Sunday, June 17, 2012

TV Series Review: Supernatural (season one)

And it's back to the tv shows! Ever since I started this blog and started making a real effort to try out more American/British tv shows (that weren't animated) I've been amazed at just how much stuff is out there and just how much time it's going to take to try out everything that catches my eye. And for that reason I'm quite grateful to Netflix Instant, since I have quite a few friends who love Supernatural it was invertible that I would try out the show someday and I was quite happy that I didn't have to resort to renting one DVD at a time from Netflix (which, while it isn't the worst way to watch a show is not my preferred way). In any case, onto the review!


 Summary: Sam and Dean Winchester were raised by their father after their movie died under mysterious circumstances while Sam was just a baby and grown up learning the family business, killing demons. Sam wants nothing to do with any of this but when Dean shows up at his apartment telling him that dad hasn't been home for a few days he's drawn back in, especially when he learns that their dad was on the trail of the demon that killed their mom.

The Good: Regardless of medium I'm always curious to see how American-set shows deal with the supernatural since the US doesn't really have it's own mythos to draw from. There is an eclectic collection of urban legends and tall tales that are uniquely USian and parts of European fairy tales are often weaved in as well (less often someone will draw inspiration from one of the many Native American mythologies). All the influences Supernatural uses fit well and managed to feel like a cohesive, American, mythos of sorts. The episodes were very well paced (very formulaic but still well paced) and none of the episodes felt like misses. Both Dean and Sam showed some character growth and overall this show kept my attention and was interesting to watch, I fully plan on continuing.

The Bad: The season did however end on a cliffhanger (not as bad as Grimm's admittedly, not by far) and, when I think about the season as a whole, very few of the episodes related back to the overarching "we're trying to find the demon that killed our mom" plot that is supposed to tie it all together. I have been told that the first five seasons are supposed to make up an ever larger arc (it sounds like what the first five seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer did) which would explain it but I do like each episode in a show to have some connection to a larger plot if there is one and, despite the fact this show is very episodic, there is one. Also, perhaps it's just because Netflix would pause at the worst moment each time and buffer, but was it really necessary to have a "PREVIOUSLY ON SUPERNATURAL" segment at the beginning of each episode? I'm of the opinion that recaps should only be used when shows have multiple plot lines running and need to remind the viewer what is important this week, something that was not a problem at all on Supernatural and simply annoyed me every single time.

The Audio: The theme I remember best from the show is the one used to close the credits with, the show didn't have many other themes I found distinct and had an even shorter than usual clip for the title card. I was more interested in the visuals than the sound but I thought everything worked well on that end.

The Visuals: I don't know if someone on the production staff took issue with bright colors or such (I kid, I know it was on purpose) but the colors are much less saturated than normal and everything looks a bit gray. It's a distinctive look, much more distinctive than American tv shows look, and for a show about demons and such it works. Other than that note, don't have much else to say about the visuals of the series, there wasn't a lot of CGI used which I thought helped but that's because I'm rather picky about CGI.

So again, I plan on watching at least the next season (I'm aware I probably just committed myself to the next four, don't expect me to be done with this before November), it just won't be for a little bit since I have a few other things I want to try first.  

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