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Supernatural Smackdown: The Winchester Dynamic Duo vs Other Shows

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It was brought up in the DVD thread that we might need a thread to discuss this show compared to other shows. ::cough:: The X-Files ::cough:: Here's what kicked it off.

 

 

 

But as I said above, I agree, the show STORY is what they put on air. That's the canon. But I do think Carver & company are playing around with using an engagement style that is different than other shows.  I don't know of any show that metas as much as this show metas in the history of meta. 

 

Community does quite a bit of meta in their show too. In-fact, I was commenting to somebody the other day that Community, in many ways, is the comedy companion to old-school Supernatual (without the B-grade horror aspects, of course). They also tend to take a genre and/or concept and frame an episode around it. The major difference (other than being comedy instead of horror) is that Community isn't particularly serialized storytelling so the reset at the end of each episode isn't an issue.

Edited by DittyDotDot

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Today is the season 5 premiere of Haven.  It and SPN have quite a bit in common -- "monster" of the week, multi-season mythology, a dynamic duo saving people, etc.  Season 5 will feature a main character becoming "evil".  It's much more complicated than that, but I'm trying to keep it simple for those that don't watch Haven.

 

Haven has an advantage over SPN in shortened seasons.  I would not be surprised if Audrey (so not getting into that right now) is "evil" the entire season;  no way SPN would try to pull that.  It'll be interesting, I think, to compare and contrast as the seasons progress.

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I'm doing a season 1 rewatch of the X-files and I'm watching Genderbender, which is about a kind of Amish person who kills with sex. As often with X-files, it's gross, there is yellow goo, and Scully almost does "the wild thing with some stranger", as Mulder so eloquently puts it.

Never mind. Anyway, I started wondering why Supernatural has never done an Incubus episode?

We've had sirens and killer amazons, but no incubi? Excellent material for both drama and hilarity.

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EMMY noms for acting have been proffered to many stupid shows with ridiculous plot lines. I don't see why SPN should have been left out for acting when you have Jensen Ackles working.  JMO

 

 

Okay, get out the pitchforks and torches.  I can take it.

 

I love the actors on SPN.  They're good at what they do.  But, frankly, what they do is not that hard.  

 

Hold on, hold on.  Let me explain.

 

The job of an actor is to strip away the fat and get to the meat of the character.  They have to be able to understand (it's a cliché, I know) the motivation of the character.  Can Jared really know what it feels like to be possessed by an angel?  No, of course not.  But he can understand betrayal.  So he plays Sam's feelings on that matter in terms of betrayal.  It makes the characters empathetic to the audience -- the audience has to be able to relate to the characters on some level or the whole thing falls apart.

 

Actors tend to get awards when they stretch to portray things that don't have much (if any) personal knowledge of.  Now, we can argue that Jensen can't possibly understand what torturing souls in Hell feels like, but he can portray the shame of doing something you're not proud of.

 

Actors tend to get awards when they portray a subtle, nuanced character with many layers, who undergo a transformation of some variety.  I don't think I can describe SPN as subtle or nuanced.  Sam and Dean have many layers, but their transformations tend to be short-lived.  They rarely learn from their mistakes.  That is not a fault of the actors, but it explains why the Emmy voters can't take the show seriously.  If the show is not taken seriously, the actors rarely will be.

 

Strip away the supernatural from Supernatural and what you've got is a procedural cop show.  No, really.  Victim, investigation, capture.  (Or, in SPN's case, kill.)  The mythology of the show tends to revolve around some sort of family matter.

 

SPN hasn't really tackled much that hasn't been tackled before.  Bad guys aren't always bad; good guys aren't always good; bad things happen to good people; bad behavior can be rewarded.

 

Had Supernatural been on a premium cable network (HBO or Showtime) or even a cable network like AMC, they might have been able to make a better show.  Don't get me wrong, I love the show -- it's why I've stuck with it for so long.  But I think TPTB are hamstrung by the CW.  I don't think they have the freedom to take chances with the narrative.  

 

And, frankly, there are actors that will never get the awards they might deserve.  (I adore Alan Rickman, for example.  I think it's a travesty that he's never been nominated for an Oscar.  But that's the way it works. )

 

As always mileage varies, JMO, the usual disclaimers.  :-)

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Actors tend to get awards when they stretch to portray things that don't have much (if any) personal knowledge of.

 

But most of the awards got to "real life" shows dealing with real life problems, i.e. actors portraying a grief/rape/addiction storyline or stuff like this. And even if they haven`t personally experienced it, it is still in the "mundane" realm of things. People can much easier reference that emotionally than stuff in genre shows. Including IMO the actors.

 

I think it`s no coincidence that the first show ever really considered for awards on the CW is the newbie "Jane the Virgin". And I`m not putting the show down. I have never seen it and maybe it is great but the subject matter doesn`t interest me because it deals with the mundane, real world stuff. I know, CW had teenage soaps in the real world before that but those are a different animal. Genre/high fantasy still does largely carry stigma. You can get away with it on some level with a prestigious cable product like Game of Thrones but that is still about it.

 

And even the network plays a role in it. Gotham on Fox automatically is held in higher regards than say Arrow on CW. But whereas I think Gotham has genuinely a very strong cast, they can`t mask that the writing is so dreary and gimmicky in the "count the future Batman references" way. I think Dylan O`Brian over on Teen Wolf did a fantastic job as a villain in Season 4 but since it`s on, gasp, MTV, it is not a show taken seriously.

 

If you put together an Emmy reel, i.e. either an episode or a couple of strong performances from certain episodes, I think several CW actors should be legit as much as any other network or cable channel. Instead of the same 5 or so people getting nominated each year. Hell would freeze over before they go on any ballot but there isn`t one award these days I don`t consider stuff, predictable and/or political. Even if people win who IMO deserve it on account of talent, 

 

 

If the show is not taken seriously, the actors rarely will be.

 

I agree with that. And I`m not in any way defending the show as a quality product - with the current writing, hell no. But that doesn`t excuse award voters in general from being stuffy, uptight snobs. I always laugh heartily that in recent years with the Academy Awards main categories you will usually not find one movie that is a crowd pleaser. And sure, include the little, hidden gems all you want but to exclude the big budget money.makers because having a stick up your ass is equally as ludicrous.

Edited by Aeryn13
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The Emmys tend to be very conservative. This year all the awards will go to Mad Men because the show is done with after its final episodes and Hollywood lurves Mad Men. Just like last year it was Breaking Bad.

Science fiction/fantasy is wildly underrated by Emmy folks. And I would guess that mostly the Emmy committee sees it as trash for the masses.

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I'm rewatching Smallville, and remembering once again how much I hate Jonathan Kent. Within the show, everyone thinks he's the perfect man and perfect father and completely admirable, etc etc etc. I guess he is? But I constantly want to smack him across the face.

 

Anyway, I bring it up here because Jonathan Kent reminds me of John. They're both the same "type," imo -- they're both "good ole boys." But Jonathan comes off to me as even more self-righteous, uptight, and smug than John. And also somehow completely unlikeable (whereas I find John easy to like).

 

In retrospect, I'm so glad that the WB didn't air Smallville and SPN back-to-back during SPN's first season. The idea of anyone watching Jonathan Kent for an hour and then going straight to watching the Winchesters angst over John on SPN makes me shudder.

 

You know what really bothers me about Jonathan that I guess isn't an issue with John? At least John seemed smart. And at least he didn't think he was hot shit for inheriting a home and business and ~managing~ not to get it all repossessed. UGH Jonathan gets under my skin so bad.

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Oh gosh. I never watch Grey's Anatomy but I just decided to tonight because of reasons I saw on Twitter....and even though it was a very serious episode....I did giggle to myself because Dr. Sexy reasons.  Thanks Supernatural. LOL

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Brought over from the "Cast in Other Roles" thread:

Tru fact: I've never seen a single episode of any of the CSI's or Law and Orders.  Just not my bag.

