I admit I have a weakness for cheesy WB superhero/supernatural type dramas. I was a fan of Buffy from the first season and followed it and its spin off, Angel, to their conclusions. Then there was Roswell, and my latest obsession, Smallville – which is somewhat ironic because I don’t even care too much for the original Superman mythos. So, I was curious about their newest show, Supernatural.
As far as pilots go, Supernatural’s wasn’t too bad. Twenty-some years ago when Sam was just a baby, Sam’s mom got up to check on him in the middle of the night. When she got to his room, a strange man was watching over him. Mistaking the man for her husband, she continued downstairs and saw her real husband snoozing in front of the tv. Quickly realizing her mistake, she raced back to Sam’s room where she screamed loud enough to wake up Sam’s dad. When he got there, he spotted his wife, now looking possessed and lying on the ceiling. Flames erupted around her and the house caught fire as she was sucked up into the fiery furnace.
Fast forward to the present day when Sam’s a top notch student at Stanford with a kick ass LSAT score and a nice looking girlfriend. He’s been trying to live a straight laced life away from his troubled family and doing pretty well for himself until his older brother, Dean, sneaks into his apartment in the middle of the night. The two brothers haven’t spoken in years, but now, Dean needs Sam’s help. Dad’s gone missing.
At first, Sam’s skeptical. Dad disappears on these supernatural hunts for mom all the time and he always turns up fine. But Dean assures him that this time is different. Dad’s never been gone this long. And he received a cryptic voicemail of a woman’s voice. Sam’s now concerned and agrees to a weekend escapade as long as he’s back for his law school interview on Monday morning.
Soon, the boys are playing detective and tracing their father’s steps. They end up in Jericho, CA where a ghostly chic doubles as a hitchhiker to pick off men. She’s gotten at least 10 victims in the last 20 years. Over the course of the episode, we learn that this chic isn’t unique. People that die violently – either through murder or suicide – are prone to wander the earth. The brothers have apparently faced similar ghosts/spirits/demons in the past… and probably what they’ll be doing in future episodes.
The brothers are played by two veteran WB hotties. Jared Padalecki (playing Sam) was Rory’s boyfriend, Dean, on Gilmore Girls for several years and Jensen Ackles (playing Dean) was Lana’s post-Clark boyfriend, Jason Teague, on Smallville. They work well together and seem very comfortable with the script. There were only a handful of cheesy lines – like when Sam kids Dean for still having cassettes of early 80s metal in his car or when Dean was arrested and called himself Ted Nugent – but nothing seemed forced or overacted.
As brothers, the two have their share of sibling rivalries. Dean follows in his father’s footsteps, fighting ghosts and saving people. Since the job requires resources, he and his father have scam credit card companies for money and have piles of fake police badges at their finger tips. Like his father, he seems obsessed with finding out what happened to their mom. Sam doesn’t remember his mother, so he’s put the whole thing behind him and wants to lead a normal life. He’d prefer to settle down with his girl and get a stable job at a law firm rather than chase the supernatural. Of course, this episode sets off a chain of events that makes him change his mind and by the end, he has a pretty good reason to follow in his family’s footsteps.
I also liked the special effects they used for the supernatural chic. It was almost as if she was being tuned in and out of this realm – like the kind of reception you’d get on an old tv or were watching her in a strobe light setting. Her movements were sped up and choppy rather than fluid like the normal people in the show.
Right now, the show is slated for Tuesdays at 9, or at least that’s when it premiered. I’m hoping the WB is smart enough to air this with Smallville (season premiere is Thurs Sept 29 at 8PM) but I guess we’ll see. The WB likes mixing up their schedule so you’re never sure what’s on when. As a stand alone Tuesday show, it’s probably something I’d tune in to see whenever I remembered that it was on. As a double feature with Smallville, I’d probably end up watching it weekly.
Overall, I thought the show had a strong opening. Dad’s hotel getaway had lots of interesting occult articles, pictures, and ritualistic elements to spark my curiosity, so I’m hoping future episodes will delve deeper into occult lore rather than go the way of Charmed, to which the show has been compared. I think it will do better as a darker, more serious show rather than piggyback off of Charmed’s quirkiness.