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.
For a show that has dealt with the apocalypse, "Supernatural" still has managed to come up with ideas to push forward, although the seventh season is one of the show's few weaker patches. After a stunner of a season finale in the prior season, the seventh season switches things up with the introduction of dark beings known as the Leviathans, whose sinister plans for the world become evident as the season goes on - and it's unfortunately not all that compelling, at least compared to a fair amount of what the brothers faced in prior seasons. Still, lead performances are high quality and the series continues to do a terrific job with casting and filling supporting roles.
"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. While this season of the series is not a prime example of what the show is capable of, "Supernatural" is a great series that deserves more attention.
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, with few exceptions.
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 series of highly informative commentaries are offered and are really the core of the extras - "Slash Fiction" with actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles; "Death's Door" with actors Jim Beaver and Steven Williams, and "Survival of the Fittest" with executive producers Sera Gamble and Robert Singer.
We also get a lengthy series of production featurettes, including a look at the scoring of the series and directorial efforts. Finally, outtakes, a gag reel and deleted scenes round out the package.
Final Thoughts: While moderately uneven, season 7 of "Supernatural" still manages some entertaining moments - hopefully the 8th season will see a rebound for the series. The 7th season DVD set provides solid audio/video, as well as a very nice set of extras.