Friday, September 16, 2005

The New TV Show Review Challenge: Supernatural

Supernatural is a show that has a lot of borrowed elements. The two leads previously appeared on The WB's Gilmore Girls and Smallville. The show features paranormal/supernatural elements just like Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which used to be on The WB) and Charmed (which is still on The WB). It even has the brotherly love/hate relationship of The WB's own One Tree Hill. However, despite having a lot of what we've seen before, Supernatural actually isn't half bad. *Spoilers ahead*

The show revolves around two brothers. An evil spirit killed their mother when they were very little. Ever since then, their father has been hunting ghosts, hoping to find and destroy the spirit that killed his wife. In the opener, the younger brother, Sam (played by Jared Padalecki of Gilmore Girls) has a fairly normal life. He's graduated from college, has a girlfriend, and plans to go to law school. He's visited in the middle of the night by his older brother Dean (played by Jensen Ackles of Smallville), who he hasn't seen in two years. Dean informs him that their father has gone missing while hunting a spirit. Sam reluctantly agrees to go with Dean to try and track down their father (and the ghost he was tracking).

The spirit they track in this episode is a female spirit that hitchhikes and kills the men who pick her up. The brothers employ various cons to do their job. They impersonate federal marshals and engage in credit card scams as they learn about the evil spirit. The spirit, when she was alive, killed her children in rage after finding out her husband cheated on her and killed herself when she couldn't take what she did. In a victory, for kids who hate their parents everywhere, it was the spirits of her dead children that did the evil spirit in.

After getting the spirit and realizing that his father was still alive (but somewhere else), Sam decided to go back to his normal life. However, in the twist needed to keep the show going, his girlfriend is killed in the same way his mother was, by the same evil entity. This sets up him joining his brother and hunting down more evil spirits. First his mother gets killed (in his nursery when he was a baby) and now his girlfriend...why does this evil spirit keep killing the women Sam loves? Does Sam have some sort of weird connection with spirits? I guess we will need to keep watching to find out...

I didn't expect to like Supernatural. I figured that The WB would just slap some crap together and bank on having two heartthrobs that their audience knows well. Instead, Supernatural is a good paranormal mystery show. I like the way the brothers interact with each other as well as the occasional humor. I was somewhat annoyed to hear another X-Files reference in a premiere episode of a new show, especially the same one that other show, Bones, used. Then again, at least this one is somewhat justified since one of the producers also worked on that seminal FOX show. I didn't think the show itself was all that creepy or scary (except the part where the evil spirit gets what's coming to her), but the special effects were pretty good.

All in all, Supernatural is a good show. It's not particularly creative or innovative, but it does what it does well enough. Considering that it comes on after one of The WB's more popular shows (Gilmore Girls), it could be a modest hit. It's not a good enough show for me to give it priority viewing, but it is good enough for me to record it once in a while.

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