I get that. That type of show is often very formulaic. I'm almost at the opposite end of that spectrum though - well with L&O anyway. Until the last season or two of the original flavor series, I watched almost every episode. With CSI I watched maybe 2 or 3 episodes and decided that it wasn't for me. I think the difference was mostly whether I connected with the characters - and that's why I didn't watch much of the last few seasons of L&O. It just wasn't the same after Jerry Orbach died. I watched L&O: SVU for Olivia and Elliot's somewhat messed up partnership ("I'd give you one of my kidneys." "Not if I gave you mine first."... summed them up perfectly.) and for Richard Belzer's John Munch. L&O: Criminal Intent - which I didn't get into until later - was for me all about Vincent D'Onofrio's, Robert Goren (who he turned into a sort of creepy, complex Columbo - it was fascinating for me to watch.)

   

The episode you're referring to is S8E10 The Lesson.  Brad Dourif plays the Unsub ("unknown subject") who is killing people who won't help him save his father.  Long story short, he saw his father killed in a store robbery when he was a child.  The play he creates is all in his mind, in which the actors do what he didn't as a child -- save his father and stop the robbery.

Oh, I remember that now, but I remember him killing people because they "failed" at being his "puppets" - in other words they either didn't survive the disarticulating process or they didn't look or work "right" afterwards. I seem to remember real puppets involved in there somewhere also. I did remember Brad Dourif. He is great at creating creepy characters - I loved his creepy killer who messed with Scully's head on the X-Files - and I remember wishing he had a different story/motivation here. He tried hard to sell it, but the reasoning to make the people into puppets - and why did he have to disarticulate them? Just tie rope to their legs and arms -  just seemed thin and an excuse for that horrible disarticulating device.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the gore is at a minimum and the storytelling is rich and complex.

 

I'm weird in that it's the context of the gore for me rather than the gore itself. The gore of The Walking Dead, for example, doesn't generally bother me much, because most of the worst of it is from killing zombies - who are already dead and don't feel that we know of - and it's generally quick. It's usually similar for Supernatural in that the monster is usually quick in it's killing, and that for me is where it differs from that Criminal Minds episode I saw. I'm sure there are some very complex stories there, but I just can't enjoy a show if there are people suffering onscreen long term. And I remember in that above episode, the victims just suffered for so long onscreen, whimpering and crying out in pain. There actually wasn't much gore per se at all - unless you count the close-ups of that torture machine at work disarticulating (there was no blood or anything though) - but I almost wished there was as long as those poor people didn't suffer so long onscreen. I kept watching to see why all that was happening, but in the end, the "why" wasn't worth it for me.

 

I suppose though I really should give it another chance. Maybe if they have season 4 reruns sometime on A&E, I'll give it another try.

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If you have Netflix, they have all but the most recent season available.  (CM just finished up its 10th season as well.)  Every show is going to have good, bad, great, and ugly episodes.  Law of averages, you know?    It's a shame that you caught an episode that you didn't enjoy.  

 

CM and SPN are similar in a lot of ways.  They're both about the good guys "saving people and hunting things".  The BAU chases monsters, just of a different variety.  Morgan is like Dean; he's the more physical of the group.  If someone is chasing an Unsub on foot, 9 times out of 10, it'll be Morgan.  Reid is more like Sam.  (I chuckle when people call him Agent Reid and he corrects them with, "It's Doctor.")  

 

I will say that, in terms of drama, CM excels over SPN.  CM knows that the team dynamic is what keeps people watching the show and they don't create ridiculous infighting.  The drama comes from external forces attacking them.  Team members have come and gone, but they're more like a family than Sam and Dean are these days.

 

Oh, and CM has trouble keeping female characters around, too.  ;-)

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I'm weird in that it's the context of the gore for me rather than the gore itself. 

 

This was what ultimately turned me off CM. The contexts were often so disturbing to me that I finally stopped watching (same thing for CSI, actually). Though this:

 

I will say that, in terms of drama, CM excels over SPN.  CM knows that the team dynamic is what keeps people watching the show and they don't create ridiculous infighting.  The drama comes from external forces attacking them.  Team members have come and gone, but they're more like a family than Sam and Dean are these days.

 

is making me think maybe I'll try it again. I liked CM - and the great team dynamic - enough at one point to cross it over with SPN in fic, so maybe I should see if the BAU team can help me get over the lack of team in SPN.

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Oh, and CM has trouble keeping female characters around, too.  ;-)

 

To be fair to them, the "revolving door" profiler slot seems to be because the actresses they cast don`t want to stay on too long. Oh, and that one year with the network-mandate to cut certain characters from the show that they then brought back. But the writers themselves do try with the female characters. 

 

Overall, for a show going into its 11th Season as well and thus having the usual issues of repetitiveness, flanderization in writing, losing interest in certain concepts/characters, it is still decent enough. The changed context of the gore is IMO because of the focus shift to the Unsub. These days, you get nearly entire episodes from their POV. Not sure why because it means the audience is mostly one or two steps ahead of the actual profiling. 

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I've read a few CM and SP Crossover fanfics, even watched a few shows of CM after.  I just couldn't get into it.  I think it is more of the type of cases they do. 

 

Some things just bother me more and it could be that it crosses the line of too close to real things I've dealt with.  Seeing a woman murdered, thrown out of her car and shot.  I saw the aftermath but it took years for me to get pass it, even had to find a different way to work because I drove past that site everyday.  I finally can but I still think about it every time I drive bye.

 

Where I don't have that issue with SP.  When the gore is too much I close my eyes, or  fast forward. 

 

I have to care about the characters but if I never get interested in them it won't matter how much I try to watch.  I never could get into the Harry Potter Movies, I watched all but the first, but I even seen parts of the first.  I love fantasy, and sci-fi but I can't say the same for Harry Potter.  I never connected to them and I don't really have a reason.

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Reid is more like Sam.  (I chuckle when people call him Agent Reid and he corrects them with, "It's Doctor.") 

 

I don't remember the character, so I mean no offense, but that sounds kind of douchey or somewhat pompous (like he should be speaking with a faux borderline British accent). I prefer straight man, mildly bitchy Sam to douchey Sam (a la season 4 - which is why I didn't really enjoy that season - or season 8: which I hated), so it doesn't sound like I'd enjoy Reid all that much.

 

Did you ever watch Crossing Jordan? I'm wondering, because I'm wondering how Criminal Minds compares in terms of dynamic. CJ was a group dynamic that I really loved. And they managed to have a - to me anyway - complex female character that wasn't a Mary Sue. The one place the show somewhat skirted this was that the other characters did revolve around her, but the show (cleverly in my opinion) had the other characters be self aware of that, and get sort of annoyed with Jordan because of it, because Jordan could be a pain in the ass. And Jordan was messed up and made mistakes and got caught up in her own hang-ups  - i.e. she was human. And I loved Nigel and Bug and their weird friendship. And Woody (Jerry O'Connell from Sliders) as the cop who thought they were all nuts and loved but got totally fed up with Jordan. They did fridge one female character, but I didn't really like her or the actress much anyway. I also liked Katherine Hahn's character - quirky without the usual over-the-top quirkiness that generally drives me crazy: no "surprise, she's a Goth! Look how edgy!" or anything forced like that. And the boss played by, Miguel Ferrer, who I guess is on NCIS: L.A. now.

