrunner is maybe a little short sighted as the show is not created in a vacuum. There are financial considerations at stake as well. Take the angels storyline from season 4 for example. Kripke had been pretty vocal about the fact that he didn't want angels in his show. My understanding is the TPTB, i.e., the money 'strongly' suggested that angels be included in season 4. (The infamous 5 season arc is a myth btw). What is a show runner to do if the producers are strong-arming them and holding the show's funds over his head? I think that this happens a lot more than we know about. Fans are the ones to generate the revenue though advertising so their desires could be filtered down through the network. So, I think that a showrunner may be forced to make concessions to the fans and compromise his/her story when the producers decide it's in the best interests of the show from a financial standpoint, as it happened to Kripke between seasons 3 and 4.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-09-05 06:46
E, I was just wondering where you saw that it was TPTB who wanted angels in the show. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it isn't necessarily true, but my understanding is a little different. I was under the impression that Kripke introduced the angels because it seemed a logical progession after they'd explored demons and hell so much, and also after their plans for season 3 kinda went down the crapper because of the writer's strike.
I do know TPTB send down 'suggestions' (the Roadhouse was one). But I always felt that that's what they were: suggestions. Kripke did do what they said in the case of the Roadhouse, but as soon as it stopped working for the show, he got rid of it. I do agree that the entire blame shouldn't be placed solely on the showrunner, though.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-09-05 18:23
Hi E, Just wondering why the angel storyline would be a "financial" consideration anyway? I didn't hear anything about EK not wanting angels in the show. I'm not saying he didn't say that, I was curious where/when he said that. If I understand you, you think maybe the fans had some kind of influence over that decision but who even knew angels were even being considered. I do agree there are financial considerations, most we won't be privy to.

One other thing I did hear, EK said on more than one occasion that he had a five year plan worked out. He said he knew how it would start and how it was going to end up at the conclusion of S5. He also had plot points he wanted to hit along the way. He did not have the individual episodes all planned and things evolved as the series progressed but the 5 year is not a myth, IMO.
E
# E 2012-09-06 00:45
Oh boy, I honestly can't remember where I heard about the angels... I read so much behind the scenes stuff. I do know that after season 2's Houses of the Holy, J2 called the writers to ask about the angel storyline to voice their unease about it. Kripke assured them that angels were never going to be on his show, or something like that. Here's a direct quote from Kripke about the angels from and online interview: “I had a rule as late as season three where I said I didn’t want angels on this show because I didn’t want to do the Michael Landon Highway to Heaven thing,” This makes me doubt the whole five year plan. Maybe there was a kind of plan initially, or at least an outline but it certainly didn't include angels nor did it include the Croatoan virus from season 2. I don't know that the network suggested that angels be included per se, but in another interview Kripke talks about going into production meetings for season four announcing that he was introducing angels to the storyline and that "they are dicks." I wondered if there was some type of 'suggesting' at work, but I do admit that I don't have any real concrete proof of any coercion.

I have heard both the J's in interviews and during cons talk about how the five year plan didn't exist, that Kripke was desperately trying to save his show after season 3 when it was on the bubble and the then network president Dawn Ostroff was ready to give it the ax. He just said it to coax the network into giving him more time. Having said that, I have heard Kripke defend his five year plan just as much as I have heard that it really didn't exist so I am not sure what to think. It's probably a little of both.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the Angels storyline specifically was a result of the PTB pushing the writers because of the fans. I was using it as an example of the fact that the show runner doesn't always get to decide where his/her show is going when a network is writing the checks. They meddle, it happens on every show, and some of the commenters were heaping a lot of responsibility on the show runner, when he/she does not really have total and complete free reign.

BTW painted wolf, I didn't know about the Roadhouse debacle. That's pretty interesting. Kripke hated it I guess and was very happy to 'burn it down' although it took the whole season to get rid of it.

And can I just say how nice it is to find a Supernatural site that has commenters who are so incredibly knowledgeable and are so civil to one another? Even when there is disagreement it's done with respect. I am new to posting and have been appalled at the viciousness of some sites. I would never dream of sharing my opinions there.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-09-06 03:06
Yes, I do remember Jared and Jensen voicing concerns about the angels. I think Kripke did have somewhat of a five year plan, but a lot of it changed come season 3, I think. Sam was meant to go darkside by the end of that season, by embracing his powers to save Dean from Hell. But with the shortened season, they couldn't flesh that out the way they wanted, so they came up with plan B. Kripke decided on angels (did you know he also wasn't going to do vampires at first?), but he didn't wanted fluffy-winged Roma Downey types, which is where I think the 'dick' comment came in. He also said he always knew Sam was going to start the Apocalypse.
And yeah, I think Dawn Ostroff wanted to cancel the show every season. I don't think she was at all supportive until SPN got its 100th episode.
The internet can be a scary place-Supernatu ral fan boards especially can get a little...heated.
BTW, have you read any of the companion guides? They're really gold mines of behind the scenes info.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-09-06 11:22
E, thank you, that clears a few things up. I always love the behind the curtain stuff. The showrunners are almost always praised or reviled because they are the face of the show. The pressures and compromises they deal with are usually not known but they do hold the "buck". Not always fair but part of the job.
Mel
# Mel 2012-09-07 13:14
Ben Edlund, I believe, is the one who convinced Kripke that Angels were the natural progression to the story. Its somewhere in the DVD comentary.

EK didn't always have the '5 year plan. ' Early in S2 in TV Guide, he 's quoted as saying "In order for the show to be the 7-8 season player I'd like, the ratings need to be better." (I'm paraphrasing a little since I'm not home.)

as someone above said - it became the '5 year plan' to get a renewal.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-19 08:58
I think sometimes you have to draw a distinction between fandom as a raging sea of loves and hates and discontents and fandom as a knowledge base, and it's a distinction that's particularly important when it comes to reactions to spoilers.

I'd say to Carver: don't listen if some fans want more Cas and some fans want less Cas. Don't listen if I, personally, want more episodes with Jody and never want to see Garth again. I've been wishing since Clap Your Hands that they'd try the leprechaun who claimed to have a way into the Cage in an Adam rescue attempt, but that doesn't mean I think that that storyline has to show up in s8 for the show to be good.

