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A Thread For All Seasons: Saving People, Hunting Things; The Family Business


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#1

Bitterswete

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 11:11 AM

Not the most original title in the world, but I thought it would be cool to have a thread for topics that don't really fit into the other specific threads, but aren't big enough to have threads of their own. So, hodge podge.

Anyway, I was wondering what everyone thinks of the guest characters (mostly female) the show has had so far. Usually, when a show has a lot of DIDs, I find I'm annoyed by/indifferent to about 70% of them. But, to my shock, I've liked all of SPNs Girls of the Week...except one. And I feel kinda bad for singling poor Lori out, but what are you gonna do? I just didn't care for her.

I've liked the male guest characters, too. Even Gavin, who was a maybe not-so-great boyfriend, but tickled me none the less.
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#2

clemantyne

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 11:58 AM

Good idea for a thread.

I agree, most of the guest characters have been much less annoying than they could have been. The writers have done a pretty decent job of not making them seem too dumb or helpless. It's more a case of not having the necessary knowledge until Dean and Sam ride in to the rescue.

Is Lori the one from Hookman...if so, I agree that she has been the weakest DID so far. I think she was way too horror-movie cliché with all the screaming and the clinging...something we haven't seen the others do quite so blatantly. Also I didn't think she had a lot of chemistry with JP. Actually I thought the whole episode felt slightly off for some reason, especially Dean's characterization. He seemed a little too "dumb" to Sam's "college smarts." He was still pretty hot though :D
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#3

batina34

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 12:29 PM

Me too Bitterswete! I can't believe how many of the guest stars I like. It never works out that way. Kudos to the casting people. I loved Amy Acker in DitW and I liked that Haley girl in Wendigo. I even like Charlie (is that her name?) - the blonde girl who helped Sam and Dean out in Bloody Mary. Now I'm going to have to see Hook Man again because I don't remember Laurie.
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#4

Bitterswete

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 2:05 PM

Actually, I was thinking about Charlie when I asked the question. When "Bloody Mary" first aired, some people didn't seem to care for her, which surprised me because I really liked her. She was a girl hit upside the head with the most insane (and scary) situation possible, and she handled it pretty well until faced with almost certain, bloody and painful death. Can't blame her for falling apart.

You know who else I was surprised I liked? Roy from "Wendigo". Typically, he's the kind of character who'd have me thinking, "What a close-minded ass hole." But I liked Roy. Not only did he bring the snark, but I completely understood why he reacted the way he did to Sam and Dean and their crazy talk.
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#5

faninohio

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 2:11 PM

Wait a minute, there are other people on this show besides Jensen and Jared? Huh. Go figure.

*snerk*
I like that the girl of the weeks aren't your typically buxom blonde Hollywood types too. These girls can give back as good as they get too (well, maybe with the exception of HookmanLori).
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#6

fay

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 3:49 PM

Yeah, I have to agree with you guys. Most of the guest roles and one-shots have been done really well. The characters don't usually serve much outside their purpose, so it doesn't feel like they're pandering to us. Does that make sense? Huh. IDK. It just always feels like they fit in really nicely.

And yes, Roy! I liked Roy. He was sort of your typical stereotype non-believer, but at the same time, not. Instead of feeling like bopping him one on the head, I saw where he was coming from in his reactions. And he was snarky, and that's always a plus. "You mean inside the magic circle?"
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#7

clemantyne

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 4:09 PM

I liked Charlie too. She seemed pretty together for a teenager who had so much going on. I really liked the scene in the hotel room when she tells the brothers her secret...I though both JA and JP played that really well and Charlie's guilt and sadness was very convincing.

Yes Roy - Callum Keith Rennie is also a hottie. Lots of pretty in Wendigo that's for sure.

Edited by clemantyne, Dec 27, 2005 @ 4:12 PM.

