Friday, March 2, 2012

Streaming on Netflix: Supernatural

Supernatural is a popular television series boasting a Neflix rating of 4.2-stars. I resisted adding it to my Instant Queue due to its frightening cover art and because I tend to avoid horror (unless you count The X-Files, True Blood, and The Biggest Loser).  I succumbed  to the temptation because four-star ratings have led me to several unexpectedly great shows: Veronica Mars, Exit through the Gift Shop, and Downton Abbey.  I watched my first episode of Supernatural late one Friday night, around 8:45 PM, when my wife and two children were already sound asleep.  I passed up watching another episode of How I Met Your Mother and braced myself for the pilot episode. 

The pilot introduces us to Sam and Dean Winchester, two boys raised on the fringes of society by their ghost-hunting father. The Winchesters began fighting spirits after their mother disappeared into demonic flame.  The viewer watches as Sam, who took a hiatus from hunting ghosts to attend law school, is pulled back into the family business by Dean after their father disappears.  Thus begins an exciting retelling of the White Lady haunting.

The show has great special effects, decent acting, and strong plot. However, what really makes Supernatural shine it its fresh take on well-known ghost stories and American myths.  In addition to the pilot’s spin of the White Lady ghost story, the show contains elements of Medea,  Windigo, water spirits, phantom travelers, and Bloody MarySupernatural also incorporates several icons of Americana into each episode.  For example, I love that Sam and Dean have a black ‘67 Impala that they drive almost exclusively on lonely, two-lane highways.  When they exit their car, it is to investigate a haunted house, sleep in a flea-infested Norman Bates motel, or eat in a diner. 

Additionally, Supernatural is legitimately frightening and is a pleasant alternative to slick, paranormal soap operas like True Blood. It fulfills a hunger for TV horror that has not been sated since The X-Files. The show is in its seventh season on the CW network but you can catch it anytime on Netflix.  Put the kids to bed, turn off the lights, and enjoy at your own risk.