This is from the archives of blogcritics, published in April of last year. I’m surprised I never posted it from here, because it’s one of my favorites. It’s my heartfelt homage to Eric Kripke, spurned by his season three frustrations. It’s my guess many of you either never saw this or haven’t laid yes on it in a while, so enjoy!
Oh, and if anyone was wondering, no one ever asked me to do the bake sale.
This past weekend Creation Entertainment held a “Salute to Supernatural” convention in Los Angeles. Producer Eric Kripke and stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki all showed up, along with some of the supporting actors fans have grown to either love or hate, Chad Lindberg (Ash), Frederick Lane (the yellow eyed demon), and of course considering her significant other was there, Sandra McCoy (crossroads demon #3).
I got to follow the events the way several of the fans did, with laptop open in the comfort of my living room a few thousand miles away, checking for updates on various fan sites and the convention thread on Supernatural Wiki.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time commenting on all that happened the entire weekend. If any fans are looking for such info, it’s all very well detailed on Supernatural Wiki. In poring over the pages of comments and panel notes though, one panel got me in a tizzy, and well, I rarely ignore a chance to spout strong opinions, especially on behalf of this show.
Before I go on, I have a standard disclaimer. I’ll do my best to be accurate, but I’m going off of reports made from others as well as some videos that might be considered contraband considering Creation Entertainment didn’t allow audio or videotaping of events. Keep in mind, when dealing with fan accounts, there’s no such thing as a completely objective report. I’m not completely objective, so I’m not holding others to that standard. As a result, I won’t be directly quoting.
Eric Kripke Deserves Our Support
While I’ve always suspected that Eric Kripke has the hardest job in show business, after seeing the responses from his panel, it’s official now. No human should have to endure all the headaches and pressures he has. What’s even more incredible was how he delivered honest answers while still smiling, joking, and showing love for the audience. I didn’t think my respect could grow any larger, but it did in droves.
First, I’ve rarely seen any show creator/runner so in touch with the fans. He honestly cares about what fans think and desires feedback. While I won’t mention names, there’s a particular show that I used to watch, one that gets incredible ratings and has an endless budget, yet when I read any interview from that show’s creator it was clear that he didn’t care what the fans thought. I don’t watch that show anymore. I don’t see any of the top rated shows with a show runner who shows a fraction of the interest and respect for their fandom than Eric Kripke. Most avid fans are usually written off as crackpots (at least Matt Roush says so). That’s why I fell in love with not only this show, but the fact that we fans feel like we’re part of something, and the top guy feels it, too.
After his panel, I wanted to hop in my car, drive to LA from Ohio and give Eric Kripke a huge hug. It’s depressing what he has to go through to get a fraction his vision realized. The writers’ strike derailed all show runners’ plans, not just his, but still, the show was gaining momentum and finding its stride when the strike hit. Losing six episodes in a season with such high hopes is a major bummer for a creative visionary, not to mention the fans. Season three now can no longer be compared to others, because it was never allowed to follow its complete path. We all feel his pain, especially with this nice, lengthy hiatus to drive us crazy.
The many comments about budget just killed me. The budget is always too tight, and while other shows run 42-45 minutes, Supernatural’s episodes often run only 38-40 minutes. Kripke has to cut scenes, really cool SFX, and in the saddest part of all, he often can’t include the classic rock that could potentially push any scene from great to fantastic. On the season two DVD extras, there’s a feature on the making of last year’s season finale, “All Hell Breaks Loose Part II”. It goes into huge detail about all the major compromises made from the original vision because of budget, and it’s really sad. To hear that season three and the next season suffer from the same calamity, it’s pretty deflating.