 

And I will forever have a place in my heart for that show for ending both the first episode and the series finale (a nice bookend) with John Hiatt's "30 Years of Tears," an awesome song that fit Jordan perfectly... oh crap. It fits Dean too. I just realized how much Jordan is like Dean. Both saw their mother die young and were raised by their father differently afterwards because of it. Both their mothers' deaths messed them up and affected how they lived the rest of their lives. Jordan was always trying too hard to compensate for what she couldn't do to save her mother and to make her father proud of her. Even the people revolving around her is similar to Dean. She also has wit similar to Dean and a somewhat self-depreciating edge to her. *my mind blown*

 

Don't know how I didn't realize that before (or had I and I just forgot?).

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I don't remember the character, so I mean no offense, but that sounds kind of douchey or somewhat pompous (like he should be speaking with a faux borderline British accent). I prefer straight man, mildly bitchy Sam

 

Reid is actually very mild-mannered and unpretentious. When he corrects others in terms of his "title", he is just being overly literal and kinda puts himself down. Because the law officials they deal with have more respect for an agent than someone they suddenly perceive to be some nerdy civilian sidekick and he is aware of that. Just by the way he looks and dresses, people likely underestimate him compared to say Morgan or Hotch.  

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Ah, okay. That's not the typical "I'm Doctor so and so" crap they usually have douchey characters say then. As I said, I was pretty much so horrified and squicked out by the Unsub's part of the episode, I barely remembered the principal characters. Except the ultra blonde woman with glasses who sort of creeped me out (I don't know why, because I don't think she's supposed to creep me out), but not as much as the ultra blonde lady from Cold Case (another CBS show I tried to watch, but couldn't get into), though I don't think she was supposed to be creepy either.

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Except the ultra blonde woman with glasses who sort of creeped me out

 

That`s probably Garcia, the technical analyst. This kind of "geek girl" is somewhat of a trope in procedurals. NCIS`s Abby is kinda like it, too. SPN`s Charlie kinda fits in that, too, only a tad younger.   

 

Ah, Cold Case, I never got too deeply into it but I adored the music they had on that show. Considering how much muscial rights cost in terms of DVD releases, that show must have been a nightmare to do. And you can hardly exchange the original music for cheap knock-offs - looking at you, Roswell DVDs - because it was music from whichever era their cold case was. 

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That`s probably Garcia, the technical analyst. This kind of "geek girl" is somewhat of a trope in procedurals. NCIS`s Abby is kinda like it, too. SPN`s Charlie kinda fits in that, too, only a tad younger.  

 

Yeah that kind of character tends to annoy me mostly.

 

Ah, Cold Case, I never got too deeply into it but I adored the music they had on that show. Considering how much muscial rights cost in terms of DVD releases, that show must have been a nightmare to do. And you can hardly exchange the original music for cheap knock-offs - looking at you, Roswell DVDs - because it was music from whichever era their cold case was. 

 

Oh yes, I remember that now. It was my favorite part of the shows I did watch. Usually the beginning and the end had the most important use of period songs if I remember correctly, and yeah knock offs would not have had the right impact. Now that I'm remembering, I generally liked Cold Case better than Criminal Minds, but again, I don't have a proper data set yet for CM.

 

And yes, musical rights. It was one of the reasons Crossing Jordan is only available on DVD for the first season (I taped it off of A&E). There was too much music that they couldn't get the rights to without it costing too much. And in general they had 2 or 3 key songs an episode.

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Ever seen Arrow?  In the first season, I always called Felicity a younger, thinner Garcia.  Since then, Felicity and Garcia have very little in common, but that's a discussion for another board, methinks.  

 

To me, Garcia is a little Bobby, a little Charlie, and a little Ellen.  She's not old enough to be anyone's mother, but she, in a sense, keeps the home fire burning.

 

One of my favorite Reid moments is from the S7 premiere, It Takes a Village.  The BAU is up before a Senate review.

 

 

Makes me chuckle.

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From the Spoilers & Spec thread (no spoilers though!):

 

Also, I would also say a fundamental difference between Lex and Sam is that I don't think Sam sees himself as the hero in the story in the same way Lex did. So far, to me, Lex has wanted to be the hero of the story and will sacrifice himself to be that. It's how he makes sense of why he even exists, IMO. With Sam, I felt like it was more he felt like he had no choice in the matter, but was thrown to the winds of destiny. I don't think he tried to make it a good thing as a way to justify his existence, but just finally decided to accept it. Does that even make sense?

 

Yes, I think that Sam and Lex have very different personalities. Which is surprising (to me) since they're kind of written from the same template. By that, I guess I mean that I see them both as sort of "hothouse flower" types. YMMV. And of course they both seem to believe that they're doomed freaks.

 

I think the reason that Lex cared so much about being "the hero of the story," though -- and about whether someone good like Clark could see him that way, and whether he could see *himself* that way -- was because he was generally very conscious of how he was perceived. And how he was perceived *mattered* to him, it was meaningful to him. From the very first season of Smallville, he was changing his behavior *drastically* depending on who he was with -- like when he put together that charity NFL game so that Whitney could play in a pro game in front of his dying father on the same day that he kidnapped and hogtied his dad's employee and delivered him to Lionel in the trunk of his car. He also had that whole complicated relationship with journalism/journalists and surveillance. He was *constantly* trying to manipulate the other characters' perceptions of him and worrying about his image and putting a spin on every explanation/story and lying about even really minor, personal stuff to keep himself from looking a certain way (like lying to keep himself from looking weak or disliked/pathetic or whatever). To me, that made him seem like a "pleaser." As silly as that description sounds when you're talking about a character who habitually does things like kidnap/imprison/etc people for his own personal gain! But it seemed like he always based his behavior on what he thought other people's reactions to it would be.

 

Sam is many things, but I cannot in a million years describe him as a "pleaser"! He really doesn't seem to worry about his image or controlling other people's perceptions of him (aside from practicalities like convincing people he's an FBI agent or stuff like that). He always seems to base his behavior on what he wants to do or what he feels personally driven to do, not on how other people will react to it. He doesn't deal in spin. I think he doesn't worry much one way or another about being a hero, because other people's perceptions just don't matter to him to the extent or in the way that whether people see him as a "hero" or a "villain" is all that meaningful to him. Imo, he knows his own mind a lot better than Lex, and is much more stable/confident in his opinion of himself, so other characters' opinions of him aren't as important.

 

Thinking more about Lex's and Sam's relationships with the other characters within their respective shows...I think that Smallville tended to make a point of how *destructive* love was, whereas SPN tends to make a point about how love is our saving grace. I think that that makes the world of SPN actually much gentler and sweeter than the world of SV, even though SV is probably the goofier and "younger" show. It's interesting to think of how Sam would be different if he'd been written as a character on SV instead of on SPN.

Edited by rue721

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Ah, okay. That's not the typical "I'm Doctor so and so" crap they usually have douchey characters say then. As I said, I was pretty much so horrified and squicked out by the Unsub's part of the episode, I barely remembered the principal characters. Except the ultra blonde woman with glasses who sort of creeped me out (I don't know why, because I don't think she's supposed to creep me out), but not as much as the ultra blonde lady from Cold Case (another CBS show I tried to watch, but couldn't get into), though I don't think she was supposed to be creepy either.

Aww, I like Garcia. She's smart, knows it and doesn't try to hide it.

Personally I like Rossi. He's one of the more developed characters; Derek's actually pretty undeveloped character-wise (Though not musclewise).

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I think he doesn't worry much one way or another about being a hero, because other people's perceptions just don't matter to him to the extent or in the way that whether people see him as a "hero" or a "villain" is all that meaningful to him.

 

Well, the Winchesters are pretty transitory still whereas Lex lived in a town with a fixed circle of people so the situations are fundamentally different but even so I would say perception of him, at least from certain people, matters very much to Sam. Especially if he perceives others of thinking or acting in ways that makes him feel weak. That`s why Ruby`s way of dominatiing him from the bottom worked really well. SHE had the real power but HE didn`t perceive it as such. Meanwhile variations of "weak/pathetic" are his favourite verbal attacks on Dean whenever his inhibitions fall enough because IMO then he plays zero sum, if Dean is such a weak loser, he, Sam, comes out more powerful by default in his own mind. I think that image of himself is mega-important to him. 