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#8

Weesta

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Posted Dec 27, 2005 @ 8:45 PM

I liked the girl in Asylum - I forget her name - but when the shotguns were being passed around and her boyfriend's all ready to cry and like "what a gun?", she just takes the sucker and cocks it. In that moment...I loved her.
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#9

thelibrarian

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 11:22 AM

Is anyone else's week totally off because of the Supernatural marathon? I'm so confused by it - every morning I wake up thinking it's Wednesday! I'm not complaining mind you; I do love the Pretty. Although, the marathon could be better, they could be airing all new episodes. :-)
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#10

Bitterswete

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 11:33 AM

Oh, here's something I've been wondering about. Opening credits.

Some fans seem to think the show must have traditional credits, with a theme song, and shots of the boys (from the show itself, or done in a studio).

At first, the fact that the show didn't have normal credits seemed a little weird. But I've gotten used to the whole, "22 years ago," opening thing. However, if they stick with that, I think they need to polish it up a bit.

Also, I've reached a point where the title flashing across the screen after the teaser gives me little chills, so I really don't want to lose that.

I'm not against the idea of traditional credits. But you never know how they might turn out. I mean, if the WB is in charge of picking the theme, I live in fear of what they'd choose.

Edited by Bitterswete, Dec 29, 2005 @ 11:35 AM.

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#11

La Anah

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 11:40 AM

Quite a few current shows do not have opening credits. It is another thing "Lost" has made popular. With only 2 credited cast members, a credits sequence for SN would end up being either very short, or very repetitive. I don't think it's necessary. As it is, they do re-edit the "previously's" before every episode.
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#12

batina34

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 11:52 AM

I really like the fact the show does NOT have traditional opening credits. I rather just get to the action. Plus, it makes it seem more like a movie, to me. I like that. It all adds to the general mood of the show.
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#13

Kosher Redneck

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 6:49 PM

I just miss a theme song. Because I'm corny like that. They could play it over the start of the show, I don't need credits.

But it must, must, must be some form of mullet-rock (rockabilly in the mold of Skynyrd is hereby allowed) and not something whiny picked by the WB.

With only 2 credited cast members, a credits sequence for SN would end up being either very short, or very repetitive.


Ouch. Harsh to the Impala, who did NOTHING to deserve that. Besides, I kind of hope they make Dean's huge under-pillow-bowie a regular, I think I saw star potential.
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#14

Jennifus

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Posted Dec 29, 2005 @ 10:05 PM

I'm with those that don't want opening credits. I like the flashing "Supernatural" and then directly onto the show. Gives me tingles and whatnot.
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#15

DumbBrunette

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Posted Dec 30, 2005 @ 6:38 PM

Honestly, I do wish we had opening credits. They get me into the mood. I barely register the title card.

I have accepted that we're not getting them though and think it would be worse to suddenly put them in now.

Edited by DumbBrunette, Dec 30, 2005 @ 6:40 PM.

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#16

lmdakota20

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Posted Feb 20, 2006 @ 9:43 AM

Hey pheebs, I liked your suggestion for a new thread so I am coming over here to respond. If I got to pick the title, it would be "I Will Be Kripke's Bitch if..." but I sadly do not know the rules for starting a thread either.

Anyone else want to chime in?

I will be Kripke's bitch if they show Dean playing pool. The darts were good but not good enough.

I also would like to see the boys visit a haunted house (a la Stephen King's Rose Red, with creepy shifting walls and doors to nowhere and that kind of stuff).
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#17

kunju

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Posted Feb 20, 2006 @ 10:14 AM

Aww, thanks for the rec, pheebs! I'd definitely be interested in hearing what people have to say about the three credit sequences I've put together, and whether I should continue (I've got "Smoke on the Water," "Separate Ways," and "Black Betty" cut down to the appropriate length).
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#18

aithne414

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Posted Feb 20, 2006 @ 10:51 AM

Mmmm, wish list! Mine would include, as pheebs suggested, an actual discussion of what happened in Asylum. I'd also like to see some more definition of what their family was like pre-Sam-leaving (and actually, post-Sam-leaving... I'd love to see how John and Dean interacted, because it can't possibly be this militaristic thing 24-7 with them... I'd like to see what they were like in the downtime). I'd like to see an end to the slapstick-ification of Dean, and a re-emergence of kickass/competent!Dean (though I certainly appreciate his growth with regards to treating Sam as an adult and an equal), and I'd like to see Sam continue to grow in his understanding of his family (learning not to resent John in Nightmare was certainly a step in the right direction).

