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Text: Short and quick version:


The long version: Once upon a time the talented, hilarious, and very lovely Obscurus Lupa did some reviews of all 8 seasons of the show Charmed. To give you an idea of how that turned out, her overview of the first season was 1 video, just a little over 15 min long. Season 8, however covers 9 videos, each also over 15 min long. (yes, after season 2, which was also 1 vid long, each season had more vids than the previous ones) If anyone wants my advice on writing (and why would you, I've never made a cent off mine), I actually recommend watching every analysis of all the seasons to learn on what NOT to do.

The point? Without hyperbole I will tell you that Supernatural's season 9 is another example of everything that you SHOULDN'T do when writing (especially long-form media).

That's not to say this season was irredeemable. With a modicum of effort, discipline, and a commitment to the rules by which a genre shows live and die by, this season could have easily been at least mediocre, if not great. Instead, we have a season that is now, with no contest, the single WORST season the show has ever produced.

That doesn't mean there were no good moments at all. One thing that must be kept in mind when judging works, particularly long-form works, is that it must be judged as a whole. So while I still maintain that seasons 3 and 6 were the other two worst seasons, that doesn't mean they didn't have good episodes or even great moments. Likewise even good or great seasons can have bad episodes or groan-worthy moments in them. But seasons must be judged AS A WHOLE, with everything added up, stitched together, and assembled. Of course, even though S3 & S6 started out weak, they got stronger and improved as the season went on with a clear midseason turning point. By contrast S9 started out mediocre, then got bad, and then got worse as it went along, only struggling to reach the point it SHOULD have started out by the time the halfway decent finale showed up. It's actually almost academic how badly everything went, so if you're not too interested in the examination, you may want to bail out now.

Failure in stakes

As I said at the time, this started back in the S8 finale, "Sacrifice" with Dean suddenly panicking over Sam possibly dying from the trials. A problem because death had become incredibly cheap in the show save for the actors' ability to sell at least some emotional concern over it. However on an intellectual level, it doesn't work and as Chuck of SF Debris likes to point out: When thinking becomes the primary enemy of your story, you have a problem. This isn't to say that it had to remain that way, but to later reveal in the season (TWICE!) that the angels have retained their resurrection "spell" despite the lack of wings maintains the intellectual lack of impact. Had they bothered to reveal that angels, now removed from heaven, could no longer save the dead, the story problem would have been resolved immediately (though you would have to rework two scenes). As it is, we have moments like Sam looking determined over the body of Dean, without even once calling out to Castiel or any other angel they have recently made friends with. In episode 9.01 Dean at least tried that option before even considering the King of Hell. Of course, had they went with that, then we would have ended the season with a poetic parallel between the brothers. Most writers make conscious efforts to get that kind of poetry into their writings. This season would have had it just with a dash of common sense. (this is one reason I utilize and advise people to follow certain rules in their writing, because often you'll find that when you do, some of the things that make "great art" like echoes and parallels and such just happen to find their way into your work) Then you have the villains with Metatron never establishing why he needed to be stopped (so he's "kind of creepy"? I'm so glad that's a crime worthy of death now). Abaddon shows up, provides some potential, then barely does anything until the season arc needs a kick in the pants (oh look, she's going to force people to become demons - wonder why no other demon tried THAT before). Her menace and motivation was the kind only to be invoked when the writers demanded it. After all, early in the season we see a tactician that is ready and willing to use the tools of the future at her disposal. Riiight up until Dean comes to kill her, at which point she bothers with NOTHING that would be helpful to her, not even the hand gun she used NOT FIVE MINUTES EARLIER! Most everyone in the audience knows that the heroes win in the end. The question is always "how" they can (though sometimes really powerful writing can get the audience to wonder "if"). Thrills and excitement are drawn from back and forth exchanges: the hero is winning, now the villain, etc. Boredom is found when the audience realizes (even if they don't consciously think about it at the moment) that the villain is pretty much forfeiting the fight to the heroes. When literally anybody (not just the protagonist) could be the victor because the villain is so inept, then we're invested in nobody.

