[All stills from Supernatural, Warner Bros Television]
“Wait... Supernatural. That show's still on?”
Boy howdy, is it ever! After 11 seasons and on the eve of its 12th, hit CW television program Supernatural is definitely still on. There are probably a lot of reasons for its endurance as one of the greatest shows of all time (I'm not biased), all of which I'm sure could be addressed in an intelligent and thoughtful way, but for instead you're stuck with me! So let's dissect the reasons why Supernatural is still one of the best shows on TV, and why season 12 is gonna be the best season of all (after season 5. And arguably seasons 3 and 9. Also maybe 10, if you're into demon Dean).
Brothers and Feels
At the core of Supernatural is brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), a pair of very tall, very broad-shouldered all-American dudes who drive across the country in a '67 Chevy Impala, fighting otherworldly foes and fulfilling the family motto: “Saving people, hunting things. The family business.” The premise reads like your typical monster of the week show, but after after 11 seasons, Supernatural's ability to continue torturing us with maximum feels is a big part of its appeal. Sam and Dean are flawed, vulnerable, and always on the verge of shedding a handsome tear.
That's part of why many viewers find themselves drawn to these hulking saving-people brothers year after year. Their outward machismo is attractive, but we also get to see their softer sides. Sam and Dean's brotherly bond not only anchors the show, but it drives them to risk their lives to save one another pretty much every other episode, much to the annoyance of everyone watching. “If you just worked together and opened up to each other you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, ya ding dongs!” But it's that Family Comes First Even If I Have To Die For A Seventh Time Saving My Brother Again theme that keeps Sam and Dean relate-able and sympathetic. Well. As relate-able as a couple of dudes who have each died several times can be.
But it's not so much what the brothers do as the way those actions affect them, and the universal appeal of that chiseled, manly weeping. Maybe the Winchester family motto should be: “Saving people, hunting things, shedding tortured man-tears. The family business.”
One Word: Castiel
We all know Supernatural wouldn't be the show it is without Castiel (Misha Collins), awkward and gravel-voiced Angel of the Lord. First introduced as a secondary character in season 4, Castiel, or “Cas” as Dean affectionately calls him, immediately became a fan fave after his super sexy angelic entrance, sparks flying about him in a barn, hair disheveled and tie askew. Eight seasons later he's still kickin', and still wearing an ill-fitting trench coat for some obscure angelic reason, probably. (Please, Cas, can you put on some fitted jeans or a nice sweater? Like, just hit up H&M?)
But let's be honest, Castiel wouldn't be the beloved character he is if it weren't for his profound bond with Dean Winchester. Sam and Dean have that brotherly love, but Dean and Cas have... something else entirely. Look. I'm not here to tell you who to ship, but Dean and Cas are fully boyfriends, and there's nothing you can do or say to convince me otherwise.
Every great show should have an epic, tragic romance, and the Dean/Cas arc fits every tragic romance trope you can belligerently throw at a Destiel shipper. Even if you disagree with my correct opinion and just see Cas and Dean as platonic best bros, their chemistry is way up there on the list of Best Chemistry In A TV Show. Oh, wait, they actually won an award for that, you say? I guess I was right. Makes perfect sense that people keep coming back for more of that sweet hunter/angel love.
You'd think by the time a show reached its 12th season, the writers would have run out of ideas, maybe begun to phone it in a little (I'm looking at you, Stargate SG-1). We all know there has been many a dud episode of Supernatural, some of which I still watch out of a weird sense of affectionate masochism. But then come episodes like season 11's “Baby,” shown exclusively from the point of view of Dean's Chevy Impala, named – of course – Baby.
No, I'm serious, you guys! “Baby” is arguably one of the best episodes in all of Supernatural's 11 seasons, and it perfectly encapsulates the reasons why the show is just so stupid good. In terms of plot, it's a run-of-the-mill monster of the week episode. But what could easily have become a silly gimmick – showing literally everything that happens in the episode through the “eyes” of Baby – is instead an intimate, back-to-basics look at two brothers who have made a home and a life in this car. Baby has always been a character in her own right; not just a prop, but a symbol of Sam and Dean's nomadic life and brotherly bond. In the season 5 finale, “Swan Song,” Baby pretty much saves the world simply by existing. It's about time we got to see the world from her point of view.
Season 12 Is Gonna Be Lit
If episodes like “Baby” are still possible, even in the 11th season of a genre show on the CW, then I have high hopes for season 12. I mean yeah, there are going to be some bad episodes. I would not be surprised if most of them range from mediocre to terrible. But does that mean I won't love each episode like my own adopted chock-full-of-handsome-men child? No. Because despite its silly premise and that one episode about the haunted truck, Supernatural is consistently enjoyable and straight up entertaining. It has an emotional core with characters that keep its fans coming back week after week, year after year. And that's not something to scoff at.
There are shows I really like, and then there are shows I looove. Supernatural is one of the latter. So bring on season 12, boys, 'cause I've got low standards and popcorn at the ready!