7 reasons to axe Supernatural after season nine
|LISTS - TV LISTS|
It was never 'natural', but courtesy of season nine it's not even 'super' anymore...
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was somewhat synonymous for its quotable dialogue (among a number of other things). Most importantly though, it perfectly demonstrated the role of the protagonist and the strife of the hero, a bond that was, for all its darkness, somewhat morbid. However, no one character epitomised this more than Mr. Harvey Dent, the charismatic politician turned bittered villain Two-Face. And yet, before his untimely demise, Mr. Dent ushered one of the most powerful lines of modern film history (well, in this writer's humble opinion at least):
“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.
Of course, in this instance Mr. Dent was addressing the issue of Julius Caesar’s famous betrayal at the hands of his own people, but the quote in itself is poignant enough to extend across almost any discipline or genre; and, while it pains me to say so, I feel it perfectly articulates my feelings towards Eric Kripke’s once wonderful Supernatural series.
Sorrow, I feel you...
Where once I was captivated, now I grow tired. Dean and Sam Winchester have battled, bloodied and blundered their way through almost every imaginable form of monster (and some unimaginable for that matter) and have done so with authentic gravitas throughout. However, as I drag myself through season nine of the aptly named series, I cannot - in all seriousness - see how it has anything left in the tank. Worse still, for the first time in my involvement with the show I am having to coax myself into watching the next episode, having been thoroughly disappointed by each previous week.
Now, while I cannot bring myself to write a documented piece on the pros and cons of the Winchesters adventures, I can give some incredibly strong reasons why Ackles (Dean), Padalecki (Sam) and co should walk away after the penultimate episode of Season nine...instead of continuing into season 10, 11 or beyond (as Padalecki seemed to hint at while at the San Diego Comic Con 2013).
Oh, and for the record this isn’t an easy piece to write… in fact it pains me to do so. It’s like the end to Of Mice and Men, but with less talk of rabbits...
1. A complete lack of plot or strength of writing
Over the years I lorded Supernatural above all other fantasy series because of one thing...the strength of its writing. As the show unraveled Eric Kripke established himself as a master of the written arts, an individual with such an acute knowledge of the supernatural that every episode he produced was golden.
For me, cracks began to appear when Kripke stepped away from writing and left the show (from season seven) in the hands of previous executive producers Sera Gamble and Robert Singer. Episodes appeared to lose their balance, with the boys emotional journey now running precedent and originality waning thin.
Season nine, in my honest opinion, has personified these issues, and it’s destroying the show. As I’ve worked my way through the season - which I had fallen desperately behind on - I found myself experiencing an emotion I had never before with Supernatural...boredom. Heck, when things seemed at their darkest I was forced to endure a truly ridiculous episode about Oz, the Wizard and Dorothy’s real identity. I mean come on guys...are you kidding me?
The mark of Cain and the first blade story has my interest, but the crap we’re having to endure round the edges is souring even that. Direction has to be readdressed asap, so Mr. Kripke, if you’re reading, come back to help your sinking ship.
2. An inability to kill off anyone properly
The most shocking moments of any series are when invested characters - ie characters that you have grown to love and expect to see on a weekly, or at least fortnightly, basis - are killed off...but it at least keeps things fresh. For instance, look at HBO’s incredibly successful series Game of Thrones - the show has killed off its biggest and most featured characters on a regular basis; but it is this shock factor that keeps you hooked.
As Supernatural fans we have come to expect a certain bit of continuity after death, as this is a book that can be written accordingly to suit its producers, writers and anyone else with investment in the show. However, such is the absurdity of the shows resurrections that it has gone beyond a joke now.
Killing Kevin Tran off in episode nine of the season was a truly shocking move, but one that pumped life into the series. It was a bold move, but something of its magnitude was needed to get the show moving once more. And yet, before Dean Winchester could usher his promise of revenge for Kevin’s death, the character reappeared...as a ghost. Worse still, his inclusion later on in the series seems almost certain, what with his soul being kept alongside his mother courtesy of a pocket-watch.
It. Loses. All. Its. Emotional. Effect. If. The. Character. Never. Truly. Dies. If no-one that has seen more than two or three episodes can be killed off properly, what am I watching for? What real threat exists? Who cares if Abadon wins...all our characters will still feature, just perhaps as ghosts or wandering spirits.
So guys...please stop altering supernatural folklore to suit your lack of originality. It’s getting boring real fast.
