Eric Kripke’s initial conceit for Supernatural was the premise that all our human myths and urban legends had a core of truth: that magic and the supernatural were all around us, just a few degrees off normal. He gave us rough-edged, blue-collar heroes who fought to save people they didn’t know, all because they knew things normal people would never have believed. And there was always the sense that the Winchesters and their world could be just around the corner, if you only cut that turn a little short.
I miss that.
The inescapable void finally opened and swallowed us all as Dean, Bobby and Castiel watched major ecological disasters unfold on store televisions in Swan Song. Those earthquakes and super-storms never happened in our world, so it was undeniable that the Winchesters’ world wasn’t ours any more. The show made the split explicit in The French Mistake when it established the existence of multiple parallel dimensions, including ones like ours where magic didn’t work, the apocalypse never began, and the Winchesters weren’t real – and where Supernatural was, at most, just a television show.
Ever since then, the gulf has widened. The show now takes place in a Charmed-style dimension where witchcraft has all the power and holds all the answers; where literally anything can be accomplished simply by the right recipe of ingredients, words, symbols, and gestures. It’s become a gaming or comic book world, something perhaps made inevitable by the experiences of its stable of writers, many of whom now have gaming and comic book credits. Even the Word of God, as represented in the various tablets on Demons, Leviathan, Angels, and who knows what else, consists simply of spells to harness elements of the physical world to produce effects on its supernatural components. Angels, demons, hunters, witches, and gods – even the ultimate God – all just use spells as tools to achieve their ends. It’s become just a game.
I mourn that.
Make no mistake; I still love Supernatural. And as long as Jensen and Jared commit to it, so will I.
But it’s not what it used to be. And that’s just truth.
Do you agree? Is there another way to look at this? Curious for your input!