Yet Another TV Review Podcast

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Supernatural season one episode reviews (#8 - #22)

Supernatural, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

Episode 8. "Bugs" A so-so outing for the boys when they go up against killer bugs in Oklahoma. I didn't enjoy it very much because the ending was a complete let-down and the show takes itself far too seriously. Unlike other genre offerings (like Reaper or Kolchak) there is no sense of fun to be had from watching the boys in action.

Episode 9. "Home" Some genuinely scary scenes, great chemistry between the two leads, good action sequences, new information for the show's backstory and a superb cameo from Jeffrey Dean Morgan all make this the best episode of Supernatural since the pilot. Best scene? I knew the mom was there all along, so her appearance was diluted for me somewhat, but the bit at the very end with the dad was awesome.

Episode 10. "Asylum" Now this is more like it: a high-concept storyline with exceptional character work. The boys are trapped in a haunted asylum and - while watching them fight the evil within - we get to learn a lot about the relationship between the brothers. While it recalls the best episodes of The X-Files, this show has a tone and visual style all it's own. And I love the idea of ghost hunters who pull out guns and blast away at spooks.

Episode 11. "Scarecrow" A nice change-of-pace episode finds the boys splitting up as Sam decides to head for California after a phone conversation with his dad. Dean, meanwhile, goes to a creepy small town with is sacrificing visitors to a murderous scarecrow. A genuinely scary scarecrow too! A great episode, even if it was a tad obvious that Sam's hitchhiking buddy was going to turn out to be a supernatural evil of some kind. The twist ending was predictable but great because it means we'll hopefully have some continuity from here on in.

Episode 12. "Faith" Another change-of-pace episode opens with the boys at the end of a case-of-the-week. Dean is injured. Badly. So Sam takes him to a healer (very much against his wishes) and - of course - all is not what it seems. The Bad Guy is terrific, the guest star is the always fantastic Julie Benz and some of the best scenes are just conversations between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Each man gives 110% committment to his role and it's a pleasure to watch them do their thing. Backed by strong scripts (like these last two) and a washed-out visual style they are making this one of my favourite shows of the week. I can't believe I ignored this show for so long. Does it keep getting better?

Episode 13. "Route 666" As average as it gets. A standard case-of-the-week and a cute girl-of-the-week make for a mostly-boring episode. Nice performances from the leads, great visuals, and atmospheric weather do not a great episode make.

Usually the boys show up in a town, armed with lots of knowledge and it is they who tell the audience what is going on. Makes them seem cool and in charge. In this episode, they are written as mostly clueless about what they are facing and it is left to minor characters to tell the viewer what is happening. This makes the show seems like lots of other shows in the genre. Not good.

Episode 14. "Nightmare" Wow. Sam's visions lead the boys into one of the show's best stories. A battered child grows up and takes revenge. It's grim stuff, scary in places and full of great twists. Brendan Fletcher is, hands-down, the best guest star the show has delivered thus far and his character's story is genuinely tragic and very affecting. The upsurge in Sam's powers is a great way to open up the show even more. Not that it needed it.

Episode 15. "The Benders" Not being knowledgeable about Supernatural fandom I have no idea how this episode is perceived, but I loved it. Loved it! What a brilliant way to wrongfoot the viewer. An episode of Supernatural where nothing supernatural occurs. And not just any episode: an action-packed, creepy episode with great acting, great character-work and great guest stars. Sam and Dean are seperated when one of them is kidnapped by backwoods weirdos. (Yes, that's a bit of TV cliché but who cares, when the results are this good?) By taking on non-supernatural foes the series opens itself up even more. Wow. Not that it needed it.

Now where can I read Supernatural reviews from Season one?

Supernatural, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

Episode 16. "Shadow" Wow. Best episode so far (of course I say that a lot) and one of the best episodes of anything. This one kicked ass. Eric Kripke writes a great script. My favourite scene occurs just after the boys meet Meg in the bar. Sam immediately knows that something is wrong, while Dean just wants to discuss what Sam told Meg about him. It's a great scene. It advances the plot at rapid pace and adds more layers to the characters of the brothers. Another great scene occurs later on when Dean explains how much he wants the family back together. It's suprb writing. And superb acting.

Then there's Nicki Aycox. I normally don't go ga-ga over blondes on TV, but maybe it's because her character's so utterly evil (and, therefore, reminds me of my real life girlfriends... Ha Ha, a joke obviously) or something. But she is a fantastic foe for the boys. Her smile when she had them tied up (and she talked about Hell) was chilling.