 

Lex wanted to genuinely fit in with a bunch of people he perceived as the epitome of goodness. Even in the final episode when he gave Clark an evil motivational speech, he more or less classified them as good and evil. Just that they both needed each other as necessary counterpoints. In some ways, he was a pleaser but Clark was also a huge user. How about this favour/how about that favour. And in return I will lie to your face, badly. Even about mundane things.  

 

When Lex initially learned Clark`s secret, he kept his mouth shut like everyone else of Clark`s friends. He tried to protect Clark at personal cost to himself like everyone else. From knowing the Superman story, I knew where they would end up of course but the show never sold me on why Lex was less worthy of that knowledge than Pete, Lana Chloe or whomever. It did make me understand why Lex became embittered and stopped trying in the end. Which is not to say I absolve him for his own decisions but that my sympathies for those other asshats when he became their enemy is severely limited. 

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I would say perception of him, at least from certain people, matters very much to Sam. Especially if he perceives others of thinking or acting in ways that makes him feel weak. That`s why Ruby`s way of dominatiing him from the bottom worked really well. SHE had the real power but HE didn`t perceive it as such.

 

Imo, Sam was tempted by the power he got from drinking demon blood because he felt bad about not being able to save Dean from Hell. I think he did it because he *felt* powerless (and wanted to feel more powerful...or at least not powerless), not because he didn't want other people to think he was powerless. He seemed to barely think about the optics of it at all, aside from trying to keep it a secret from Dean because obviously Dean wouldn't approve.

 

Not that Lex was at all OK with feeling powerless, either! But Lex seemed to think that looking weak *in itself* invited attack. Like it was painting a target on his back. This is maybe splitting hairs, but Lex also seemed to focus a lot more on what terrible things would happen if he didn't have the power to stop them (i.e., like lose everyone he loves, like having aliens subject the planet), whereas Sam seems to focus on the great things he could do if he just had enough power (i.e., like rescue Dean from Hell or throw Lucifer in the Cage or close the Gates of Hell or etc etc etc).

 

Lex also seemed to think that his image was important because it was covering up some "real" self that people would despise if they saw -- so there was an element of duplicity inherent to how he tried to control other characters' perceptions of him. Whereas Sam seems more prone to not even considering others' reactions, rather than trying to control/manage them. Not that he isn't also private. But Sam just seems much more straightforward and frank, to the point of being insensitive at times imo. YMMV.

 

 

Well, the Winchesters are pretty transitory still whereas Lex lived in a town with a fixed circle of people so the situations are fundamentally different

 

I think the main difference in their situations is that Lex was faced with a lot more personal hostility than Sam is, so he was much more focused on managing/mitigating people's hostility than Sam is.

Edited by rue721

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As I was typing up something about Dean in the spoiler thread, I just noticed something. Don`t know who watches Teen Wolf but Season 5.A just came to a close and   

a big theme of the half-Season was testing the leadership abilities of the main character Scott. Meanwhile last Season of SPN Dean was for the first time in the position of "something wrong with" vs. "the guy who frets about guy something is wrong with". 

 

Now while I don`t think Dean is a dictatorial leader of any kind - sure, he said "my way or the highway" once last Season under MOC-influence but the other proved how well they could ignore that so I don`t really count this as serious power play - I think even subconsciously both Sam and Cas often look towards him to lead. Which is why last Season we had stuff like "hey, we`re waiting in the car, why is Dean not coming out of the house with the angry mob of armed men?"

 

If Sam had been the MOC!guy or even Cas, that would never have happened. Dean would have mother-henned either of them out of that house first. And they would have complained about him not trusting them and being bossy or controlling or whatnot but there wouldn`t have been a "massacre" either. This only happened like this because of the constellation of the people involved.  

 

From a leader, you just expect to hold things together, even when all the signs point to danger. `You want to believe them if they say they are okay so you do. And then when things aren`t okay, you go all "OMG, how did that happen? Where was I?" In the car, buddy, you were waiting in the car. Sigh.

 

But to bring it back to my comparism with Teen Wolf. Here the main character is supposed to be the leader in terms of being the Alpha Werewolf. Only his pack consists not of werewolves but mostly other creatures because they are his friends. They are not his werewolf subjects and he never really led them as an Alpha would. Scott, the main character, is mainly a nice guy with a good heart but also lot of naivety.

 

Suddenly, the show harps on him being a leader and failing at it for now, to presumably rise from the ashes in 5.B. Yet what we see is him being bailed out by his "pack" or his pack fighting the bad guy while he is feeling sorry for himself and getting pep talks from his Mom. Scott fits much more the "he is the bleeding heart" of the group character trope. He rallies them and provides some moral guidance on occassion and he will fight and put his ass on the line for others but he is just not the guy who can make the hard calls. He just lacks a fundamental bite for me to be considered leadership material. A hunter once had to rescue him from his own beta and that is just Scott in a nutshell. .    

 

So I think one show doesn`t want to portray one character as a leader but kinda does (at least for me) and one wants to but really, really doesn`t. Now both got placed into unfamiliar roles but for me one still more or less prevaled - I can not in good conscience say Dean was the guy who was taken care of last year, characters didn`t shift their roles that much  - and the other just showed why this is not a role fit for him.     

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Well, the Winchesters are pretty transitory still whereas Lex lived in a town with a fixed circle of people so the situations are fundamentally different but even so I would say perception of him, at least from certain people, matters very much to Sam. Especially if he perceives others of thinking or acting in ways that makes him feel weak. That`s why Ruby`s way of dominatiing him from the bottom worked really well. SHE had the real power but HE didn`t perceive it as such. Meanwhile variations of "weak/pathetic" are his favourite verbal attacks on Dean whenever his inhibitions fall enough because IMO then he plays zero sum, if Dean is such a weak loser, he, Sam, comes out more powerful by default in his own mind. I think that image of himself is mega-important to him.

 

I think I agree with rue721 on this one. I think Sam more wants to not feel powerless - or more specifically like he has no control - than he wants others to see him as powerful. And I think the key word there is powerless. In my opinion, Sam doesn't - as War tried to convince him - want power over everybody or to be the most powerful, because that, to me, doesn't fit the rest of his personality. In my opinion, Sam is perfectly fine with following - and in the case of Dean, Sam usually seems to prefer it - but he doesn't like having no voice or choice in the matter. And to me those are two different things.

 

And it goes along with what you said in your post just above. I actually don't think there is anything subconscious about it. Sam looks to Dean as the leader and is perfectly fine with that and has been since somewhere in season 2 when he gave up fretting about being the "little brother" again and just kind of accepted it. And just as he did, the tables were turned, and he was put in a position of trying to be the one with the plan, the one to "save Dean": which he couldn't do, and so that affected him badly. In my opinion, to me, when Sam seems to get the most pissed off is when Dean can't be the big brother and doesn't want to take charge and doesn't have a plan. All that stuff about Dean "being weak" in season 4, to me, was Sam pissed off at Dean for not being able to be the leader / stabilizing force anymore, not Sam trying to make himself feel more powerful. In fact, Sam generally laments just the opposite. As he complained in season 3: "I just want you to be my big brother again."