But if you're getting reactions that are asking how such and such a thing squares with the way the characters acted or reacted in the following specific five episodes, or how this bit of data about how ghosts work makes sense in terms of this other bit of data, or how this change follows from an arc of development over time that we can trace here, here, and here, that's worth listening to. Not that the showrunner may not disagree with a particular group of fans or with a fandom consensus over characterizatio n or the rules of the Spn universe or whatever, but at that point I do think that having a coherent answer underlying the writing is something that has to be in place for the showrunner and writers to be doing a good job.

(To use one of the examples from my own list of wants and not wants, the fact that I would love to see the leprechaun thing is irrelevant, but the fact that I, and a LOT of other fans, find it incredibly hard to reconcile Sam and Dean completely ignoring what happened to Adam with our knowledge of their characters based on the rest of the show -- that, I think, is something the writers might want to think about.)

What fans want is a pretty dangerous guide, what fans think makes sense, in instances where they can cite chapter and verse for their reasoning as only crazy invested fans can, can be a very useful corrective.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-19 13:20
Quote:
the fact that I, and a LOT of other fans, find it incredibly hard to reconcile Sam and Dean completely ignoring what happened to Adam with our knowledge of their characters based on the rest of the show
I'm not sure about this. I don't think Sam and Deanw ould go to the extreme ways necessary to free Adam from the cage for anyone other than Sam or Dean respectively. While I think 80% of what Zachariah said and did was bullsh*t, I believe he was right when said they wouldn't care about Adam in the end.

Also, Sam and Dean have never been able to pull anyone from Hell, no matter how hardthey tried. It's had to be the angels everytime.

Said that, I'd like to see Adam, not alive, but I'd like to know he left the cage and is now in Heaven. An eternity in Hell for the poor guy makes me sad.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-19 16:28
Oh, I don't think it's weird that they aren't selling their souls to rescue him or anything (though I do think someone should remember the leprechaun!), it's the fact that the topic has never come up between the two of them, and particularly that Sam has never once mentioned it. I would expect it to bother Sam, at least a little, that he left Adam behind. I'm not saying they need to do an Adam storyline (though he could make for an interesting Big Bad, I think Jake Abel's career, among other things, will make that not an option), just have thrown in a single line where Hallucifer taunted Sam with it or something.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-19 22:34
Oh yeah, with that I agree 100%. It's weird it's not even been mentioned once. I wonder if the writers have forgotten about Adam or if it's a concious decision.
eilf
# eilf 2012-08-20 17:57
At some point it was stated that Michael wouldn't leave his vessel a mental wreck the way Lucifer would. Michael isn't actually supposed to be evil as such - from the angel's point of view he is supposed to be a good guy. Admittedly, I think it was Balthazar who said that both Lucifer and Michael were torturing Sam and/or his soul but that seemed to be punishment for stopping the apocalypse.

It doesn't necessarily mean that they are doing the same to Adam, he must have eventually volunteered to be the vessel, maybe he did it soon enough for Michael to decide to protect him?

Ok now I am wondering (considering the difficulties in raising Sam) if the souls of the humans and whatever angels are were separated from each other. Were there 4 of them in the cage at some point? or maybe 6? (2 soul-less human bodies, 2 angels 2 souls)...
alysha
# alysha 2012-08-19 09:28
All I want for the show is simple. Be organized. I really felt in S7 they were making it up as they went along. It really felt like no one planned out the entire season, and I'm sorry, but on this type of show, that needs a coherent flow from week to week, you cant patch it all together. I also wish they'd stop fan pandering. It leads to garbage that pulls me out of the story. Example, the alpha vamp saying "see you next season." SG always seemed to giggle at the little bits of fan fun she inserted. I wish they'd be more serious. This is a drama with comedy, not the other way around.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-08-19 21:24
I've been quietly following all of the comments and for the most part I have decided not to comment. I will admit that I get very uncomfortable with the criticisms even when I agree with what is being said. I tend to focus on what I like about the show and not think about the parts that have disappointed. And yes, there are things about season 7 that disappointed but I also loved much of what others haven't. I am looking forward to season 8 with great enthusiasm. Having said all of that there are two things I would like to comment on.

First: The trauma people are having because Jared has said Sam is not looking for Dean. Some people seem absolutely furious and have decided without even seeing one second of season 8 that they may quit watching for that reason alone. I just don't get that. If I remember correctly Jared said Sam didn't know what to do, where to look. So he decided to have a life without guilt for not saving Dean. Bobby's last words were when it's time to go, go! Perhaps Sam thinks Dean is dead and is leaving him that way. Considering all the problems not leaving each other dead has caused that's a good choice. I do hope they will at some point during the season (remember, Jeremy Carver said much of the story will be told thru flashbacks) show Sam did everything he could and when he realized there was nothing he could do he moved on with his life.

Second: This is what prompted me to comment. I've been waiting for someone to address this, and if they have I've missed it. Many are angry about Adam not being mentioned. In Swan Song in the cemetery when Dean asked to speak with Adam, Michael said Adam's not home right now. Right then I had the thought that the angels made good on their promise and sent Adam to his mother. He said yes to Michael, I haven't seen anything that says the host has to stay put, even though we know with Castiel and Lucifer the host did stay. And that is the reason Sam has never mentioned Adam, because Adam isn't in hell. As usual I could be 100% wrong with this but it's the point of view I've taken and I'm fine with it.

Please, please, please try not to pre-judge season 8. Love or hate AFTER watching it, not before. Okay, I'm done.

P.S. I was soooo excited to Bardicvoice back. I have missed her articles tremendously.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-19 22:01
It's canon that Adam was in the Cage as of Appointment in Samarra; Death would only agree to rescue either Sam or Adam, and made Dean choose.

Many of us find Jared's remarks about Sam not knowing where to start and having no leads as baffling as the emotional aspects, given that Sam has dealt with similar situations with similar resources (as recently as Time After Time) in the past and that 7.23 in fact dropped a number of clues and left a number of obvious starting places.

