One of the best highlights of the 6th season include an episode where the boys get shoved into a reality where they are two actors playing in a television series called Supernatural. Yeah, they did it in Eerie Indiana, but it works just the same here. For so many fans the show has built an enormous reality of its own. This one just gives fans a chance to look at their own world for a few minutes through the eyes of Supernatural.
If you are a fan of the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker, you were more than likely disappointed in the remake a couple of years ago on ABC. Your hope is now once again restored. Supernatural is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to The Night Stalker. Like Kolchak, the Winchester brothers are faced with weekly incarnations of evil. They’re forced to research these legends and figure out a way to stop them. As Kolchak discovered, it’s a thankless job. Sure, Supernatural is populated with all sorts of beasties and nasties, but it also manages to hold on to a sense of humor that rounds out these adventures to make this one of the most entertaining shows around. When UPN and WB merged, I was a little worried about Supernatural. You do the math (that was another review). Two networks worth of shows, one network worth of programming time. Half of the shows needed to vanish, and I was concerned Supernatural would be one, if history of respect for genre shows was any indication. Fortunately for us the show has not only survived, but it has thrived, looking to be around for quite a while yet.
What amazes me most about Supernatural is the incredible balance the show manages to keep up week after week. Of course, there is that creature-of-the-week idea, but without taking anything away from each episode, there is an overall story arc that ties these creatures and moments together in such an intricate yet easy-to-follow fashion. Each episode blends just the right mix of darkness, comedy, and series mythology. Even The X-Files wasn’t able to spin this flawless a tapestry. I also can’t say enough about the leads. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have a wonderfully complicated chemistry that gives us an element even Kolchak never had. This is not a one-trick-pony relationship. Under all of the brotherly love and shared tragedy there are far more emotional themes that surface from week to week. There are resentments and rivalries that can suddenly dominate their intercourse. Unlike most shows these conflicts are real and remain a part of the fabric of this relationship, not to be brought out and then quickly overcome never to be seen again. Each of these events leaves a visible mark on their personalities. This kind of continuity is almost unheard of. It requires discipline and dedication by everyone involved; from the actors, writers, and production staff. And again, the season finale will leave you counting the hours until the next episode.
The fact is this. If you are even remotely a genre fan and have not checked out Supernatural, get your butt down to the store and get the early seasons now. I promise you won’t be able to stop watching. Now that the show has been coming out on high-definition Blu-ray, it only gets better. This is exactly the kind of series that Blu-ray was meant for. Detail is important on a show of this nature. There’s a lot of nuance to the series, and now you’ll be able to catch it like never before.
The sixth season begins with the aftermath of the explosive apocalypse the boys averted through Sam’s tremendous sacrifice. Dean has attempted to honor his last promise to Sam that he’ll try to have an “apple pie” life. He settles with a woman and her son and can almost find happiness. Of course, Sam returns and pulls Dean back into the hunter game. But Sam’s not altogether there. He’s been hunting with some newfound family members that include their formally dead grandfather Samuel, played with delight to sci-fi/horror fans by favorite Mitch Pileggi. Sam has escaped his Hell cage but without his soul. Much of the season finds the boys looking for a way to get Sam’s soul back, but he’s not really sure if he wants it. Misha Collins joins the show as a regular playing the angel Castiel. There’s a civil war brewing in both Heaven and Hell as new faces attempt to replace the MIA God and Satan. The boys become pawns in the struggle and have another painful but important part to play.
The season has some rather fine highlights. There’s a Western episode where the boys go back to the old west to get the ashes of a phoenix. There’s the return to our reality show I mentioned in the beginning. There’s an X-Files spoof that even turns the opening credits into something like that show had. In one episode Balthazar saves the Titanic from sinking. It leaves 50,000 new lives and Fate wants to fix the mistake. Why did he save the ship? Because he hated the James Cameron film. Boy, can I relate to that motive.
In short, it’s another complicated year with another tragedy lurking in the shadows. Whatever the big bad, the show remains about characters and solid writing. It’s a collection absolutely worth having.
Each episode of Supernatural is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The 1080p image is brought to you through a AVC/MPEG-4 codec. The picture is a slight improvement over earlier years. As you might expect, this show is dark in more than just its nature. Much of the action occurs at night, so black levels need to be spot-on, or any detail can be quickly washed away like blood pools in a hurricane. Supernatural delivers with great shadow definition and deep levels of black. I’ve seen the broadcast HD versions, and these are even better. What is remarkable about the colors is that they manage to hold on to such fine definition even under intense low-light filming conditions. There is nothing about this transfer that will keep you from enjoying the best horror series since Kolchak.
Supernatural’s audio is finally presented in DTS-HD Master Audio track. The show just comes alive so much better in the uncompressed audio. Subs finally make themselves heard and the rest of the show retains the quality we’ve had in previous releases.
There are some select Audio Commentaries.
Gag Reel: (11:11)
Jensen Ackles – A Director’s Journey: (26:46) Go behind the scenes as the star directs his first episode.
The Hunter’s Guide To Season 6: This is an interactive journal where you can access short features and stills from each episode. It’s a cumbersome way to deal with these things and a lot of work to get to what you want. It’s like those candy collections where you never know what’s inside until you bite.
Supernatural And The Quest For The Soul: (29:21) Religious experts talk about what the soul might be while show crew talk about its importance for the season.
The season leaves a lot more questions than answers. You get the idea they were quite confident they were coming back for more. It’s not so much a cliffhanger as a turning point for the show. I did find the final episode to be one of the most disappointing of the series. It was more cryptic than usual and honestly didn’t really keep my attention. Fortunately, the show has at least another year to make it all up to me. “I’m dying to know how it all turns out.”