September 20, 2006

DVD Review: Supernatural - The Complete First Season

Supernatural is one of those series that I honestly did not have any expectations for. When it first hit the small screen, in the Fall of 2005, I was looking forward to it, I figured it would be an entertaining diversion. It had some recognizable actors and a fun premise, so I figured I would give it a shot. What I found was a series that turned out to be a lot better than it should have been, and hopefully it will continue to be that way.

If you are looking for a series that is fun and has a surprising amount of depth, this may be just what the doctor ordered. On the surface you have a show that deals with the creepy things that go bump in the night, as our heroes travel around the country fighting for those who don't have a clue. On that superficial level, it is a fun series, Dig a little deeper into the series, and you will uncover a story of a family with an interesting past, fighting for something more than just our entertainment.

Supernatural follows Sam and Dean as they set off on a quest to find their missing father. The journey is anything but typical as the brothers were raised to be fighters of all things demon, and the path to their father leads through all manner of ghastly things. The trip turns out to be one where the two will learn things about each other, even though they thought they knew it all. They find new friends, and enemies that will shadow their moves right through to the shocking climax.

The show takes the some of the mystery of the X-Files and a bit of the humor of Angel and gives us a refreshing take on the horror television show. I can honestly say that while it does feel reminiscent of those other shows, it still has a freshness to it.

Some of the things that I really liked about the show, at least initially, were elements of the window dressing. I love the old Impala with the trunk full of knives, guns, and holy water, I loved the use of classic rock and roll, and I loved the references to rock and other shows. I loved the use of names like Agents Ford and Hamill, Dr. Hetfield, John Bonham, Mulder and Scully, and the rest.

The series is led by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as the brothers Winchester. The chemistry that the two have has grown considerably over the course of the season, these are a couple of guys who clearly are having a good time.

The DVD set brings all of twenty two episodes of the freshman season home, and I am glad for it. I looked forward to this every week. It took the plethora of urban legends that exist around the country and brought them together under the umbrella of this quest. This set allows me to go back and relive that season long arc, or pick and choose among the stand alone episodes.

All of the episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and look like what you would expect a recent television release to look like. In other words, the episodes look good. The colors are sharp, blacks are deep, and it just looks really nice. The audio is also well represented with a good stereo mix.

The extras are actually pretty good. There are a pair of commentaries, one on the pilot with Eric Kripke, David Nutter, and Peter Johnson, and then one with the stars, Ackles and Padalecki, on “Phantom Traveler.” I sampled each of these, and they are good, have some information and are worth a spin.

Now we can get to the meat of the extras. The primary extra is the featurette Supernatural: Tales from the Edge of Darkness. This features interviews with the cast and crew covering many aspects of the series, from the seeds of creation to the special effects, to many other parts. It is quite informative. Then there is A Day in the Life of Jared and Jensen. This follows our two stars through their day, from getting breakfast to relaxing in the trailer, to makeup and onto the set.

Rounding out the set is a gag reel that is actually pretty funny. Flubbed lines, rewrites, and general screwiness abound. Lastly there is a stills gallery, an extra that I very rarely ever look at.

Overall, Supernatural is a blast, a surprisingly good show that I very much look forward to the second season of. This DVD set is the perfect way to catch up on what you may have missed, or relive what you didn’t.

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