Not saying that it's impossible that there be a reasonable explanation, but a priori "Sam doesn't know what to do because no Bobby and no Cas" really doesn't work, given that Sam (and Dean) have never actually relied on Bobby and Cas in their brother retrieval efforts.

I'm watching s8. But, bottom line, for many fans Carver has failed to make the season sound intriguing rather than baffling and unappealing. I watched large numbers of my fandom friends go from excited to no longer interested over the course of a month. Selling his concept through spoilers that make people want to watch is part of his job as showrunner. If the season loses viewers because he's failed at that part of his job, I'd say that definitely counts as something squarely and appropriately on his shoulders, not some great injustice. I don't apologize for watching season 8 with much lower hopes than I had coming out of the finale.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-19 22:36
My thoughts exactly, on everything.
E
# E 2012-09-04 19:42
Many of us find Jared's remarks about Sam not knowing where to start and having no leads as baffling as the emotional aspects, given that Sam has dealt with similar situations with similar resources (as recently as Time After Time) in the past and that 7.23 in fact dropped a number of clues and left a number of obvious starting places.

Respectfully, I think maybe you are reading too much into what is very preliminary information. When the majority of these spoilers were released, only 2-3 episodes had even been written and none were finished filming. I think Jared used what he had (which was not much) to create something that sounded at least plausible to the media so that he didn't have to sit through two days of interviews telling everyone that he didn't have any clue what Sam's story was going to be about. Jeremy Carver has since said that the majority of the early episodes are about Dean, so very little Sam info for Jared to even read about, and that the fans have taken information on Sam's story completely incorrectly. Give the season a chance to start.... we can speculate all we want, but since when has this show ever been predictable? Not to mention the fact that showrunners often deliberately give out misleading or patently false information on purpose, just to mess with the fans. This is commonplace on Supernatural, Kripke did it just for kicks and a laugh.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-19 22:38
Hi Linda,

I may be the wrong person to respond to this because I didn't comment on either of these two issues, but I did want to respond to your comment about prejudging.

What I've found is that a lot of times, what one person will see as "prejudging," another person will see as expressing concerns that are based on past history. For example, if a kid walking home from school passes a bully every day, and that bully always hits him in the face, the kid is going to try to avoid the bully. Maybe avoiding his regular route is wrong because he is prejudging (the bully hasn't shown signs that he's going to hit him that day yet), but still, we all predict future events based on past patterns. While someone else can better address this particular Sam concern, I think a lot of the Sam "trauma" you're hearing is a response from the beatings Sam has taken in the SPN fandom from past seasons, particularly season 4.

As for the Adam issue, I would love it if Sam had at some point over the past two years said that Adam wasn't in the cage. I think the frustration is that we've had two seasons since Swan Song already and Adam hasn't even gotten a line of dialogue indicating that Sam and Dean are concerned about him. This may again be connected to the feeling that there's been a recent trend of writing Sam out of character, or not writing his personality much at all. If Sam was bunk mates with Adam in the cage for 180 years, he would be haunted by not being able to rescue his brother.

We're all just chatting here and many people welcome more upbeat comments as well, so don't let a few negative ones bother you. It's nice having a forum that promotes freedom of discussion - where people can feel free to either celebrate or vent, depending on their mood and the issue.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-19 22:50
Quote:
I think the frustration is that we've had two seasons since Swan Song already and Adam hasn't even gotten a line of dialogue indicating that Sam and Dean are concerned about him. This may again be connected to the feeling that there's been a recent trend of writing Sam out of character, or not writing his personality much at all. If Sam was bunk mates with Adam in the cage for 180 years, he would be haunted by not being able to rescue his brother.
That's not entirely accurate -- Dean did show enough concern about Adam to try to get Death to rescue him as well as Sam; it was Death who forced him to choose. It's true that we haven't heard anything from Sam.

My personal fanwank, if it helps, is that even though both of them were in the Cage, it's not clear to me that Sam was interacting with Adam (or Michael). Lucifer was big on the reality-bending mindgames and on the idea that he and Sam were MFEO; I wonder if Sam wasn't locked into Lucifer-control led headspace the whole time.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-19 23:10
OK, I was oversimplifying in my comment. My impression with the Dean/death request was that it felt obligatory - like something he'd ask for any victim, and we've never heard anything from Sam even though he should sympathize more with Adam's plight since they both fell into the cage together.

Your last comment is an interesting theory. I think it's disgusting that Sam has been out of Hell for two seasons now and we still have yet to hear about his experience from his own words. (vent over)
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-19 23:31
What caelius said sums up my feelings. At the end of season seven I publicly said that my line in the sand was that Sam had to rescue Dean from Purgatory. When the spoilers came out that not only does Sam NOT rescue Dean, he totally gives up, I was truly taken aback. I decided that I would cross my line in the sand and I will watch season eight and see how things play out, but Supernatural has pretty well played out all the slack that I have been cutting it for several seasons.

I am well over Sam, the bad brother who doesn't love Dean, and as the spoilers stand, that is what we will be getting yet again. Things could change. The storyline could play out differently. What it comes down to, is that a Sam that would not even try to get Dean back is a Sam that I don't recognize. Without the bond between Sam and Dean and if Sam doesn't feel that bond then Supernatural is no longer the show that I fell in love with. I understand the people who heard this spoiler and said, yeah not interested. As I said, I'm not bailing, but the whole thing will have to be handled carefully for me to stay committed to the show. My devotion to Supernatural is a two edged sword. There are lots of shows that I don't care enough about so I can overlook character changes. Supernatural is special and if Sam or Dean are ruined as characters in my mind, then the show is simply painful to watch.

