I don’t watch a lot of TV. Sometimes I watch Supernatural besides one other TV show, and sometimes I just watch Supernatural.
Supernatural is beginning its ELEVENTH SEASON on Wednesday. ELEVENTH. Friends. That’s as long as the original Law & Order.
How is this possible for such a small show? Apparently it’s okay if not a ton of people like a story, as long as you have enough people who are absolutely obsessed with it, bond with each other over it, and bond with the creators as well. It’s an interesting case study for any storyteller.
Supernatural is unique in its focus on the fierce love between two brothers. Sam and Dean not only would but literally do go to hell for one another. As others have noted, this cartoon from berkeleymews.com sums it all up nicely:
I’ve loved stories like this ever since I was a child — when the story of David and Jonathan was my favorite part of the Bible, and the love between Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings made my grade-school heart swell.
Is the show flawed? Absolutely, just like everything and everyone else I love, me included. Now is a great time to get into Supernatural, because you have all these seasons in which to lose yourself. Here are my ten favorites! Maybe. It’s pretty hard to choose. (SPOILERS ABOUND.)
10. Bloody Mary
Season 1 had several straightforward horror episodes. I bought it on DVD for my niece, and after she watched a few of them, she told me, “Aunt Bryn, they’re kind of scary.” I told her, “Watch them during the daytime!” She’s a total fan now.
Bloody Mary is my pick for the freakiest. I would never say “Bloody Mary” three times while looking in a mirror, and if you do, don’t act surprised if a ghost murders you in some horrific way. Sorry, but you had that coming.
9. Yellow Fever
The funniest Supernatural episode, although the preceding one, Monster Movie, is also hilarious and underrated.
Yellow Fever brought us this post-game performance by Jensen Ackles, just because it was awesome.
8. As Time Goes By
Season 8 was one of my favorites, and Abbadon was one of my favorite demons. I was so happy when Sam and Dean got the bunker for their very own home, and the Men of Letters were a fantastic addition to the Winchester mythology. I would love a spinoff with the Men of Letters (assuming, of course, that some of them could be women.)
I’m probably the only one who would pick this one, but I love the unsettling note it ends on, and the BLQ (Brotherly Love Quotient) is outstanding.
It’s amazing how different the boys’ voices sound in the first few seasons. Dean’s voice originally had an insouciant, adenoidal quality that I found really appealing. In later seasons, it’s growly and gravelly, which is also appealing, and I suppose being tortured for decades will do that to a person.
6. All Hell Breaks Loose, parts I and II
Technically two separate episodes. This would be ranked higher if it weren’t almost too painful to watch again (but I probably will.)
5. Pac-Man Fever
Sam Winchester is an under-appreciated precious human being, and I loved his arc with the trials. Add Charlie Bradbury, one of my favorite secondary characters ever, plus cavorting around in dream spaces, and I couldn’t be happier.
4. Fan Fiction
Supernatural broke the fourth wall before, but in this Season 10 episode, they were like, “I don’t think we broke that fourth wall enough. Let’s go find the smoking fragments of the fourth wall and steamroll them into dust.” This hilarious valentine to the fans also made me sob like a little girl. Well done.
3. Mystery Spot
Dean dies a lot and it’s hysterical. Death by golden retriever is my favorite.
This episode winds up breaking your heart, though. Wonderful work from the dashing fan favorite, Richard Speight, Jr, as a classic trickster character.
2. Swan Song
Just to be clear, it destroyed me and I was never the same.
1. Lazarus Rising
This episode has everything. Dean Winchester crawling out of his grave. The first appearance of Genevieve Cortese, the future Mrs. Jared Padalecki (and damn, did they ever have smoking hot onscreen chemistry. I mean, none of us were surprised to learn they were a Real Thing.)
Shocked and emotional reunions a person could watch a couple dozen times…
And the best character introduction I’ve ever seen anywhere — Castiel, angel of the Lord.
If you are interested, Buzzfeed had a very funny and accurate overview of this episode, by a person unfamiliar with the show.
Dang, and I left out Kevin Tran and Jodie Mills! And Garth, and the Ghostfacers! And young John Winchester! And not-young John Winchester! After 10 seasons, it’s hard to choose.
Let me know some of your favorites, and carry on, all you wayward sons (and daughters.)