Supernatural Season Seven: what keeps us watching?

As anticipation for Supernatural's Season Seven premiere on Friday, September 23rd (9pm on the CW) builds, I've become a bit reflective and maybe a little philosophical. I looked back over Seasons One to Six and spoilers for Season Seven and a question came to mind: what makes me watch?

Meet the Boss Promo Pic Ep 7.01

When the show first arrived in September 2005, I watched a promo of it on the then WB network, now the CW. The promo showed many fast-moving images with some voice over. The music played during one of the original promos was the Dave Matthew Band's song, "Out of my Hands," and its haunting instrumentation and subtle vocals helped to pull me in. Of course, the young men slated to play Supernatural's leads weren't exactly hard on the eyes as well. So I marked a reminder to watch the pilot on my calendar and here I am getting ready for Season Seven all of these years and seasons later. 

I was hooked from the first episode and have never looked back. I didn't care about the monster of the week aspect. Sure, it keeps you entertained but it isn't the critical thing that compels me to watch. I watch for the same reasons I'm sure every other Supernatural viewer/fan watches: the brothers, and the relationship of the characters Sam and Dean Winchester as portrayed by actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. I was stunned by the chemistry of the actors and how believable they were as brothers. By the end of the pilot we were invested in these brothers and we have laughed, cried, and grieved with them, even raging by their sides as well.

Now, I'm not so completely off in the Land of Nod to say I have loved every arc twist and story line the writers have created in the Winchester world, but I look at this like a relationship -- even the best of them have rough spots now and again and you ride it out and see them through.

I feel in a way both lucky and privileged to watch this show: lucky because I turned the TV on that day and saw a promo that made me at least think, "I'll give it a shot," and privileged because there has never been any one singular television viewing experience that I have had where two actors can so eloquently portray the architecture of brotherhood so realistically that at times I'm not viewing but experiencing from a sort of fly on the wall perspective. I have loaned out DVDs more times than I can count and anyone that I can get to watch Season One becomes hooked as each box set becomes TV crack.

It has always been the little show that could and it keeps going and going. Yes, I know that one day Supernatural will have its series finale season and for me and many other fans of this show, it's a realistic event that will happen one day but of course it's a bitter pill as well. The idea that the credits will roll and the screen will fade, and this "parting is such sweet sorrow" moment will happen is hard to take, like it relates in a way to ending a relationship where both parties are still in love and neither knows why they are parting but you do and it's over.

I strongly feel that Supernatural has a lot of fertile ground yet to sow but eventually ground plowed for too long must be allowed to become fallow. I think the show has the potential to go the distance that Smallville did before retiring, which would be ten seasons. The possibility is there but whether the show is given that opportunity remains to be seen. We have seen demons, ghosts, creatures, angels, heaven, hell, and even the apocalypse in the course of this show. There have been many supporting characters; some remain and some have been lost but all have become a part of the tapestry that is Supernatural.

For example, Jim Beaver has portrayed the salvage yard owner/hunter since the tail end of Season One and after the death of the boy's father at the start of Season Two has stepped into the role of a surrogate father for them. He has made Bobby his own and has been able to capture the heart of many Supernatural viewers. Simply put he is a character that we have become invested in as he has touched us and made us think and feel.

There have been many losses endured in the course of the series and none have been better executed than the death scene of Ellen and Jo Harvelle. Samantha Ferris, who played Ellen, conveyed her character's anguish, loss, and anger so well that it was visceral. Alona Tal (Jo) did an excellent job of conveying her own version of "rage against the dying of the light" and she made us think and feel and even ache. She made us ask ourselves, "what would we do?"

One character that we can't forget was the addition of the angel Castiel in Season Four, played by Misha Collins. He created a character that at first we weren't sure of but quickly he's found acceptance in the Supernatural fandom. The character has been through many changes over the course of the series since his intro in Season Four. We were left last season with many questions, worries, and at times we yelled at the screen while pulling our hair. After all, what do you do when a beloved character takes in all the souls of purgatory in order to win the civil war in heaven, only to be apparently corrupted by the immense power that now resides in him. He states he is "no longer an angel," leveling a look says "I'm your new God ..." The fate of Castiel remains in question but one thing that isn't in question is that this character is forever a part of the Supernatural family tree.

