There are many fans out there who don’t know the history of this site. I found Supernatural a week before the season three premiere, and started blogging about it during the infamous season three writer’s strike. Turns out there weren’t a lot of Supernatural bloggers back then. By the time I started this website, somewhere in the late summer of 2008, there was an actual demand for Supernatural material. Our beginnings were humble, mostly the rantings of this opinionated redhead until Elle2 joined me in the early part of 2009. But fans loved it and we were very popular before we knew it.
My dilemma, though, is since 2008 I have posted over 1600 articles on this site. How do I choose five, let alone one? I chose to focus on the early material, the stuff long forgotten or unknown for most. Here’s a list of four works that I’m particularly proud of, and my one selection to re-publish.
Four Articles for ConsiderationThis first article is my attempt to mirror the most awesome segment from The Dilbert Future, “Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek.” After watching “It’s a Terrible Life,” I was just jaded enough with corporate life where I though comparing what happened in the episode with what really happens in Corporate America would be fun to do. Definitely not as funny as “Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek”, but hopefully it brings a smile.
One of my most favorite subjects in the years has been budgets and ratings. There’s so much that happens behind the scenes that people don’t realize. This was a very huge article for me because it received a lot of attention. No one talked about the business behind Supernatural at the time (and many don't since). Plus, it cracks me up that Supernatural had to struggle to deliver superior episodes on half the budget they have now. It just goes to show what can be done on pure creativity.
Here are two of my biggest “fan girl” stories. The first was attending my very first Comic Con as a blogger covering a Supernatural press room. The show’s presence was so much smaller back then. We had a small press room, a much smaller number of bloggers covering the show, and the room that the Supernatural cast panel was in only held 1500 people. Now it’s in the cavernous Hall H and a main event.
The second article were my thoughts after my first Supernatural convention, Chicago con, and meeting Jared and Jensen for the first time. My world kind of fell apart, something not expected for this pragmatic writer.
I didn’t even include my Sam Winchester hair or the Wisdom of Dean Winchester articles, any of the numerous reviews and recaps I’ve done since season three, my multiple exclusive interviews with Sera Gamble, Short Attention Span Theater, or my Deeper Looks and Awards. Just dig through the 66 pages of my articles list on my profile if you’re interested in any of those!
My Auld Lang Syne SelectionNow, for the article I’ve selected for this feature.
By the middle part of season three, right when I was deconstructing and analyzing with great detail every Supernatural episode, no man had greater adoration and respect from me than Producer/Director Kim Manners. He was the patriarch of the cast and crew, the man who delivered the heart, passion and soul behind the scenes in Vancouver. His early influence on Supernatural made the show what it is and was a crucial reason why the show resonated so much with the loyal fans. He knew how to sell a story and make it matter.
I was stunned to find out the morning of January 26, 2009 that he had passed away from cancer the evening before. I was given a tip before it was announced to the public, and spent the whole morning trying to verify the news. The confirmation that I received later that day hit me and the SPN family hard. None of us knew he was sick, and many worlds were shattered that day, mine included. I honestly believe that Supernatural hasn’t been quite the same since his passing.
I wrote this piece in about 30 minutes. I was so grief stricken and heart broken I just wrote what came to my mind at the time. I posted this article on Blogcritics that day, and it had such an impact it was picked up for republish on IMDB. I posted it on the WFB too, and together we all shared our feelings of loss and devastation.
There are no amount of words that could capture what this man meant to everyone in not just Supernatural but the industry in general. When I first met Misha Collins months later, he told a small group of us how Kim had stayed at the same hotel in Vancouver for 17 years and what he meant to the staff of that hotel. They couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t be around anymore to brighten their lives, like he did for all those years.
It’s those stories that trump a collection of words on a page, but I thought it would be fitting to remember this great man, who would no doubt be stunned that Supernatural has gone as long as it has. Things were looking rather bleak for the longevity of The CW back in season four and he knew he wasn’t leaving the show behind in the best circumstances. I hope he’s smiling up in Heaven right now, grinning over what his dedication and hard work helped build. Supernatural has truly left a huge mark in the legacy of television, and many fans don’t realize that none of this would have been possible without this man leaving his delicate imprint.
We still really miss you Kim.
In Memory of Kim Manners, Supernatural Executive Producer and Director
Originally Published January 26, 2009
Kim Manners, Executive Producer and Director for Supernatural, as well as long time Producer and Director for The X-Files, died on Sunday evening after a battle with lung cancer. Below is the official statement and reaction from Eric Kripke.
"Supernatural" executive producer & director Kim Manners passed away last night in Los Angeles, following a battle with cancer. Below please find a statement from "Supernatural" creator & executive producer Eric Kripke:
Everyone at 'Supernatural' is walking around in a daze, shocked and absolutely devastated. Kim was a brilliant director; more than that, he was a mentor and friend. He was one of the patriarchs of the family, and we miss him desperately. He gave so much to 'Supernatural,' and everything we do on the show, now and forever, is in memory of him.