Failure of Logic (and order)

This is practically a damn joke with nearly EVERYTHING being bass-ackward from the way it should be. For instance, why is Dean so gung-ho to kill Abaddon to the point of nearly dooming his soul (suspected, of course by the finale we've confirmed he did, in fact, doom himself) when it was AFTER he got the mark that she scratched up his car (had Baby been damaged first, then Dean's later crusade would have made sense). Why is Castiel so concerned about the value of Sam's life, AFTER Cas has regained the power to resurrect people from the dead (or if he can't because of the stolen grace, why not tell the audience that)? If Cas is now so reluctant to take lives, why is he killing angels fighting him instead of just grace zapping them so they live (albeit, depowered lives)? Why bother bringing the brothers back together only to have them separate again (even if briefly) a few episodes later? Nothing flowed from one plot point to another in an organic fashion. There was no sense of "Because A, B happened, which led to C, causing them to have to do D...". Instead we got: "A happened, then X, B occurs, J happened, somewhere was a 7, then D, followed by Z..." Part of me almost wants to get S9 on DVD JUST to try and go back to reedit the entire thing to how it SHOULD have been, just to see if that improves the story at all.

Failure of Motivation

Similar to the above, but with a slight variation in that motivation is at least easier to fudge and explain when inconsistencies arise. Except they don't even bother with that this season. So for instance we have things like the Mark encouraging Dean's bloodlust, only for him to up and advise allying with a monster in episode 9.20 (bloodlines) even though every. other. time. after getting the Mark, he had to be talked down from going kill happy. Sam at least acts ready and eager to kill Crowley, but when Crowley is trapped and powerless right in front of them we don't even hear him put up a minor argument for his brother TO GO AHEAD AND KILL THE GUY! Cas talks about not wanting to kill angels, but then makes no efforts to "disarm" those that threaten him (well, except for Metatron). Gadreel brings Castiel back to life, then demands Dean kick him out of the bunker (rather than say... making a deal with Dean to rez Cas IF they keep him out of the bunker). Again, none of this is unsalvageable, but we need SOME form addressing it on stage. If your audience has to do all the work of filling in what you didn't bother showing, then you've done a poor job as a writer. On and on, we see these characters behave not as people, but as props battered hither and yon at the whim of the writers.

Failure as Story

Add all of the above up (and probably a few more things I'm forgetting) and this is what you're left with. A non-story. A plot that is just a series of events with no context or emotion or meaning behind them. Great stories always bring up and answer the question, "why". Why does Luke join the rebellion? Because his family is killed and his home destroyed. Why does he seek out Kenobi? Because the droids he owns demand it. Why does he learn the ways of the Force? Because it was his father's legacy. Why must the One Ring be destroyed? Because its power preserves the enemy and all will bow to him in time if not stopped. Why must the Ring be taken to a volcano in the heart of enemy territory? Because no other method exists to be rid of it. Why must Frodo take it? Because for any other to bear the burden is to risk their soul. Why must the crew of Serenity deliver the message? Because the crime must be declared to the public, because the lost should not be forgotten, because the truth must be shared, because you can't stop the signal.

Why do Sam & Dean search for their father? Because they're family, and they will not let the deaths of their mother and Jessica go unanswered.

Why do Sam & Dean seek the children like Sam? Because it's Sam's best hope for avoiding whatever evil fate may await him.

Why do Sam & Dean fight against Lilith? Because neither wants Dean sent to Hell.

Why do Sam & Dean fight to preserve the seals? Because they don't want Lucifer bringing Hell upon Earth.

Why do Sam & Dean oppose Heaven and Hell? Because the price humanity will bear for the battle isn't worth it.

Why do Sam & Dean fight the Leviathan? Because those things would rob us all of our humanity.

Why do Sam & Dean want to close the gates of Hell? Because demons cause nothing but trouble. (I left off S6 because it had a lot of "whys" in it, but those were all at least answered.)

What were the "whys" in S9? Again, it was many, and most often the answer was "Because we [the writers] say so." And why do I write all this? Because the child of Kripke deserves better. Because when you love someone, you call them out on their bullshit when necessary. Because some things are worth fighting for, no matter how pitiful your effort might be in the grand scheme, at least you can say you gave it your all. 