It's interesting what all their names mean, actually... John's means "God is merciful", Mary's means "Bitter", Sam is the name of a prophet ("God hears"), but Dean's name means "Leader". Dean's certainly not the leader of their little troupe, yet, and I certainly hope this doesn't indicate that John's gonna die or anything... but anyway, Sam's name fits too, with his premonitions, Mary's fits because she died and it sucked, and I guess John's name fits because he got to keep his sons.

Edited by aithne414, Feb 20, 2006 @ 10:52 AM.

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#19

Trevacious Guy

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Posted May 3, 2006 @ 8:59 PM

I didn't see a Supernatural Cast In Other Roles topic. Is there one?

Edited by Trevacious Guy, May 4, 2006 @ 9:34 PM.

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#20

Weesta

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Posted May 4, 2006 @ 5:10 AM

Doppelgangers: The Cast in Other Roles
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#21

Trevacious Guy

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Posted May 4, 2006 @ 9:36 PM

Thanks, Weesta. I was looking in the wrong gallery of gabbery. I'll just move the post on down there.
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#22

simpatico

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 1:23 AM

There's been a lot of season 1 overall talk in the "Devil's Trap" thread, so I thought it'd be best to have a separate place to talk about season 1 as a whole. Where it was good, where it wasn't, what worked, what didn't, What It All Means, etc. Taking some posts from the finale thread, my question and some answers:

originally posted by simpatico
When you guys refer to the "middle episodes" where you felt the balance was really off, which eps are you referring to? Because I'm thinking they may have been some of my favorites ("Home," "Nightmare").

originally posted by Anthropile
Got me thinking about "Nightmare" now. That's the one that started to bother people, I think (or at least, that's the one where I became aware of the dissatisfaction, and also started to give up on my "hot not plot!" philosophy).

But for me, that one is one of the most balanced of the lot -- Sam has powers, yes, which is probably what bugged a lot of people (if not most) -- but they're activated by nothing short of the intense love he has for his brother -- this love is arguably the most emphasized point of the episode. To me, that's akin to saying "Romeo and Juliet" is unfairly weighted towards Romeo because he has more swordfighting prowess.

originally posted by aithne414
Shadow was problematic for me. [snip] Nightmare didn't bother me whatsoever, except for the fact that Dean brought a gun to the house to fight a telekinetic. The powers/destiny thing was annoying, but the direction in that episode (along with the gore, FINALLY!) was so damn good that I didn't mind.

originally posted by VeronicaSpeedwell
Nightmare is also where they trotted out the dreaded; "(it's like) we were chosen" line. [snip] It just brought up a whole sense of foreshadowing that I was not going to like where they were going to go with it. Yes, these kids are in fact "chosen" for a reason but I am very happy that they've reiterated that Sam is one of a number of "special" children and he's not some "Super special" chosen one that is even more chosen than the other chosen ones. lol. Which, I think was my fear back then.

"Nightmare" is one of my favorite episodes, but afterwards I was worried that the show would be all about Sam's developing powers and Dean would be overshadowed or pigeonholed into a role as Sam's bodyguard/sidekick. I was really glad when subsequent episodes greatly downplayed Sam's powers and made them tertiary to the brothers' dynamic and the episodic hunts. I was wondering if that episode quantified the imbalance people felt between the brothers in the middle episodes. But I agree with Anthropile that that episode had a great balance, and it actually solidified my view that there was no way Dean would be unimportant to how the story unfolded, simply because of who he is, whether or not he was tied to the CD arc.

