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, their father had disappeared 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. The second season saw 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 sophmore round, with mostly captivating and creepy tales and an interesting conclusion that makes next season also look quite promising.
The third season of the show ups the stakes really quite nicely, continuing off where the prior season ended, with Dean making a massive choice to save his brother. The end of the season also gave the two a major task: the gates of hell were opened, letting hundreds of demons out to walk the Earth. As one character says to the two brothers in the first episode: "You've brought war down on us."
However, the clock is ticking down on Dean, as he's only got a year due to the deal he made to bring back Sam. Sam, meanwhile, searches desperately for a way to save his brother, but defaulting on the deal would mean grave consequences for Sam. The thread of Sam trying to find a way to save Dean leads to some powerful dramatic moments as the two brothers try to cope in their own way - Dean's initial recklessness leads to sober realization, while Sam is heartbroken at the thought that he may lose his brother in a year.
This season also sees the introduction of a couple of new characters, including Ruby (Kate Cassidy), a demon who crosses paths with the two brothers and may or may not have their own best interests in mind when she offers up information. There's also Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan), a mysterious woman who gets in the way of the brothers, intending to make money by taking artifacts and selling them, starting with a rabbit's foot that's quite important to Dean & Sam in "Bad Day at Black Rock".
Despite the emotional core story of the season that has Sam trying to save his brother, the show still manages to keep its moments of darkly funny humor intact. When finding themselves with a streak of luck thanks to a rabbit foot, Dean cracks to Sam, "I say we go to Vegas and pull a little 'Rain Man' - you can be Rain Man." The season was shorted to 16 episodes due to the Writers Guild Strike, but the writers do come up with plenty of eerily clever plots in this short season, such as "Bad Day At Black Rock" (Sam gets perfect luck after touching a lucky rabbit's foot, but when Sam loses the foot, everything goes very, very wrong), "Mystery Spot" (it's Tuesday every day in a town with a site called the Mystery Spot - and Sam and Dean find themselves in their own version of "Groundhog Day"), "Ghostfacers" (a couple of guys trying to film a reality show pilot - because the network execs are suffering from the writers strike - wind up in the same house as Sam and Dean) and "Malleus Maleficarum" (a women's book club is a cover for a coven, and Ruby has initimate knowledge of how the coven works.)
"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.
45. 3- 1 3T6901 4 Oct 07 The Magnificent Seven
46. 3- 2 3T6902 11 Oct 07 The Kids Are Alright
47. 3- 3 3T6903 18 Oct 07 Bad Day at Black Rock
48. 3- 4 3T6904 25 Oct 07 Sin City
49. 3- 5 3T6905 1 Nov 07 Bedtime Stories
50. 3- 6 3T6906 8 Nov 07 Red Sky at Morning
51. 3- 7 3T6907 15 Nov 07 Fresh Blood
52. 3- 8 3T6908 13 Dec 07 A Very Supernatural Christmas
53. 3- 9 3T6909 31 Jan 08 Malleus Maleficarum
54. 3-10 3T6910 7 Feb 08 Dream a Little Dream of Me
55. 3-11 3T6912 14 Feb 08 Mystery Spot
56. 3-12 3T6911 21 Feb 08 Jus In Bello
57. 3-13 3T6913 24 Apr 08 Ghostfacers
58. 3-14 3T6914 1 May 08 Long-Distance Call
59. 3-15 3T6915 8 May 08 Time Is On My Side
60. 3-16 3T6916 15 May 08 No Rest for the Wicked
VIDEO: "Supernatural" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality isn't without a few minor concerns, but mostly looked terrific. Sharpness and detail were mostly impressive, even in the show's many dark or dimly-lit sequences. A few minor hints of artifacting 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: "A Closer Look" making-of featurettes for several episodes, gag reel, "Ghostfacers! Confessionals", "Supernatural Impala: A Look Inside the Classic 1967 Chevrolet Car" and "From Legends to Reality: Supernatural Effects".
Final Thoughts: A moody, atmospheric and often creepy series, the underrated "Supernatural" succeeds thanks to two solid lead efforts, great visuals and terrific writing. It's a very entertaining series overall, and this fine DVD set presents the second season quite well. Recommended.