When a show has been on as long as Supernatural with the same cast and recurring characters and actors, many things make it into the finished project that weren’t scripted.
A few weeks ago, more like a couple of months, mid-May, I watched the season fourteen finale of The CW television series, Supernatural. It feels both very close and very far away at the same time. The plot twist, the cliffhanger, the new apocalypse, and we’re expected, as with all season finales, to wait three to four months (which always seem like an eternity) for resolution. In this case though, when Supernatural returns in one more year, the season finale will also be the series finale. It will end with (my guesstimate) three hundred twenty-seven episodes and fifteen seasons. I’ve seen them all except one: Bugs. My son tried to trick me into watching that one; he failed. I don’t have huge bug issues, but I’m not taking any chances.
Now that they’ve announced officially the end of the series, re-announced at their final Hall H panel at SDCC, and officially begun scouting locations and filming for season 15, I thought I would write down a few thoughts about this wonderful part of my life. Like many things in hindsight, it came to me later than a lot of the show’s fans; about halfway through the run, although those of us starting in the middle wouldn’t know that of course. For several years, whatever the current season was we thought it might be the last until that final renewal-non-renewal video announcement that came directly from the actors, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins.
The series began in 2005, and I had heard about it around the time when it premiered. I don’t know why I made the choice not to watch it, and it was definitely a choice. I knew one of the lead actors from my soap opera, and that may have played into it, but I don’t remember, although I do think it was toted as a horror-genre series, and I do not like horror. That may be hard to believe considering what shows I watch now.
I began watching at the end of 2012, early 2013. It was the middle of season 8, and I binged like I’ve never binged before in order to catch up before the show returned from winter hiatus. I spent two weeks on Netflix, living and breathing Supernatural. I would not recommend this method. I was actually seeing things. There are definitely healthier ways to marathon a series.
There are also many emotional ties that I have to Supernatural and starting it at this time. It wasn’t a conscious decision to become a regular viewer. My friends were talking about the episodes, and I wanted to be involved in those conversations; I wanted to understand the references that my group was making. I didn’t really want to start a new series, but I also didn’t want to feel left out.
I was newly embroiled in a deep depression, just diagnosed and still adjusting medication, beginning talk therapy, beginning a writing class, beginning my religious conversion journey despite not being wholly aware of that. So many beginnings all at once. After seeing all of the episodes on Netflix, I rewatched them on TNT. I could come in at any episode, and whether or not I remembered it, I could still enjoy where they were, and I could watch them in or out of order. It became the soundtrack of my life, both on screen and on my MP3 player. It still is. When I’m having a low day, I’ll put on a random episode on Netflix and let it be my background music. Eventually, Supernatural would become one of my most steadfast coping components in my daily survival toolbox.
My introduction to the series and the first episode I watched was The French Mistake [6.15]. It was a fourth wall breaking, meta-tastic, and gentle fan teasing (including the title which I’ve only just learned the meaning of!) all at once. They brought out all the actor stereotypes including huge houses, huge egos, behind the scenes backbiting, nods to tabloids and more. They killed one of the actors! The actor! They used one of the leads’ actual wedding photo. They played a clip from the other lead’s soap opera acting. They made fun of their unusual names. And in all of that it still kept the continuity of the storyline while having fun and giving the fans a gift in the process, and for me it cemented it as one of my favorite episodes even if I never watched another, but after a few days, I did. I don’t recall that second episode, but another one followed, and I stopped resisting, becoming like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.
It opened up a whole new world.
I was in love.
Not with any one actor or plot point or trope or merch, but with all of it; the whole damn thing. It made me smile.
Despite my dislike of horror and bump-in-the-night, suspend-your-disbelief but it could maybe actually happen scary shows, I was pulled in. I mean I didn’t even watch The Twilight Zone; that was too disturbing for me. But the opening of this: Mom dies, Dad’s missing, then Jess, and I was off to the races. Add in the puns, the geek culture service, the pop culture references, it was as if I was part of the writer’s room.
Even the bad episodes were loved by me. Each episode has something for everyone. I loved the brothers’ relationship. Their parental surrogate Bobby. The lore. The puns and pop culture shout-outs I’ve mentioned. The apocalyptic. The moral dilemmas. The character development for all the characters. The Linda Blair cameo, the catch phrases, the music. I began to recognize some of the writing styles – Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Bobo (Robert) Behrens to name three.
It was (is) everything.
I saw myself in so many characters – Dean’s parenting, the ever present mother to Sam (and every other character from Krissy to Charlie). Sam’s search for knowledge and love of history and research. Castiel’s naivete and need to make things right. Charlie’s geekiness. Crowley’s and Gabriel’s snark. Death’s love of junk food. Chuck; the writer and world builder. Jack’s innocence and wanting to please. Jody and Mary; the Mama-bears. Mick, the outsider wanting to belong somewhere and full of regret. I’m all of them, and yet none of them.