Now Alice, our awesome and merciful overlord here, asked us to "rank the episodes in 5 minutes". For me, that's easy.

Best episode: Alex Annie Alexis Ann
Worst episode: Stairway to Heaven.

The rest is just shuffling around as the differences between most of these episodes are so minor it's mathematically pointless to differentiate them. Instead I'm going to sort them into my perfectly accurate categories.

Episodes making Sera Gamble salute the TV: 9.04 (Slumber Party), 9.05 (Dog Dean Afternoon), 9.12 (Sharp Teeth), 9.13 (the Purge), 9.22 (Do you Believe in Miracles?)

Episodes making Ben Edlund hit his snooze button: 9.01 (I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here), 9.02 (Devil May Care), 9.06 (Heaven Can't Wait), 9.07 (Bad Boys), 9.09 (Holy Terror), 9.11 (1st Born), 9.14 (Captives), 9.16 (Blade Runners), 9.18 (Meta Fiction), 9.21 (King of the Damned)

Episodes making Eric Kripke disown the franchise: 9.03 (I'm no Angel), 9.08 (Rock & a Hard Place), 9.10 (Road Trip), 9.15 (#THINMAN), 9.17 (Mother's Little Helper) What's that? I left an episode out? No I didn't, because Bloodlines isn't an episode. It's an hour long joke that doesn't even deserve to be ranked with the bad ones.


# novi 2014-06-11 04:01
Funny how opinions may differ. I agree that season 9 could have more logic in its plot line. For rational minds it should be really annoying when writers don't care enough to make an effort and suggest a more plausible explanation than what first came to hand. I could even add a claim or two of my own, but it isn't a point now. The point is I like S9 and willing to defend it warts and all. Nate, you said that heroes would always win, but the statement doesn't hold water with Supernatural, on the contrary, there's almost no season finale that ended well. The characters are doomed from the start, whatever they try the result of their efforts is tragic. In the season 5 Kripke upped the antes making the brothers face the most horrifying, absolutely invincible powers of the universe. Lucifer! Wow...Since then it's become clear that the world can't provide a strong enough enemy to stop the Winchesters. So the only way left for the writers (as I see it) was to switch from the outward problems to inward issues, so the more that this (psychological) side has already been well developed in Sam and Dean story. Despite the fact that Abbadon was a spectacular character, and Metatron was ...well, ceepy:-) , and fun to watch, neither of them was, and I think, never intended to be the main antagonists of our heroes. For better for worse SPN is becoming less and less an epic fantasy, and more and more a drama. That's why the angel war seemed so boring to many viewers. The story is not about conflicts in Heaven, nor in Hell, demons and angels' actions are just a background for an epic Winchester Disagreement. Dean throws his soul and his life not because of Abbadon ( the pretty demon knight is just a pretext imo), but because he has nothing left to live for. He doesn't act like a hero following his quest, he rushes (yes, irrationally, stupidly) toward the inevitable failure because he's in despair. The same goes for Sam whose behavior can't be explained in logical terms, but quite understandable since we know about his hurt pride, anger and fatigue. In other words the characters act according to the rules of drama and should be judged according to those.
If I understood you right, you didn't like I think I gonna like it here... Wasn't it written well? My favourite episode...:(
# cheryl42 2014-06-11 09:19
It's always been about the brothers for me the rest is just set dressing. I agree this has been an uneven season but I enjoyed almost (except...well you know) every episode. Mostly because it has focused on the brothers and their very complicated lives.
# E 2014-06-11 08:43
On and on, we see these characters behave not as people, but as props battered hither and yon at the whim of the writers.
This sums it up perfectly. I hardly recognize these characters any more, particularly Sam who seems to have lost all of the character traits that he was established with at the start of the series. His actions and reactions make little to no sense and are not explained because a prop doesn't need explanation, it just gets used and then tossed away when not needed - a perfect description of Sam, especially in the past two seasons.
# st50 2014-06-11 08:54
Have to agree with you, Nate, on this one. After last year, I would never have believed they could get any worse, but SURPRISE! I have a new "worst season".

