This was written before the second half of Season 8 (which was awesome, by the way) and was the only review I ended up writing for a blog dedicated to finding good things on Netflix. …I got lazy.
Television: Supernatural (2005-ongoing)
Sam and Dean are two brothers who travel around the United States with fake credit cards, fake FBI badges, and a really nice Impala, hunting ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons, and other paranormal monsters as they go searching for signs of their father, who has gone missing.
The first season is episodic, monster-of-the-week, which may deter some viewers, but I assure you that as the show progresses, it gets more and more serial and delves very deeply into the characters. The show was originally planned as a five-season story-arc, and the fifth season of the show, which deals with Sam and Dean trying to stop the biblical apocalypse against all odds, is what I personally consider to be the single best season of television I’ve ever watched.
After that, Eric Kripke, the initial showrunner, steps down and the sixth season is admittedly a bit shaky in quality. Season 7 as well struggles a bit to be as good as previous seasons. But in those two seasons, and even in its eighth, current season, the show has its moments that just bring you right back in.
The visuals are pretty outstanding. Everything from the blood and guts to the fangs on vampires look as realistic as possible. Even when the show is making fun of the genre, or even making fun of itself (which it does a lot and does surprisingly well given how dark other episodes can be), the special effects never seem downright campy. The music as well is very appropriate for the series’ dark undertones. The song that plays in the “Road So Far” flashback sequences before every season finale is just perfect. The overarching story is amazing once things start to get tied together in the fourth season.
The acting is at times unbelievable. I think the sign of a very good actor is his ability to take on completely different roles and pulling them off. There’s a lot of that going on in this show alone, as some characters become possessed by demons or other monstrous beings and the actors are given the opportunity to become two very different people.
What I love most about the series is the characters. Even with its early episodic structure, the show still managed to be character driven. Sam and Dean are realistically flawed characters who still manage to be quite likable. Some of the episodes made me cry for characters that only appeared in that one episode! And some of the recurring villains are just fantastic to watch. One non-spoilerific example would be the portrayal of Death himself. Yeah, that happened.
If vampires, werewolves, and ghosts (oh my!) aren’t normally your cup of tea, rest assured that this show isn’t ultimately about that at all. It’s about two brothers who deal with their lives as hunters, a risky job they don’t get paid for that no one knows about, where they go around sticking their own necks out saving people. It’s a wonderfully character-driven show with an overarching storyline that will blow your mind. If you decide to watch this series, and I hope you do, don’t stop until you reach the fifth season, or at the very least the fourth, where it starts to show its true potential, and once you’ve finished the first five, if you love the characters as much as I do, keep going.