The lack of classic rock is what puzzles me the most though. Could anyone see the end of “Nightshifter” without “Renegade” by Styx? No, I can’t either, and I hope this hasn’t meant lost opportunities this season. The music can’t be that expensive (unless it’s Led Zeppelin or The Beatles), since American Idol for years saved money on using older songs. Kripke apparently also mentioned that a soundtrack for Supernatural won’t likely happen either, because Warner Brothers told him they didn’t think it would sell. I call that corporate laziness. Of course it would sell. Profits would be marginal though (meaning decent but not huge), and marginal rarely appeals to a big company like Warner Brothers (or its parent, Time Warner).
Other shows have had soundtracks, and with far lesser music. Heck, even Dexter has a soundtrack. They do that for a reason, because it promotes the show. How many copies exactly need to be sold in order for it to be considered a success? Even if the distribution costs are too much, it can be made available for download only. Since most music is being bought on iTunes lately, that’s a practical option. Another idea that Warner Brothers should consider is to contribute all proceeds from the soundtrack toward a special fund to bring classic rock back to Supernatural. I can assure that every fan out there worldwide would buy at least one copy, if not several, and that would solve some budget constraints.
That’s a major problem with big media corporations though, it’s all about controlling costs and studios are often too budget-minded for the here and now, even though there are systems in place now where a genre show like Supernatural will be generating revenue for Warner Brothers for years to come. It’s actually a proven business model thanks to shows like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Supernatural will have enough episodes for syndication next season, not to mention the income from the huge worldwide distribution. Warner Brothers needs to ante up a little. They’ve got deep pockets, just read a Time Warner balance sheet.
I also felt bad when Kripke mentioned how crazy the fans can make him. He feels extremely blessed because his idea has inspired millions around the globe and the fan support has allowed his grand vision continue into the fourth season. He’s also cursed though because this is a smarter than average lot that calls him out on many creative decisions and several other obsessive details. I appeal to every fan, please, give this brilliant man his creative license. It’s bad enough the studio and network won’t let him have it. Look at what he’s managed to deliver thus far. Judging by his excitement and his passion over all the possibilities, I sense great things are coming. I can’t wait.
The crap he puts up with over Ruby and Bela has been the most incredible, and to see him address this issue in a long answer at the convention made me both sad and proud. I’m sad that he had to defend his vision, but I’m proud that he cared. For the record, I love Ruby, too. I’ll trust his future choices about Bela, although my visions have Ruby gutting Bela with that knife of hers. Sorry, I’ve digressed. Kripke knows what he’s doing.
I was very pleased to read the many wonderful tidbits about episodes and ideas upcoming, none of which I’ll share here for spoiler reasons, but I adored the sheer enthusiasm when Kripke shared all that. He does truly love his craft, despite the headaches. I was sad to hear him admit he’s forced to kill off brilliant recurring characters and drop story lines because he can’t secure the actors due to scheduling conflicts. That could be again a curse of all show runners, but that just goes to show the caliber of the casting. When those actors are highly sought after in other realms, he has to feel pride that his show did something right.
There’s a big plus, though, that has to leave Kripke feeling great. He found out early that Supernatural was getting a fourth season, so that gives the entire team a head start on next season instead of worrying about if there will be a next season. That has to be an exhilarating, if not unique, feeling considering past renewals came at the last moment. I’m very excited for everyone involved with the show over that. Let’s hope that means that season four hits the ground running.
In every interview I’ve ever read from this guy, he’s remained positive and passionate about his show, despite every obstacle thrown his way. He’s thrilled by how Supernatural has evolved, by the cast and the crew he gets to work with everyday, and by the devotion of the fans worldwide. So, to you Eric Kripke, I send a big virtual hug. You keep doing the amazing things you’re doing every week, and you have the heartfelt thanks from me and millions of other fans for creating something that we can’t imagine our lives without. You also have our thanks for appreciating us as much as we do you. We hope all goes well enough where you can execute your full vision, and play out this story with the quality and impact that your ambitions require.
Oh, and one other thing, Mr. Kripke. If anyone at Warner Brothers gives you flak about not having enough money to use a kick ass classic rock song that will transform a scene into greatness (unless it’s Zeppelin, that’s just too expensive), just let me know and I’ll organize the bake sale.