 

In season 4, Sam felt that everything now rested on his shoulders, and he didn't think he could do it, but felt he had no choice. For me, Sam's conversation with Chuck was telling, and I thought Jared did a great job there. Even as he was saying that wasn't it time he saved Dean for once, the tone of his voice was shaky, as if he really didn't think that he could, and he seemed almost hopeful that Chuck would tell him that no, it didn't all rest on his shoulders. And when Chuck didn't tell him that, Sam felt that he had to harden himself and do what he really wasn't comfortable with. I think most people - including Chuck in this case - misinterpret what Sam really wants, thinking he wants power when what Sam really wants is control and stability in his life. And if that stability is via something as simple as asking Dean "so what's the plan?" and Dean giving him a plan to follow, then Sam is perfectly fine with that. When Sam gets pissed at Dean is when Dean goes and makes a one-decided decision - like the deal - that throws Sam's life into chaos / instability, and then Sam doesn't have a rock or an anchor and his life is then out of control again.* From Sam's perspective in season 4, Dean swooped into his relatively stable life where he was managing and showed Sam that he missed being that "little brother," and just as Sam got used to that and liked it again, Dean makes the deal and tells Sam nah, you'll be fine. But Sam didn't want to be "fine" on his own again. He wanted his big brother, and was pissed at Dean - while feeling guilty for being so - for now taking that away from him again. I just wish they had explored more of that in season 4 for Sam by giving him more of an early POV then try to explain it off as a Sam just wanting power thing. Because to me Sam doesn't want power per se, he wants control and stability. He wants "safe." He wants a "rock."

 

My opinion there, I realize.

 

In some ways the early season Sam/Dean dynamic sort of reminded me of a long version of what happened on a couple of episodes of "My Name is Earl." I don't remember exactly how it happened, but Randy decided he was tired of being the little brother and went off on his own. He found himself his own "Randy" to take of and be the leader for, and he was actually not that bad at doing it. But what he found out was that even though he could do it and was perfectly capable of being in the leader role, being "Earl" wasn't as great as he thought it would be, and he missed being "Randy." At the same time Earl thought his freedom would be great, but in the end he mostly missed having a "Randy" to take care of and felt kind of sad that Randy was able to take care of himself on his own and was spending all of his time with his own "Randy". By the end of a couple of episodes, Randy and Earl were back in their bed and happy to be "Randy" and "Earl" again.

 

For me, end of season 2 Sam had come to the same kind of conclusion, and it was illustrated well, I think, in "All Hell Breaks Loose, pt 1" where Sam was able to take the lead and get everyone else to believe things would work out, but what he was really wishing the whole time was that Dean was there with him to give him advice.

 

* A similar thing happened in season 7. Sam got pissed at Dean then, because when Dean lied to him about Amy, he wasn't being that "stone one" that Sam needed. Sam learned there though - which was growth for Sam - that in this case Dean couldn't be that rock all the time and so Sam was going to have to step up. Sam then tried to be there for Dean, but Dean wasn't very good at or ready to accept a Sam rock, and so that didn't work either. Sadly that character growth was all thrown out the window in season 8, and even now in season 10 Sam seems to have forgotten how to try to support Dean again, and we were back to season 4 desperate measures leading to starting an apocalypse Sam. Damn I miss season 7. I know you don't like it at all, but I though the Sam growth was great in that season and am sad it was just dumped for manufactured brother angst and regressed Sam. I actually thought Dean would get some growth, too, after he killed Dick Roman and saw that he did make a difference. I thought he'd come out of purgatory feeling better about himself with more confidence, but nope. Dean got regressed, too, with that whole "I let Cas down and didn't save him" storyline.

 

... I think the main difference in their situations is that Lex was faced with a lot more personal hostility than Sam is, so he was much more focused on managing/mitigating people's hostility than Sam is.

 

I didn't watch enough of Smallville to know how much hostility Lex faced, but I think Sam faced enough of his own personal hostility - the angels openly disdaining him, hunters trying to force him to drink demon blood, trying to kill him, succeeding in killing him, and still blaming him 5 years or so later - but I think Sam understands their hostility and accepts at least part of it as his due. Even though, in my opinion, Sam pretty much got more blame than he deserved, and a lot of other players in the picture - the angels in general, Michael, Zachariah, and Castiel in particular and the demons like Azazel and Ruby - escaped lasting blame of the "general public" (the angels, demons, and hunting community.) So despite some hostility, Sam generally doesn't lie or try to cover up what he did or even bother trying to set people straight or mention what he sacrificed to fix it. And it might bother him some, but mostly I think he just accepts it and moves on.

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In my opinion, Sam doesn't - as War tried to convince him - want power over everybody or to be the most powerful, because that, to me, doesn't fit the rest of his personality.

 

I actually loved the scene with War because I thought War was spot-on and that actually made me feel bad for and sympathetic to Sam. Well, then Fallen Idols happened where Dean got the blame for being bossy and driving Sam into the arms of Ruby who made him "feel strong". And the narraitve backed this 100 % with Dean asking in the end how he could change. That fucked up the entire personal conflict for me from Season 4 and after that everything on that level was just crap in my eyes. 

 

 

For me, end of season 2 Sam had come to the same kind of conclusion, and it was illustrated well, I think, in "All Hell Breaks Loose, pt 1" where Sam was able to take the lead and get everyone else to believe things would work out

 

I think that control was an illusion since secretely Ava was muhahahing all over the place. Could have happened to any character, being duped that is, but it`s not an example of leadership to me.

 

 

I actually thought Dean would get some growth, too, after he killed Dick Roman and saw that he did make a difference. I thought he'd come out of purgatory feeling better about himself with more confidence, but nope. Dean got regressed, too, with that whole "I let Cas down and didn't save him" storyline.

 

I think Dean actually did have character growth after Purgatory but the trial beat him right back down to servant-nanny-sidekick and I was disgusted to see it.   

 

 

I didn't watch enough of Smallville to know how much hostility Lex faced,

 

I think there comes the difference in again between the transitory lifestyle on SPN and the stationary nature of Smallville. Lex faced hostility because of his name. Lionel Luthor was a scumbag, what else could his rich, spoiled son be than that? His own actions only factured in to things much much later.

 

Whereas on SPN at first the name Winchester didn`t mean squat to people in general and to other hunters maybe something positive. At least competence was associated with it. People may have thought John was a dickbag but early on noone really seemed to assume that his sons must be the same. Noone tried to drive THEM from their property with a shotgun just because of the reputation of John. 

 

Sam got suspicions and delusions from someone like Gordon because of what they heard and inferred about him. Then later after the Lucifer-freeing we got occasional characters who were down on him for that. But at least it was for a specific action HE took and not the name or repuation of his father. And in general, I find it surprising how hunters seem to still be willing to work with the Winchesters. They don`t hunt them or shun them en masse. Supernatural beings like angels and demons may give them lip but that`s not the same thing. 

 

So to me there is difference in the quality of hostility both Sam (and Dean) and Lex faced. 

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Not really vs another show, but I watched that movie Locke about a week back and have been thinking about how Jensen referencing it for the upcoming Baby episode. The movie is shot almost exclusively inside a car and follows one character on a 2-hour drive while he's making various phone calls. We never see any other actors, but hear them over the speaker phone. I sounds like it would be very boring, but I was actually mesmerized by it at times.

 

Anyway, I don't think the Baby episode will be that exactly, but I was thinking this would be a very interesting episode format for them. Sam and Dean driving to a case that's unfolding. Making phone calls to various law enforcement officers or witnesses. Calling to make hotel reservations or to find out where the best place to eat in town is. Perhaps there's a hunter already on the scene and they could be making calls back and forth with him; giving advice and getting updated on the case. And by the time they get to the town, the case is solved.

 

I guess it's just that time of year when I start thinking about things they haven't done yet and what I might like to see them tackle.

