Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Supernatural: Dead in the Water and Phantom Traveler

I am not too fussed about Dead in the Water.  Amy Acker is in it, which was interesting, but only out of curiosity.  Dean chatting to the kid is quite sweet.  But it feels far too much like an X files episode, more so than other episodes.  It reminded me that I don't have to re-watch all episodes.  I can skip the ones I don't care about.

Phantom Traveler - I thought this was the one where God saved Dean and Sam from the plane.  It's not.  Still good though. The brothers deal with their first demon (we can only assume, it's not explicitly stated as so, but it's heavily implied).  They talk about being in a confused mental state as making a gateway for a demon to possess you, but that doesn't hold true for later seasons. In later season a demon can possess anyone.  It's possible that it was just their theory at this point.

We also see their first fancy suits, their first homeland security badges and get our first sighting of the EMF meter.  It's enjoyable watching Sam disparage Dean's meter.

Dean's voice is still soft and nasal, and it's odd listening to him when I've just completed what there is of season 15.  Yes, I watched a season 6 clip to check his voice, and it deffo changes.  His basic Dean facial expressions are all there though.  It's great watching actors grow into their roles.

As for the previous episodes, the female supporting characters are treated with respect and have more agency than the male characters.  Good work SPN.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Supernatural: Pilot and Wendigo

We're in a bloody lockdown due to a bloody pandemic and I'm getting stressed to fuck so I decided to watch Supernatural again from the start.  Continuing my mainlining of it.  I have a big long list of things to write about it, so I think I'll get to them ad I rewatch the episodes.

So yesterday I put the Pilot on.  When I first watched it I thought it was dated and some bits were a bit cringey, mostly Sam's hair.  He just always reminded me of Tom Welling in Smallville.  But ona  the rewatch I got SO MUCH MORE out of it.

That's the joy of rewatching something you love, you get more, you understand more, you see foreshadowing (I remember when I first discovered the concept of foreshadowing, it felt absolutely magical to me), you can judge how the characters grow from that point, you can see the bare bones of them, what they started from and you can see the actors grow.

On first watch I perceived it all a setting up episode, the origin story if you will.  I didn't remember much actual plot.  But now, I realised it's the Woman in White storyline.  That has always stayed with me (partly cos I've read so much fic base don it, tbh, but still) .  The boys have stupid hair, yes, I'm not fussed about their origin, although of course it's important, I find the ninja fight scene when Dean breaks into Sam's apartment hilarious - the fights didn't continue like that, that's for sure.  Jared seems far more comfortable as Sam than Jensen is as Dean.

But.  But, but, but.  The groundwork is laid really well.  Their relationship is established well, their shitty upbringing is covered.  Dean's reactions and facial expressions when Sam pisses him off, that's the stuff that continues through all 15 seasons.  It's beautiful to see it start here.

The importance of the car and the music is there.  It's iconic.  The horror story of Supernatural is there - the mysteries, the folklore, the scary shit these guys deal with, easily and confidently.  It is really atmospheric.  It seems to flow much better than on first watch.

Maybe on first watch I was apprehensive because I really really wanted to love the show, and I was worried I wouldn't like it.  But now I know I love it.  So I can just settle in and enjoy it.

I then got half way through episode 2 - Wendigo.  Another folkloric story that I love.  It's not necessarily the way I would portray a Wendigo, but hey I'm flexible.  Then you've got the female characters.  Dean hits on them all, but they are never just love interests.  They are competent, brave, survivors, they learn about the scary stuff and they continue with their lives, dealing with that knowledge. They don't freak out permanently, they react, absorb and process it and then continue. They are competent and they keep on living.  In contrast, most of the fellas in their lives get killed.

I know the show has issues with fridging women.  Let's ignore Mary and Jess' stories just now.  The treatment of the supporting cat of female characters in the early seasons is superb.  When the women start becoming villains later on, that's when I felt the show started to lose it's way.  Before that it was a very male show, male oriented, male stories, male relationships.  But this wasn't delivered at the expense of the women.  I suspect that when this changed was when Kripke, the show's creator (and writer?) left.  I am not sure yet.  I'll work it out when I get there.

I love being so in love with something. Love, love, love it.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Supernatural, let me count the ways I love you

Or, the ways I started to love you, or the ways that I realised I loved you from the beginning.

The music.  Oh the music.  I can't remember ever watching a TV show where the music was so integral to the story.  Guardians of the Galaxy did the same, with Quill's mixtapes (I wanted to call him Kevin there... why.. brain...just why...).  Dean's taste for classic rock permeates every episode, until approximately season 6/7.  It sets the tone, it establishes the brothers' background, it tells you about their tastes, it provides a constant in their chaotic lives.

I found Dean's playlist on Spotify (it's probably this one), and started listening to it and then stuck the songs onto a playlist for myself and now I have a Supernatural theme wherever I go.  As an added bonus, the child now likes Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son.  Don't know it?  It's played at the start of every season finale and it takes all my self control not to whack it up to 11 and throw my arms about.  Here are the lyrics:

Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreamin', I can hear them say
Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say
Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you
Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

I have ALL THE FEELS.  Honestly, the song makes me emotional and it wouldn't have done if it were not now indelibly connected with the Winchester brothers.

Dean's appetites. For food and sex.  I think that Dean is a pretty uncomplicated man.  He hunts, he's loyal to his family, he'd do anything for his family, he drinks, he eats, he has sex, he watches Westerns and Scooby Doo and horror films and he's not filled with existential angst.  Mostly.