Never have I felt less emotionally attached to the story plot or characters - not even to the brothers that I adore. They became just two more ordinary, boring fictional characters in an evening soap opera. I never believed the angst or the peril. Abbadon, like Naomi before her, was under-utilitzed and ultimately impotent. Metatron was a joke. The angels were simply annoying. A confrontation between Sam, Gadreel and Dean could have been fascinating and intense - as it was, it fell flat. Even Crowley seemed to be ineffectual.

When writers have to adjust canon to move the story along, I can go with it - as long as it is explained in a way that makes sense. Give us a piece of information we didn't previously know.. BUT when they mutilate canon with absolutely no reason other than "because I can and I want to", they are rocking the foundations of the world they've created.
After several years of nothing but careful world building, the creative team suddenly doesn't seem to give a damn about canon or character, so now why should I?

I'm hoping Jared and Jensen will work together on something in the future, because as much as I enjoy watching them together, I'm done with Supernatural.
# Lilah_Kane 2014-06-11 15:00
It is as wonderful to see that the doom and gloom comments get the likes that go over and over and over (I could continue this for like 10 pages) the same bad stuff because one thing mostly and not caring if the sky is cloudy or sun shines. Even if they are asked that "Do flowers grow?" it returns to same thing. Anyway, read the review even if dreaded it. Have watched season nine three times already and my opinion is just the opposite.

And I actually would like the writers and actors continue to do Supernatural as they seem to like it and have fun doing it. As Supernatural got the biggest ratings in four years it seems to go good. I mean even I had wish list for season 10 and it had negative points. (Ok, I have complained about Bloodlines more times) but other than that I usually mention that stuff once and move along.

One thing I agree. A4 episode was awesome.

That's all.

- Lilah
# st50 2014-06-11 17:07
Lilah_Kane - Thanks so much for the warm welcome back. I thank you for the comment on the number of "likes" my post and E's have received.
Lovely of you to be so understanding of my point of view. Since I've managed to stay away from this website for months, only posting again a couple of times this past week, I can totally sympathize with your frustration of how repetitive I've been lately.
So very sorry to hear your opinion of the season is different from mine. Imagine, two people having two different views. Amazing.
Have a nice day.

(apologies to Nate and Alice. I know you'll edit this post soon).
# Lilah_Kane 2014-06-11 17:21
Just a slight comment. It wasn't a reply on your post like this is. Didn't press the reply button for you but this observation was in general. It was against over all negativity that has gone around and people "cheering" on it. To the review I said I think the opposite. Didn't go into details as opposite negative is positive. and I also mentioned the A4 episode that I think was awesome.

I hope that clears it. :)

- Lilah
# st50 2014-06-11 17:52
Well, there's the problem with generalizations , isn't it. Given that there were only two "doom and gloom" comments prior to yours, and they'd both been "liked"... the obvious conclusion would be door number 1.
You should have a right to your opinion. I should have a right to mine. We should both have the right to state them, and others should have the right to indicate agreement (what you describe as "cheering them on"). You should NOT have the right to belittle mine, or complain when I state it, or complain about others agreeing.
And I TAKE the right to call you out on that.
I'm perfectly willing to discuss differences of opinion. I am not willing to allow those differences to be shamed or mocked. And THAT is why I replied to you directly.
# Lilah_Kane 2014-06-12 01:40
I put out my response to the situation and tried to made it clear how the thing is. People can have different of opinions. I think I stated nothing that they wouldn't be allowed. It is more of the tone and among other things that has gone over two months in the comments. If my last post didn't stop this where I explained what I meant I can't really help it and I see you more directly attacking me in your two responses than I did in my original post.

So, like you said. I am having my opinion about stuff and you have yours. Cheryl was not apologizing for me and she didn't need to because I did nothing to you. She just explained the whole thing like I did and it was just the same.

If that is not enough then who cares. Don't want to explain myself again.

So lets leave it at that.