So, why do we watch? We watch because we can look at every flaw of this show throughout six seasons and see beyond them to the perfection that lies in the characters, and not the at times convoluted story lines.

I am grounded in the Winchester brothers and their journey. For fans who have stayed the course for the entire six seasons, we share that common bond, a familial one. Sam Winchester's voiceover in a promo for Season One said, "...This journey is our burden, our destiny..." well, for we fans, I say this journey has been our privilege and our shared destiny.

Now, buckle up for the ride of Season Seven and begin the countdown to September 23rd as the next chapter in the Winchester's journey begins.

By Dawn Nyberg

About the author

Dawn has a passion for the show Supernatural & everything that makes it great: acting, story arcs & classic rock. She loves episode spoilers, conventions & sneak peek clips. Follow her on Twitter: @Feretory

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13 Comments
On: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Beautiful retrospective on a show that obviously has such a devoted fanbase dawn !

Curious to see if / when the CW will pull the trigger on Season Eight, wouldn't be surprised if that happens soon after this month's season premiere. 

On: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Courtney said:

nope, no destiny. just a rabbit's foot.

On: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

To my readers: there are some type-o's that may not be glaring to you but if they are, apologies as they happened during the edit when I sent the piece off. I have asked that they be fixed.

Thanks for Reading!! Tune in for S7 on Sept. 23!

On: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

To Courtney,

I haven't thought about the rabbits foot in a long time, but alas, it went up in smoke when Dean fried it :-) When was that? Season 3, I think.

Enjoy season 7!

On: Thursday, September 15, 2011
isleofskye said:

Hi,

I read your article quite by chance and I opened an accout just to be able to compliment you on one of the best articles i have read about Supernatural.

You hit the nail on the head; of course it is the brothers relationship that keeps us all watching and waiting with baited breath for season 7 to begin.

When I watch an episode I become immersed in Sam and Dean's world, and  the incredible occurrences in that (cardboard and  wooden sets! ) world, become completely real due to the two lead actors.

It's their ability that  makes us believe,  not  the storylines or the writing etc., but it's because for those 38 minutess they ARE brothers and they make us care about them as if they were our own.

I, too, can't remember a brotherly relationship with such chemistry between the actors....truly one of a kind.

To think that I only discovered Supernatural on DVD last Christmas and like youself I was hooked from the pilot ( still one of my favourite episodes ) as were the rest of my family, my older son calls the show " an addiction" and he is definilely not one who watches tv in general!

I am totally in agreement also in your assessment of the less endearing episodes ( I won't call any episode bad, as any one is better than 99% of anything else on tv ) which you see as down moments in a great relationship.

For me the heart and core of the show was, is and will always be Sam and Dean and any other characters are only there to enhance their relationship; Bobby as the the father-figure and then an exterminated army of bad guys ( and girls ) who throw everything at the boys and only manage to strengthen their already unbreakable bond.

Sorry if I rambled on a bit but your article expressed my views so exactly that I couldn't resist joining you in your reflections.

I am also so fed up with reading of how the show "should have finished at the end of season 5", "how season 6 was rubbish,"" how the show has  become stale," etc., etc., etc., so it was lovely to read such a positive outlook on Supernatural and it's two wonderful leads.

I , too would like it to go on for ever but we all know that cannot be!

Let's hope they at least get to season 10. I'm sure Jared and Jensen would be willing  to continue, as they seem to be invested in their on-screen characters just as much as we are.

Thanks again,  regards, Isleofskye

On: Thursday, September 15, 2011
isleofskye said:

Sorry, I seem to have left in some typing errors.

