My pop culture weakness: Supernatural

I’ve wanted to write about Supernatural for some time now. I began watching the TV series a little more than a month ago because my younger son liked and likes it very, very much. I’ve never been a fan of horror, actually I usually hate the genre. And yet, I got hooked almost from the start. Not exactly at first sight, but after three or four episodes I was spellbound. They (meaning actors, authors, directors and all those involved) certainly don’t take themselves too seriously, the situations and dialogues are often mockingly exaggerated or outright crazy, but it also holds me breathless with suspense. They’re good, they’re really good.

Of course, I’m in love with Jared Padalecki, and with his character Sam Winchester, I mean, who isn’t? He is morally strong, sweet, brave, kind, thoughtful, a keen reader (a nerd, actually, drenched in intellectual curiosity), a bit narcissistic but mostly unselfish and, needless to say, stunningly handsome. Also, he considers the reasons of all those involved, rather than taking sides and busting in, guns blazing, no matter what. He makes mistakes, for sure, even huge ones; and over time, he dies and goes to Hell (yes, I’m talking literally here) several times in an attempt to make things right and help other people; from where, he is always saved by his likeable, protective and good but bossy, I’m-always-right, angry-all-the-time, restrained, macho-but-sensitive, ladies-man, unable-to-live-alone older brother Dean. The opposite is also true, that is, Sam saves Dean’s ass a number of times, but he doesn’t get so unbearably self-satisfied about it.

However, the character I’ve been most fond of, over the eight or nine seasons he appears in, is Mark Sheppard’s Crowley, the King of Hell. While Lucifer is the Antagonist with a capital A, Crowley is always somewhere in the middle, and I like that, as I’m all for grey areas. I think it’s his utter disregard for goodness and morality, combined with wonderful Brit humour and irony and a soft spot for the Winchesters, that make him so adorable. I loved it when they showed his mobile phone book numbers, divided between “Moose” (i.e. Sam) and “Not Moose” (i.e. Dean aka Squirrel). This was perhaps the first time that he revealed how he really felt about “the boys”. His mocking wickedness and the odd friendship/hatred dynamics between him, his mother Rowena, the angel Castiel, Lucifer and the boys are among the juiciest aspects and most valuable assets of the series. apparently, he won’t be in the last two seasons though (they’ve not arrived in Italy yet). I hope that whoever decided to eliminate the character for good will change their mind, it would be a real shame.

Then there is Misha Collins’s Castiel, angel and God, homeless wreck and warrior, well-meaning idiot and incredibly smart leader, gentle lover of humanity and icy killer, goes through all kinds of personalities over the years, always apparently unflappable, always capable of saying the most surreal things without so much as a blink (“I don’t sweat under any circumstances“), and yet always somehow revealing a lot through his eyes.

And what about delightfully, charmingly horrible, bewitchingly loathsome Rowena (Ruth Connell)? What about Meg, Ruby, Sarah, Eileen, Hannah, Jody, and all the array of strong-willed, warm-hearted or execrable (or both), doubt-filled or self-confident (or both) demons, women, angels and hunters who have loved, hated, betrayed, fought, lived, died (again, sometimes more than once) either for others or for themselves over the fifteen seasons of the series?

So what makes this TV show so special in my eyes? Mainly, it is the fact that it is not about horror at all. I mean, I suppose splatter film fans will find it’s straight up their street anyway. But what fascinates me, especially in this particular period, and apart all the craziness and humour and heartwarming, stubborn hope that fill it, it’s the questions it raises; universal, not-so-original, ubiquitous questions of humankind: life, survival, freedom, security, justice and revenge, good and evil, courage and foolhardiness, sense of responsibility and sense of guilt, love, loss and unhealthy need for someone, terrible choices made “for the greater good” and right choices made in one’s own self interest. What are the boundaries? I feel I need to reconsider them, work on these ideas and redefine them to some extent, and I’ve found myself relishing in the good old way of thinking about these issues by getting absorbed in an enthralling story.

I know there are some weak points too somewhere (well, a bit of U.S. and gun lobby propaganda for one, I guess), but after all, who cares, I’ve loved it through and through, still do, strong points and weak points and all.