The latest TV series produced by "Charlie's Angels" director McG (see also "The OC" and "Fastlane", "Supernatural" is a WB (sorry, I mean CW) is a sort of a teen "The X-Files" (frequent "Supernatural" director Kim Manners was a frequent "X-Files" director and "Supernatural" co-exec producer John Shiban started his career as an "X-Files" staff writer. Other ex "X-Files" staff are also along for the ride.) While the series doesn't meet the level "The X-Files" did in its prime, "Supernatural" still surprises with how genuinely creepy and compelling it is at times.
"Supernatural" focuses on Sam and Dean Winchester, played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. The boys lost their mother to a demon and their father trained them to hunt evil demons or creatures. In the first season of the series, their father disappears, only to return to join the boys in their fight. The season finale, however, ended with a tragic accident that left all three of their fates in question.
Some of the highlights of the first season include: "Wendigo" (Sam and Dean search for their father and encounter a Wendigo, a cannibal spirit of Native American lore), "Phantom Traveler" (a phantom traveler forces a plane into a crash landing, and Dean and Sam have to try and stop another crash landing when they find the phantom is on another flight), "Scarecrow" (a malevolent scarecrow causes terror in a small Indiana town), "Hell House" (Sam and Dean are interrupted by a pair of amateurs who believe ghostbusting will get them girls) and "Devil's Trap" (the season finale.)
The second season sees the aftermath of the crash and the boys' father making a big decision. Afterwards, the two sons hit the road, solving more cases and trying to cope with their father's decision. The series continues to be surprisingly solid in its sophomore round, with mostly captivating and creepy tales and an interesting conclusion that makes next season also look quite promising.
"Supernatural" may look like another "teen drama", but it's better than that, and the series surprised me quite a bit after watching it. This isn't "The X-Files", but it's still a very entertaining supernatural/horror series with two excellent lead performances and writing that is mostly (while a few stories aren't as interesting, most are compelling and creepy) first-rate. The look of the series is also impressive for a TV series, as the show's glossy cinematography, great sets and visual effects are certainly above average for this type of show. Overall, "Supernatural" is a great series that deserves more attention.
• Season 1
1 1-01 475285 13/Sep/05 Pilot
2 1-02 2T6901 20/Sep/05 Wendigo
3 1-03 2T6903 27/Sep/05 Dead In The Water
4 1-04 2T6904 04/Oct/05 Phantom Traveler
5 1-05 2T6905 11/Oct/05 Bloody Mary
6 1-06 2T6906 18/Oct/05 Skin
7 1-07 2T6902 25/Oct/05 Hook Man
8 1-08 2T6907 08/Nov/05 Bugs
9 1-09 2T6908 15/Nov/05 Home
10 1-10 2T6909 22/Nov/05 Asylum
11 1-11 2T6911 10/Jan/06 Scarecrow
12 1-12 2T6910 17/Jan/06 Faith
13 1-13 2T6912 31/Jan/06 Route 666
14 1-14 2T6913 07/Feb/06 Nightmare
15 1-15 2T6914 14/Feb/06 The Benders
16 1-16 2T6915 28/Feb/06 Shadow
17 1-17 2T6916 30/Mar/06 Hell House
18 1-18 2T6917 06/Apr/06 Something Wicked
19 1-19 2T6918 13/Apr/06 Provenance
20 1-20 2T6919 20/Apr/06 Dead Man's Blood
21 1-21 2T6020 27/Apr/06 Salvation
22 1-22 2T6021 04/May/06 Devil's Trap
VIDEO: "Supernatural" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.78:1 (1080p/VC-1). The presentation quality isn't without a few minor concerns, but mostly looked terrific. Sharpness and detail were very nice on the DVD, but the Blu-Ray edition offers a higher level of smoothness and clarity, especially in the dimly-lit sequences. A few mild traces of pixelation were spotted in a couple of dark scenes, but these instances were very few. No edge enhancement or other concerns were spotted. Colors generally looked subdued, but that's what the show is going for.
SOUND: "Supernatural" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The show's soundtrack remained enjoyably eerie, with the surrounds offering up an array of intense sound effects and enjoyable ambience. The show's classic rock soundtrack also sounded bold and rich, with fine clarity. Dialogue sounded natural and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: The Pilot episode offers commentary by producer Peter Johnson, director David Nutter and creator Eric Kripke and "Phantom Traveler" offers commentary from actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. "Day in the Life of Jared and Jensen" and "Supernatural: From the Edge of Darkness" are two featurettes that return for this Blu-Ray edition. The gag reel and a set of deleted scenes also come along for the ride. New to the Blu-Ray edition are: "The Devil's Road Map" (an interactive road map that profiles urban legends and factoids from season 1 episodes) and "The Paley Festival Discussion" - a panel discussion with cast and crew members.
Final Thoughts: A moody, atmospheric and often creepy series, "Supernatural" succeeds thanks to two solid lead efforts, great visuals and terrific writing. The Blu-Ray presentation of the first season offers improved video quality and a couple of new extras. Those who own the prior DVD edition don't have enough reason to upgrade, but those who are looking to start collecting the series should look into this Blu-Ray set. Recommended.