The Supernatural (TV Series)
--reviewed by Patrick
Here's something new for "Come Play with us Danny'... a TV show review! Normally, I would say they would not qualify: 1) they are serial and, as such, a commentary on an episode would be outdated by the next week; and 2), we're not looking to become a fan site for some show out there, frequented by lots of geeks who need to get laid more often. That said, I want to make an exception. Last night, I saw the premiere episode of 'The Supernatural'...
Plotline: The series tells the story of two brothers whose mother was killed in a very bizarre (and horrific) supernatural incident (which I'll get into later) when they were just children. Together with their surviving father, they grew up hunting down and eliminating ghosts, demons, and the like on the search for the one who killed their mother. The first episode takes place when both brothers are in their 20's. One has sought a normal life, trying to get into law school. The other continues to hunt ghosts with dad, until dad disappears mysteriously. So, both brothers are once again reunited to find dad, as well as solve the mystery he was looking into when he vanished.
Scariness Factor: From the ads, which feature two model-like men posing like the cover of GQ, I was expecting very little in the way of scares here. Something akin to the "scares" on Buffy. Instead, within the first 5 minutes, you get a dead woman (mom) suspended on the ceiling being engulfed in flame. The main "villain" of the episode, a "lady in white" or known to those of us who follow urban legends as "the hitchhiker" (you know, the one you pick up and drive home, and then who disappears and turns out to be have been dead 20 years) also had her share of frights that were pretty noteworthy.
Originality: Finally, a supernatural series which does not try to capitalize on the success of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. Granted, they are the hip thing nowadays with a handful coming out this season, but while this one does fall prey to the casting of only "pretty people," the writing stands up. It does not try to be funny or to offer alot of "whew" scenes (where the noise in the corner was just a cat or something). As such, it can be a bit oppressive at times. But it does help separate it from the crowd, at least. I was also surprised to see a classic ghost story get a retelling here. I only hope to see more like this, as vampires and demons have been pretty much done to death. Bring on Bloody Mary!
High Points: At the beginning of the episode, a brief message said "best viewed with the lights off." Ah, people who know how to watch something scary..and they do seem to really want to scare you. The frights aren't cheap either. The atmosphere is pumped in pretty thick with most of the episode taking place at night and a use of more subtle (and spooky) special fx--not one guy in a rubber mask to be found. Now, granted, that worked for Buffy (which I, geekily, liked)..but I'm glad to see a show try for the old-school scares.
Complaints: I really wish that movies and TV would stop trying to pass off mid-30 year olds as being in their 20's ('Angel', I'm looking at you too). It would also be nice to be given an average or even, gasp, homely looking protagonist sometime. I mean, even the villain in this episode (the "Lady in White") was some hot young actress. To me, it just detracts from the realism (since people like that don't really live outside L.A.).
Overall: Give it a shot. If it turns out to suck and I'm wrong, you've only blown an hour. But I walked away from this episode spooked and jittery.