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From the Unpopular Opinions Thread

15 hours ago, catrox14 said:

Very steeped in the Angel verse (my 3rd favorite show in the history of ever). I would agree that Angel is definitely an anti-hero because he was a vampire that sought to do good after murdering countless humans over 200 years

Perhaps I'm using the wrong terminology, and if I am someone feel free to correct me. The key difference for me between a hero and an anti-hero is the lengths they are prepared to go to during the fight against evil. I'm not saying that heroes are perfect Mary Sues who are without faults. Buffy for instance can be a bit vapid and self-absorbed, she is overly bossy and finds it difficult to concede control to others and she possess violent tendencies. However, for all these flaws there are certain lines she will not cross that an anti hero would. For instance I could never imagine Buffy locking humans in a cellar with two hungry vampires like Angel did during the events of Reprise. Nor can I imagine (when fighting against humans) her going for the kill rather than the hurt unless she really, really had to. Unlike Sam and Dean who we've seen repeatedly go for the kill when other options such as exorcism or non-fatal wounds are available to them. Hell, we've seen Sam use a reverse exorcism to force a demon back into a body so he can kill it when the host most likely would have survived had he let it go. 

But that's how I understand the difference between heroes and anti-heroes. I'm not saying that anti-heroes are bad people / villains. They're certainly capable of heroic acts hence the word 'hero' in the description, but ultimately they're willing to cross lines that a traditional hero wouldn't to get the job done. 

Quote

Although...he did get cursed with a soul...so is he really an anti-hero or  is he more of a Reluctant hero?

Personally, I'd regard him as an anti-hero rather than a reluctant hero. I must confess that I'm not the most most knowledgeable about literary archetypes, but my understanding of a reluctant hero is as follows. 

1. They begin as an everyday person.

2. They're plucked out of obscurity and presented with some epic destiny they must fulfill in order to save the world / their loved ones / their local area etc.

3. A large part of their character journey is the internal struggle between their desire to be normal and the obligation they feel to fulfill their destiny.

Within the context of the Buffyverse, Buffy is the perfect example of a reluctant hero. When Merrick first meets her at Hemery High she is a stereotypical valley girl. Suddenly she is told she is an important warrior in the battle against evil, that she is the slayer and therefore the only one capable of fulfilling the role handed to her by destiny. She actively begins her slayer duties as a result of her inherent goodness and the desire to see the ones she loves kept safe. Her journey as a reluctant hero, and the efforts she has to put in to maintain something resembling a normal life as a result, is a large part of her arc throughout the course of seasons one to four. It is only when Buffy fully embraces her calling and calls on Giles to train her in further depth at the end of Buffy Vs Dracula that she transitions from a reluctant her to someone who has fully embraced that heroism. 

I'd also class Cordelia as a reluctant hero. Yes, she was involved prior to the visions, but I feel her receiving of them was a turning point for the character. Much like Buffy, her powers made her a unique player in the fight against evil and her inherent goodness would never allow her to just walk away while innocent people suffered. She definitely didn't want the visions as her vehement protests in season one reveal, but she stayed and did her duty because that's who she was. I'd say Cordelia made the transition to hero / no longer reluctant during the events of Birthday. 

Outside of the Buffyverse I'd consider Harry Potter to be another perfect example of the reluctant hero trope. 

Angel on the other hand does not fit this criteria, at least I don't think so. His call to join the fight depicted during Becoming was very different. Whistler doesn't place the onus of a huge destiny on Angel. Instead he is taken to LA where they witness the calling of Buffy whom Angel is said to fall instantly in love with. His initial motivation for joining the fight was the hope of redemption and helping a particular girl. He isn't made to feel forced into it due to an epic destiny only he can fulfill. The knowledge of prophesies about the vampire with a soul only come during the course of Angel the Series

 

12 hours ago, catrox14 said:

 

Edited by Wayward Son · Reason: Can't get rid of the quote box ugh

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1 hour ago, Wayward Son said:

e other hand does not fit this criteria, at least I don't think so. His call to join the fight depicted during Becoming was very different. Whistler doesn't place the onus of a huge destiny on Angel. Instead he is taken to LA where they witness the calling of Buffy whom Angel is said to fall instantly in love with. His initial motivation for joining the fight was the hope of redemption and helping a particular girl. He isn't made to feel forced into it due to an epic destiny only he can fulfill. The knowledge of prophesies about the vampire with a soul only come during the course of Angel the Serie

Well, maybe that's my misunderstanding because I didn't watch Buffy until long after I watched Angel. I didn't like Buffy that much.

In Angel, he was cursed with a soul which made him want to help people. To do right by humanity. It no longer had to do with his love for Buffy. It was his OWN mission that he thought he needed to fulfill. I guess that's why to me if he had never been cursed with a soul he would never have wanted to help anyone. Hence the "Reluctant Hero" I guess he's more of a hybrid. IMO

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1 minute ago, catrox14 said:

Well, maybe that's my misunderstanding because I didn't watch Buffy until long after I watched Angel. I didn't like Buffy that much.

In Angel, he was cursed with a soul which made him want to help people. To do right by humanity. It no longer had to do with his love for Buffy. It was his OWN mission that he thought he needed to fulfill. I guess that's why to me if he had never been cursed with a soul he would never have wanted to help anyone. Hence the "Reluctant Hero" I guess he's more of a hybrid. IMO

Yeah, I can see him as a hybrid of sorts :) . And I completely agree that he ultimately makes it his own mission. I was referring to what initially drew him into the fight :) . 

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39 minutes ago, Wayward Son said:

Yeah, I can see him as a hybrid of sorts :) . And I completely agree that he ultimately makes it his own mission. I was referring to what initially drew him into the fight :) . 

Even if Buffy drew him into the fight, without being cursed with a soul he wouldn't have wanted to do the fight for Buffy I wouldn't think. I mean he was Angelus the most evil vampire non Master division. Now if it was Spike yeah he would have definitely done it for love, because he was already a romantic when he got turned. To me, Angel was more like an Involuntary Hero LOL

Edited by catrox14

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5 minutes ago, catrox14 said:

Even if Buffy drew him into the fight, without being cursed with a soul he wouldn't have wanted to do the fight for Buffy I wouldn't think. I mean he was Angelus the most evil vampire non Master division. Now if it was Spike yeah he would have definitely done it for love, because he was already a romantic when he got turned. To me, Angel was more like an Involuntary Hero LOL

I'm going to take this response to the Angel forum since we're discussing him rather than how he compares to the Winchesters now :)

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7 hours ago, catrox14 said:

Now if it was Spike yeah he would have definitely done it for love, because he was already a romantic when he got turned. To me, Angel was more like an Involuntary Hero LOL

I agree about Angel being an involuntary hero. And hee, Spike did do it for love. In fact, I would more call Spike an anti-hero (if I'm using the definition correctly) than Sam and Dean. Especially before the soul - when he had a chip - Spike sometimes did the right thing or "heroic" things, but he mainly did them due to his love for Buffy (or sometimes Dawn) and/or because Buffy would want him to. Or Spike also did "heroic" things - like killing other vampires - simply because he was bored and/or wanted to kill something not because it was the right thing to do. Later when he got a soul, he was more apt to do things just because it was the right thing to do, but sometimes he would complain about it - hee (I loved that time on Angel where he saved the woman and then lectured her about the stupidity of walking down darkened alleys in spiky high-heeled shoes she couldn't run in.) So maybe Spike graduated to more of a surly hero then.

In contrast, I think that Sam and Dean want to do the right thing, it's just that sometimes the right thing conflicts with one of their sticking points - which is usually each other or someone they love. But the 98% of the time that being heroic doesn't conflict with one of those sticking points, they are usually willing to risk life and limb to do the right thing. So I wouldn't call them anti-heroes, exactly. Maybe heroes within reason?

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I decided to re-watch the XFiles since it's being removed from Netflix in April. I loved the XFiles and watched every episode live back in the day. It was my first cult show really. Yet I never watched SPN until 2013 because I was a bitter Angel girl who blamed these pretty boys for the demise of my beloved ATS which  LOL NO, that was Joss Whedon's ego that got them canceled too soon.