As far as the imbalance goes, while I could see how Dean was, in the writing, being treated more as a supporting character (never interacting alone with arc-related guest stars, having his emotional development reserved for "filler" episodes that didn't move along the arc or dropped altogether when "more important" things started happening, as in "Home"), I never really felt as I was watching that he was a secondary character. What did bother me was when guest stars treated him badly without that being acknowledged (e.g. Missouri insulting and belittling him in "Home" and that being treated as OK, as opposed to John treating him badly in "Something Wicked" and "Dead Man's Blood," where it was apparent we were not supposed to be OK with that), when he was made to seem incompetent for the sake of comic relief ("The Benders") or exposition ("Route 666") or to make Sam look good, and when the show didn't follow through on Dean's emotional journey.

Many people felt that all these were symptoms of the fact that this was really Sam's Story, but I felt that these could all be fixed without tying Dean to the mytharc. As we all know, "Devil's Trap" ended up tying him to the mytharc anyway. However, I can still see the potential for season 2 to continue with the trend of Dean being shown to be incompetent and insulted by guest stars. This is what really bothered me in terms of differences between the two brothers this season, and I hope they strike a better balance with that throughout next season.

In retrospect, I think it's a bit ironic that we were once complaining that the show was too centered around Sam, because it turns out Dean was the focus of many more stand-alone episodes than Sam. Dean's episodes: "Dead in the Water," "Faith," "Route 666," "Something Wicked." Sam's episodes: "Provenance," maybe "Bloody Mary." Even adding in the one-brother-centric episodes that were tied to the mytharc, Dean ends up having more (he has "Devil's Trap," Sam has "Nightmare" and maybe "Dead Man's Blood"). I don't mean to keep score, but it seems to me that Dean as a character was quite deeply explored this season, while Sam seemed to be the plot-driver that we didn't learn as much about outside of his reactions to John and CD. We got a lot of Dean's history, a lot about what motivates him -- not as much with Sam. I don't know if this is in the writing, or just a matter of depth of performance from the actors.

Anyway, this post is long enough.

Small note: let's make sure this doesn't turn into a best/worst episodes thread, since we've already got one of those. :) This topic is more for discussions that encompass more than one episode or the season as a whole rather than what your favorites happen to be. :)

ETA: OK, maybe not quite long enough. :)

stele3 mentioned in the Ratings & Scheduling thread that first seasons of shows that fall in the middle in terms of quality and ratings have the best outlook:

Plenty of amazing shows had shaky starts (did ya'll SEE some of those early X-Files?).

Also, from people in the industry who came to talk in my television production class... it's good to have a show that isn't in the top and isn't in the bottom. In the top, everyone wants to take credit for its success, and you get a lot of network meddlers who want to put their stamp of approval on it. In the bottom, everyone wants to fix it, and you get a lot of network meddlers wanting to save the show.

The middle is a good place to be.

This is a good point. This first season has been good enough to get you hooked, but there's lots of room for the show to get even better. It has plenty of potential to build an audience if it keeps improving. However, as I expressed in the episode thread, I was extremely disappointed that they didn't wrap up the season by defeating CD, or even give us any closure at all regarding this season's arc. I fully expected CD to be a single-season villain a la Buffy, so maybe my disappointment stems more from the show not doing what I expected, but I'm also not sure CD is compelling enough to be a series-long antagonist. Another season spent chasing CD is not exciting to me. I feel like they are limiting the subsequent seasons' potential by ending this season so open-ended.

OK, now I'm done. :)

Edited by simpatico, May 10, 2006 @ 8:17 AM.