3. Just how many blows to the head can the boys endure?
While this isn’t a fault of which season nine is purely responsible, it has suddenly dawned on me...and now I can’t get round it.
Think back for a minute...how many times have Dean and Sam Winchester been knocked out cold by a blunt instrument? Lets just say from season seven upwards… ten? Twenty? Thirty times? As such, just how has neither brother sustained some form of serious trauma? Other than mild concussion?
Metal pipes, chairs, baseball bats...the boys have been hit with them all, and bar a brief period of unconsciousness, both seem to shake it off pretty fast. Are their heads made of reinforced titanium? Perhaps season ten will unveil a plot that shows both are actually descendants of Wolverine, hence feature an Adamantium skeleton, or at least cranium? Whatever the case, it’s laughable.
I’m not saying I want to see season ten upwards (if the show makes it that far) featuring a paraplegic Winchester, but I would like to see the boys show some form of recognisable trauma...perhaps occasional memory loss, or the odd migraine or two? Just something to prove that, despite all the demonic/angelic possession and hellish mutation, the Winchester’s are still some part human.
4. The lack of new characters
Castiel, Crowley, Metatron… all once seemingly on the verge of leaving, or being written out, and yet all key players in season nine.
While I love each and every one - Mark Sheppard’s portrayal of Crowley in particular is one that gets better and better - the show’s lack of character progression is leaving a rather stale taste in the mouth.
If rumours are to believed, however, a new character is to be introduced towards the very end of the season, one that may pave the way for a Supernatural spin-off. If this is true, it’s an interesting development - after all, a clean break would allow the producers to press the metaphorical reset button - but as a Supernatural fan it’s upsetting. The show is in need of improvement now, not at the very end. It’s a sick marketing ploy and I’m not falling for it.
5. The humourless joke that is Dean and Sam’s own mortality
Heaven hates them. Hell hates them. Most people on earth learn to hate them. Simply put, the Winchesters aren’t the most loveable of brothers. And yet, their friendship, their love, their on/off relationship is what brings us, the fans, back...week in, week out.
Over the course of its running we’ve seen the Winchesters defeat the most challenging of foes, from Lucifer himself to pretty much all of Heaven, and on occasions the boys have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
But actually...they haven’t.
You see, unlike the rest of mankind the rules of death don’t apply to the Winchesters. When one dies the other finds a spell, trades his soul or agrees a deal with any willing demon/angel in exchange for the brothers return. On one rare occasion we found out that Sam had given up on bringing his brother back and for once, the brothers appeared mortal.
Conversely though, season nine returned to the usual blueprint...and I for one groaned at the predictability once more. As Sam lies dying in a coma, Dean makes a deal with an Angel to heal him from the inside. Furthermore, this is just after big brother Dean had stopped his brother from closing the gates of heaven and hell to keep him alive.
Now, I appreciate that Dean and Sam are vital elements of the show. More so, the existence of Supernatural really does rely heavily on their involvement, as one would struggle to operate without the other (mainly as Ackles and Padalecki bounce so well off each other). However, the ambiguity of the pairs mortality means that its hard to take any threat seriously. Thinking back, I can think of at least three separate occasions where one has brought the other back from death's door. Worryingly, the Winchesters are regularly proving more immortal than angels and demons themselves...how can that be?
Honestly, I have no idea how this can be fixed without killing off one or other brother, but I feel the time has come for a change, of sorts, to this ridiculous formula.
6. The ease in which Dean and Sam seem to be ending their villains
The Supernatural formula has always been pretty similar - one main villain for the series; a litter of supernatural pawns to deal with on a weekly basis, and a few emotional moments peppered in between. Thing is, of recent the boys battles have required them even to break a sweat.
Like Steven Seagal, the Winchesters are disposing of their aggressors with minimal effort (Seagal’s was more to do with the expanding gut, and saw him using more weapons thus reducing the risk of breathlessness as a result of physical combat) and it’s a worrying trait. While the episodes remain the same length, the amount of time the brothers spend in peril before ending their supernatural foe is at an all time low. Particular thoughts must fall to the Reverend’s wife in S9:E12, ‘Sharp Teeth’, which was a painfully poor end to an interesting enough episode concept.
Ultimately, I’d like to see more peril, actual threat, and more strain in ending lives. Is that to much to ask?
Does this need explaining? The show has got so low that Jersey Shore’s Italian meatball Snooki is guest starring as a demon. No joke.
What next… The Situation as an arch-angel? Ronnie as Gremlin? Please...stop bastardising our show guys.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.