With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

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Review of the TV series Supernatural (2005) of the project What is good.

The “Supernatural” – is one of the most famous modern TV series. It has been filmed for already 13 years, and is the most long-playing mystical series.

As it happens, the duration of the series has influenced it for the worse, which noticed already the greatly thinned out army of its fans. However, many reviews mainly describe outer displays of the film’s quality – insane plots, self-repeats etc., but its ideological and meaningful content, which has also undergone a row of changes, is being passed by as by professional critics, so fans and regular viewers.

Let’s fill this gap, counting, that the series “Supernatural” – is an amazing project, which managed to take the liberty to a pretty violent treatment of religious plots, creating of its own philosophy of good and evil, and is not ashamed of any methods of catching and holding the attention of the audience.

But first, before we start to analyze the plot, let’s remember, why the influence of a TV series on a viewer is usually higher, than the influence of a film.

Several critical differences between TV series and films by powers of their influence on a viewer

Film TV series
A film – is a solid creation, which catches a viewer for a several hours (most often for no more than 2 hours). Very successful films have continuations, become franchising, and then the viewing of such movie product can take from 6 to even 10 hours of screen time. A successful TV series has in average 4-5 seasons and more. Each season – is about 20 episodes for 45 minutes. Totally, an average-successful series lasts for minimum 82 hours of screen time, not including commercial. Our today’s “client” for the given moment of time (September 2017) has 198 hours of pure screen time, and this is not the limit.
A film – is usually from one to three plot lines, which have a beginning and an end. A film should have time to tell the story for its two hours, and therefore a limited number of central characters in a film uncover themselves only with necessary for the depth of the plot sketches. A TV series can have an endless number of plot lines and plenty of characters. Since it is hard to create a story, which could be developed for 200 episodes and not bore, mainly TV series repose on characters and their opening. A TV series’ task – to make a viewer watch the next episode, and the best tool for it – a well-loved character and his/her inner or outer conflict.
We pay a visit to a film, we dress up, prepare, spend money on visiting a cinema. Nobody is going to argue, that the main place for a movie – is a cinema and only then gadgets’ screens or a TV. A viewer is more critical to films, since she spent time for the journey, money on a ticket etc. and wants to get for it a promised pleasure. We “invite” a TV series; they are much cozier and a home action. Many children of the 90s and 00s can remember a family evening over a TV series. A viewer is not so critical to TV series, mainly because she almost does not spend on it, and they more often can be watched “between this and then”.

supernatural 1 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

Since TV series hold mainly on characters’ opening, making viewers fall in love with them, then, if you don’t take a liking to heroes, – you won’t have a motivation to turn on the first episode of the next season after months of break. And this is the one of the main tasks of authors and producers of any TV series. Therefore, a viewer physiologically gets more attached to series’ characters and is more ready for sympathy and acceptance.

During the viewing of a series a viewer consumes a lot of footage. Appearance of some scenes, for example, with alcohol or sex without obligations can as if get lost in a huge amount of other shots, but if one cuts only them, it will become clear, that only alcohol episodes in the majority of TV series are more, than the duration of a one full-length movie. These and other factors provide a high-scale influence of TV series on viewers.

Plot of the “Supernatural” TV series, positive meanings

Once upon a time there lived: mother Mary, father John and two little sons Sam and Dean. One not fine night a beast attacks them – it kills Mary and destroys the family house. John saves the sons, but, can’t get through the trauma from the wife loss, as well as the elder son Dean. He lives the dreams of revenge to the beast, and having learned demons’ habits, becomes a hunter on them and other supernatural creatures; he teaches this skill his sons.

Twenty years after John suddenly disappears, having tracked the demon, who killed his wife. The grown-up sons have only father’s diary left, where he described everything, he knew about supernatural. From now on Dean and Sam Winchesters have to take on the job of independent hunters and set out in search of their father.

When analyzing the meanings, promoted by the series’ creators, one can conclude, that the “Supernatural” – is the most shining example of gradual degradation, which happens not in the first episode and not even in the tenth, but smoothly from season to season, moving the moral-ideological bar lower, lower and lower.

But, firstly, about the good…

There are only two good themes in the series, which should be mentioned, and which, of sorts, pass from season to season.

plus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Family

The main positive and attractive theme of the series – is a family, importance and strength of family bonds, brotherhood, children-parental, when, despite conflicts and contradictions, a family anyway stays together, its members solve problems together and are ready to risk and sacrifice themselves for one another.

plus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Help to people

Initially the series has been built on a subject of people’s rescue, killing beasts for redemption of their potential victims; namely this has been the main motivation for heroes: “if not us, who will save people from trouble?” But we have to mention, that in the following seasons the motivation changed – “I hunt, because I like it, and I can’t do anything else”. One can compare this with a soldier’s motivation – it’s one thing to serve the country, another – to fight just for the hell of it, getting pleasure from the war and violence. That’s why even this positive moment has distorted as far as new seasons have been coming out.

