It's no revelation to suggest that TV has achieved a level of respect that we never thought possible. There have been some great shows over the years, but let's face it, until fairly recently, television was bargain bin compared to the level of production in films. For me, I think the first time I realised how incredible a serious TV show could be was my first viewing of Supernatural. I was stuck alone, in a house, for the whole summer of 2010 and I was feeling both isolated and bored. I needed something to occupy my mind and, being a huge horror fan, I stumbled across this spooky serial about a couple of brothers who hunt monsters and ghosts. It sounded like a lot of dumb fun so I 'acquired' the first season and started watching. I was immediately hooked and, seeing that there were five whole seasons already, I binged the whole thing over the next two months. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Season 5 of Supernatural is probably the best single season of a TV show I've ever seen. It still illicits the feels from me on a level that few other shows can. The episode where they go over the history of their car, a prop that has been in pretty much every episode of the show, has basically been integral to their success on more than one occasion, but one which you barely pay attention to, is absolutely genius. They actually made me feel emotions about a car! I remember the first time around, my enthusiasm for the show slowly died after season 5. I think I limped on into season 8 and then gave up. Re-watching it, I realise why now. It's no secret that the creators of Supernatural never intended it to go past 5 seasons. But the narrative decisions made in season 6 feel like a betrayal of what made the show so great.
Castiel, probably my favourite character, was shown on multiple occasions throughout season 5 to be a stalwart, loyal friend to the WInshesters. In fact, there’s even an episode where they travel to a future in which Dean and a band of survivors struggle against Lucifer in a blasted, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Castiel is still there, working with them. For this reason, I’ll never be able to accept his betrayal in season 6 and I think that was the start of what I saw as the show’s decline.
I’m about to embark on season 7. I vaguely remember something about a virus called Leviathan and I know Bobby Singer, the other big ally to our heroes, is going to die. But the memories from my viewing past season 5 are hazy because the quality just wasn’t there anymore and the best characters kept getting axed.
It’s sad what became of Supernatural, but it just goes to show that you can have too much of a good thing. It should have ended after five seasons and I think, for me, it probably always will have. Still, they’re now onto their 15th season, so there must be something worth sticking around for. I’ll keep an open mind.