- Lilah
# E 2014-06-12 09:13
The problem here, in case you can't see it, is that you came here and commented on the COMMENTS not on the article. You criticized the tone of the comments that you don't agree with which feels like an attack on our opinions. You are totally happy with the show, therefore WE don't have a right not to be and to say so, it how it comes across to me. It doesn't matter that your response it wasn't to any one specific post, it's clear that you were singling out ST50's and my posts because you don't agree with them. You don't even mention the article at all. It's especially irritating given that you chose to call people out on their "negativity" in an article that is highly critical of the season…I mean, what did you expect the comments to be like given the nature of the original article? Perhaps you should re-read Novi's post, hers was defending her enjoyment of the season, directly disagreeing with Nate's actual article by using specific examples of what worked for her. She did not address the other comments or their tones at all and was still able to get her point across without attacking the other posts or offending anyone. And if you are wondering if I found your post offensive then answer is yes, as one of the people that you were clearly singling out for writing "doom and gloom comments" I did.
# anonymousN 2014-06-12 05:01
st50, for some people the show is always rainbows but when someone says it is something else which comes out from the unicorn's ass it will be doom and gloom.Rather than comment on the show or refute our points or have a discussion or simply move on it is commenting on the commentors which has become the go to thing.
I am sad that you are done with the show.The frequency of your comments had waned here.I missed your comments.Good luck.
# cheryl42 2014-06-11 17:21
....sorry st50 since I have had long conversations with Lilah on this subject on cbox I can really assure you it was just a general comment about the negative tone on this board in general. It isn't just these few comments on this particular review. It is everywhere. For those of us who have a more positive impression of the season and the show it does get a little discouraging. However since this was a very negative review it isn't surprising that the comments are in agreement. But I can assure you her apology was sincere.
# st50 2014-06-11 18:25
Thank you, cheryl42.
As a former regular contributor - both on the site and on the cbox - I appreciate your apology on lilah_kane's behalf. I understand the frustration. We'd all like everyone to share our own opinions.
It's a shame there can't be more tolerance - especially when the posted opinions are reasonably politely stated, and placed on articles of the same viewpoint, (and not on more positive articles).
# cheryl42 2014-06-11 18:54
Believe me I do understand why so many are frustrated with this show. Like many shows that have gone on as long as this one has it is easy to become disenchanted with writers that are trying to shake things up. It can work for some and not for others. And it has to be discouraging for those that are unhappy that the show has enjoyed such great success this year. I am sure it means that the writers aren't really going to change a whole lot. And I do agree with many here that would like to see a more cohesive storyline throughout the whole season involving both brothers. Like last year Dean's character was mostly sidelined for the second half, this year Sam had less to do. I would like to see that remedied next year and have both guys involved all season or at least as much as the J's schedule allows. But overall I do admit to really loving this season. Again since this is a very negative review we shouldn't be disheartened by the comments. People are allowed to vent here (respectfully of course :)) and those who disagree should know that going in.
# anonymousN 2014-06-12 05:18
And it has to be discouraging for those that are unhappy that the show has enjoyed such great success this year.
Since I am one of those who has found much lacking in storytelling I will assure you that I do not even know how famous each season was/is.I give my opinions based on what i see.If some people do not see it fine and good.But acting like our comments are less valid and they are just "doom and gloom" just rubs me the wrong way.My comments will be in reaction with what I read whether alligning or opposing the articles/commen ts I read.