We had season one of Sam didn't appreciate his family and learns to after Jess died. Season two of Sam didn't love John enough to even be allowed to grieve for him and is selfish because he wants to know why John wanted him dead. Season three of Sam fails to save Dean. Season four of Sam is a blood addicted jerk who is mean to Dean. Season five of Sam spends 20 episodes trying and failing to regain Dean's trust only to jump in the cage. Season six of Sam is a soulless jerk, no we mean it Sam is literally soulless and then he can't remember anything that happened to him. Season seven of Sam is going insane, no really right over there behind the curtain and now Castiel has taken Sam's pain so we can finally see how bad the pain is because Castiel gets to actually BE crazy. I'm not up for Sam doesn't love Dean enough to try and find him AND someone else saves Dean AND Sam looks around, sees Dean is gone, shrugs his shoulders and says heck I'll get a dog and a girlfriend and settle down and on Dean's birthday I'll think of Dean and think "sucks to be you" while Dean makes friends with a vampire and fights side by side with the noble Castiel. I'm willing to give season eight and Jeremy Carver a chance, but right now things look grim from my POV.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-08-20 04:19
Wether it turns out to be true or not about Sam and the Dean situation and lets face it the spoilers are not encouraging. The sad thing for me is putting that element of doubt there in the first place,

I get weary of going into season after season with negativity around Sam because of some spoiler or something else .In this instant I feel it is unnecessary creation from the show.As I said wether it turns out that Sam did do something to help Dean or he didn't
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-08-20 05:21
Sharon, I agree with what you're saying about Sam, and yes the spoilers don't really help. Thing is though, I don't feel like anyone should be tempering thier comments on what's coming up in the season just because it might paint Sam in a bad light to fans. I myself honestly don't think the spoilers are that discouraging. I'm not trying to stir up argument or anything, but I've started to feel that the negativity surrounding Sam will never fully go away, no matter what anyone says. I don't think the guys probably even realised they were putting "that element of doubt" there.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-21 20:54
I'm sorry, I really really hate to argue, please don't take offense, but I feel I must add something. If 'the guys? (I'm thiking showrunner and writers, I guess) don't even realised what were they doing, that only makes it worse. It means they don't know the character/s or don't remember how they acter in the past, so they think it's a normal, acceptable decision for Sam to 'forget' his brother is who knows where.

If they know and are aware of it, I may think they have a plan, something in mind to justify their decision. But if they don't, I just think, with all my respect, someone should rewatch the series before they make a single episode (yeah, late now, I know), or they'll continue making characterizatio n mistakes.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-08-22 02:30
Sage, no offence taken. By the guys I meant everyone who been interviewed and has spoken about season 8. Maybe it's just the way I see it, but to me, nothing anyone has said necessarily means that Sam in no way or form looks for his brother. I meant I don't know if they would've thought that the few spoilers they have given would've lead to people doubting Sam's love for his brother and causing all this negativity. I think they might have chosen a different way to do it if they did. But that's just my view of things.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-20 17:56
percysowner - As a fan that does not have a strong bias toward one brother over another I just wanted to say that I never in all the years of SPN felt that Sam didn't love Dean. Or that Dean didn't love Sam. There have been divisions, fierce anger, fistfights, and distrust. You can have all that and still love your sibling deeply. I think you feel that is the perception of Sam character but I bet most fans feel like me. S1 Sam didn't leave ,IMO, because he didn't care about his family. He just didn't want any part of the hunting life at that point and had to break away to achieve that.I don't understand anyone thinking that Sam did not love John in S2 and who wouldn't want to know why their dad wanted them dead! Sam tried everything in his power to save Dean in S3.S4 Sam, made mistakes, thought he was doing what was best. Jerkiness on both brothers part. S6 Soulless Sam is cold and efficient. Real Sam is not.S7 kind of a mess all around.IF Sam does not pursue looking for Dean, it will be for reasons other than not loving his brother.
I understand that you are not saying that you believe these things of Sam, that you feel that is how he has been portrayed. All I'm saying is you don't have to be a "Sam fan" to love the character. People are going to judge some characters harshly, I just never felt Sam was written as a "jerk", just as a human with all our flaws.
I wish so many people were not so disheartened about the coming season but the upside is that when you expect the worse sometimes anything encouraging is good news. I'm trying to be cautiously optomistic.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-08-20 18:01
Quote:
IF Sam does not pursue looking for Dean, it will be for reasons other than not loving his brother.
Amen to everything you just wrote, Leah D.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-08-21 04:18
Maybe the intention wasn't to write him has a 'jerk' but the writing has given people that idea of him.In the same way I have never believed that he was anymore selfish than Dean and yet selfishness, pride etc all these' too many' are what Sam is now defined by .

The trouble is we have had a different Sam for every season literally he was whatever the story needed him to be and next season we get another Sam .I like Jeremy Carver alot so I am hoping that Sam is given a focus that throw's off alot of these ideas about him .That rather than Sam being defined by the story the story is defined by Sam ? but I am not sure that can be done or wether it is too late.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-21 18:25
Hi Sharon-I get that some people think that Sam was written as a jerk. I was just saying that most fans do not feel that way about Sam, I believe. There are those that do and they are a loud vocal lot! The haters get on a roll sometimes. But I think thats how THEY chose to interpret the character and his actions. I just never saw Sam as a jerk and thats how I interpret his character. The writing has been uneven and storylines botched and dropped altogether sometimes, true. How people choose to decipher the writing is beyond our control. My uneducated guess is that most people who watch the show love Sam. And Dean.
The others? Who cares!
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-21 20:57
I never believed Sam didn't love Dean, but plenty of people did. Plenty of people still have a strong dislike for the character and say Sam doesn't deserve Dean.
Anon
# Anon 2012-08-21 21:07
Quote:
I never believed Sam didn't love Dean, but plenty of people did. Plenty of people still have a strong dislike for the character and say Sam doesn't deserve Dean.
If you don't believe it, then why bring it up? Spreading the nonsense only legitimizes it, you know.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-21 21:43
Eh?
Plenty of fans believed it way before I ever said a word about it, and they let their opinion be heard loud and clear.
Since some fans here seem to be unaware of it, I'm just informing that Sam-hate does, indeed. exist. This site does not allow Sam (or Dean) bashing, but other sites are well different or it happens anyway despite the rules.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-22 17:18
I personally believe there are haters of all the characters, I too have been to other web sites. It is a never ending vicious cycle. I just think those people are not indicative of the fandom as a whole. The squeaky wheel and all, they just get alot of attention.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-08-19 23:39
Quote:


Second: This is what prompted me to comment. I've been waiting for someone to address this, and if they have I've missed it. Many are angry about Adam not being mentioned. In Swan Song in the cemetery when Dean asked to speak with Adam, Michael said Adam's not home right now. Right then I had the thought that the angels made good on their promise and sent Adam to his mother. He said yes to Michael, I haven't seen anything that says the host has to stay put, even though we know with Castiel and Lucifer the host did stay. And that is the reason Sam has never mentioned Adam, because Adam isn't in hell. As usual I could be 100% wrong with this but it's the point of view I've taken and I'm fine with it..
I find this very interesting, because I thought exactly the same thing; that Adam went to Heaven with his Mom when Michael took over his body.