People’s rescue has become quite arguable. For instance, there are demons in the series’ mythology; some of them have human’s appearance, which they had while alive, some have settled in another body. And if in first seasons the brothers practiced exorcism in order to get a demon from the body, further they more often just killed demons together with their “tabernacle”, i.e. people.

Destructive meanings, translated by the TV series

minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Women images and attitude towards women

From the first episodes it shows consumer’s attitude of the authors and their characters towards women.

The elder brother Dean changes women each episode and showers each stranger girl with obscene comments. Women very clearly are divided on two types – cozy and nice future victim or a bitch on wheels. Anyhow, according to the film, a woman can either suit for sex, or she needs to be murdered.

It’s beginning to feel like sex with another saved girl or with a witness of supernatural is such an essential part of “brothers’ job”. At that there is no talking about any long term relationships. It stands to mention that many heroines fall in love with this young men (more specifically with Dean, but not with more adequate and calm Sam), perceiving such behavior and attitude towards themselves as positive.

Naturally, such demonstration of “free relationships” in a positive way influences guys negatively as well as girls-viewers. Guys are being showed, that it is cool – to have many one-use affairs, girls are being demonstrated, that sex can be something, that she may and should sell for some help from a man’s side – i.e. teach for domestic prostitution.

In further seasons there have become more female characters, but they have not become better: “positive” demoness Ruby, who showed her true face after two seasons, a young and sheepish huntress, who is in love with Dean – Joe, female thief Bella, who took a liking to Sam, etc.

Later the authors in order to please political correctness and feminists added “positive” female characters, like a computer genius and a lesbian all in one.

supernatural 2 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Sexual depravity

Apart from the mentioned above fact, that the brothers have one-use sex in each town they visit, and the presence of the lesbian in new seasons, there has been observed a big amount of “humor” on a subject of sexual perversions. Now angel Castiel sends girls to orgy in parallel reality, now Dean remembers how he had liked, when a girl made him wear her underwear, now the brothers argue that one uses the computer of another for porn downloading etc.

But still the main uniqueness of namely this project – is the level of its “fan service”. Fan service – is an addition directly in a film plainly extra details, which are going to stir up interest of viewers to a film. Most often it is the addition of “accidental erotic” or more rare an addition of a character, who is going to personify a viewer-fan of the film. For example, the Hollywood stamp, when a girl goes to check the source of unknown noise in underwear – is exactly fan service.

Without inspiration with plots, characters’ development and other many series’ authors, or franchising, or simple films appeal namely to fan service for the sake of keeping their ratings at least this way and stay the course. The “Supernatural” – is the first TV series, inside which there are characters, not just going crazy from the main heroes, but hurling them together in homosexual-romantic bond, which does not really exist, in their art. Such thing in real fan environment really exists and is called “slash”. This concerns a big number of modern fan-societies, but the “Supernatural” TV series was the first one, which, has, at bottom, legalized this fan’s stream inside the movie itself, having included it in the plot. Another such TV series is “Sherlock”.

In particular, in the fourth season this fashion of celebration of non-existing homosexual bond between the main heroes is first being mentioned and further studied and appeared in the plot for season to season, notably not by hints, but by very detailed, exact descriptions. And even gingerbread “indignation” of the heroes is no more than just peacockery, which motivates viewers stronger.

minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Transformation of morale, translated by the TV series

The brothers quite often face moral dilemmas, which they solve according to their moral, and this decision, as well as the whole story, draws a certain conclusion to us, viewers, and to the heroes.

Let’s just look at examples in the context of several seasons:

1st Season

The brothers meet a spiritual healer, who not just simply saves lives, but exchanges a life of a “good” person on a life of a “trespasser”, saving the first one and killing in the same flash of time the second one. The brothers consider this an absolute evil, and talk with phrases such “nobody has a right to take on the role of God”. By the end of the episode they don’t let evildoers to take away the life of an unknown young man, and at the same time don’t let to safe the good and incurable woman. The heroes give the willies from the fact, that this healer saved Dean on an exchange for a life of other person (of course, Dean didn’t know the price of his treatment).

