Usually a review on [The EXTREMIS REVIEWS] is for a Comic Book volume, detailing what is happening and how the overall storyline is coming along. This one is instead about a TV series and also a bit different.
The brothers Sam and Dean Winchester set off to find their father John, who hasn’t returned from a hunting trip. Though, unlike normal families the Winchesters do not hunt game, but monsters; especially an yellow eyed Demon that killed their mother by pinning her on the ceiling and burning her alive. While not able to defeat the Demon, the boys at least manage to meet up with their father. He tells them of a weapon – a Colt, whose bullets can kill Demons – which he wants to use on their mutual enemy. Playing cat and mouse with the fiend, the three of them end up badly injured, after a Demon-possessed driver sends his truck crashing into their Impala.
From this short storyline you can see that the first Season focused on gaining its footing and showing off the vast collection of monsters the two protagonists would be facing. The term monster-of-the-week-show can be used here as each week there is a different foe, with the big bad lurking in the background.
For the first time we meet Ghosts – or rather Vengeful Spirits -, Vampires, Werwolves and of course Demons and many others. Without much explanation as to the why and how, the ways to deal with these creatures are simply thrown at us:
A Ghost’s remains need to be salted and burned; Vampires have to be beheaded and Silver Bullets do the trick with the Big Bad Wolfs.
With the Colt there is also a way to get permanently rid of Demons, whereas exorcising them would send them simply back to Hell.
In this Season we are not only introduced to the key characters – Sam and Dean, and to some extent John and the yellow eyed Demon – but also to some of the key elements of the show.
As mentioned before is most notably the monster-of-the-week theme. While a (version of a) monster might return, it is rarely the same creature two weeks in a row. These encounters aren’t by chance, but instead sought out by the boys. In newspapers and other media they look for strange sightings or freak accidents and then dress up as police, FBI or whatever necessary to pursue their so-called cases.
We also learn about the Colt and John Winchesters Journal, the latter holding information about all the monsters he had encountered in his time. Both items are frequently referred to or used after their first appearance. The Journal even seems to be like a Wikipedia for everything monster-related as it provides an answer to all the questions the boys have whilst searching for a way to defeat their foes.
Another big topic besides the search for their father is the search for revenge. I have not mentioned this in the summary, but Sam’s reason for joining his brother wasn’t to find his/their father. He wanted to kill the Demon that not just took his mother, but in the pilot also took his girlfriend. Driven by revenge he feels their cases to be bothersome instead of a good/the right thing to do for the people suffering from the monsters.
In this Season we see Dean as the boy/man who would follow his father’s words to the letter and Sam as the rebellious kid that rarely agrees with either of them. Their arguments are petty and childish and don’t always seem genuinely motivated.
Pro’s and Con’s
While it is unsatisfying that most of the plot is carried by dialogue of the brothers at the end of the episode – usually in or around the Impala -, it still isn’t that bad a reoccurring pattern. Though this is what makes it difficult to review it properly.
A plus point goes to the diverse range of monsters.
When I first watched the show during its original run on television (back in 2007), I was quite afflicted by it. A scene from the episode “Wendingo“, never left my memory. But when I re-watched it, it wasn’t as exciting any more. Though, I cannot tell if this was due to the show or my changed point of view. But I do believe it has a lot to do with the latter as seven years is quite some time (It would be ten if I had watched it on American television).
You need a magnifier to see the plot in this Season and the initial thrill of meeting new different monsters is soon replaced by the predictability of the episodes’ outcome. Still, it is an interesting concept, with some surprises and it has a finale cliff-hanger, where you simply want to know what happens next.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Until next time.
Season Two: Supernatural Summary – Season 2
Originally posted on EXTREMIS REVIEWS: Carry On Our Wayward Sons: Supernatural Season One – The One In Which the Winchesters Become a Pair