Swap Meat supports this idea, because it clearly showed that Lucifer was interested only in Sam's body as a vessel when the demon girl offered Gary (in Sam's body) anything he wanted if he would say 'yes.' Sam, in the meantime, was in Gary's body, tied to a chair in the basement of the third kid's house, and he seemed limited to the physical strengths of Gary's body.

I also think this was indicated when Michael promised not to leave Dean a blithering idiot once he was done with Dean's body. Raphael, of course, left his vessel a vegetable. Given what we saw in Swap Meat, I thought that meant Michael would send Dean's soul to Heaven, use his body, and then return his soul to it's physical container.

Of course, the writer's not being bothered with that little continuity thing, all of that was changed the minute Death asked Dean to pick either Adam or Sam.

Besides not caring for Adam's character at all, when the writers and/or showrunner can't be bothered with major (let alone minor) continuity points such as this, I don't care that they don't give it a second shot and try to fix it this late in the game. Adam was one of many, many dropped plot lines -- too many.
Mel
# Mel 2012-08-20 13:39
I think Death asked Dean to choose knowing that Dean would pick Sam.
That doesn't mean there was an actual choice to be made. Death was all about 'testing' Dean and showing him that actions have consequences and blahblahnatural orderyadayadaya da. I don't think that Adam was ever in the Cage. (But even if he was - he was protected by Michael and unaware - 'not home right now.')
It was Michael & Lucifer and Sam.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-08-22 23:31
Thank you for pointing that out Mel about Death testing Dean when he told him to choose between Sam and Adam. I had come to the same conclusion but I completely forgot about it when making my comment. For me this is an example of how it is not necessary to have every single loose end explained. Some just require some thinking thru and this is one of them. Others I just don't worry about. I wish I could think of another example right now, but of course I can't. I agree, it was Michael, and Lucifer, and Sam.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-08-20 03:14
I decided to comment before I read the other posts so apologies if I'm repeating things.
I'm happy to see Jeremy back, not necessarily because I believe he can succeed where Sera may have "failed", but just because I've wanted him back ever since he left. I enjoy his writing. He's been behind many of my favourite episodes on the show.
Honestly though, I'm thinking he my well be heading for the same reaction that Sera and Kripke had. This is a very passionate fandom. One way or another we'll make our voices heard, whether it's praise or criticism. The thing is, and it was mentioned a few times by Kripke, that you can't please everyone. And in a fandom that is still so polarised when it comes to some aspects of the show, I don't doubt this will be true of Carver's reign too. What some will like, some won't.
I've mentioned Sera a few times in some of my own criticisms of the show, but I'm not sure I've blamed her outright. I think it just is that when things go wrong we tend to look for a "fall-guy", and it seems these days the showrunner is it.
Thing is though, I honestly don't think Sera did that bad a job. I'm still watching the show and I'm a fickle viewer at best. If I grow to not like a show, I'm likely to stop watching completely no matter how long I've been a fan.
At this stage though I'm going to wait and see. I've come to understand that the vision of the people who actually make the show is likely to be different than mine.
As much as we'd like to believe it's "our show", it's not.
st50
# st50 2012-08-20 09:33
Wow. I am showing my newness to the series here, but wow. I am not sure I see where some of these comments have come from. I have watched all 7 seasons this spring/summer, at least twice, and now watch clips from my favourite episodes while waiting for the new season.

I must say that, while I have wished plot points for Sam were more fully fleshed out in several instances (more often than for Dean) , never have I felt that one brother got "better" treatment than the other, was "more sympathetic" than the other, and never ever have I doubted Sam's ultimate motivation (other than a wtf in the first half of season 6, which was obviously what the writers intended).
He is, at least to me, a great heroic character. Used by demons since before he was conceived, messed up, faulty, mistake-making definitely... but ultimately - and in spite of all the demon manipulations - the brother with the empathetic soul, constantly striving to save people, and make things right (and screwing it up along the way).

I have never doubted his love of his brother, and have in fact often wished that Dean could stop being the tough guy and give his brother some emotional support more often - specifically at the other times when he needs it, rather than only after some injury (or death). Stop worrying about those chick flick moments, Dean!!

I love both Dean and Sam. Their characters have significant flaws, but that's what keeps them human.
As I say, there are times I've been disappointed in how certain (mostly Sam's) plots have played out (or been dropped), but I can't see how anyone can say one brother or the other is "the bad one", is unsympathetic, or the one who doesn't care about the other. Just can't see it.

If it turns out that S8 Sam has truly walked away, I'll want to see the motivation behind it clearly given. It seems out of character right now, but I think that's only because we haven't been given any detail.
I'll hang on, and without the Sam - or Dean - bashing. They are both heroes in their own ways, and I hope they don't change.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-08-20 11:32
[N]ever have I felt that one brother got "better" treatment than the other, was "more sympathetic" than the other, and never ever have I doubted Sam's ultimate motivation (other than a wtf in the first half of season 6, which was obviously what the writers intended).

I'm with you 100% on this. I wish I could understand the other side, and I've tried, but I just don't see it.

I've often wondered how much our perceptions of Dean and Sam's relationship are based on our own preconceived thoughts, feelings, and insecurities. For instance, I as an older sibling, tend to understand Dean more and Sam less, though I have never doubted Sam's good intentions, love for his brother, or motivations. It probably colors my perception of the show and the brothers more than I realize. Similarly, maybe that is why some fans insist that Sam has been portrayed as the "bad" brother who doesn't love Dean. Perhaps their perception has been colored by what they bring to the table as they watch. Whereas I see a younger brother who has made some poor choices because he was broken and desperate and eager to save those in need; others seem not be able to see past Sam's actions to the implications underneath, calling it character assassination. It's very interesting.
st50
# st50 2012-08-20 12:57
Thanks Bamboo24. :-) You may indeed be correct.

