Re-watching Supernatural from season 1, and yes, I have some thoughts.
First of all, streaming season 1 on Netflix simply isn’t an option for me. I tried for a few episodes, but classic rock, especially in the early seasons, is a vital part of the show. Without the actual, REAL music as part of the flavor and backdrop, the show definitely lacks a certain depth and breadth.
If you’ve never seen the show, borrow the DVD or buy the DVD’s for season 1, you will be glad you did.
Season 1 is solid storytelling in most of the episodes, and pretty enjoyable storytelling at that. There are a few notable exceptions, every season has it lackluster episodes, but these two in season one, are the absolute worst episodes in the show, tied only with the season 10 finale, Brothers Keeper, as the worst episodes of the entire show.
“Bugs” is just bad – the type of bad where one minute it is 10:00 pm at night and then a few minutes later, it’s dawn. Bugs sucks across the board and is only barely watchable. I tend to skip it upon rewatching the series, but I tried it again this time out and it was just bad. Bad, bad, bad. Even Chuck (praise be to Chuck) says it’s bad writing. He’s not wrong.
“Route 666” is another outing in awfulness. Fangirls and Deangirls will enjoy the sex scene, but even that lacks a certain amount of interest. Jensen Ackles had more chemistry with a paperclip (pilot episode) than he did with Megalyn Echikunwoke. I’m sure she’s a capable actress, but for whatever reason, believing their was a spark between the two was just impossible. And this is the minor complaint.
This episode is set in Cape Girardeau, Missouri – someplace I’ve lived near and visited on more than one occasion. Cape is a BIG town, a town that certainly has more than one road in or out of it. Furthermore, they treat Cape in Missouri as if it’s the fucking bayou. Umm, no. We don’t have “swamp” here, we have wetlands – a minor distinction to be sure, but one that makes it pretty difficult to dump a truck in the nonexistent “swamp” of Cape. Just because it’s a river town doesn’t mean it’s full of swamps and gators.
The premise – a racist ghost truck – could have been handled in such a way it was interesting, but instead it is so heavy handed, complete with sobbing white woman, that is almost completely unwatchable.
But even those two AWFUL episodes have good moments and good character development, even if it isn’t enough to save them entirely. The rest of the season is solid and fun viewing and while later seasons become deeply mired in the overarching story-line of whatever season, the first season is pretty much a monster of the week format that works really well. Many of my favorite episodes are monster of the week, stand-alone episodes.
The season is made all the more fun by the inclusion of John Winchester, portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The episodes with him are truly well-written and solid. He portrays the complicated, somewhat absent father with a aplomb.
After watching 12 seasons of the show, it is fun to go back to the beginning, and see Sam and Dean when they look baby-faced and when they are still finding their footing. In season 1, demons are the big bad and there is a certain uncomplicated innocence there that is fun to watch. Both actors – Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki – do a good job in their roles, but you can see them gradually becoming the Deana nd Sam we all know and love. It works because they are young enough, they are still being formed as hunters in the first place.
Overall, I give the season a good solid B. There are rocky moments here and there, but overall the season is still fun to watch. Also, this watching I cut 22-year-old Sam some slack. A lot of his anger issues and crazy, dick impulsiveness can be chalked up not having a fully developed brain. He gets 4 years of slack for this, which the character desperately needs to maintain likability, especially in season 4.