The Complete First Season
Supernatural has a lazy setup. It’s like the network said, ‘we need a show where some guys fighting supernatural stuff,’ and they got back a show called ‘Supernatural,’ about two young, fit brothers named Sam and Dean, who fight utterly random ‘supernatural’ things. And one of them has psychic powers for some reason.
A long time ago, when Sam was just a baby, the brothers’ mother was killed in a mysterious way, which involved levitation and spontaneous combustion. This opened their father’s eyes to the world of the supernatural, and set him on a path to fight it. He trained his two kids from childhood to follow in his hunter footsteps; but this was not the path Sam wanted to take, so he left for college.
Sam manages to build a ‘normal’ life for himself, until his brother Dean shows up one day to drag him back in.
Sam is the smarter of the two. He does the research to determine what, exactly, they’re fighting and what the best means are to kill it. He seems to be driven more by bitterness than anything else. He genuinely doesn’t like hunting, and yet his natural compassion for others make it impossible for him to walk away when someone’s in trouble. He regrets every finding out about the supernatural in the first place.
Dean has been hunting continuously. He lives a nomadic life with his father, who is the only anchor in his life. When his father goes missing, he immediately falls back to the only other fixed point he knows, Sam. He needs his brother more on an emotional level than a practical one. He’s action oriented. He likes jumping in an killing things, and harbors a deep contempt for all things unnatural.
The Winchester brothers play pranks on each other, taunt, ridicule, and tease; but they also depend on each other. They each require something from the other to survive as hunters. The two are very believable, both as people and as brothers. They are not idealized heroes; just average guys who occasionally do heroic things.
While there’s a primary goal for the season, it’s rather simplistic; ‘find our dad.’ There’s no deep mystery to it, and little to tie it into the other stories as a whole. There isn’t much of an internal consistency to the supernatural occurrences, it’s just a hodge-podge of any old scary story they could think of. Many of the stories take their inspiration from urban myth; like the hook man, bloody mary, haunted houses, and killer hillbillies. Generally, the brothers travel to a new town, get involved in a problem, and move on; giving the series a bit of an anthology feel.
That said, the individual stories are told well, and the brothers are wonderfully average, possessing no special powers, or training. This keeps the series grounded in a realism that gives the supernatural threats they face more crediblity.
Supernatural has a somewhat weak premise, but it is well executed, and the individual episodes make up for the faults in the larger story.