An outcome of the story is simple – it is wrong to make malicious mischief for the sake of “good”, even if it may seem logically so. Put simply – the end does not justify the means, and it is forbidden to build happiness of ones on unhappiness of the other.

supernatural 3 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

3rd Season

The heroes run into a siege together with a dozen of innocent people. In order to escape and to safe wider public Ruby, the demoness-ally, offers Sam and Dean to kill a virgin, who appeared to be in a building together with them. Despite the girl’s agreement on a sacrifice, the brothers find another way of saving them and friends. Everything’s seems to end up well, but only brothers manage to escape from the siege, the rest are suddenly being killed as soon as brothers have left the premises. In future we will learn specialties of the horrible and violent death of the people, including the very same virgin, who the brothers have been trying to safe in the first place.

It is hard to escape a conclusion – if they would have listened to the demon and killed the virgin, they could safe more people, i.e. a viewer already receives an opposite meaning on an example of this story:

  1. The end justifies the means.
  2. Happiness of ones can, and sometimes even should, be built on unhappiness of another.

Indeed, this is opposite to the first season’s idea. Why did it happen? Namely because while you watch the first season, you still examine your “guests” from the other side of the screen, but in further seasons you don’t look that closely and take on trust more outcomes.

supernatural 4 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

6th season

Again an episode with a moral dilemma. Dean should walk in a face of death for twenty-four hours – just killing those, whose time has come. Firstly, he does this calmly, killing those, who, to his opinion, deserved this (a robber, threatening a child, an insatiable fatty), but later he is being asked to kill a twelve-year-old girl – the only daughter of a lonely man, Dean, of course, refuses. This “fault” of his leads to changes in fates of other people, who started to die; and by the episode’s final Dean, even though he wasn’t asked, comes to the girl and finishes his “job”.

Conclusion – if something bad should happen, this should happen, and one mustn’t prevent this. One just needs to do his/her job.

At bottom, earlier already in the first season the authors showed, that happiness of ones should not be built on unhappiness of another, and that one should always follow the voice of his/her moral, not making bad actions “for good”, even if it seems wrong logically. In the third season, trying to act the same way, the heroes become a reason for a tragedy. In the sixth season the heroes, even though it took some time, still stopped fighting and accepted the happening as some “cruel fate”, which one mustn’t disobey.

At that, if there are lives of the Winchesters on the line, the fortune always favors to them, and closer to the 11th season it becomes known, that God itself cheers for them and that’s why constantly resurrects their guardian angel (the number of resurrections of the main heroes defies calculation at all), which gives away an idea of chosenness of the main heroes not only as fighters with evil, but also those, who are not affected by universe laws.

Below about God, Angels and their images.

minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?Angels and Demons

In this section we should one way or another get deeper into religious rhetoric, since the TV series directly touches it. By the fourth season the heroes also meet Angels apart from Demons. Earlier there were no bright powers at all, and the brothers often argued about their actual existence. However, angels and gods in the series’ universe are the “bright side” only in quotes.

First of all, Angels are enemies of people on the same level with Demons in the series, if not scarier. Since they want to lead the world to apocalypses, arrange paradise on Earth, killing all unwanted, i.e. the people. It is shown, that angels – are those, who God made bow to people; even they perceive people at best as waste of space, at worst – hate and contempt. This is precisely why they often serve as allies to demonic powers, allegedly having the same goal with them – to destroy the humanity. After the cancelled apocalypses in the fifth season, having lost leaders, whether demons in hell, or angels on heaven started civil wars for rule.

Now about personalities of the “angels”

Michael – one of the negative characters of the fifth season, together with Lucifer. A powerful and evil creature, who destroys unwanted to him people.

Gabriel – a.k.a Trickster, also having a mask of Scandinavian god Loki – the creature killing unwanted people for fun, creating things or creatures out of air (quasi-ghosts, aliens, maniacs etc.)

Raphael – the main antagonist of the sixth season, dreaming about destroying the humanity in order to create paradise for angels, for that agrees with the demon Crowley.

Uriel – angel-traitor, Lucifer’s ally.

supernatural 5 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

supernatural 6 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

supernatural 7 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

There is still an angel, who is a “positive” character, saver of the humanity and a friend of the main characters among the main heroes. His name – is Castiel; and a funny fact – this is the only angel’s name in the series, which is taken not from the Bible, but from the cabalistic learning.

supernatural 8 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

Castiel – is a quet guy, looking something like a child by his behavior, innocence and openness, but for the sake of a good purpose (humanity rescue) is ready for risk and go against the rules – to agree with a demon, in order to full him later, to betray his brothers-angels etc.

Has relationships with women – a demoness, reaper of death and an angel. The character’s opening mainly happens through his communication with Dean, who decided to try to teach Castiel of life, for example, leading to bawdy-houses, teaching of lies, showing porn. If a journey to a bawdy-house has ended up with a try to save a life of the prostitute, then he still learned how to kiss from the “pizza delivery person”.

minus With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?“God” as the TV series character

Yes, “God” – is also the series’ character, whom one can describe with the phrase an “egoistic observer”. According to the plot “God” has left Heaven a long time ago and left Angels “without the instruction for managing the world” (a quotation from the series). He has found a physical shell, having become a human, and decided to pretend a prophet to observe current historical events “from the first row”, as he later is going to state.

