Reasons you should watch Supernatural

It’s not usual for a show in its fourth season to see a sudden ratings surge, but that’s exactly what’s happening to the CW’s little known (and little watched) Supernatural. The horror-genre show has long been a cult favorite, struggling in its Thursday night 9 pm slot. This season, though, the show has seen an uptick in viewers, logging an average of 3.32 million eyeballs a week, well ahead of their season three numbers.

Even a devotee like myself can admit that the show’s charms are an acquired taste, preferably to those with a forgiving palette. This season, though, has been good enough for me to think, wow you should really watch. And here are ten excellent reasons why you should watch:

10. Maureen Ryan does, so you should too
Up until this season, the show has been largely ignored by mainstream media outlets. This television season, one of my favorite TV critics, Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, called it one of the best shows of 2008. No small feat from someone whose praise isn’t so easily given. She called it “unheralded but excellent … packing meaty thrills, dude-tastic humor, and solid storytelling into each episode.”

9. The epic love story of Sam and Dean
Go ahead, giggle. I’ll wait. In an early season two interview, writer Sera Gamble, now one of the show’s producers, jokingly said the show was really just the epic love story of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester. Supernatural’s real hook is that under the guise of a horror show, there is a tale of family dysfunction so deep it would rival anything daytime soaps had to offer. Wedged in between the monsters of the week, Sam and Dean struggle to keep their family of two afloat in the midst of epic turmoil and an impending demon war. Theirs is a twisted love story of filial loyalty stretched to the brim, always in danger of snapping. It’s this constant struggle to stick with the ones you love, even when it means sacrificing your own happiness, that is the emotional heart of the show.

8. Blood and guts storytelling
This is still a good old-fashioned horror show. Supernatural has a high tolerance for gore, and they’re also excellent at crafting visceral, spooky thrills. Spooky often beats bloody in my book, and this show does both really well. Sometimes, people like to be scared pants-less.

7. Bad things happen to good people
This show is not afraid to kill anyone off. Mamma Winchester died in a suspicious fire, as did Sam’s sweet-as-pie girlfriend, Jessica. And, at the end of season one, Papa Winchester sacrificed his soul for that of his eldest son, leaving the Winchester brethren fatherless, motherless and girlfriend-less orphans. Dude, what a downer. The point is that bad things happen all the time and evil does exist. I love that the show stopped pretending there might be a silver lining a long time ago. Sam has given up all hope of a normal life, Dean is tormented by visions of his time in Hell. There’s something liberating in the bleakness of this show. Yes, the world sucks. Now get over it.

6. Its not Lost or Heroes or Prison Break
Shows with complex mythologies often spiral out of control, confusing fans and actors alike. Creator Eric Kripke has dropped delicious tidbits of the Winchester family mythology throughout the series, skillfully weaving their myth arc against the shorter monster-of-the week plot lines. Every season, fans have been rewarded with the crucial ah-ha! moment that ties up a lot of loose ends, but also keeps us interested and not frustrated.

5.1965 1967 Chevy Impala
Seriously, this is like the sweetest ride on television. I’m not a car person at all, and I LOVE THIS CAR. Like everything with this show, Sam and Dean’s car isn’t just a car. It’s the de-facto home for the wayward brothers, a place of belonging and timelessness that also serves as a physical link to their past.

4. Bring on the tunes
You won’t hear any cheesy, female singer-songwriters on this show, thank God. Supernatural’s mainly classic rock soundtrack is a real bright spot in the TV landscape which is overrun with tweeny pop songs and “alternative” bands. You’ll hear anything and everything, from CCR to Styx to AC/DC.

3. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki
Seriously, what are they feeding Sam Winchester? Jared Padalecki started off the series as a tall, gangly drink of water but now has turned into a bona fide hunk. Yowza. Ladies, tune in for the eye candy if you will, but both of these fine faces are hiding some solid acting chops. Both guys have an easy chemistry that makes it easy to swallow some of the more maudlin writing on the show.

2. Better writing
The show has been uneven in its past three seasons, drifting between storylines and inconsistent in its characterization. By the fourth season, the writers know what works for their actors and what doesn’t. It’s nice to see less of the clunky one-liners (like the “I Shot the Sheriff” joke from Jus in Bello) and less of the emotional, weepy Sam who was too often aimlessly wringing his hands to be any good.

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