Mulder and Scully were such babies in 1992. Oh my gosh. The XFiles pilot is so good still.  I forget  at times until I watch X-Files again, just HOW MUCH DNA they share, especially the first 3 seasons of SPN, which obviously is the Kim Manners/John Shiban influence. I always wonder what direction SPN would have gone in s5 if Kim Manners had not passed away.  I do think that some of the episodes directed by Jensen have a little bit of the Kim Manners feel.

I wonder if I had watched live if I would have been a bitter XFiles viewer thinking SPN stole their schtick but that now I just see it as an homage because at least they come by it honestly from the producers crossing over to SPN from Xfiles and with the actors from XFiles that made appearances on SPN, like Mitch Pileggi (Skinner/Samuel Campbell). Nicholas Lea (Krychek/Eliot Ness). I really like to think that one day SPN becomes the show that influences other shows it's not just a direct copycat but more of a loving homage. Like maybe one day people will make jokes about Dean and Sam (and Cas) like they do Mulder and Scully and Skinner.  Then of course I think about "Clap Your Hands If You Believe" with it's ACTUAL homage to XFiles and I'm just feeling really emotional about both shows. 

But ultimately, I regret that I didn't watch SPN live originally to appreciate it's XFiles DNA at the time of original airing.  Sigh. I'm all nostaligic and emotional.

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I'm also playing the following viewing games as I watch

HEY IT'S THAT GUY actor spotting

Six Degrees of Jensen Ackles

Hey I Recognize That Location!

Gabrielle Rose was in the 2nd episode of XFiles (Deep Throat) was in Dark Angel with Jensen who played Alec MacDowell (who is my 2nd favorite Jensen character) I LOVED Alec. And would watch the hell out of a Dark Angel movie with Jensen reprising Alec. 

Seth Green is also in the 2nd episode

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Grey's Anatomy has lasted 13 seasons and it seems that Ellen Pompeo is still shouldering more than her fair share of screentime and she has three small kids. And she has time to direct what's more. So Jared and Jensen really should not be cutting down on their scenes.

I don't watch the show so I don't know if the GA writers are spinning their wheels just like the SPN writers but there's no shortage of plots and drama for Meredith Grey.

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I have never seen an episode of Grey's Anatomy, but I've always been under the impression it was an ensemble show? Has Ellen Pompeo ever been required to appear in practically every scene the way Jared and Jensen did in the earlier years? 

Edited by Wayward Son

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1 hour ago, shang yiet said:

Grey's Anatomy has lasted 13 seasons and it seems that Ellen Pompeo is still shouldering more than her fair share of screentime and she has three small kids. And she has time to direct what's more. So Jared and Jensen really should not be cutting down on their scenes.

Like @Wayward Son said, Supernatural isn't an ensemble show like Grey's Anatomy, but also, the shows themselves are totally different beasts that film quite a bit differently. Supernatural has shifted over the years to more and more being done on stage, but they still do a lot of location shooting and has a lot of effects and stunt work too. All these things add up to very long shooting days--like 10- to 20-hour days to get it done. It's a long hard slog and by the end of the season, it's very wearing, I'd think. 

I'd bet Ellen Pompeo probably works half the hours Jared and Jensen currently work in a week, just due to the different nature of the shows. Plus, I'm guessing she doesn't have to fly back and forth each week to see her family or spends her weekends at cons helping promote the show either? 

I guess I just don't see it unreasonable for them to request some time off to see their families once in a while. Seems like they've earned it, IMO.

Edited by DittyDotDot
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In all honesty I think Jared and Jensen's workload this season is similar to the work load of leads on most other shows. I think it just happens to be jarring to many fans for two main reasons.

1) Supernatural was not an ensemble show in its earlier years. It was unique in the sense that it had only two leads and they appeared in practically every scene of every episode. The only other show I've watched that could be considered comparable is the X Files. Therefore, the shift to an ensemble style, as with any other format change on a show, was always going to be a shock to fans and unpopular with those who liked things as they were. 

2) Due to the shows origins Jared and Jensen lack consistent "co stars" as a part of this new ensemble style of storytelling. Some episodes its Mark and Misha, other episodes it's characters related to the shows current main storyline such as Mary, Ketch and Mick, other episodes it's less frequently used recurring character such as Jody and Claire, others it's the PIP of the week. As a result, it can be harder for many in the audience to get invested in these characters because we aren't following their struggles from week to week. We aren't getting to watch them grow in the way we get to see the secondary leads on most other shows. Therefore, their frequent use throughout an episode may be grating to viewers who do not care about them and want to get back to the characters they do care for i.e. Sam and Dean. 

Edited by Wayward Son
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13 hours ago, Wayward Son said:

Supernatural was not an ensemble show in its earlier years. It was unique in the sense that it had only two leads and they appeared in practically every scene of every episode. The only other show I've watched that could be considered comparable is the X Files. Therefore, the shift to an ensemble style, as with any other format change on a show, was always going to be a shock to fans and unpopular with those who liked things as they were.

I was trying to think of a more similar show, but couldn't come up with one--The X-files is a good comparison, though. Not only was it a two-lead show, but later in it's run, it had to try and transition to a more ensemble piece due to Duchovny basically leaving the show and Anderson wanting to step back and spend more time with her family. The fans never really accepted the shift on that show either.

One of the main differences between Supernatural and The X-files, though, is Supernatural has a lot more time consuming stunt work. Mulder and Scully weren't much at fighting--more running in with guns than punching and being thrown into walls. Although, it doesn't seem like Jared or Jensen are doing a lot of stunts these days.

However, The X-files did many things that helped alleviate the workload on their main cast: 

  • First, they used their guest cast better by focusing an episode or two a season on Skinner or Krycek or the Lone Gunmen. Of course the main leads would be in the episode, but the heavy lifting would be given to someone else and give Anderson and Duchovny a break for an episode. 
  • Second, they split up Mulder and Scully quite a bit more. Not only did they do individual episodes where the other didn't appear much each season, but within their regular episodes they'd split them up for the majority of the episode. Scully would autopsy a body while Mulder would run down other leads and they relayed a lot of their individual findings over the phone. This way both of them didn't need to be in every shot. Supernatural has done this successfully in the past, but they rarely do it at all anymore. 
13 hours ago, Wayward Son said:

Due to the shows origins Jared and Jensen lack consistent "co stars" as a part of this new ensemble style of storytelling. Some episodes its Mark and Misha, other episodes it's characters related to the shows current main storyline such as Mary, Ketch and Mick, other episodes it's less frequently used recurring character such as Jody and Claire, others it's the PIP of the week. As a result, it can be harder for many in the audience to get invested in these characters because we aren't following their struggles from week to week. We aren't getting to watch them grow in the way we get to see the secondary leads on most other shows. Therefore, their frequent use throughout an episode may be grating to viewers who do not care about them and want to get back to the characters they do care for i.e. Sam and Dean. 

Yeah, I think the biggest problem for Supernatural right now is they need to evolve, but they haven't developed their cast of characters enough to pull it off. They seem to kill off their characters just when they start to get attached to them. Sam and Dean ore the only characters we spend enough time with.

I think that's the biggest problem with Mary. Intellectually, I understand why Mary is doing what she's doing, but we've spent so little time with her after the first couple episodes, I can't say I feel it anymore. And, the Devil baby mama drama makes sense to me on an intellectual level--the decision to terminate a pregnancy isn't an easy one--but, like Mary, we've spent so little time with Kelly, she's just coming off as very naive and foolish. 

Edited by DittyDotDot
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9 hours ago, DittyDotDot said:

Yeah, I think the biggest problem for Supernatural right now is they need to evolve, but they haven't developed their cast of characters enough to pull it off. They seem to kill off their characters just when they start to get attached to them. Sam and Dean ore the only characters we spend enough time with.

