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.
Over time, "Supernatural" certainly can't be accused of not trying to "up the stakes" each and every season: the series has gotten to the point where - if the series goes a few more seasons - I wouldn't be too surprised if the back of the 10th season set offers a summary along these lines: "Dean and Sam must face their toughest challenge yet: the Earth has imploded and now they must face demons on Mars." The remarkable thing is that, with a different show, that would more than certainly be the sign of a series that have jumped the shark; somehow, "Supernatural" would make that situation badass and entertaining in its own way.
The beginning of the fifth season of the series certainly takes the series a step further, with the Devil (Mark Pellegrino, also seen in "Lost") being released at the start of the season, signaling the beginning of the apocalypse. The season is more than serious, as the two have to figure out a way to stop what's coming before the world becomes a wasteland. There are also the usual array of one-off stories in the midst of the larger arc of the season, including a few highlights, such as: "Fallen Idols" (a series of fallen icons - including Paris Hilton - return to create havoc), "Changing Channels" (the Trickster returns, sending the brothers into a series of alternative universes), "Swap Meat" (Sam and a goofy teenager wind up switching bodies) and "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" (Gamblers ante up when they play poker with a witch.)
"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 5
83 5-01 3X5201 10/Sep/09 Sympathy for the Devil
84 5-02 3X5202 17/Sep/09 Good God, Y'all!
85 5-03 3X5203 24/Sep/09 Free to Be You and Me
86 5-04 3X5204 01/Oct/09 The End
87 5-05 3X5205 08/Oct/09 Fallen Idol
88 5-06 3X5206 15/Oct/09 I Believe the Children Are Our Future
89 5-07 3X5207 29/Oct/09 The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
90 5-08 3X5208 05/Nov/09 Changing Channels
91 5-09 3X5209 12/Nov/09 The Real Ghostbusters
92 5-10 3X5210 19/Nov/09 Abandon All Hope...
93 5-11 3X5211 21/Jan/10 Sam, Interrupted
94 5-12 3X5212 28/Jan/10 Swap Meat
95 5-13 3X5213 04/Feb/10 The Song Remains the Same
96 5-14 3X5215 11/Feb/10 My Bloody Valentine
97 5-15 3X5214 25/Mar/10 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
98 5-16 3X5216 01/Apr/10 Dark Side of the Moon
99 5-17 3X5217 08/Apr/10 99 Problems
100 5-18 3X5218 15/Apr/10 Point of No Return
101 5-19 3X5219 22/Apr/10 Hammer of the Gods
102 5-20 3X5220 29/Apr/10 The Devil You Know
103 5-21 3X5221 06/May/10 Two Minutes to Midnight
104 5-22 3X5222 13/May/10 Swan Song
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: Commentary on "The End" from a pair of producers and the episode writer, "Ghostfacers: The Web Series", "Supernatural: Apocalypse Survival Guide", unaired scene for episode 9 and gag reel.
Final Thoughts: The fifth round of "Supernatural" episodes is another terrific effort for the series, with continued solid writing and performances. The DVD set boasts very good audio/video quality, as well as a few nice extras. Recommended.