February - 25 - 2012

I’ve got SUPERNATURAL on the TiVo!

I can’t sleep tonight. I feel like a commuter from my bed to the couch to this chair. My cat follows me dutifully, and even as a nocturnal creature, he thinks I’m nuts. While my husband sleeps peacefully in the other room, I find myself here, pondering my quandary.

So, dear friends, what does one do at 2a.m., when one’s inability to sleep leads to thinking? Be resourceful. SUPERNATURAL is on the TiVo.

Saving me from the quiet is the refrigerator’s hum and the cat snoring on the couch, I flip on a SUPERNATURAL episode from a couple of weeks ago titled “TIME AFTER TIME”. Phil Sgriccia, one of my favorite directors, convincingly transports me (and Jensen Ackles) to an era of suicide doors and fedoras.

For those of you who think that SUPERNATURAL is a horror show, I urge you to sample a season on a cold and rainy weekend. It’s a show that you have to watch with your brain in gear. In TIME AFTER TIME, there are delightful inside jokes referencing BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE UNTOUCHABLES and H.G Wells.

Everyone in the cast and crew has outdone themselves to the tiniest detail. “Ivan and the FX guys” outdo themselves making the fantastic look realistic. (That’s Ivan Hayden, ladies and gentlemen. A name you’ll hear for many years.)

As always, Serge Ladouceur’s cinematography transports you to a time/place that should be ridiculous, but through his magic, the editors, writers, directors, stunts, casting, assistant directors, etc.,etc., pull off a believable pallet of colors with which the exceptional actors (regulars and guest) can paint a fabulous picture. Art direction, production design and location choices by “Russ the Moviegod” always excite.

Lastly (and “bestly”) are the unsung heroes of sound. The music editors score big (pun intended) each week, and the sound crew designs a soundscape which envelopes you into the story rather than “shout” it out at you. Supervising Sound Editor, Michael E. Lawshe, and his crew add the tiniest touches that transport your ears and imagination to unimagined scenarios (scenaria?), making them inviting and inclusive. Lawshe’s attention to detail (his signature), wraps you in a blanket of sound, making many other TV shows sound stark by comparison.

Can’t sleep? Amazon has SUPERNATURAL available for that download instant gratification. Try HOLLYWOOD BABYLON or MONSTER MOVIE to acquaint yourself with the two siblings who fight evil. Get used to the premise that this isn’t a sci-fi show, per se. It’s about two brothers, one of whom follows the path set forth for him by his father, and his younger brother who questions the validity of the path. (Seriously, check out MONSTER MOVIE. Bob Singer can out-hitch some Hitchcock, and in black and white, yet,) and the late producer/director Kim Manners had a unique ability to imbue loyalty and humanity into each episode.

After you watch a few more episodes, it will be revealed that this is a show about family, related by blood, or love, or loyalty. Its members fight among themselves but present a solid front when facing non-family (or monsters). The heart of the show is the relationships, not the “monster of the week”.

Check out the episode, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, which wunderkind Ben Edlund and actor, Misha Collins, execute so flawlessly that I challenge you to watch it without pondering why we are all here on this earth. Then, for the truly entrenched, graduate to THE FRENCH MISTAKE, an episode filled with so much metadata that you’ll still laugh after you’ve seen it many times. And the ironic writing combo of Edlund and Jeremy Carver are shades of Benedict’s character, “Carver Edlund”, author of a little known, but rabidly-followed series of books entitled ‘SUPERNATURAL’. It’s an “I guess you had to be there” in-joke that will make you laugh for days.

The combo directing/writing team of EP Bob Singer and showrunner, Sera Gamble, delivers consistently. I would be remiss if I did not mention directors Guy Norman Bee, Charles Beeson, David Nutter, J. Miller Tobin, Mike Rohl, and so many others that I am too tired, plus my sleeping spouse’s favorite, John Showalter. (The spouse has good taste.)

I’ve rambled on for more than an hour now, but I can’t bid you bonne nuit without praising the cast. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles shoulder these weekly mini-feature-films with aplomb, dignity, talent, humor and incredible character development. Over the years, they have been supported by an army of co-stars, guest stars and background stars. It’s late, and I feel like I’m at the podium trying to remember whom to thank for the award, so forgive me if I have missed you, but here’s what my cloudy 3a.m. mind can scrape together: the incomparable Jim Beaver, the aforementioned Misha Collins, the two Samanthas (Ferris and Smith), Lauren Cohan, Julie McNiven and Robert Wisdom. Then there’s the team of two Marks (Sheppard and Pelligrino) and Christopher Heyerdahl who somehow manage to make Hell seem amusing. (Please bring back the troika of Beaver, Collins and Speight. They’re my favorite antidepressants.)

Among the much-missed are Alona Tal, Sebastian Roche (hysterical in at least 5 languages), oh-so-versatile Kurt Fuller, Rob Benedict, Steven Williams, and Genevieve Padalecki who took over from Katie Cassidy and made “Ruby” her own. Chameleons Demore Barnes, Todd Stashwick, Matt Cohen, Sterling Brown and Mitch Pileggi will have you wondering, “I know that guy. Did we go to school together?” Even the four horsemen of the Apocalypse get to be funny. Matt Frewer (hysterical since MAX HEADROOM) and Julian Richings (who plays Death) get my admiration for their infusion of character and some answers as to why bad things happen to good people. Richard Speight Jr., soon to been seen in TO APPOMATTOX, is a marvelous ringmaster in CHANGING CHANNELS among many episodes, if you’re looking for a belly laugh.

OK, it’s late, and my brain wants to try to sleep again. Forgive me, if I’ve left out your favorite character or crew member. I’m sure there are typos that I will see in the light of day, but it’s just a matter of sleep deprivation. And in three hours as I start my workday, I’ll be up watching the episode, ROUTE 666, written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner. Love this episode as it has personal touches that I enjoy… Jensen Ackles showing off his DOOL training and snow in Mississippi (OK, it’s really Vancouver.) It’s a nice change from the upper Ohio Valley and Plains states setting, assuming that is a necessity based on Vancouver weather… or that the mouth of Hell is not Sunnydale, CA, but New Harmony, IN or somewhere in Ohio. (Show creator, Eric Kripke, hails from Toledo.) SUPERNATURAL also recognizes that the grace of angels lives in Kentucky, but that’s another topic.

The producers, directors, actors and writers of SUPERNATURAL have come up with a concept that speaks to us all. If you don’t believe me, check the dozens of websites and Twitter accounts devoted to the show. How many TV show execs have their own followers (Hi Todd), such as Jim Michaels and his #jimions? We admire their work, and by extension, them.

Treat yourself to a SUPERNATURAL Saturday. You’ll wonder why you’ve never done this before. Tune in Fridays at 9pm on THE CW for new shows, and catch the repeats of older shows on TNT in the mornings. Check your local listings, as they say. Now I say goodnight and publish this in my sleep-deprived haze. Thanks for stopping by and please vote for a Season 8

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