15 seasons, 327 episodes and over 13 000 minutes, Supernatural is one of the longest running and popular American TV shows. Ever since its debut in 2005, Supernatural captured the hearts of fans and now, after going out in a blaze of glory, the complete series arrives in a glorious box set for fans to own.
Supernatural focuses on Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), a pair of demon hunting brothers. At the beginning of season 1, Sam is away in college when Dean comes calling. Sam has taken a clean break from the family business of hunting monsters, but when their dad John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) goes missing and the same demon that killed the brothers’ mother kills Sam’s girlfriend Jess, Sam is forced back into action.
Original showrunner Eric Kripke imagined Supernatural as a 5-season show and the main storyline of the series is concluded in the episode “Swan Song” and Kripke stepped down as showrunner. From season 6 onwards, Supernatural is mostly consistent but the later seasons become wildly convoluted in plot. Season 4 introduced us to angels and the existence of God with the angel Castiel (Misha Collins), becoming a fan favourite character.
Supernatural has been able to keep up with the changing times by becoming more and more self-aware. The early seasons play a lot on nostalgia; the soundtrack is full of classic, iconic rock tunes and Dean’s beloved Chevy Impala is almost a character in its own right. The episodes often followed a-monster-of-the-week structure, similarly to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, while also involving a Big Bad each season. Later seasons and episodes included meta elements such as the episode “Changing Channels” in season 5 where the brothers are stuck in an alternative universe where they star in various TV shows, or the Scooby-Doo crossover episode “Scoobynatural” in season 13.
Not everything works though. Some episodes tug at the heartstrings and offer something to think about after the credits roll, but some just fall flat and Supernatural is often too formulaic for its own good. Season 7 is wildly regarded as the series’ worst and it’s roughly around here that Supernatural failed to reinvent itself, rendering itself a little stale in the process. But there are always highlights within each season and while many consider the series finale lacklustre, Supernatural is still a very entertaining horror show.
Part of why Supernatural has been so successful is down to Padalecki and Ackles. They’re pitch perfect as Sam and Dean and it’s their chemistry and dynamic that carries the audience through even seasons that don’t work as a whole. There is occasionally a sense of familiarity to their characters’ arcs – they seem to be going around in circles, repeating same traits and issues rather than organically developing – but Ackles especially infuses his role as Dean with pathos and catharsis.
The new box set comes with plenty of extras to satisfy the fans of the show. Not only is the box itself gorgeous, it comes with a nifty little book of all the episodes and curated song choices. Each individual season also includes extras, often documentaries and behind-the-scenes -looks as well as the much-loved gag reels, one of the funnier ones in the game.
If you are a fan of Supernatural, the new box set is a must-have, but as a whole the series might become too convoluted and meta for the more casual viewer during the later seasons. Despite a beautiful goodbye and a great ride, Supernatural is wildly inconsistent in quality, but its beating heart is the performances by Ackles and Padalecki.
Supernatural: The Complete Series is available on Blu-Ray and DVD now.