I'm proud to share something from another guest columnist.  This time it's elle, frequent commenter and huge supporter of this site. 

Before I post elle's wonderful piece, "Why I love Supernatural," I wanted to announce that elle is also the winner of the Countdown Clock Graphic contest for July.  If you notice the new graphic that's been gracing our countdown clock for the last couple of days, it comes from the awesome creative skills of elle.  Thanks so much for the great graphic!  BTW, elle submitted two graphics, so watch for her other one to be proudly displayed in a few weeks. 


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Why I Love Supernatural
The world of television offers a wide variety of selections; a taste for just about every palate. In my TV watching career (a whopping 21 years, the first few of which included Barney and other such gems), while many shows have been amusing or entertaining, an increasingly large amount have become Ear-TV at best. In the wake of the realty-show craze, I find myself inundated with promos building up the next season of this contest or that stupid-things-for-money special feature. When it finally does premiere trailers abound of the “dramatic” moments promised on tomorrow’s “real” episode and my real non-reality show television is often pre-empted for a results show here or an “on-a-special-night-only!”there. I have sat in silence while my ears bled listening to my co-workers debate again and endlessly who should win I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here. I have never watched Survivor and yet with startling accuracy I was able to win the office pool with overheard data. Many seasons I watched, waited and wondered: when would quality programming return? One by one my must-see television shows dwindled (i.e. Buffy which was always my number one must-see, even with the addition of Dawn the Key) and I wondered what would be left when they’d all faded to black. And then a glimmer of hope shone on the horizon - Supernatural.

I had known about Supernatural since its first episode back in 2005 and even watched through Wendigo before my local broadcasters were pre-empting it for something else, or moving it to this time slot. Reunited again last summer, I caught up to Supernatural when I impulsively ordered season one and two and watched both in practically no time and I’ve never looked back.

Supernatural has a multitude of offerings that make it great and what follows is just some of the larger elements that make it such worth-while, quality programming.

Characters

First and foremost, Supernatural is a richly character driven show. For the most part, each character that has come and gone on the Supernatural set as added depth and furthered the dynamics of the storyline. Ultimately, the core characters are the focus; after all it is their journey we’re watching. The relationship between the brothers and the Family Winchester has always been the foundation for this saga. At first glance Sam is the “apple-pie” all-American boy with a lovely blonde on his arm and a promising career in his future while Dean is the womanizing, attitude-wearing bad boy. But they are so much more than that. Layer after layer, the Winchester brothers quickly become more than they seem. The profundity of the Winchester characters astounds me - they are human: very raw, often rash and driven by emotion, and most significantly flawed; but not in what is referred to as the Mary-Sue fashion. The beauty of the characters on this show is that they don’t always overcome every challenge; be it a physical foe or a psychological profile ingrained in their being; sometimes they make the wrong decision for the right reasons and sometimes they are just pure emotion. It is each of these elements that make the characters on Supernatural more than the two-dimensional figures of shows that have come and gone.

The Impala.

Need I say more?

Writing/Storylines

Time after time I find myself sitting in a post-episode stupor, shell-shocked by the intensity and/or ingenuity of what has just played out on the screen. In a genre such as Supernatural, it would be easy to reach for the old standbys for plots, to have episodes be one-offs or have uncomplicated mini-arc’s within the season; Supernatural doesn’t fall into this trap. Writers like Sera Gamble, Ben Edlund, Eric Kripke and the rest of team construct a carefully thought-out, clever world: they establish the game board, the rules and then move the characters in unbelievable ways around and through the gameboard. The one thing that has always amped up my Supernatural enjoyment is the long-term continuity (for the most part). On other shows, often times past incidents aren’t referred to again or storylines are paid off is short clumps. On Supernatural, again, we have something different, we have layers. There are the immediately paid off and the long term (my favourite being the thread from season one’s Home which was shrewdly interwoven through to season four’s In The Beginning). The writing on Supernatural is above and beyond “but not just for the plots. Let’s face it- this is a show with a great deal of exposition necessary for the audience to follow along and it’s done well. Finally, let’s not forget the best part of the writing- the Winchesterisms: those classic one-liners or turn-of-phrases that are as beloved and enjoyed as the characters themselves.

