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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Supernatural: The Complete First Season (review)

Now, there’s taking geeky stuff seriously, and then there’s being so damn earnest that someone deserves a smack. Allegedly dreamy Jared Padalecki (House of Wax) and Jensen Ackles star as, respectively, Sam and Dean Winchester, modern-day Hardy Boys-cum-ghostbusters who take on evil spirits and urban legends with about as much genuine gravitas as a helium balloon and about as much humor as a wake. (Actually — and now I’m being totally serious — I’ve been to funerals that were more fun than this.) They’re both very haunted, you know, by their mother’s weird death at the hands (or tentacles, or whatever) of some unknown paranormal creature when they were children, and now they’ve gotta worry about their very haunted Dad, too, who’s gone missing from one of his periodic hunts to corner and kill the demon (of whatever). In their travels through small-town Middle America to find Dad, the demon, and some deliverance from their grief, they encounter and battle vanishing hitchhikers, fiends that show up when little girls at slumber parties inadvertently chant evil incantations, malevolent scarecrows, stuff like that. Not every plot is stolen from The X-Files, but it sure feels like it, and there’s none of that Mulder-esque snark — or that show’s romantic suspense — to lighten the devilish load. This batch of 22 episodes includes the usual litany of bonuses, including deleted scenesa, a gag reel, episode commentaries, and in fact, the only way in which this set truly distinguishes itself is with one clever feature: the ability to turn off the “previously on” recaps before each episode, which are certainly not needed when you’re inhaling a year’s worth of episodes in one or two sittings.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
tv on dvd


  1. I always hoped that Supernatural would turn a corner somewhere and become more like the X-Files. It’s so close. Within grasping distance. But I don’t think they’ll ever make the leap into great television. Then again, I just like watching Jensen, so I guess they don’t HAVE to be good to get their market.

  2. Rats! After the recent–and wretched–“Night Stalker” remake, I was hoping that this would be a decent alternative.

    I get the obvious reasons why a long-running sci-fi show like “The X-Files” would be such an obvious influence on both shows. I just hate the fact that it hasn’t turned out to be a good influence.

  3. Well, I’m moderately amused by your review. Mainly because you seem to think the show takes itself so “earnestly” and is without humour where as I think the humour is abundant and hilariously so. No, there isn’t Mulder-esque snark. There’s Winchester-esque snark instead. No, there isn’t romantic suspense between the two leads. There’s a brotherly bond, with both loyalty and sibling rivalry, instead. This show isn’t the X-Files and if you expect exactly the same as that show, then you are bound to be disappointed. I’m not a long-standing fan of Supernatural. I only just started watching the show when these first season DVDs came out. And I’m not some teeny-bopper just ogling the guys either. I actually think their performances are dramatically entertaining. And Jensen Ackles’ comedic timing is superb. Humour is subjective, but rather than the show taking itself too seriously, I can’t help thinking you took yourself too seriously when you watched it.

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