When I first started watching Supernatural, little did I know that I was reuniting with a director whose work I'd been watching most of my adult life. Something about the episodes he directed seemed very familiar, and one quick visit to IMDB told me why. His fingerprints were all over a wide variety of shows. He directed 52 episodes and was a producer for one of my favorite programs, The X-Files. It's funny how when I watched TV back then, I like many others only paid attention to Mulder and Scully, and cursed the name of creator Chris Carter when the mythology ran amuck. I seemed to gloss over the other names in the credits.
Apparently I did a ton of glossing over. One of the first TV shows I ever got into was 21 Jump Street. He directed nine of those episodes. The hubby and I are avid fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was stunned to find his name under the directing credits for the episode "When The Bough Breaks." I remember being forced to watch the awful The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. at my friend's house one evening, complaining how that was an hour of my life I'd never get back. Kim Manners even did seven episodes of that. Hey, a man's gotta work.
Kim Manners always got the call for the season finales and season openers of Supernatural, his name tied to landmark episodes like "Devil's Trap," "In My Time of Dying," "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II," "No Rest For The Wicked," and one of his last episodes, "Lazarus Rising." He was known for taking episodes and at pitch perfect moments giving them intensity, heart, sensitivity, humor, and using every possible element at his disposal to deliver a story that kept viewers deeply involved from beginning to end. Sure a director usually can pull that off here and there, but when Kim Manners managed to do that each time in a medium where there's no time or budget for perfection, his record is stunning.
He had a gift for telling the story by filming the maximum emotional impact, using unique camera angles and close-ups and setting the perfect mood so that more came from the characters than just the lines on the page. Two scenes of perfection that instantly come to mind are Dean's somber vigil over Sam in "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II" and the closing act of "Mystery Spot."
He had the distinction of helming one of the most controversial episodes in television history, the disturbing tale of inbreeding in The X-Files' "Home." It bothered people so much it was banned from FOX after it aired. He also proved his ingenious ability to rehash the Groundhog Day premise, directing The X-Files' "Monday" and Supernatural's "Mystery Spot," both considered to be among each series' best. He was also the director for both parts of the final X-Files episode "The Truth," and we all knew his name was etched on Supernatural's finale as well. We can't fathom anyone else taking that spot behind the camera when that time comes.
He also knew how to seamlessly unfold the plot and keep audiences engaged even with the weakest of scripts. Many forget that he was there when Supernatural was finding its footing, drawing the short end and being forced to direct what many consider to be the worst episode of the series, "Bugs." However, "Bugs" also provided some of the most amusing behind the scenes stories, some told by Mr. Manners himself.
"They bring in six hundred bees, or however many bees, and I was like 'Oh my god, I can't wait to see the dailies!` But you watch the dailies and you can't tell there's one bee in that room - they just don't read on camera or they were too sluggish. (...) And you just start laughing because you put your crew in a room with hundreds of bees and then you can't even tell if there are any bees on camera. It's a bizarre job sometimes."
Bizarre job indeed. The fact is he could do it all. One of his first directing gigs was Charlie's Angels. His name is also attached to two Baywatch episodes as well. Given the fact he was largely responsible for pulling off the very steamy Sam/Madison sex scene in Supernatural's "Heart,"he obviously had plenty of gratuitous experience to draw from. He could do complex scenes like that as well as action, suspense, horror, comedy, romance, scifi, and mystery, cementing his reputation as one of the most versatile television directors in history.
Lucky for him he also had several outstanding actors at his disposal and knew how to work their strengths. Just look at a few of those that have been on the other side of his cameras. Robert Wagner, Stephanie Powers, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Johnny Depp, Brian Keith, Fred Dryer, Gerald McRaney, Jameson Parker, Patrick Stewart, David Hasselhoff, Michael Chiklis, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Mitch Pileggi. Throw in two young actors by the name of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, both growing substantially from his years of brilliance, and I have my TV dream list. It was likely his too.
The last episode he directed for Supernatural was the stunning "Metamorphosis." Like others I wondered why the show's top director was missing from the credits for upcoming episodes, but none of us knew he was ill. We thought he was taking a break; after all he'd earned it after his storied career. The announcement of his passing crushed us all, and we are having a hard time picturing the show without him.
To the family of Kim Manners and everyone who were close to him not only at Supernatural but at other shows as well, you all have my deepest sympathies. As Eric Kripke so eloquently said, everything done on the show now and forever is in memory of him. The same can be said for television in general. A brilliance like his will be sorely missed.
Header Picture courtesy of Supernaturalwiki.com