I think that's the biggest problem with Mary. Intellectually, I understand why Mary is doing what she's doing, but we've spent so little time with her after the first couple episodes, I can't say I feel it anymore. And, the Devil baby mama drama makes sense to me on an intellectual level--the decision to terminate a pregnancy isn't an easy one--but, like Mary, we've spent so little time with Kelly, she's just coming off as very naive and foolish. 

I think the shows biggest problem in regards to evolving is the audience and the financial side of things. Unlike the X Files, which was a major hit in its heyday, this show can not afford to take a course of action that would risk alienating a portion of the audience to the point they'd stop watching. Although, I do not believe this to be the case with every fan, there is definitely a faction of the fandom that would react violently to the merest suggestion that they were considering evolving the show into a true ensemble. It wouldn't matter whether said evolution involved promoting some of the current regulars (Misha, Mark P and Mark S) to a full time cast member (i.e. starring in every episode or near enough) or introducing a brand new character / actor(ess) as their new co star. There is a faction of the audience who would either stop watching the moment such a change was announced, or they'd display hatred for the actor and said character on principle. It wouldn't matter if the character was the most compelling and interesting one the show has ever had outside of Sam and Dean they'd still hate them for daring to exist as a co-star. In fact Misha and Mark (especially Misha) are already the victims of said fans for daring to 'overshadow' the brothers by appearing in half the episodes of a season.  

In addition to this, I don't think the show could afford to evolve further into an ensemble. Between them Jared and Jensen are very expensive for a CW actor, they are said to earn $175,000 per episode which is more than three times the amount actors from other CW show drama such as Stephen Amell earn ($50,000). Especially now that the ratings are beginning to decline I couldn't see the CW being willing to invest the money required to introduce further full time leads not even if said lead was willing to start at the $30,000- 35,000 wage the stars of most freshman shows on the network earn. 

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2 minutes ago, Wayward Son said:

In addition to this, I don't think the show could afford to evolve further into an ensemble. Between them Jared and Jensen are very expensive, they are said to earn $175,000 per episode which is more than three times the amount actors from other CW show drama such as Stephen Amell earn ($50,000). Especially now that the ratings are beginning to decline I couldn't see the CW being willing to invest the money required to introduce further full time leads not even if said lead was willing to start at the $30,000- 35,000 wage the stars of most freshman shows on the network earn. 

I wasn't suggesting they need to become a true ensemble, but they do need to evolve the show a bit if they want to keep it going successfully. I don't think they need to introduce more full-time leads, they just need to use their current guest cast better. And, I think it would be smart of them to separate Sam and Dean here and there and team them up with someone else from time to time. I think it can be done successfully with the cast of characters they currently have, they just need to break out of their mold some.

4 minutes ago, Wayward Son said:

Unlike the X Files, which was a major hit in its heyday, this show can not afford to take a course of action that would risk alienating a portion of the audience to the point they'd stop watching.

Yes, the audience is a big problem, but as I recall, The X-files struggled in the ratings department their entire run. They got a lot more press and were on a bigger network, but I thought they were always on the bubble? But, their transition didn't work either. That's why it got cancelled, the fans didn't show up when the show shifted focus from Mulder and Scully.

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I think the shows biggest problem in regards to evolving is the audience and the financial side of things. Unlike the X Files, which was a major hit in its heyday, this show can not afford to take a course of action that would risk alienating a portion of the audience to the point they'd stop watching. Although, I do not believe this to be the case with every fan, there is definitely a faction of the fandom that would react violently to the merest suggestion that they were considering evolving the show into a true ensemble. It wouldn't matter whether said evolution involved promoting some of the current regulars (Misha, Mark P and Mark S) to a full time cast member (i.e. starring in every episode or near enough) or introducing a brand new character / actor(ess) as their new co star. There is a faction of the audience who would either stop watching the moment such a change was announced, or they'd display hatred for the actor and said character on principle. It wouldn't matter if the character was the most compelling and interesting one the show has ever had outside of Sam and Dean they'd still hate them for daring to exist as a co-star.

While I don`t disagree with any of your points, they are now so late in the game, I feel like they could get bolder. The younger CW shows, the ones that are still trying to make their way and have to chase after the ratings, those will at least have to try and guess what would most please their audience. SPN is already renewed for its 13th Season. In a way, they could afford to spit in the face of online fans if they want to because ending after 13 Season is still be a record for a genre show.

That said, I think this is roughly their mindset but in the sense of they are keeping the status quo in the flimsiest way possible. No ensemble but also not real duo show due to the actors negoiating more and more time off.

I`m not quite certain but I think Tom Welling had significant screentime for the entirety of the 10 Seasons of Smallville. So it can be done. But, that was 10, not 12, 13 or more.  

When the X-Files truly changed, they were also getting long in the tooth. Other than the partner swap early on in Season 2 which was due to Gillian Anderson`s pregnancy. But that show introduced a cadre of supporting characters that tied into their mythology right from the start and kept them going.

SPN plays with new toys for a while and then discards them for newer toys. Cas and Crowley have build the most significant fanbases of recurring characters only because they have been around with some consistency. Even if not featured well. The characters worked best when integrated into storylines with the brothers. And that could still be the case when you use them to give J2 time off but instead they tried individual storylines with them when they can`t even write compelling stories for their leads. Or at all.  

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Yes, the audience is a big problem, but as I recall, The X-files struggled in the ratings department their entire run. They got a lot more press and were on a bigger network, but I thought they were always on the bubble? 

 Initially, yes. Which is why they were moved to the (then graveyard) of Sundays. Or Fridays? It was a day where shows where sent to die, I remember that. And that`s where they exploded. Fox wept with joy at the ratings they pulled in the so-called graveyard slot. They weren`t a bubble show for a couple years after that but a bona-fide hit.  

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5 minutes ago, Aeryn13 said:

Initially, yes. Which is why they were moved to the (then graveyard) of Sundays. Or Fridays? It was a day where shows where sent to die, I remember that. And that`s where they exploded. Fox weeped with joy at the ratings they pulled in the so-called graveyard slot. They weren`t a bubble show for a couple years after that but a bona-fide hit.

Ah, I see. I only watched the show live for the first couple years. Then I moved, my life changed. I didn't watch the remaining seasons until much, much later. I guess I was thinking of the first couple seasons.

8 minutes ago, Aeryn13 said:

When the X-Files truly changed, they were also getting long in the tooth.

You know, I kinda like the last couple seasons because they shifted focus away from some of the long-standing mythology, which was getting pretty ridiculous, IMO. I think some of the MotW episodes of the last couple seasons were some of their strongest episodes of the whole run.

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For me the mythology of X-Files was interesting at first but became too convoluted fast. It got tiring to follow it. So I prefered the MOTW as well. The different POV episodes with the "vampire" Sheriff? One of the funniest things ever. Then again, I had nightmares from the Tooms episode.  

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11 minutes ago, Aeryn13 said:

The different POV episodes with the "vampire" Sheriff? One of the funniest things ever.

Heh, I agree! I also really liked the two episodes of each taking the weekend off. The cockroach one was especially entertaining to me.

13 minutes ago, Aeryn13 said:

Then again, I had nightmares from the Tooms episode.

That is still one that's hard to sit still and watch. Super creepy!

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That is something, for all Kripke intended to do a "horror show", SPN never really was. I think Bloody Mary was the only episode in the entire series I got a little bit of chills in one scene. But then shadow images in mirrors almost always have that effect on me.

Meanwhile X-Files really creeped me out several times. Even the more gory "Home" (which, stuff like that is not really my thing, couldn`t sit through Wrong Turn) had creepy moments with the mother under the floorboards. Eek.  

After the Tooms episode, I was afraid of sitting down on the toilet of all things. That was hard to get over.      

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