Hope you get the gist  just the same. regards

On: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

Hi Isleofskye,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I appreciate them :-) I'm looking forward to Sept. 23 and think S7 will hit it out of the park. It's a huge compliment for you to feel compelled to express your thoughts as you did in the comment section! In addition, thanks for signing up in order to just leave your comment!

Many Thanks! ~ Dawn

On: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Bunny said:

Wow. A beautifully executed article by an amazing and admirable author and person. Eloquent, heartfelt, and so very true.

 

Thank you so much for writing this, Dawn! :)

On: Friday, September 16, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

Hi Bunny, thanks a bunch for the kind words :-) I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the article! Your compliments are humbling and mean a lot.

Thank you, Dawn

On: Saturday, September 17, 2011
Licia said:

A-freakin-men.  Thank you for defending our little show that could to the world. This article sums up why I love this show as well.  For all its rough patches, it's still one of the smartest shows out there, and the writing is fantastic. I could fill several pages with the memorable (and most times hilarious) lines from Supernatural, and it's just...so good! I started watching the show because of Jensen (followed him from Dark Angel to Smallville to Supernatural), and stayed with it because it had such a satisfying storyline. 

Watching seasons 1 and 2 now makes me so happy because I can see the love and attention Kripke spent in tying everything together.  And the way new fans just sink their teeth into the show when I introduce them to it makes me wonder why more people don't watch it.  I mean, heck, I was so not a horror person before I started watching, and now I love monsters!

On: Saturday, September 17, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

Hi Licia,

Wow, thanks for the amazing comments you left concerning the article and the show! I agree andyone I've been able to get to watch a whole season gets hooked. I've had some tryi it with an episode or two, late season episodes and then they almost always say, 'hey, can I borrow season 1 because I want to understand what I know I'm missing'.

I think season 7 will be awesome and I'm hopeful for more seasons down the road.

Thanks again!!

On: Sunday, September 18, 2011
eleonora said:

Hi from Barcelona! I have enjoyed and thumbing up all the way while reading your article. I am also a fairly recent Supernatural lover, in the last 12 months I have watched three times (well, I still have seasons 5 and 6 to do to close the third round but I don't think a week (yess!!!) will be enough, so I keep them for the end of season 7. There are some chapters that I love like my favourite books and some scenes that I cannot stop admiring. And some punch lines that make me kill myself laughing every time I watch them. Someone said they were not into monsters before and I must subscribe. Man, my favorite shows are Friday Night Lights and Fraser! 

I wanted to thank you for your review, it sounds so fresh and genuine, I am so tired if this Dean or Sam thing, this fan confrontation, the (you already mentioned it as well) Season six sucks monotheme, the it's time Cas was gone...! I like to be open minded and let the writers take my hand and guide me. And I don't think either Sam or Dean could be who they are without the other, they are so real (in this very unrealistic world) because, as we all, they are complex, evolving individuals who react and live amongst others. With each other. 

My only critique would be about the excess of killing. I can endure the gore in the show, but Rufus? Balthazar? Ellen and Jo? Ash? Pamela? All! of the Cambell Clan? and so many more... I know it's a bleak, gloomy world, but my heart aches for these two pour souls. I have hope, though, ;) so, please, make Castiel travel back from where he's gone -and it would be such  a great thing to watch! And spare the wonderful Bobby, give him at least a thin, subtle ray of hope at the end.(my two wishes for the end of the swow) So, counting down to Saturday, after four long, solitary months. (I don't know anybody here who watches, so I do a weekly, children-friendly summary to my 7 year old and at least I get to talk about it! My friends are too snobbish although if they dared to do the trip, they'd be crazy about it too!!...) 

So sorry about the lenght, obviously I had a lot to pour out! 

And thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. 

Cheers! Eleonora

On: Sunday, September 18, 2011
Dawn Nyberg said:

Hola! Eleonora :) Thank you for your comments and love of Supernatural! I love passionate viewers/fans and I'm thrilled that you liked my article.

Gracias, mi amiga :-)

~ Dawn

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