Supernatural will end as The CW’s enduring success story
October 10, 2019 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Supernatural, in its own odd and unexpected way, has been the defining show of The CW. It’s never been the water-cooler series, generating heat for the network the way zeitgeist-penetrating shows like Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, or Riverdale. And it’s never been a ratings juggernaut, pulling down record numbers like its superhero programming has done in more recent years. But what it has done is endured.
posted by Etrigan (57 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Supernatural has been going on for so long it started on the WB.

(I remember when it seemed like it was going to be cancelled in the first couple of seasons)
posted by dinty_moore at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't watch the show on a regular basis, but my mom is a fan. And I've watched enough episodes with her and had her explain enough of what has gone on to feel like I need to be there when the brothers drive off into the sunset in their Impala.
posted by Fukiyama at 8:57 AM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Supernatural is a show I've watched on and off over the years. I'll go for a year or two without watching it at all, and then I'll catch up over the course of a few weeks, usually while knitting or something. At this point I've seen every episode up until season 14, and I'm working my way through that on Netflix now.

None of that is a very interesting fact. But I can't believe it's been on for so long. I mean that in a good way.

There have of course been some missteps over the years, and some seasons are better than others. I cringed years ago when they started involving an actual God and biblical angels, but those characters grew on me.
posted by wondermouse at 9:10 AM on October 10, 2019


This is the only show I've seen that captures how The X-Files felt for me. People like to talk about Fringe, but miss me with that nonsense. This, right here, is the spiritual successor to Mulder and Scully!
posted by pwinn at 9:14 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was really into Supernatural a few years back and fell off around season 6. After learning that it's ending I'm in for a rewatch and amazed that this show has been around for 14 years. It's a soap opera with monsters, and the characters hook you like a soap opera does. I can't really believe it's ending- it's the end of an era and I'm a bit sad about it even though I'm just getting back in.

I also noticed this time around that Supernatural was a Kim Manners show- Kim Manners also produced a lot of The X-Files, another fantastic, addictive show that had a pretty long run and characters you get super invested in, and that also kind of defined and responded to its era in a similar way that Supernatural does. Now that he has passed, I wonder if future shows will be able to do what his did.

How are we going to get through the 20's without Sam and Dean protecting us? Who will our heroes be now?
posted by windykites at 9:23 AM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


How are we going to get through the 20's without Sam and Dean protecting us? Who will our heroes be now?

ugh, I'm angry about the CW passing on Wayward Sisters again.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:33 AM on October 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


I sat through a preview of the show at San Diego Comic Con back in the day and remember saying something along the lines of, "It's fun and the dudes are pretty, I'll give it my standard three episodes to catch me."

It caught me. Although I gave up sometime in 2015 just because life got too busy and I caught myself fast forwarding through more and more. I'll definitely make an effort to be there when it leaves, if for nothing else than for the good memories of seeing Ben Edlund's name on the screen and dancing happily.
posted by teleri025 at 9:49 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've only spottily seen the show but some good friends of mine got way into while I was living with them and even if I didn't watch the whole episodes, I really enjoyed talking to them about it and the recaps. It seems like a really well crafted show and if you're into monsters and myths I can't think of another show that so extensively explores so many types. It's a Monster Manual in TV show form.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:50 AM on October 10, 2019


Have not watch the last couple of seasons but I have really enjoyed this show for most of it's years. The first 5 years are excellent and Jensen Ackles is the hottest man I have ever met.
posted by Gwynarra at 10:00 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I started watching Supernatural in fall 2014. By then it was already on season 10. I wish WWS had taken off. I feel as though there's still loose threads out there in the Supernaturalverse. (Shedim? I hardly know them!)

I think the X files was slightly better at its peak, but Supernatural never went off the rails as hard as M&S did, even though it has stretched pretty thin in spots
posted by Query at 10:03 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


This show has always sounded like it'd be right up my alley, but I've never watched it. (Hell, I didn't get around to watching Buffy until it was over, only to get really into it.) It's probably time to correct that, especially since I've gotten burned out on a lot of other comfort-food TV I watch.
posted by heteronym at 10:03 AM on October 10, 2019


The first 5 years are excellent and Jensen Ackles is the hottest man I have ever met.