God calls himself Chac and writes series of books about the Winchesters’ adventures to attract attention to his personality from higher forces. He also entertains himself with traveling and amusements. In one of the scenes, having already revealed himself as God, he says the following phrase:

- I travelled. I had girls… and boys also.

supernatural 9 With what has the TV series “Supernatural” ended up?

Total – cruel, hating the humankind angels and having left the world careless god-bisexual. This is how the “bright side” and higher powers look like in the series’ mythology. By translating to the series’ audience such images of evil angels and careless God, the authors distort people’s perceptions about good and evil, light and darkness. The TV series’ fans, thanks to uncritical acceptance of such view of the world, are going to form the grey moral (when everything is equally faceless, and there is no good and bad) and also to fixate an unpleasant strong association to any religious rhetoric, connected to traditional confessions’ views or with an ordinary out-of-confessional belief in God and understanding of “religion” as a connection of God and a person.

On “trifles”, the series is overwhelmed with beer scenes, which heroes drink instead of water, they easily get into any place, using fake documents, and live on fraud with credit cards (if one saves the world, he/she is allowed to steal, indeed). At that they only have temporal problems with the law only because of mystical evil powers, but in no way from their criminal behavior.

Drugs

Constant product placement of alcohol, primarily, beer of certain brands, which our “superheroes” drink even at lunch.

Sex

Plenty of one-use sexual contacts are demonstrated as a norm of life. There is perversions’ propaganda, the top of which one may consider the image of “god-bisexual”.

Violence

Plenty of scenes of violence demonstration. Violence and murder are aestheticized and romanticized. From the fourth season the main heroes do not hide, that violence makes pleasure to them, and is the main motivation in “fighting with evil”.

Moral

Many TV series “start with the honors” – show interesting characters, plot, themes. But already by a certain season start to “finish with a sorry sight” – imposing its distorted “moral”. The “Supernatural” – is exactly such a TV series. If in first seasons it, with little reservations, has been telling about people without super abilities, who devoted their lives to saving others, simply having knowledge about supernatural threat, then further a viewer is being imposed many destructive ideas, from slash-direction advertising in fans art and enhanced alcohol propaganda, to mockery after archetypal images of the good and attempts of demonstration the despair of the idea of help to other people at all. Such hopelessness and depression from understanding of uselessness and pointlessness of good deeds, which is being put into a mystical plot and framed with classical rock for atmospherity.

The film as if constantly asks the question – why one needs to be kind? Why carry good and justice, if God left heaven a long time ago, guardian angels hate us, and we can’t really save anyone really doomed from evil fate?


Adverse film indicators

  1. Film highlights the value of personal success and prosperity, regardless of methods to achieve them. Immoral or even criminal behavior of film characters is unpunished or even results in life improvements: gaining recognition, popularity, wealth, etc.
  2. Storyline of the film discredits and gives scornful and fastidious description of everything related to motherhood, birth giving, and children raising. The images of mothers look disgusting, their way of life is shown inadequate and lame.
  3. Film storyline propagates non-committal and so-called free relations values, casual relationship, extramarital sexual relations are shown obligatory or at least approved. The viewer is imposed the excessive value of sexual life. This results in defamation of institution of marriage and family, as well as pudicity.
  4. The plot of the film contains obvious or hidden propaganda/advertisement of intoxicating substances (alcohol, drugs and cigarettes), propaganda of health-detrimental behavior (fast-food, club life, laziness, etc.). The way of propaganda is giving these bad habits to positive characters of the film.
  5. Film shows only decadent apocalyptic future without any alternative for the country or human race and our planet in general.
  6. Film shows physical strength and violence as the main tools to solve problems and fight against evil. Aggression is endorsed by people around, detalization and vividness of violent episodes do not match film genre or age category.
  7. There are almost no positive characters in such films, whose moral and norms of behavior can be an example to follow and empathy.
  8. Double standards approach and “convincing that black is white” are widely used in such films for designation of vicious and socially dangerous events. Neutral, non-evaluative or even approving approach for explanation of these events to make them look softer is also widely used.
  9. Positive characters of the film have low speech culture, use slang, abusive nicknames.
  10. Film characters demonstrate nontraditional sexual orientation or emphasize their positive attitude to it.
  11. Film contains pseudo-erotic scenes, where sexual contact is shown with too much uncovered detalization.

Elizabeth Kvasnyuk

Translated by Daria Egorova

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