SUPERNATURAL SECOND SEASON
Reviewed by: JimmyO
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
What's it about
The Winchester brothers continue to fight baddies in all sorts of ghoulish forms in search of the yellow-eyed demon that killed their mother. In season two, they fight clowns, werewolves and other beasties and lose a couple of folks to the dark side along the way.
Is it good movie?
When Supernatural first arrived at a television station near you, I was curious. After all, I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and Twin Peaks, so the idea of another creepy show sounded promising. Sadly, the first season didn’t really live up to its cool premise regarding urban legends and such. I remember seeing a couple of episodes and it felt too much like hunky dudes fighting monsters. So when I found myself tackling season 2, my expectations had come down a bit. But after riding around with Sam and Dean Winchester a second time, I really started enjoying the ride. It seems that the main actors, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have really bonded on-screen and found their connection. No more is it just a couple of pretty dudes acting out urban legends. There is humor and there is a genuine chemistry as the two continue to hunt down the baddie that killed their mother.
As with most episodic television, there are always a couple of episodes that don’t work as well. But with this season, I found myself entertained quite often by a few stand out episodes including “In My Time of Dying”, “Everybody Loves a Clown”, “Simon Said”, “The Usual Suspects” (with guest star and horror favorite Linda Blair), “Roadkill”, “Hollywood Babylon” and the two-part season finale “All Hell Breaks Loose”. Again, I like that the show has developed and added a few interesting characters, some of which are only there for one episode. But Jensen and Jared really have the ability to carry the show which I didn’t think was possible as a casual viewer of season 1.
It starts off when Dean and Sam are with dear old dad, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hunting down the yellow eyed dude. There is an accident and they all end up in the hospital. A decision is made by pops to save his sons life, which costs John his own. So yeah, the beginning is a bit of a downer but as the season progresses, there seems to be more stand alone episodes which offer a whole lot of fun. The dialogue is sharp and offers up a few witty lines such as Dean mentioning a “job” in Los Angeles. It seems a young woman was kidnapped by a cult. When Sam asked her name, Dean replies, “Katie Holmes.” Come on now… that’s funny. There are several other bits of goodness like that and Jensen really on top of it. He is probably the most fun of the two brothers, but occasionally, Jared gets to throw one out there.
As for those of you wondering about the scares of Supernatural. Well, truthfully, there are not a whole lot, unless of course you get frightened really easily. I’m guessing that all of you reading this site don’t. I also found some of the fight choreography pretty weak, especially in “Folsom Prison Blues”. Yes, there are slight flaws that keep this from being a truly great hour of entertainment, but most are pretty forgivable. The stories offer up some fun chills and thrills that might not necessarily be scary, but they are atmospheric and well directed. The set design and the special effects are very good, considering this is television. While this didn’t reach as high as some of the shows I mentioned (Buffy, Twin Peaks), it is still a good example of how to do genre TV well.
Video / Audio
Video: Supernatural looks spookarific in its 1.66:1 transfer.
Audio: Also quite good is the 5.1. Dolby Digital, it comes in handy when those straight from Guitar Hero 2 hits come up… Surrender by Cheap Trick anyone…
At first glance, I wasn’t impressed with the special features. But after getting a chance to really check them out, I was a happy hunter.
There are a handful of Commentaries including “In My Time of Dying” with Kim Manners, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Producer Cyrus Yavneh. This is at times a good listen, but if has too many “quiet” moments and seems to fizzle out after awhile. I was ready to move on.
As for the other two commentaries, we can be very thankful for series creator Eric Kripke. The dude is full of energy and seems to have a bunch of interesting tidbits to add with both “What is and What Should Never Be” and “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1”. He is solo on the first of the two and is a terrific listen. He brings up several interesting behind the scenes stories to life, especially with working as a writer. With Hell, he is joined by Executive Producer Robert Singer and writer Sera Gamble and is again, a great listen. He really livens the commentary up and Sera is also quite a good reason to watch this commentary. Good stuff.
In case you like Deleted Scenes, there are a few here for the episodes “In My Time of Dying” and “Bloodlust” on Disc 1, “The Usual Suspects” on Disc 2, and finally on Disc 3, “Hunted”. Not bad, especially for a little more Linda Blair and Jason Gedrick love on Usual Suspects. I think I would have like to have commentary on why these scenes were deleted, but maybe that’s just me.
A few other fun extras include a Gag Reel (9:16), which unlike many gag reels, it really funny. According to this, Jensen loves to eat. And if you want to see more of Jared, you can check out his Original Screen Test. What happened to Jensen is all I wanna know… the guy is funny.
And finally, the most unique feature is The Devil’s Road Map. This features a map with tabs marked on each place the Winchester brothers had done some hunting. You can either “Play All” or you can click on any of the tabs. Labeled 1-22, they either give a short featurette regarding said episode. Or they simple offer up a little trivia or some audio message about filming it from one of the cast or crew. The best of these include “Roanoke: America’s First Urban Legend”, “Werewolves: Legends and Lore”, “Tricksters: Legends and Lore”, “Haunted Hollywood” and “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2: The Episode From Hell”. I really like how you can maneuver along the dark path that the brothers have, it’s a very clever extra and offers up some fun facts for those playing at home.
Another fun extra on this DVD set is that to find the special features, each episode that has deleted scenes or audio commentary has a little microphone or scissors where you can click and go directly to whatever goodies are in store. But my biggest complaint for the set is there are too few commentaries… come on, give Eric more to do. He was a blast to listen to.
And as for what episodes you can find; Disc 1 includes “In My Time of Dying”, “Everybody Loves a Clown”, “Bloodlust” and “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” (nothing like the Bob Clark film btw). Disc 2: “Simon Said”, “No Exit”, “The Usual Suspects” and “Crossroad Blues”. Disc 3: “Croatoan”, “Hunted” and “Playthings”. Disc 4: “Nightshifter”, “Houses of the Holy”, “Born Under A Bad Sign” and “Tall Tales”. Disc 5: “Roadkill”, “Heart”, “Hollywood Babylon” and “Folsom Prison Blues”. And finally, Disc 6: “What is and What Should Never Be”, “All Hell Breaks Loose” parts one and two.
What was originally a dull episodic television series with hunky dudes fighting demons suddenly seemed to mature in Season 2. Okay, maybe the first year was a little better than I remember, but either way, this was the year where Supernatural seemed to grow up. The chemistry between the brothers is terrific and the stories seem to have become a little creepier. Maybe it helps that the “urban legends” are a little more complex than saying “Bloody Mary” in a dark room with a mirror. This is a refreshing genre television show that seems to have found its strength. While not on par with Buffy The Vampire Slayer or The X-Files first few seasons (yet possibly better than the later ones), it is still an entertaining romp with tales of werewolves, djinns, the undead and a few other creepy critters.