I mean, Jared gives him a run for his money. I spend a lot of the time watching that show trying to decide between the two. I quit after season 12 because I cancelled cable and got busy, but now I have three seasons to look forward to someday.
posted by something something at 10:11 AM on October 10, 2019


Supernatural is completely bingeable in that "I am watching this, and I want to know what happens next, but I'm not giving it 1000% of my attention" sort of way. You don't even have to look at it, much of the time, but you'll want to, because the boys are so pretty and also if you look away, you might miss one of Sam's haircut changes.

I haven't seen the last couple of seasons, but I look forward to catching up with them on Netflix.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:13 AM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


It’s nuts to me that while the world has changed in wild ways, Supernatural (and Grey’s Anatomy...and the Bachelor franchise...) have just stayed constant.
posted by sallybrown at 10:16 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I saw the first two seasons years ago, but I'm a little (a lot) face-blind, so I have no idea which one is Sam and which is Dean. I once had a student from China who turned every writing assignment into something related to Supernatural, or as she called it, "the story of a handsome man who fights demons with his brother." She was astonished when I asked her which one was Handsome and which one was Brother. Apparently it's obvious!
posted by betweenthebars at 10:42 AM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


I miss the Kripke years, back when they had enough money to weave Dean's classic rock songs into the soundtrack. Now we just get "Carry On" at the season opener and the season finale. Oh, and the high school girls singing it in the musical episode. As others have said, 1-5 seasons are crucial viewing, especially from the last couple episodes of season one through the finale of season five. The series had a plan and they saw it through.

The show had some rough seasons since then. Twelve was bonkers and not in a good way. We will not talk about Seven. It did not happen. Female characters die way too often; how Jodie has stayed alive is beyond me. I will hate forever what happened to Charlie. Some of the angel politics has been downright tiresome. I mean, the premise that angels are dicks was established early on but the political battles in heaven just went on and on and on. They forgot all about Dad and the other brother, left to rot in hell for all eternity. I didn't like what happened to Kevin either. At least we got Bobby back. I do like that God turned out to be a dick as well.

My wife, the constant shipper, insists that Dean and Cas are the end all and be all, the One True Holy Pairing. Meh. I like Sam. I also want Crowley back. The meta-episodes have been wildly entertaining, their reaction to everyone thinking they're a couple ("Antiquers?"). Gabriel is still my favorite of the angels but Castiel will do. Rowena is a hoot when they give her the right material.

I'd give anything to drive the Impala, just once. I promise Dean, I will only play Zeppelin.
posted by Ber at 10:48 AM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Seasons 1-5 were horriffically mysoginistic (every attractive female is a demon and they all get called 'bitch' often).
After that, they calmed down and branched out a bit, and found some levity. I think it's lasted so long because they hired one scriptwriter and wrote one script in Season 1, and every episode since is just minor tweeking.

Every 3rd word out of Dean's mouth is 'family'. Sam grunts and stares-often. Every 8th episode is Sam leaving because Dean did something that should be inexcusable, with him coming back in the 10th and asking for Dean's forgiveness (the show gaslighting Sam, the weaker actor?). They drop more plot lines than Lost.

Soap opera with monsters sounds right to me. I'm not sure I'll miss it, but like it's parent show the original Scooby Doo, it is what it is and it's proud of that. Good enough for tv.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:15 AM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


I watch it only on the treadmill or on airplanes and I got to it late, so I'm only up to season four. Some episodes are so good and some are so awful; luckily I have a few SPN obsessed fans, so I can text "Do I need to finish this episode with the girl eating rats or can I skip it?" and they let me know if it's crucial to the big story.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:22 AM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jensen Ackles has aged astoundingly. I mean, he was the right type to do so, but he really has.