This mini-love letter is also an introduction to a fifteenth season series of things I love of, from, about Supernatural. It may be monthly, it may be weekly during the season, it may be sporadic, but I have so much to say and share on this extraordinary and inspiring series and my journey alongside it.
It’s phenomenal. It’s mythical.
Supernatural returns to The CW television network for its fifteenth and final season on Thursday, October 10th at 8pm. I’ll see you there.
The annual do-good, do-crazy scavenger hunt began yesterday. Bright and early on the west coast, mid-morning where I live on the east coast. Previous years finally taught me to give the website a little time to crash and then come back, so instead of jumping on right at 10am, I waited about fifteen minutes.
In the twenty-four hours and change since the list dropped, I have been communicating with my team, having a few laughs at my own expense, and writing up my notes for the items I’ve chosen.
Historically I’ve done about ten items per year. Assuming each team member does that many, that gives us a finished item list of 150. Some do more, some do less; we all do what we can. I’ve already seen some other teams dealing with miscommunication, and I may be biased, but for the most part, we have always had good communication. We don’t mete out a certain number of projects per person or restrict how many each teammate can claim. We all use the honor system and don’t take on more than we can handle. After a couple of days, we will put some back or trade or ask for help and feedback. For the most part, we get it done.
I’ve claimed six items plus two team items. There are two more that I have my eye on, but I want to get a couple of these finished first and leave those open for others. If they’re still there by mid-week, I may add them to my item list.
One of the major rules is that you can’t share anything from the list until the hunt is over. That day is Sunday, August 4th. The hunt ends on Saturday, but I can’t remember the time. There’s a countdown clock on the Gish website.
I can (probably) tell you that I’ve sketched out a few of the items, made a shopping list for one, planned on some scanning/photography for another. I’ve done first drafts for poems and drawings, one was really quite good, and one was just awful; terrible proportions. I need to dig out my sewing machine unless I want to hand sew the project I’m thinking of. My list includes one charity item and one global environmental item.
This year’s list has a good balance, splitting the items into fun, outside the comfort zone, charity, compassion, political, think global/act local, and in looking back over this list and previous lists for the last six years (plus this one) that I’ve participated in, it’s a good reminder that when the one week of the scavenger hunt isn’t going on, our lives should include the same balance. Not necessarily evenly split, but definitely parts of all those elements:
- Fun activities
- Activities that make us take a little step outside of our comfort zone
- Charitable works
- Be compassionate
- Get involved in your local government and politics. At the very least, register to vote and then vote on November 3, 2020, and every year thereafter.
- Think global and act local. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
- Help a neighbor.
- Pay something forward.
I won’t be posting the monthly pages this year, but I thought I’d share the first month of The Women of Supernatural’s 2019 Calendar, In This Family. There’s space for writing a thought to go along with the theme of the month or I can add a picture of my and my family. I love the Supernatural family!
Happy New Year!
“True strength, is willing to be vulnerable.”
– Alaina Huffman
Photographed by Illya Swan for the Supernatural If I Could Tell You 2018 Calendar.
This was just a silly thing from last week. I can’t explain why when I saw it, it gave me feels. It’s another example of a small thing that pulls the fandom family together, and reminds us that we aren’t alone. We have allies and friends, and support.
Be a Rebel. Love yourself loudly.
– Briana Buckmaster for the Supernatual If I Could Tell You Calendar, 2018
[No copyright infringement intended and no money made.]
Fear, you have no power over me.
-Lisa Berry, If I Could Tell You Supernatural 2018 Calendar
[No money made on Ms. Berry and Mr. Johnstone’s work, and no copyright infringement intended.]
Dare to be authentically you.
-Amy Gumenick, If I Could Tell You Supernatural 2018 Calendar
[No money made on Ms. Gumenick and Mr. Hodges work, and no copyright infringement intended.]
Two nights ago, my daughter asked me about the back door pilot for Supernatural. She was wondering if they had started filming the new series yet. I answered that we hadn’t heard if it was picked up, but I was sure that they would be given a chance, at least a thirteen episode mid-season introduction like they did with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
My husband laughed at me.
“We?” he asked, almost mockingly. “Do you have an inside line to the producers?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” I said with the surety of an arrogant know-it-all.
Of course, I don’t and I don’t really know any of the producers or showrunners personally, but I do know the Wayward Daughters Academy and I follow the Wayward Sisters cast and writers (as well as Supernatural) on social media, so if I were going to hear about it, I would certainly be one of the first of the fans to hear about it. This was a total grassroots effort. Just getting this far was a fandom and social media triumph. Such is the #spnfam.
When I know, you will know.