The Music

Supernatural has exposed me to some great tunes I never would have listened to otherwise. About nine out of ten times, the song choices are apt, classic and quite excellent.

The Realness

Monsters, demons and angels aside, Supernatural is a very relatable show because of the humanity in every aspect of the story and characters. When Dean died, I cried right along with Sam. When Sam begged Dean to just “be his brother” again, I felt his sorrow. When the brothers were reunited in Lazarus Rising and finally hugged, I felt joy and relief right along with them. Supernatural makes you care about Supernatural watching, you can’t help but become emotionally invested in the story, the characters and their relationships.

The Fans

Excepting all extreme elements, the Supernatural fandom is an intelligent, enthusiastic, protective (if slightly over-analytical and obsessed) wonderful group and I love that I get to be a part of it. Most of the time, being part of the fandom is pure enjoyment and fun entertainment.

Oh, and one more thing: the eye candy; cause let’s face it, the core cast? Not too shabby.


Comments  

elle2
# elle2 2009-08-05 02:58
Elle,

Fabulous piece! I love it. Your 'whopping 21 years' worth' of TV viewing experience -- hey that's a career length for some people (or not, after 15 years in one career, I'm 3 years into a new one), is put to good use here. Like you I'm no fan of reality TV -- where's the reality by the way. Further, I like how you talk about the characters, richly woven, deeply layered, complexly textured, so true and it is what keeps me coming back (Wendigo, Crocotta, Red Sky and other such less than stellar moments -- and frankly there are very, very few of those to even worry about)

I'm so glad your thoughts on why you love Supernatural, felt like I was reading my own thoughts. you are spot on regarding the fandom, some very vocal (and very minority judging from increasing ratings) notwithstanding , this is an intelligent group and clearly the writing reflects the intelligence (and lunacy, but many brilliant minds have had a streak of insanity) of not only the creative minds behind the show but the audience they are seeking to entertain. I for one am happy to be counted in the that group.

As for your other creative flair -- I've been a bit busy and slightly off balance these past days and thus not focused on Supernatural [heresy I'm sure] but I took a peek at the countdown logo you created. Awesome.

Thanks for helping hellatus fly by...so, very, very close now.
Narcissus
# Narcissus 2009-08-05 03:56
I love you guys :D
angel
# angel 2009-08-05 13:41
AMAZING!
alisonelaine
# alisonelaine 2009-08-05 13:58
Thanks Elle.I agree with every word you said about this show.I've always watched my fair share of TV, liked more shows than others(Alias Smith & Jones was my first TV crush :lol:-) but I've never invested so much of my time and emotion into the story of two brothers searching for their father.Sam & Dean, in my opinion,have the most profoundly moving realtionship on TV and it's an absolute privilege to watch Jensen & Jared act their socks off each week.
P.S The countdown clock is awesome :D
alisonelaine
# alisonelaine 2009-08-05 14:03
Opps, giddy typo.I gush about this show and forget how to spell :oops:
Bethany
# Bethany 2009-08-05 18:51
not too shabby indeed ;-)

great article - i think it's true the heart of the show is the characters and how the show makes us involved with them, makes us care so that we'll take the journeywith them through the highs and the lows, joy and pain, angst and meta.

Kripke and co - your show is a joy to watch, we cannot sing your praises more highly.
elle
# elle 2009-08-06 09:38
Thanks for the reads and reviews guys! :lol:
I had to put to paper what is so great about our show - all the better to help me bring more people over to our side, hehe!
Suze
# Suze 2009-08-06 10:27
Love the countdown twirly thingy ... Also totally with you on Dawn-Why-Did-They-Bother.

You summed it up for all of us really. Cruel and unusual stories, none-more-black humour, loads of angst and the Pretty ... Mmmm ... Can't fail! :D