I will never understand the people into Lurch.
posted by praemunire at 11:40 AM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's a fun show to go back and re-watch from the beginning, if only to be amazed at how -young- the Bros look back then
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 11:43 AM on October 10, 2019


I love Supernatural and I'm sad to see it go, but I also look forward Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins moving on to new things. Ackles was almost Hawkeye in the MCU, and I always wonder what that would have been like.

I swear, Ackles is a reaction gif-generating machine and I adore him.
posted by brundlefly at 11:56 AM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


seasons 1-5 were great, excellent, classic, ridiculous. everything after that was like "i guesssss, if it's on." but then they killed off kevin and i was like "i can do other things" and that was that.

not even going to go into the real mystery of the show which is how any women at all are alive in that universe.

i was kind of looking forward to an eventual season 30 where the MOTW was dean's prostate exam or sam's hip replacement.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


Supernatural is completely bingeable in that "I am watching this, and I want to know what happens next, but I'm not giving it 1000% of my attention" sort of way. You don't even have to look at it, much of the time, but you'll want to, because the boys are so pretty and also if you look away, you might miss one of Sam's haircut changes.

Yes. In this way, it is an excellent show to watch while knitting.
posted by wondermouse at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I get why people like Padalecki’s looks (and granted, he pretty much had to work on it since Ackles utterly eclipsed him), but Ackles has a literally perfect face. (And yeah, somewhere along the line he stood at a crossroads, and made a deal to barely age.) Who cares what the show is about? I say that with fondness because I’ve watched 8 or 9 seasons and found it completely enjoyable brain candy. It’s been long enough since I last watched it that I could probably start over and get a fresh experience.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:06 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


I was a huge fan for the first several years, but got tired of the misogyny after a while. The episode in which the Harvelles died for no reason at all (other than to give the boys manpain) was the end for me.

That said, I had a lot of fun with that show for about four years, and the fandom was/is hella creative and fun.
posted by suelac at 1:09 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


The episode in which the Harvelles died for no reason at all (other than to give the boys manpain) was the end for me.


I think they died (another reason the show lasted so long) as to keep the actors' salaries portion of the show budget in check. They did seem to really like killing off characters and replacing them with approximate carbon copies, which is really noticeable if you binge watch from season to season.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:20 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Dude, talking to someone else on the other side of the bar: "Okay, it's a deal. But we have to seal it with a kiss."

Me, yelling across the bar: "What are you, a fucking crossroads demon?"

Dude, to me: "Supernatural?"

Me: "Yep."

Dude: *runs across the room to embrace me*

And that is how I made one of my best friends.
posted by brundlefly at 1:28 PM on October 10, 2019 [22 favorites]


I've never seen an episode but one of my favorite podcasts right now is a Supernatural one, Ride or Die. Two fans are re watching the series and provide some fascinating summaries and commentary on each episode, they just wrapped up season two. They have real affection and love for the show, but also call out the misogynistic bullshit and poor writing choices. And come of the costume choices. I have a lot of fun learning about the show through their eyes, while I'm not about to start watching I'm looking forward to them covering future seasons.
posted by lepus at 1:37 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


God, I love this show, and I love Ackles and Colins so much. The relationship their characters have is everything I ever need, especialy when it's allowed to flower properly in fanfiction.

I watched the whole thing in my first year of Uni, and dropped off in my final year because Castiel wasn't in it enough. It's still so special to me, specifically the queer-coding stuff that fans have written about Dean. And the ridiculous fun that the people making it seam to have in the meta-sodes.

I could waffle on about it more. The only reason I've wanted it to end is because I desperately want to see all the actors get to do other characters.
posted by Braeburn at 1:43 PM on October 10, 2019


I always thought wardrobe supervisor for Supernatural must be the most boring job in Hollywood. "Um, yeah, so I bought 20 more Carhartt jackets and these 55 plaid shirts. And then I cried behind a rack of sensible men's work boots from the tedium."

I was in love with the show for a while after I discovered it during its season 3, despite all the misogyny. I just really got emotional about the creepy small back-roads of America romance of it all. I think the season 3 Christmas episode is my favorite episode of the show.

