The first ever Supernatural Marathon is airing on Turner Network Television (TNT) this coming Monday and for me, I think thatâ€™s worthy of some special attention. TNT is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s 24-hour advertiser-supported service offering not only original drama series but also award winning off-net dramas such as Law & Order, ER, Las Vegas, Cold Case and Charmed during daytime viewing, all of which will be preempted for the marathon. First, let start with how a Supernatural marathon ever came to be in the first place and then discuss the episodes they decided to air. (For of list of the episodes scheduled to air, see Winchester Family Business.com, Breaking News! - TNT Picks Up Supernatural For US Syndication)
Marathons are mainly run on cable networks where the networks have purchased the â€˜cashâ€™ rights to syndicate a series; hence they can run their own choice of commercials during its airing. Of course, they want shows that have good viewer following (generally 18-49 group) so the only shows syndicated, with a few exceptions, are those with at least 100 episodes. Supernatural will have its 100th episode this April 15, and would have sooner, if not for the writerâ€™s strike-shortened third season. Most shows NEVER make it to 100 episodes, so that is a BIG milestone for our show. Also, with syndication, most series actually starts earning a profit, which is a good reason for continued renewal of the series. In addition to that, TNT is owned by the same parent company (Time Warner) as Warner Brothers, who owns Supernatural. That is added bliss to the whole issue. Running a show on TNT (one of the top five cable networks) is a good way to increase viewers for the current season (and, of course, a season 6), especially as TNT is currently seen in 85.8 million homes.Also TNT will likely increase the viewing audience because while all networks want the 18-34 year old group, TNT also targets the 25-54 year olds, so this syndication and marathon will help give Supernatural exposure to that group as well.
So, why run a marathon? There are many reasons to run marathons, but the most common is to celebrate the acquisition of a series and promote it to the networks current viewers and that is indeed the case here. For those who donâ€™t already know, the shows airs on TNT everyday at 10:00am EST right after 2 hours of Charmed, however the marathon will bump one hour of Charmed, start at 9:00am, and run till 7:00pm.
So how did Supernatural make it to syndication and itâ€™s first ever marathon?
The main reasonâ€¦â€¦FANS!!!!! Sci-Fi fans tend to be a loyal, dedicated and vocal lot, and Supernatural fans have been very loyal, very dedicated and the most vocal Iâ€™ve ever encounteredâ€¦they even managed to stop Twitter! In addition, Supernatural conventions, the first was in London in 2007, have continued to grow in numbers, and expanded throughout Europe and the United States, with fans from the United States, Europe, China, and Australia attending. Supernatural book sales are growing (Iâ€™ve read them allâ€¦my favorite being Witchâ€™s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte) with three new novels being released this year. All are available at Amazon. Also the Supernatural Magazine from Titan has a large worldwide distribution.
And of course, fans make the ratingsâ€¦especially in the ever coveted 18-34 year old audience group which have continued to increase in number every year. For a little history, the series premiered on Tuesday 9/13/05 and after the first four episodes, WB decided to continue the show for a 22 episode season. During those first episodes, the series was ranked third in males aged 18â€“49 and continued to do well once moved to Thursday with an average episode audience of 4.5 million viewers.(Winchester Family Business, Ratings, All Seasons of Supernatural)
By the third season, it ranked eighth, in that group, of all returning series broadcast by a major network. The fourth season premiere averaged its highest rating ever since itâ€™s debut on The CW with 3.96 million viewers, a 33% surge over the third season premiere in adults 18â€“49, up 42% from the previous year. For the fifth season premiere, viewership increased by 6% in women 18-34. Taking DVR viewings into account viewership increased 38%, with women 18-34 increasing by 35% and adults 18-34 by 47%. So fans LOVE Supernatural!
So how about the entertainment industry? Do they love Supernatural? I think a look at the nominations and awards the series has received can answer that.
In 2006 the pilot was nominated for two Emmy Award, one in "Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore), the second for "Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series". In 2008, the series received a second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series for the episode Jus In Bello (3.12).
The pilot also was nominated for a Golden Reel Award in the category of "Best Sound Editing in Television: Short Form â€“ Sound Effects and Foley". The episodes Salvation (1.21) and All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2 (2.22) gained the same nomination in 2007 and 2008 respectively. And, Raelle Tucker received the Constellation Award for "Best Overall 2007 Science Fiction Film or Television Script" for What Is and What Should Never Be (2.20).
Additionally, the series has been nominated for a Saturn Award in "Best Network Television Series" for 2006, 2008, and 2009, and several nominations in the Teen Choice Awards for "TV - Choice Breakout Show". Jensen Ackles was nominated for "TV - Choice Breakout Star" in 2006, and Jared Padalecki received a nomination for "Choice TV Actor: Drama" in 2007.
The guest cast of the series has also been nominated many times. In 2007, Colby Paul as Michael in Something Wicked (1.18) was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the category of "Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actor", followed in 2008 by Nicholas Elia as Ben in The Kids Are Alright (3.2). In 2008, Conchita Campbell (Maggie - Playthings, 2.11) was nominated for "Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress". Jessica Harmon (Lily - All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1, 2.21) gained a nomination in 2008 for a Leo Award in "Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series", followed in 2009 by Mandy Playdon (Lizzie - Family Remains, 4.11).
And of course the biggest award so farâ€¦the 2009 People's Choice Award for "Favorite Sci-Fi / Fantasy Show". But that was not the only award won in 2009â€¦.for a complete list, check out Aliceâ€™s Supernatural: Plenty of 2009 Year End Recognition.
As for other accolades, The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan named Supernatural among the top ten shows of 2009, stating that the "thoughtfully crafted show got bolder and more creative in 2009, coming up with hilarious and innovative episodes and taking risks with its storytelling." She also adds, "Supernatural's cast features some of the most solidly talented and underrated actors on TVâ€. Mike Hale of The New York Times also named the series on his top ten list for the year: "Supernatural is currently among the wildest and most entertaining series in prime time."
Quite a list, huh, and every award and nomination is very well disserved! Know wonder our beloved series made it to its 100th episode, syndication and first ever marathon!
So how do the episodes they are airing in the marathon, represent the series? I think very well. They choose the most popular episodes to introduce their daytime audience to, which should generate a lot of continued interest. They are funny, serious, sad, creepy, and just plain fascinating. They give a wide range of insight into the brothers, their job, their family (both present and past) and their relationship, with hints at the myth arc, so prevalent to the show. The episodes show a wide range of the series technical abilities, costumes, monsters and humor. Anyone viewing the marathon after having seen the previous daily episodes will have a good understanding of some of the inside jokes, and those viewing the series for the first time, will get a good feel for the show, and a BIG desire to watch it more.
So Happy Supernatural Marathon for all those who can watch it. I think it will be a fun collection of episodes to see-back-to-back. Let TNT know you appreciate their syndication of the series and their marathon, and that weâ€™d like to see more marathons in the future. I, personally, would like to see a primetime marathon with all myth arcs episodes at once. That would be so awesome!