When Supernatural was first suggested to me, I was very skeptical. It sounded so cheesy: two brothers who travel around the country hunting demons, ghosts, and monsters. I couldn’t see how a show like that could possibly be taken seriously.
After the first couple of episodes, I was hooked. The show is an artful mixture of horror, action, and comedy. It isn’t as gratuitous as most modern horror is, which helps the viewer stay in the moment. Other horror in entertainment feels like it’s simply trying too hard. While there are some pretty gross things shown, Supernatural doesn’t feel like it’s just trying to top the last thing with gore.
The show also develops its characters. The individuals feel real, and are neither two-dimensional nor flat. Each episode has interactions that further develop the characters. When the characters in a horror show feel like real people, it increases the tension and their whole world becomes more tangible.
Even the creatures Sam and Dean face (ranging from conventional ghosts and zombies to less common creatures like rougarous and changelings) feel real. They scrutinize and talk about the lore behind the monster of the week briefly in most of the episodes. The show typically uses the original lore, dismissing modern alternations of the early mythos. They make creatures like vampires, that I always thought were lame, actually cool. They have enhanced senses, look like normal humans, and can sheathe their sharp teeth (they don’t have only two). This makes it easier to believe that this world could be real.
There is very little drama, which I despise in modern media, and any drama that is shown is reasonably explained. The show also has refreshingly low levels of romance. The lack of drama, romantic or otherwise, keeps your interest on the plot and action.
The usual formula for Supernatural is an over-arcing story line, typically resolved at the end of the season and an individual plot line for each episode. This has been very effective thus far, allowing the viewer to have interest in the fresh-feeling episodes, while still having anticipation for the plot to move forward in the next episode.
It isn’t just the fear factor that makes it so enjoyable; the show is fun, too. Some of the episodes, like “Bad Day at Black Rock” in season three, feature more humor than horror. These episodes are just as good and well written as the more horror-focused ones. This flexibility makes the show feel less predictable and monotonous.
Despite my original misgivings about Supernatural, I have really liked watching it. The wide array of emotions and genres it displays make it accessible and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.