But I never warmed to the addition of Castiel - I think Misha Collins is a fine actor and probably a great guy, but I really found that character took away from my enjoyment of the show. Every scene with him was so boring to me.

And I found the fandom got really toxic and unwelcoming to people who weren't Castiel/Dean shippers. And I was mad they killed Kevin. And I didn't want to stick around for when they inevitably killed Charlie. (Charlie & Dorothy TLA). So I gave up somewhere around season 7. I just last month sold my seasons 1-5 DVD sets.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 1:55 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Alexander Calvert was some, dare I say, heavenly casting. He was born to play Jack. He looks more like Misha Collins than acclaimed chef West Collins does. Jack is the reason why I’m sad the show is ending. I have so many questions that I hope get answered this final season.
posted by Ruki at 1:59 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


I remember SPN mostly for the astounding, incredible toxicity and misogyny in fandom. Like, sure, the show was not great, especially in the early seasons, but even as a multi-decade veteran of fandom, I was astounded to see how committed a significant portion of the fandom was to hating any female character that came on the show in any meaningful way -- like, come on the show and be friends or lovers with Sam or Dean? HATRED. A female character that challenged Sam or Dean? HATRED. Stay on the show for a multi-episode arc? HATRED.

And like, the amount of shit that the female showrunner, Sera Gamble, caught for basically being female doing her job?

After Sherlock, SPN was more toxic about women than any other fandom I've seen in 20+ years in fandom.

But thanks, SPN fandom, for uh, the normalized incest, RPF, and uh, alpha-beta-omega knotting fic DON'T GOOGLE IF YOU DON'T KNOW.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:03 PM on October 10, 2019 [13 favorites]


SPN fandom: the only place where RPF holds the moral high-ground...

[Hat-tip to... someone on my LJ flist back in the day.]
posted by suelac at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Once upon a time, I specialized in writing gen fic that focused on female characters in the SPN fandom. I used to joke that no, I really wasn't worried about anyone reading my fanfic. Nobody at all was going to read my fanfic.

(I've been thinking of finishing off my Bela Talbot horror origin story to commemorate the series ending, about a decade after starting it)

I was thinking of the Sera Gamble reaction yesterday when writing about the Marti Noxon reaction - I had to double check that I wasn't getting the reactions mixed up. Both took over from male showrunners after five seasons, both had a virulent backlash.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:18 PM on October 10, 2019 [11 favorites]


For those who frequent the cesspool that is Twitter, Misha Collins is a really good guy with a progressive political outlook.
posted by Ber at 2:22 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


My wife and I binged a lot of this series on Netflixs are few years back. It was consistent, overall. There were amazing episodes and dog shit episodes, but it was more consistent than most shows. Over time we lost interest, as it got more and more melodramatic and more and more about angel politics, but once in a while we'll fire it up on Netflix and it retains a lot of it's charm...just in smaller doses, now, rather than a constant binge.
posted by asnider at 2:29 PM on October 10, 2019


It’s nuts to me that while the world has changed in wild ways, Supernatural (and Grey’s Anatomy...and the Bachelor franchise...) have just stayed constant.

This is why I tend to watch the series finales of long running shows even if I never watched an episode otherwise. Especially those shows that started while I was still in or just out of university. It was a very different time in my life back then and I watch and remember what things were like when the shows premiered.
posted by Fukiyama at 5:09 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


so I have no idea which one is Sam and which is Dean

I mean, even speaking as someone who liked it enough to binge the first 5 or so seasons, I'm not sure it really matters that much?
posted by soundguy99 at 5:38 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Isn’t Sam the one who makes pained faces and whines, and Dean the one who makes pained faces and grunts?