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#23

aithne414

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 1:48 AM

I'm way too tired to make an extensive post about S1 right now, but I'd like to just say that I think my major fears were alleviated by the end of the season. Simpatico mentioned the irritation that a lot of us had about Dean becoming less competent midseason, and that was addressed beautifully later in the season, with Dean returning to his former kickass-ness. There were fears that Sam would be SO central to the main story that Dean's emotional journey would be abandoned (a la Home, where we got this jolt of Dean-pain at the beginning that was abandoned for the rest of the episode), and yet we got a lot of give and take between the brothers' philosophies and emotional evolution in the last few eps (Sam's rage bubbling back up after a year of him trying to keep it down, Dean's fears for his family being realized, both of them influencing each other's viewpoints, and the MASSIVE PAYOFF in the trust and partnership between them, a partnership that had been really rocky at times). The story ended up not being about a Chosen One, but about a broader, more inclusive targeting of psychic children by the demon, both brothers ended up tied to the mytharc (and sensibly so, with Sam being tied by his powers, as we knew he would be, and Dean being tied by his choice to fight and protect, and the results of that choice). Um, what else? Ultimately, I felt that both of the character evolutions were handled pretty well, and both guys are at a very different place than they were in the Pilot, and a very different place than they were in Asylum, and yet a DIFFERENT place than they were in Shadow. They keep growing, and it's good.

I'm quite happy with the way the series is headed, as of now. I definitely see simpatico's concern, that what we got in DT may not preclude some of the problems of S1 from coming back...

However, I can still see the potential for season 2 to continue with the trend of Dean being shown to be incompetent and insulted by guest stars. This is what really bothered me in terms of differences between the two brothers this season, and I hope they strike a better balance with that throughout next season.


... but I was encouraged greatly by his interactions with Bobby. They interacted as colleagues and old, comfortable acquaintances, with mutual respect, and that was a far cry from what we got with Missouri. As for Dean's competence, I hope that won't be an issue again. His skill at his job is one of the defining aspects of his character.

I don't mean to keep score, but it seems to me that Dean as a character was quite deeply explored this season, while Sam seemed to be the plot-driver that we didn't learn as much about outside of his reactions to John and CD. We got a lot of Dean's history, a lot about what motivates him -- not as much with Sam. I don't know if this is in the writing, or just a matter of depth of performance from the actors.


I tried to address this and ended up confusing myself. Like I said, I'm really sleepy... but I'll come back to this tomorrow! :)

ETA:

I fully expected CD to be a single-season villain a la Buffy, so maybe my disappointment stems more from the show not doing what I expected, but I'm also not sure CD is compelling enough to be a series-long antagonist. Another season spent chasing CD is not exciting to me.


Me too. It's entirely possible, though, that CD won't last beyond the early eps of the season, and the story will shift in some unexpected way. I don't know if that would feel anticlimactic, for it to happen in a regular episode and not a finale... it IS the demon they've been chasing forever, after all... but if killing CD led to the discovery of something else that was important, it might work. Anyway, I agree that I have a hard time seeing how they're going to keep my interest with CD for the long-term.

Edited by aithne414, May 10, 2006 @ 1:56 AM.

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#24

hermitme

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 5:28 AM

Great post aithne414. I definately agree S1 was not wasted and ended up being a great season. I am only hoping at this point that, season 2 will be just as good and rewarding, unlike some other searies that start with a great season 1 and end up with a crappy season 2. It would be a sad thing to see.

However, that being said, I do have faith in our writers and can't wait for season 2.
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#25

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 6:46 AM

With the exception of a few forgettable episodes, Season 1 was much better than I thought it would ever be.

They did have trouble finding a balance here and there, but throughout the season, each character found his niche and what they are good at and a few things about themselves that no one, including them knew: Dean is good with kids. (Name 3 kids you even KNOW.) - Sam's powers; such like that.

Devil's Trap tied a lot of things together nicely. And I think that they will have a balance now in the show that they were trying for early on and missed by a few inches in places, and a few hundred feet in others.

Though I have to agree with what's been said above that characters won't just coddle Sam and insult Dean - frankly that makes me want to hit things, on both sides. Sam doesn't need coddled, and there's no reason to insult Dean. Both brothers are exceptional at what they are good at, and both are very intelligent, just in different areas.

They are two parts to a whole.