And, finally, their dad shows up. The reunion is both emotional and thrilling. When things went bad, and it looked as if he was going to die, I realised how much I cared about these characters and their quest.

Awesome show.

Episode 17. "Hell House" I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous one. Various elements felt forced and lessened my enjoyment of the story (a story with a very clever foe, by the way). While Supernatural is a very serious drama series, every episode features moments of comedy. Not high comedy. But, as a rule, very natural character-driven comedy. Last week's episode was the best one I've seen so far, and it was an hour of unrelenting drama and emotion. Except for all the times it made me laugh. For example: Dean's reaction to meeting Meg for the first time is hilarious. Laugh out loud funny. And all very character-driven and organic.

This week's episode opens with a prank war between the brothers. Sheesh. C'mon. That's a lack of imagination. And, later on, the boys meet a comic version of themselves: two geeky ghost hunters, who have never seen a real ghost (or kissed a real girl, I bet). And I wasn't amused. Just disappointed.

The foe, however, was fantastic. And the episode has the best death scene so far. The bit in the middle with the poor unfortunate student who was dared to enter the haunted house. That was a scary, graphic murder. And, in must be said, all the the encounters between the brothers and the Foe were action-packed and thrilling. And clever. It was a darn clever idea for a foe.

But...

Then the show would stop to try and make me laugh. And fail.

I gues this is why Supernatural is Supernatural and Reaper is Reaper. Each inhabits it's own world and does the stories that suit the tone of the world. Reaper is a cool, wonderful show. But it's silly. It places inept guys up against fearsome foes and... makes it work. A prank war would not be out of place in that universe. In fact... I hope they do it. Supernatural is a different beast. And, apart from superficial common elements, the shows have nothing in common. Supernatural is a drama series grounded in reality: a broken family, brotherly love, gruesome murders, and a tone that sets it in a world not very far from our own.

A cross-over between these two shows would feeling jarring. And this is what this was. Jarring.

Episode 18. "Something Wicked" A solid outing. The case-of-the-week is strong, and it fits nicely into the backstory for the brothers and their relationship. There's a great quote at the end, where Dean wishes Sam didn't have to see the crap that he does, and the ep contains some nice flashbacks to the early 90s showing their Dad on the road on a job.

Episode 19. "Provenance" Flawless. This show continues to illustrate the relationship between the brothers in a new light and I never tire of seeing that. Dean urging Sam to date was both funny and sweet. In equal measure. And, for the second time in a row, we see Dean playing mentor/protector to Sam. Taylor Cole is wonderful as the girl who Sam is interested in and the show makes a wise choice is making her part of the team for one episode. It shakes up the formula, gives us someone to worry about during the climax and... she's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. On TV. This week. I think.

Episode 20. "Dead Man's Blood" Since vampires are quite an ordiary foe (for this show), the writers (wisely) bury them in an episode that is really about something else: the boys' father shows up and leads them into battle. At this stage in the series the characters are so well-crafted that it is easy to predict how this will pan out. And it goes as expected. With one or two surprises (Dean standing up to his dad) and some very emotional scenes (Sam hearing about his college tuition) along the way. This ranks as one of the best episodes so far.

Episode 21. "Salvation" is a wonderful change of style for this show. We get to see here what the show would be like if it was about the brothers and their dad. And, guess what, it would still be fantastic!! Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays it like he really is the star of the show, and his scenes on his own are the absolute highlight of the episode. His trick with the holy water to stop the bad guys was one of the cleverest things I've ever seen. Awesome. Nicki Aycox is better than ever as Meg. She brings some serious menace to the role while saying everything with a big smile. Awesome.

Episode 22. "Devil's Trap" There's enough here for three episodes! The first third features the capture of (and final battle with) Meg. It's stunning stuff. The middle third is an action-packed rescue sequence where the boys go after their captured father. It's got multiple possessions, multiple demons and a fair bit of smashing through doorways and shoot-outs in allleyways. The final third is the big confrontation in the deserted cabin where all three actors deliver the best performances of the series. I have nothing new to say about Supernatural at this stage: it's a superb action series which manages - in every single episode - to craft it's storylines around it's characters and - by the end of this first season - it has delivered unto us two really great heroes. Likeable and complex.

1 comment:

adele said...

What an fantastic show it is!!! truly love it n admires heartily.i hope the series never ends, I'm hoping it is going to be running for a long time. Catch its all eps Download Supernatural Free here...

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