He loves his food. He takes such great pleasure in his food.  It's an ongoing thing, not a couple of throw away scenes or pieces or dialogue.  I don't recall ever seeing this on a telly show before.  Buffy's Giles had a hankering for jaffa cakes and tea, but usually the specifics of the food isn't such a big thing on telly shows.

Same for the sex.  Dean likes sex, he's often out hooking up with a woman, he'll flirt with everyone, he's usually successful when he's hitting on women, but we also see the times when he's not.  I'm used to prudish America telly, where enjoying sex is reserved for villains, and casual sex is frowned upon.  Again, my mind casts back to Buffy, which had a horrible attitude to sex.  Thinking of Smallville, it was all very vanilla and lovey, until Lois came along and it was clear she liked sex too.  That struck me as unusual when I was watching it, and then she obviously ended up with Clark, presumably having lots of hardcore sex and introducing Clark to kinks.

Dean Winchester doesn't really do long term.  There's a few longish term relationships, but mostly he's just shagging around.  Importantly, these one night stands AREN'T criticised by the show, it's not used to show that he's gone evil, or is possessed, or is on a morally downward spiral.  He just likes sex.  And porn.  He doesn't disrespect the women he shags or watches either.  He just enjoys sex.  I love that.

Sam and Dean's unspoken conversations.
They have all the facial expressions and all the reactions.  They don't need dialogue to get feelings or opinions across, it's all there on their faces, plain as day.  I don't know if the show was planned like that or if it developed from the two main's chemistry, but it works.  They are brothers, growing up they just had each other, their Dad and Bobby.  These physical conversations reinforce that and it;s a really good use of screentime.

The actors' camaraderie.  They just seem like they genuinely like each other.  I like that.

It's a show about brothers.  Family too, but mostly brothers.  I don't usually like such male oriented shows but this works.  I have a lot of thoughts about how the women in the shows are treated too, but that is a whole other blogpost.  It will include joy and rage. 

There is a frigging twitter called Jared as Cats.  How can you not love a show that inspires such delightfully mad fandom?

That's it for tonight. More tomorrow. Probably.

All Supernatural, all the time

Hello world.  It's been 21 months since I last posted here but now I have Thoughts I want to gabble on about.

If anyone has looked at this blog over the last 5 and a half years they will have noticed a distinct lack of posts, and of those posts, the tone changed somewhat from mid 2014.  As much as I feel strange bringing up my dead child into what seems every topic conceivable, the death of my child changed everything.  It took me out of everything I was enamoured with and my connection to random internet dudes with seemingly normal, happy, un-traumatised lives.

Yes I know that you can never tell what is going on in someone else's life, especially when you just read internet personas, but that's how it felt.

I kept buying comics, irregularly, and I tried really hard to regain the enthusiasm I once had, and it was in there, but buried, and I still can't quite connect with it.  I've been a comics fan my whole life, and a serious comics reader from age 23 ish.  Comics, superheroes, DC comics, are part of my DNA.  I really wanted to take part in them again.  For fuck's sake, I named my child after Superman.  I fucking love comics.  But because of all that, 5.5 and a bit years on, I am still finding it difficult to get swallowed up by them.

I've watched tons of superhero telly and films.  I've got my fix that way.  Some shows are better than others.  Some gave what I want, some didn't.  Titans series 1 is fucking awesome.  I haven't managed to watch series 2 yet.

Then last year I cancelled netflix and got Amazon Prime.  I watched a few shows and got very into them.  Then I settled down to watch Supernatural.  A friend has been into it forever, and it's always been on my list to watch, and then Prime had seasons 1-13 available.

So last October 31st, I watched episode 1.

It's now mid March and I've watched all available episodes, which is mid to season 15, the final season, now airing in the States.  They went on filming hiatus, presumably to do cons, and now the poxy plague has halted filming.

But that's 318 episodes (assuming I can count right), in 4.5 months.  I think I watched 1 episode of Picard and a few Teen Titans Go eps in this period, but no other telly really.

I fucking love this show.  I haven't felt so excited about anything since pre-2014.  That includes all the Star Trek episodes barring TOS that I marathon'd a couple of years ago.  And I bloody love Trek.

I care about the characters haircuts and food choices, and relationships, and personality depths, and in jokes, and the depiction of the monsters, and I have got my own headcanon for various episodes, and I love to hate some characters and plot developments, and I have shouted about my passion for this on facebook, and on twitter, and I CARE.  I care about who they fuck and who they fight, I imagine what would happen if they crossed over with the Discworld, I do comparative analyses of Supernatural vs Buffy in my head, I care about the philosophy of the show, the theology, the morals, the music, the actor's acting styles, the clothes.  I care about what the show has to say about women and about men and about justice.  I care that it has queer characters where being queer isn't a plot point, it's just normal.

I have fallen hard and fast for it and I am a fan again.  I fucking love fandom.  The passion and the nitpicking and the camaraderie and the jokes and the seriousness and the passion.  Fandom of nay sort can be pretty toxic, Supernatural has it's own toxic fandom, but on the whole I'm happy to be a part of it again.

Over the last few months I have had Thoughts about The Show buzzing around my head, but I was too busy watching it to write anything down.  Now I'm all caught up I have time to write, and to get my thoughts down.  Some will be Serious Thoughts, some will be Fluffy Thoughts.  This is the first post and now I need to work out what I'm going to do next.  And how to tag these posts because I swear, I have totally forgotten what my lists of labels are.