My hopes for season 2 are that the writers don't forget what's made the show successful so far, and keep with the creepy, humor-at-times, brother-type show that includes both the emotional and physical journey along with the mytharc here and there. They've gotten a good balance, I am hoping that they keep it that way.
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#26

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 7:09 AM

Oooh, fun new thread simpatico, thanks! I actually thought all along that it would be strange to get rid of the CD in the first series once they had set it up as the Winchesters' lifelong nemesis. I mean, you defeat your lifelong nemesis and what's left? I know the expectation was that they would, but it always seemed a little odd to me, so I guess I wasn't really surprised that they didn't get it. We did finally get to see it, to have it made real to the audience, though, which they did need to do, and they drew some pretty firm battle lines with it, so I don't feel like it was a wasted effort.

What I really liked about season 1 was the development of the relationship between Sam and Dean. I thought they did a really good job of showing how deep and complex it is and moved from a situation of love/aggravation/need/uncertainty in the pilot to a place of a very firm trust and partnership in the finale. I would expect they'll still annoy each other in small ways (and what fun would it be if they didn't), but that in season 2 they will act much more as a unit with a common goal and purpose. They "get" each other now and love each other for it, which to me is a very satisfying conclusion to season 1.
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#27

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 8:38 AM

I mean, you defeat your lifelong nemesis and what's left?

What's left? Having to answer that exact question. What do you do when your whole identity and lifestyle are tied up in this thing that is suddenly over? That's a very compelling question for the boys to have to answer. I concede it may have been too soon for that, but that's far from the only way it could have ended. They could have killed/defeated CD, but found out he was only a pawn in a much larger scheme -- any scheme that added a new, unforseen twist instead of merely confirming what we had all already assumed. And there's still the somewhat separate storyline of how Sam is going to develop these powers. This would have been a good way to end the CD arc completely while still connecting seasons 1 and 2. Will Sam be able to harness these powers? How will they affect their hunting trips (and more importantly, Dean's usefulness on these hunting trips)? How will this affect Sam's attitude about having a normal life? These are all questions that are still left open, but we don't need CD around to tell that story. With a little imagination, a fresh story could be created. Buffy and Angel did it every season fairly successfully. Yes, it can get to a point where each season tries to top the last and it steadily gets more ridiculous, but at least it's not boring.

By the way, if any of you can think of a better thread title, go right ahead. I don't know why I thought an Austin Powers reference would make sense here. :P

Edited by simpatico, May 10, 2006 @ 8:39 AM.

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#28

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 9:26 AM

I like the thread, I like the title; also, excellent observations all around.

I noted before, way back when, but this seems like a great place to reiterate -- one of the best things about this show is the depth and realism of the interaction between brothers, specifically when it's not overtly stated (Like the Streaga episode "what would YOU do for your baby brother" anvils). These actors bring out so well the little subtlties of a longtime sibling relationship. I don't even know if I can specify, but it just feels more authentic than most other sibling relationships on the tube (perhaps because most siblings, it seems, tend to wind up on sitcoms, where the bulk of their relationship is to insult one another "cleverly" -- the vast majority of comedy families don't even really seem to like each other much. Or on "Seventh Heaven," which I'll pretend I never mentioned.) The show "Related" came close -- different genre, different gender, but still, they got the subtleties -- the love/hate/mom liked you better/you know me too well/you press my wrong buttons on purpose/you never let me forget anything I ever fucked up ever/you made me be your personal slave when I was eight/I would die for you in a heartbeat. And because the situation is far more life or death on Supernatural, the whole thing becomes that much more intense. That really, really moves me, (not the least because of my Winchester sandwich fantasies, but anyway...). And that's why I really, really hate it when they exposit -- it diminishes the power of that unspoken bond.