As the younger sibling, I guess I can see where Sam is coming from, and relate to him, rather than seeing him as 'bad'. I admire him for rising above and at least attempting to do what he sees as the right thing.

I've got a very protective older sibling, and I love him dearly for it, but it also annoys me terribly at times. And that's how I relate to Dean.

As you say. We all bring something different to the table.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-20 13:25
Internet fan boards are a scary places, aren't they? I can only speak for myself here, but I don't have a problem with the balance of the first five seasons. You can always nitpick - Sam as the demon/Lucifer chosen one had the sexier storyline, whereas Dean's relationships with his father and mother, and his perspective on just about everything, were explored in more depth. I understand why the writers were mysterious in unveiling where Sam was at in season 4, and I think there were attempts at the end of the season to show Sam's internal struggle. Overall, I'm happy with seasons 1-5.

Seasons 6-7 are another story. I don't know what the online fandom was like in the earlier seasons, but in season 6 there seemed to be vicious group of Sam-hating fans that didn't want Sam to have ANY storyline and flooded websites with hate campaigns whenever there was a spoiler about Sam. They'd post on the national entertainment websites about how everything is always about Sam, Dean never has a story, and how "Becky Gamble" was only interested in Sam. It would have been nice if this bad behavior wasn't rewarded, but it appears it was. First Sam's season 6 storyline was abruptly cut short when Sam was resouled in the midseason. A lot of the mysteries around Sam's soullessness were never revisisted, we never heard Sam's POV about this period (other than a tease in Unforgiven). And if soulless Sam was ever once intended to have a direct link to the main souls/Cas/Crowl ey story arc (which I had speculated he was in the first half of the season), those plans were dropped.

The following summer we heard teasers about Sam finally getting his Hell memories back, about him having a mental break, and about exploring his psyche. Again, the Sam-hate campaign switched into high gear and any promo or spoiler that involved Sam got flooded with Sam hate. Coincidently, Sam's psychological storyline was reduced to a couple of episodes of hallucinations, about ten episodes of hand rubs, and a quick-fix from Cas, while Dean got a "15-episode" arc on Dean questioning why he was hunting.

I'm disgusted with what has happened on the show the last couple of years. I have my favorite characters, but I love all of them and would never wish the hate I've seen spewed on Sam (and lately Cas) put on any character. But I have no interest in watching a show where Sam can't have a storyline because a group of immature fans won't let him, where almost all side characters interact and care only about Dean, and where Dean's perspective is the only one shown except for the one or two Sam episodes per season.

I think I'm in the minority in that I think Carver could be good for Sam. Whereas Gamble got shot down as a "Sam girl" every time she tried to do something with his storyline, Carver will have more flexibility to write a fair, balanced story for both brothers. And I think Carver will write a good story for Sam because he's a good writer and putting a character through huge transformations and then never exploring what that character is thinking or dealing with emotionally is just awful writing.
st50
# st50 2012-08-20 13:36
Wow, cd28. Again, wow. I've had my eyes opened today.

I think I'd have been happier without knowing all this was going on/ had gone on. I enjoy the story, and like to see it all unfold without worrying about whether it has been hijacked/manipu lated by one side or another.

This leads back to the initial premise of the article, though. Perhaps the fan-base has too much contact with the media and the creators for them to ever be able to take full credit or blame for how things develop. If/when Supernatural is cancelled (hopefully they'll get their 10 seasons in first), I wonder if that will be a result of the showrunners trying to cater to this vocal element. I sure hope not.

I will make it a personal point to try to avoid reading (or writing) that kind of biased comment.
Thanks for the background info.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-08-20 14:22
I do agree that Carver has an opportunity to be good for Sam in ways that Sera didn't. I didn't hate season six, but I had real problems with season seven and I think Sera deserved criticism for her failings. But I also know that much of the criticism was of the "Becky Gamble" type and that there was real hatred of her from before she ever stepped in. To be fair, I always thought Carver did a good job of writing Sam (the glaring exception was writing Sam totally out of In The Beginning, although I'm not sure if that was his idea or things got changed). It's one of the main reasons that I am not giving up on this season in advance.

I have loved this show and I want to feel that way again. I sincerely hope that Carver and the rest of the staff can right the ship.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-20 19:13
Especially given that some criticisms of Gamble have been framed in very gendered terms, and given that that reflects some very problematic wider issues, can I put in a plea with people to either use "Gamble" and "Carver" or "Sera" and "Jeremy" when speaking of two people in equivalent positions?

The habit of referring to a man and a woman in equivalent roles by the man's last name and the woman's first is an old one that reflects pervasive inequalities, and even if a particular use has no such implications in the writer's mind, it still contributes to the perpetuation of a harmful pattern. I don't mean to be intrusive or lecturey here, but I've seen this pattern in my own professional environment, and I can testify that it's not without real and harmful effects, however innocent the individuals involved often are.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-08-20 21:31
Caelius-Comment noted. You are absolutely right. I've been guilty of that myself. I think in my case it is because I felt like I "knew" her a little better as I've been a fan of hers for years and always enjoyed her dvd commentaries. I didn't even know what Carver looked like until recently. Thanks for pointing that out.
Amy
# Amy 2012-08-20 14:42
I think I'm in the minority in that I think Carver could be good for Sam. Whereas Gamble got shot down as a "Sam girl" every time she tried to do something with his storyline, Carver will have more flexibility to write a fair, balanced story for both brothers. And I think Carver will write a good story for Sam because he's a good writer and putting a character through huge transformations and then never exploring what that character is thinking or dealing with emotionally is just awful writing.