This article is voicing d Lilah_Kanes, novi's and your's comments disagree in varying degrees. When there has been praises about things which I and many others found disagreeing with ..we voiced our view points.The difference is in the latter case was to focus on disagreeing opinions and saying the thread has become 'negative'...In the former like in this article I do not find anyone telling you guys that the thread is becoming too "positive" for our liking(i.e diagreeing with the article).Our responses are on what we see in the show and if we disagree with a comment its about that section ..we can reply to your disagreeing opinions not initiate commenting about you , I hope you guys would too rather than commenting about us."that we have displeasure because the ratings are good"or that ours are "doom and gloom" comments.
I do not even know what the ratings are (or care for that matter).I am from viewership does not decide whether the show stays on air.If and when i decide to quit the show I will wish the show good luck and quit it.
# cheryl42 2014-06-12 09:29
I guess one of the problems for people who are positive about the show is that even in the reviews that are mostly positive the comments quickly turn negative. It is very hard to find a place to just discuss the show or the episode. And as I said in both of my posts I understand that this is a very negative review and that the comments are going to reflect that. That is why I said that whoever ventures into the comment section should know that going in. Also my comment about the ratings was meant to be in agreement with those who have problems with the show. I have issues as well and I am hoping just because the ratings were good this year doesn't mean that the writers and the show runner won't try to address those problems. It really seems to me that there has been a misunderstandin g about what I was trying to say and I apologize for that. I was not trying to attack anybody on this site. Having been attacked myself I know how unpleasant that is. I was trying to help out Lilah by explaining what I thought she meant. It was clearly none of my business and I should have stayed out of it. So again I apologize for any offense none was intended.
# anonymousN 2014-06-12 13:10
You or anyone here has nothing to apologize for.I know we are writing and cannot see each others faces so misunderstandin gs are bound to happen.I have found you to be very polite and I didn't feel you were attacking me.Sorry, if you feel any offense that I am telling you----- its okay if you jump in to clarify I do not mind.I am happy that we have cleared whatever misunderstandin gs.I guess the problem for me was this was the review which reflected a discontent similar to mine. So I did not have a place until this where i could comment but since I comment only in this siite, i did comment in the 'positive ' reviews.
# cheryl42 2014-06-12 15:53
No worries here. You are right it is hard to get the inflection of someone's "voice" on the internet. And I agree with you about this site. It is the only place I feel comfortable commenting, because minor misunderstandin gs usually get cleared up quickly and everyone moves on. I appreciate that about the people who post here. Thanks and here's hoping that next season will be better for everyone.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-06-12 09:34
Unfortunately, the show enjoying 'great success' this season does not automatically equate to the writing etc being good (though 'good', as well as 'tone', 'positivity' and 'negativity', is subjective). Jeez, the top three selling books of 2012 were the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and those books deserved every bit of criticism that was heaped upon them.
# cheryl42 2014-06-12 09:50
Holy Mother of God!! I agree..agree..a gree... I did not say that the writing was good or bad or indifferent or anything other than I also have problems with the show. My point that I am clearly making very poorly is that I hope that the good ratings doesn't mean that those problems and the problems that others have won't be addressed. I never said that no one had the right to be unhappy with the show. I was very unsuccessfully trying to help out someone who is not from this country and whose posts can be misunderstood. It was not my place, I interfered, I shouldn't have, I apologize...I'm sorry.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-06-12 09:58
Okay cheryl142, just to point out that there were 5 minutes between your reply to anonymousN and my reply to your initial post so I didn't see what you wrote then.
# LEAH 2014-06-11 20:19
Hi ST. I am glad to see you post here again and sad that you are done with the show. I do agree with the idea that all polite opinions whether "positive" or "negative" should be entertained and respected. I dislike the use of the word negative because it implies that somehow the opinion has no validity. The only comments I actively dislike are rude, snotty or condescending ones no matter what the expressed idea or opinion. Good to see you. My hope is we all could just have respect for each others viewpoint even if it deviates from our own. :-)
Lynn E
# Lynn E 2014-06-11 17:21
AMEN! Nate
The only thing I would add is the last episode, Do You Believe in Miracles made me think of munchausen by proxy. Carver created such a mess and then swooped in to save the day to feed his ego.
# Gwen 2014-06-11 18:14
AMEN from me too, Nate. Definitely the worst season for me, for all the reasons stated here and for many other reasons too. I did enjoy individual episodes - I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Dog Dean Afternoon, Thinman, Blade Runners - but looking at the season overall it has been my least favourite.
# Sharon 2014-06-12 09:28
I did not like the season I have given my reasons why in other comments it had aspect's I have found hard to get past sadly .
# anonymousN 2014-06-12 13:12
Me too.If I knew there would be this review I would have commented here only.