Going down the list of eps, I seem to have missed all the ones that most people hated anyway ("Bugs" comes to mind, heh heh), but have seen most, so I can't use that as an excuse so much anymore. Something that people keep pointing out, though, that hasn't struck me so strongly, is the idea of random weekly guest stars belittling or insulting Dean. Now my theory is that perhaps he strikes them in the same way he tends to strike me -- as someone who is extremely cocky and all too aware of how attractive he is (and his playing at being a lothario/slut doesn't help -- I say "playing" because he flirts like hell but he hasn't actually done anything aside from goading Sam that makes me think he really sleeps around much) as such, Dean might even come off as slightly threatening to some -- but the GOTW wouldn't have the benefit of knowing, as I do/the audience does, the deep-down goodness and righteousness of his character. My point being, could that not be seen as valid character development? I can get behind a character that comes off as a cocky asshole that you learn to love, or learn that you should have loved all along -- I don't particularly need a straight-up Galahad. (Plus, doesn't Dean have some sort of juvie record? Or am I nuts?) Anyway, that's how I've always come at it, so GOTW snark never bothered me -- especially female GOTW snark.

The most awesome irony of that, too, is that Dean is kind of, sort of, a poorer liar than Sam. Sam gives the impression of uprightness and open-faced honesty, but it's Dean that connects with kids (in a sort of I'm a cool but understanding rebel kind of way) who can see through bullshit, and Sam that tells boldfaced lies to authority figures (in a sort of I could not hurt a flea and I take packages to old ladies in my spare time kind of way). So again, people distrusting Dean and "coddling" Sam (not to mention, younger ones just get coddled -- they just do) not only doesn't bother me, it also seems to work in their favor what with scamming/ingratiating themselves.

Edited by Anthrophile, May 10, 2006 @ 9:54 AM.

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#29

aithne414

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 9:27 AM

I don't mean to keep score, but it seems to me that Dean as a character was quite deeply explored this season, while Sam seemed to be the plot-driver that we didn't learn as much about outside of his reactions to John and CD. We got a lot of Dean's history, a lot about what motivates him -- not as much with Sam. I don't know if this is in the writing, or just a matter of depth of performance from the actors.


Okay, I'm back! I think this is six of one, a half dozen of the other. Sam got some character development in this season, but the main problem that you're going to have with one brother being the focus of the mytharc and the other being uninvolved is that, when you're balancing the time given to each, the time given to your one lead almost has to be about the mytharc, because that is his story. So you don't get as much character development. With the other lead, who has no relation to the mytharc, his episodes can be about who he is, why he developed the way he did, etc. Dean was who he was, and he evolved throughout the season, but we basically learned his character from a fairly static place. Sam was shown to us immediately as someone in emotional upheavel, who had suffered a huge personal loss, and so where we got development for Dean, we got treatment of Sam's grief and feelings of guilt... which aren't revealing character traits, exactly, since most people would feel the same in his situation. We did learn a lot about Sam, in his yearning for his dad's love and bitterness about not fitting in (Bugs), his willingness to lie to keep relationships (Bloody Mary, Skin), his feelings of condescension toward his brother's life choices (Asylum), but conversely the value he places on their relationship (Scarecrow, Faith)... what we didn't find out, and what I'd like to know, is what attracts Sam to normalcy. He made a big deal all throughout the season of not wanting to hunt (though I don't recall any clear reasons for this, other than his bitterness about his role in the family), and about "this isn't going to be my life", but I'd like to see a little more treatment on why he wants apple pie and picket fences. It could be that we're just expected to accept that desire without explanation (in the sense of, "who DOESN'T want picket fences?"), but I'd like to see if his desire comes from fear of losing loved ones if they keep hunting, or a need for stability, or a desire for children and a wife, or some honest passion for the study of law (which I definitely haven't seen from him), etc. But yeah... that's the six. The other half dozen, like you suggested, is that there wasn't a lot of depth in JP's performance, for the most part, so it's hard to know if Sam's thinking anything deeper than the words that come out of his mouth. But, since both guys have somewhat of a stake in the overall story now, that might ease the mytharc pressure off Sam a bit, and we'll find out some more about what makes him tick.