You must not have heard Carver publically state in an interview that he is Dean and Castiel relationships biggest fan. In a season based on perception i dont think this bodes well for Sam at all. And THAT is my perception.
cd28
# cd28 2012-08-20 14:51
I read the comment. Maybe he didn't realize that he was choosing between Cas and Dean and Sam and Dean?
AmyEither way
# AmyEither way 2012-08-20 15:12
Either way it just proves where his loyalties lie. Which isn't bad - writers can have favorites - but why does Sam have to be the victim of his and the writers' outspoken bias'?
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-20 15:30
I think a lot of people's sense of what the writers' loyalties are and how they are reflected in the writing turn out to be very misleading, if that's a comfort to you! I know Gamble had the reputation of favoring Sam, but most of her episodes in her time as showrunner were Dean-focused (and she wrote an amazing Bobby episode, too). Edlund says he most enjoys writing Cas, and some fans read him as anti-Sam, but he wrote far and away the best Sam episodes last season, as far as I'm concerned. Even if Carver really has clear preferences (and saying that no one is a bigger fan of the Dean and Cas relationship than he is seemed more like it was meant to reassure concerns than like a statement of his priorities), it doesn't necessarily mean that the balance of his writing and showrunning will reflect that. And I say that as someone who has a lot of concerns about Carver's direction in general and Sam's storyline in particular.
E
# E 2012-09-08 11:00
Hi Amy? Is Sam really "the victim of his (Carver's) outspoken bias" How? In what way? Can you give me an example of what you mean, because I am having trouble seeing what you mean. Thanks.
Anon
# Anon 2012-08-20 16:29
Quote:
You must not have heard Carver publically state in an interview that he is Dean and Castiel relationships biggest fan. In a season based on perception i dont think this bodes well for Sam at all. And THAT is my perception.
I don't think that's a fair characterizatio n. In that interview, when Carver gave that answer, he was answering a question specifically asking about Cas and Dean's relationship. IMHO it is unfair to take that out of context to mean that he PREFERS Dean and Cas's friendship to Sam and Dean's relationship. That's not what he said. And Carver has written some of the best characterizatio ns of Sam in "Supernatural Christmas" and "Mystery Spot," to name two. It's your right to worry about Sam's storyline in S8, of course. I just am wary of statements being taken out of context or misunderstood.

I guess this is exactly what Alice is talking about. The watchability of an entire season seems to rest on the words of a showrunner who is trying to give clever answers to questions about the season without giving away the plot. I think maybe we read way too much into this stuff, and many times only see what we want to see.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-08-21 02:31
I think this is what I was alluding to higher up when I said I was shocked at fans' reactions to Sam's arc in S4. I got involved in the online fandom around that time, just before S4 started here (we're usually a few eps behind the US), and honestly, I was almost afraid to watch because some fans really gave me the impression that they'd completely ruined the Show. But when I actually watched I did think it was pretty good stuff. This is my problem now, I've read comments (not necessarily here) as recent as probably 2 weeks ago where people are still calling Sam a selfish ungrateful brother, that he needs to respect Dean etc, etc. I've never understood that, nor have I ever understood hate in any form to any character, because I've always loved this show and these characters, even through their darkest periods. The bottom line for me is that SPN is still on my screen.
st50
# st50 2012-08-21 09:12
Quote:
This is my problem now, I've read comments (not necessarily here) as recent as probably 2 weeks ago where people are still calling Sam a selfish ungrateful brother, that he needs to respect Dean etc, etc. I've never understood that.
Exactly! Having just found out this is what people are saying, I really can't understand it. I haven't seen either brother as anything but totally unselfish - Look at the family moto - "Hunting things, Saving people..." Both of them have sacrificed themselves over and over again for each other and for others. Not a selfish bone in their bodies.
Respect Dean? He does! As an older brother. Not Commander-in-ch ief! The fact that they will fight and argue and disagree - even go their own ways - only serves to make them both more human. But ultimately, that bind of love, respect, and the need to protect each other always brings them back.
I don't think the writers ever wrote Sam badly. Incompletely, yes. But his true, giving, loving heart has always been there (with the noted exception of Soulless Sam).

Just my take, but I 100% agree here. Just can't understand the Sam hate. Both Dean and Sam are fantastic characters.
E
# E 2012-09-04 20:06
Unfortunately this is the result of not giving each character equal weight when it comes to point of view. We know what Dean thinks, what he wants, and why he does things. With Sam, not so much....really, not at all. We only get Dean's view of what Sam is thinking, doing or wants and also Dean's view of what he wants FOR Sam, all without ever consulting Sam on any of these issues.

This makes Sam an enigma to most people, and many fans seem to need things to be a little less cryptic and more simply spelled out for them, so they fall back on the old tried and true; Dean-Good/Sam-B ad formula. Some fans can't seem to have two hero's in their story so they vilify the character they understand the least. More's the pity really, because Sam doesn't deserve that. To make Sam an enigma in season 4 (one of the best IMHO) served the plot and created dramatic tension. Keeping him an enigma now, three seasons later, only serves to isolate him and make him an unrelatable villain.

So, here's my prediction for the 'Sam left Dean in Purgatory and never tried to get him out' argument. I think Sam will have done something... made a deal with someone (the Alpha Vamp maybe) for Dean and we won't find out about it until at least mid-way through the season. I mean, Dean is helped out of Purgatory by a Vamp right, the Alpha Vamp wanted Soulless Sam as his 'ultimate weapon'...... could I be hoping for too much to have this level of complexity come into the show? For this amount of tie-in to a past season? I mean, if I can come up with something like this then surely professional writers can do at least as well.

This would account for the absolute dearth of information on Sam at the moment. Sam gets a love interest? That's it?.... nah, it can't be that mundane and non-interesting . The PTB are hiding major plot developments and my guess is the bulk of Sam's stuff is a good chunk of what we don't know. Here's to hoping.
caelius
# caelius 2012-08-20 10:10
As must be quite clear from my comments here and elsewhere, I'm far from uncritical of Carver. But I would like to bring up something in his defense that the terms of this discussion are leaving out: we're talking about pressures in terms of a two-way relationship between showrunner and fandom. But that's not what Carver is working with. He's naturally going to be concerned about the show's survival, and for that, though fandom has a role, the relationship with the network and with casual, less invested viewers is going to be more decisive.