(I watched most of the first four seasons, but Japanese cable networks are fickle about their schedules, and I had to give up when they started showing episodes at 2am for some reason)
posted by Ghidorah at 5:51 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sam was Dean on Gilmore Girls.
posted by sammyo at 5:53 PM on October 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Dean was Sami's brother on Days of Our Lives.
posted by wondermouse at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


In 2005, when Supernatural premiered, Enterprise ended after 4 seasons, and Veronica Mars began its second season, as did the rebooted Battlestar Galactica and Lost, while Christopher Eccleston debuted as the 9th Doctor.
posted by Pryde at 6:26 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


dean is the one who acts with his single perfect tears glistening upon his ridiculous eyelashes and sam is the one who acts by furrowing his tremendous forehead.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:32 PM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


I vaguely remember it was counterprogrammed against Buffy after Buffy moved to UPN? I caught up with the show in syndication during the Great Recession (ahhh so much free time sob lol). It was a great time to watch the show, because most of the show is soapy trash but seasons 4-5 are unexpectedly strong.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:49 PM on October 10, 2019


I tend to dip my toes into a fandom before I watch a show that doesn't have "Trek" in the title and the wall to wall incest on LJ (oh god I miss LJ) coupled with the also mentioned above toxic misogyny means I've never watched this series and I'm not sure I missed much.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:52 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


I like the way Dean is kind of an atheist despite being a pretty skilled wizard who has died multiple times, met god and the devil and is best mates with an angel. However, I checked out when Crowley left, and I too miss the days when they had the budget for dad rock songs.
posted by Mocata at 3:41 AM on October 11, 2019


Tip of the hat to the Therapy Pig that inexplicably ended up crashing one of the Supernatural Conventions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:23 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dude: *runs across the room to embrace me*
And that is how I made one of my best friends.


I had a reminiscent experience the other day on work Slack when someone posted some article about a chupacabra and I was all "call the Winchesters" and someone else was all, "I thought I was the only one who watched Supernatural!"

And a few months ago a friend of mine and I were talking about the show outside of a bar late at night, in the dark in summer, wind blowing, and thinking, "Now would be the time for something to come out and attack us right now, Supernatural style." Most likely a chupacabra, come to think of it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:36 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


My family are big fans.

Supernatural pops up in our conversations from time to time:
-"that hotel looks pretty run down." "Yeah, the Winchesters must have stayed there."
posted by doctornemo at 8:31 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


If you've ever spent any time staying in shitty motels in the Vancouver area, you get very used to seeing hotels you've stayed in on TV. I definitely spent some time in several of the same motels as the Winchesters.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:11 AM on October 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


Wait, they use more than one motel? I figured they just re-dressed the one set with a slightly different configuration of nasty furniture each time.
posted by praemunire at 11:26 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't really recognize the interiors, more the exteriors. Which are also largely indistinguishable from each other, for that matter, but there are a few recognizable ones.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not yet, jacquilynne, but we'll keep an eye out.

Others:
-If anything spooky happens, my wife or daughter will grumble about having to load shotguns with salt again
-My wallet is notoriously crammed with cards, and said women with laughingly compare it to Sam and Dean's (stocked with fake IDs)
-our new house has an underground sprinkler system, so naturally they want to load it up with holy water a la Bobbie
posted by doctornemo at 12:25 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sometime in the summer of 2005, I was heading to the movies and they were handing out some sort of promotional materials for a new show. I took one and joked with my friends about how it had that guy from Gilmore Girls and would probably not even last a season.

My daughter was born in October 2005 and it's kind of weird to think that she and the show are the same age (and she has friends who have watched the whole show and are invested in the fandom).
posted by mogget at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Why didn't the season premiere show up on FanFare?
posted by Ber at 4:31 PM on October 12, 2019


Someone has to post it? I can't, I haven't gotten to seeing it yet.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:47 AM on October 13, 2019


Late to the thread, but I am on and off on this show. Trying to get my spouse to binge watch with me, so I’ve held off on watching the more recent seasons so we can see them for the first time together. I discovered friends who were totally into the show (especially Misha Collins) when they asked me to paint a portrait of Jared in paint that I’d made from Skittles.”You probably don’t know who he is...” Me: “Shouldn’t that paint be made from pie???” Them: “SQUEEE!” Reader, I painted him.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 9:56 AM on October 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


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