Though I have to agree with what's been said above that characters won't just coddle Sam and insult Dean - frankly that makes me want to hit things, on both sides. Sam doesn't need coddled, and there's no reason to insult Dean. Both brothers are exceptional at what they are good at, and both are very intelligent, just in different areas.

They are two parts to a whole.


I loved that they showed this later in the season, because I recall around midseason, when there was edginess over dumbass!Dean, there were posts made that suggested that Dean wasn't being portrayed as bright because he wasn't that bright. That part of his characterization was really being lost around then, when early in the series, we'd been shown that he was quite bright (hate to keep harping on the EMF reader, but seriously, people! How do you rig an EMF reader from a walkman?!), just not in a "book-learnin'" fashion. Happily, that aspect of his character was restored after the hiatus, and we got to see competence and intelligence from both our boys. Honestly, in the breakdown of who's better at what, I think it goes something like "Fighting: Dean > Sam. Cleverness: Dean = Sam. Latin/book-learning: Sam > Dean. Hunting experience: Dean > Sam. Ability to con people: Sam > Dean." And so on. It's been nice how they eventually managed to delegate certain skills to each of them, based sensibly on their lifestyles (Dean's a hunter and fighter, Sam's an academic and good with people), but without having to portray one as brilliant or one as a dumbass, or one as strong and the other as weak... ie, it doesn't have to be a dichotomy, but a spectrum. Good stuff.

Edited by aithne414, May 10, 2006 @ 9:33 AM.

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#30

TreeWithLights

TreeWithLights

    Just Tuned In

Posted May 11, 2006 @ 7:41 PM

As far as CD goes as an arch-villain, I'm torn. Personally, I was expecting CD to be a series-long problem--it's the catalyst that gave the brothers their basic problem, whose resolution should be the ultimate resolution of the show. Buffy, as bad as the last season was, came up with a solution to the problem of Buffy being the only one with the duty to protect the world, and took the burden that plagued her throughout the series off her shoulders in the end.

The problem with CD, though, is not that it wasn't potentially interesting enough to drive an entire series, but that the more we saw of it and the more we found out about it, the less . . . well, Big Bad it seemed. Much like John Winchester! We believed he was the badass that the boys said he was until he showed up, and came up with such impressive hunting tactics as: giving himself up to the bad guys. Hmm. Personally, I am not too terrified by a demon that can't do much more than rag on Sam and Dean for a couple of minutes before getting itself shot, and then disappearing. Yeah, yeah, crash whatever--but that could have happened anytime, really. The question that hasn't been explained at all is why now. And with the potential to possess anybody, and apparently as many people as it feels like, that seems like an important bit of information. Otherwise, why not swarm the entire world with demonettes? Or all the Winchesters at once? This is a S2 point of interest.

The CD quest was a difficult balance to achieve. For the overwhelming majority of the season, we had no idea what the hell was going on with CD, save a few moments of insight (I remember thinking in Wendigo, okay, are we just ignoring the enormous tragedy and jumping into the episodic hunt formula already? How many hours has it been since your girlfriend died, exactly?), and then when we finally did get to see him, he was not really more spiteful than your average demon. I guess like anything scary out there in the dark, facing it diminishes it. Which, though it's exactly the kind of revelation I'd want to have the next time I had to face a Minion of Evil, isn't a great thing for a TV show banking on scary. To be a series-long force, the demon needs to feel like it is infinitely powerful and inscrutable. Stick it in Daddy!Winchester and have it snark pettily about needing to avenge its "children"? Suddenly it seems . . . small.

I can only hope that this means CD will be replaced by, or at least be the harbinger of, some greater evil. I wouldn't even mind it being small potatoes, because the idea of the Winchesters having been drawn into the game just being random victims appeals to me (certainly, that's the sort of thing that happened to the likes of Caleb--ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances because an evil force chose the wrong innocent to piss off). But we already know that's not the case.

So yeah, CD? A little black smoke, a couple of force fields, some Dean-heart-twisting? Not really evil on scale that has me shaking in my series-long boots. And it's not the idea, it's the presentation.
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