It's great, for fans, that Supernatural in its seventh season and on a Friday was pulling the second highest ratings on the CW. But it's not so great for the CW. They've had a lot of new shows fail to take off; the solid hits in their second, third, fourth year that should be anchoring their new shows just aren't there, apart from the Vampire Diaries. This means that there is pressure on Supernatural (on a new night, paired with a new show for which there are high hopes) that no showrunner coming in for the 8th season of a cult genre show would normally face. And Carver can't ignore those pressures.

Some of the things Carver has said that have been turn-offs for me as a fan (his emphasis on Sam always wanting normal, on Dean as "genetically incapable" of leaving hunting behind, the sense that the basic scenario of the show is in some ways resetting to season one), things that for me undermine a lot of the complexity and cumulative change and dark questioning of its heroic premises that make the show fascinating in favor of a more simplistic and static take, make a whole lot of sense when you think of them in terms of the primary need to entice in some new viewers and to keep the casual audience who aren't going to be looking at something Dean says off-hand in 8.6 or whatever and asking if it's consistent with his attitude in No Exit.

What I'm saying is -- even people like me who aren't inclined to cut a new showrunner much slack from a fandom perspective, it's only fair that we should remember from time to time that it's not people like me who are going to be determining if s9 and s10 will actually happen. I'm sure there is a perfect god of writing and showrunning imaginable who could balance all those concerns, but it's not surprising that an ordinary mortal showrunner isn't going to be the avatar of that hypothetical god. And while I may dislike some of the things that seem to me to be influenced by the pleasing the network and casual viewers side of the equation, I also think that those considerations have had some very positive effects, in the careful advance planning Carver seems to have been doing, for instance.

I'm going to go on griping about things that I think are OOC or inconsistent with prior canon or lazy choices, and I think that's a worthwhile function of fandom in keeping PTB on their toes, but I do genuinely wish Carver luck as well, and recognize that he needs it.
Sage
# Sage 2012-08-21 21:37
I agree with what you just said, I just believe it's partially the reason for some of the decissions the CW can makes.

But I personally think it's an error to put that much pressure into SPN at this point, and the way they're approaching an attempt to increase (or at least keep) ratings is wrong.

A show in its 8th season won't get lots of new watchers, imo. Not saying it won't get any, it obviously does, but not a number high enough. But the opposite effect can very possibly happen: long-term, hardcore fans give up the show when they see it deviates too much from what they've seen all this time and loved so much.

Casual fans watch, imo, more for the MOTW episodes than they do for the myth arc. I think it's a easy to please group, but also an easy to lose one. If something more interesting is being aired, they'll change channels.
Then, you have the FANS. Those that argue about characterizatio n, and who gets a good storyline and if Sam was in character or not when doing this or that. Those are the hard to please. Very hard. But they don't leave as easily. They stay because, even at its worst, the show means something for them. They may not be the largest portion, but when they CW team hears a voice, it is theirs. Casual fans don't spend their time writing about how pissed they are at certain plot point or whatever. For all the shows I follow, I'm only invested enough in SPN to actually type a comment this long about it.

Not only that, but even as a casual, when a character acts out of character or I think it's been written weirdly, I think less of the show and may ven drop it.

The network, other than for those aspects that affect the ratings, and are influenced by the watchers, I have no idea of their motivations, thus I won't say anything.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-08-21 12:24
I don't think it's right to heap praise or blame on one person alone, whether it be the showrunner, writer, actor, etc. Any television show is part of a creative effort. Yes, the showrunner might/must have the last word, but not the only word. I never blamed Eric Kripke or Sera Gamble for anything that was amiss on SPN, and I won't be blaming Jeremy Carver either. I think a certain part of the fandom, or any fandom for that matter, will be upset no matter what happens, that's just human nature. I remember "The X-Files" last seasons, Chris Carter got blamed for a whole bunch of things, not to mention the first movie he did. So let the season start first, then we'll see how it goes. I'm just happy that SPN is still on, and unlike you Alice, it's still "appointment tv" for me every week and will be until the very end.
Carter
# Carter 2012-08-26 16:06
I am so excited for the start of season 8! It’s going to be a great season no matter how it goes, in my opinion. I have been a huge fan of Supernatural since season 1 and I am always recommending it to my friends and coworkers at Dish and they always come back happy with it. It’s nice to know that Jeremy Carver is going to do the show-running, as I wasn’t a huge fan of Sera Gamble. It is really nice to know that I have the Hopper, which will let me record all of the episodes this season to re-watch after it’s finished, and I’ll still have room for my other few shows! I can’t wait for October 3rd to finally get here; I’m ready for more Supernatural now!
Belinda
# Belinda 2012-09-05 07:24
At this point, my expectations are set so low, it can't possibly get any lower unless I just say I hope there is a show to watch.

I've never really had much issues with Kripke's run during SPN, in fact, I thought the show had improved and that the balance between standalone and season arc was done well enough.

And for Sera, I was mostly okay with Season 6 until my personal bias over Cas's messy and convoluted character assassination made me mad but I still stuck with the show then because as much as I disliked what happened, shows had to have change and the playfield be made new - the first episode of Season 7 actually had me impressed and very excited for the set plot of this leviathan thing for the rest of the season but it was downhill from there really. Sure there were a lot of great stories no doubt there and Sera penned quite a few of them, but as showrunner, it is expected that she would have the say on final decisions or at least what the season arc is and quite frankly the stretches of season arc drought between episodes was so long that I pretty much even forgot at some point what the point of the whole season was. The arc wasn't really even an arc anymore than just a random plot-point to be brought up occasionally, it lacked continuity and cohesiveness. It was like there was a game plan but no one knew how to get there so everyone ran around like headless chickens hoping they'd hit the final goal blindly.

My hopes for Carver's return for Season 8? I just want a show with a working and continuous season arc that won't end up being so disconnected as Season 7 - that's really just all I am hoping for at this point. As long as Season 8 has a plan and they stick to it, they go from point A to point B and so on in a cohesive manner and that the whole season arc can tie in together nicely at the end then I'm good with that. Last season had so many random standalone episodes that had no relations or barely any mentions to the main issue that it made the leviathans just ridiculous, not threatening. I just want Season 8 to have a point, to a running arc that works and isn't lost among standalones.