I just realized in my video in all the discussion about Ada and Missouri, I slipped up and referred to "Ada" when I meant to say Demetria McKinney, the talented actress who portrayed the character. My apologies, Ms. McKinney.
So in writing there are two methods of crafting that are kind of like a spectrum. At one end you have the "outline" method where everything in the story is planned out to the smallest detail. At the opposite end, you have the "exploration" method, where you just put pen to paper and let your imagination run wild.
Of course, the correct and best method is: whatever works for you in telling the story you want to tell.
Looking at TV, you can see how the years have shifted the landscape from one end of the spectrum to the other. Way back at the beginning of TV, most shows had stand alone episodes with little in the way of continuity. Sometimes they would even contradict each other (I think I heard once that the Odd Couple has like 3 different versions of how the main characters met.) As entertainment has moved to the streaming era and stories are now told in a more "prestige" format, things have moved more to having the plot and characters planned out.
When I go back and watch Supernatural's original five seasons and study behind-the-scenes accounts, I find myself impressed with how masterfully Eric Kripke managed to straggle the midpoint of that spectrum. He had plans and goals, but as so often is the case, real life tossed in complications and he would have to make changes on the fly. Still, it remains a testament to his skill that as a whole the story hangs together very well and is convincingly planned out to many viewers. (I may have to do an essay sometime on what I've learned from Supernatural about how to plan a story, yet leave flexibility in it to pull this off.)
With The Winchesters, you can almost see the vague hints of a plan the creators had, yet it gives the impression that they wanted it to appear unplanned. Exactly where the fault lies - whether with the show runner or executives - is a question for an interview. With what we have here, now, and just the show to look at you have to wonder... did the show get too clever for itself? Did the story focus too much on playing inside the mystery box than delivering on a well told story?
Part of me asks, "what if this wasn't Supernatural related? What if it was just its own thing? A show inspired by earlier works rather than directly related?" It would be decent enough, but memorable?
I'm an old Star Trek fan. Casual fan of Stargate too. I've been down the spin-off road several times. The key is always that the name - the brand - should be the hook to get the audience on board, not a crutch for the show to constantly lean on. Once you have people watching, you've got to stand on your own feet, be doing your own thing to keep them coming back. The Winchesters had the raw material to keep bringing people back in my opinion, but week after week it kept ending up half-baked.
Which is a shame, I really did want to like it.
But by all means I'm curious as to your opinion. Do you like the alt-world idea or did you want it to commit to being a prequel? When should they have revealed the truth about the set up? What were your favorite performances and moments from the season? Anything you wanted more of? Less? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks as always for the screencaps, courtesy of Raloria@livejournal.
Enjoy more of Nate Winchester's Video Reviews of The Winchesters and Supernatural, plus book reviews, fan fiction books, games, and more! All found on Nate's Writer's Page!