With network shows going on hiatus till the new year, the holiday season is a ripe time to watch series that you haven’t caught up on yet or have missed entirely. Our Brian Truitt thinks the one show you should be watching if you’re not already is Supernatural, the CW horror drama starring Jared Padalecki (pictured, on left) and Jensen Ackles as a pair of demon-hunting brothers currently trying to stop Lucifer and the Apocalypse in the show’s fifth season. If you want to check out the DVDs over your holiday break, Brian says the past four seasons are as witty, emotional and well-written as this year, which has taken the show’s mythology to a whole new level. Yesterday, Brian talked with Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, and while we’ll have more from the interview online and on my Who’s News page around when the show returns Jan. 21, the two talked a little about the biblical goings-on that has made this season of Supernatural a must-see.
When Supernatural first began on the WB in 2005, the story was simple: Dean Winchester (Ackles) recruits his little brother Sam (Padalecki) back into the family business of monster-busting in order to find their missing dad (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). At that time, Kripke had mapped out his grand, five-season plan that would feature Dean getting sent to hell, Sam flirting with his demonic dark side, Lucifer appearing on Earth and the Apocalypse starting. But a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the world: the heavenly host. “I had a rule as late as season three where I said I didn’t want angels on this show because I didn’t want to do the Michael Landon Highway to Heaven thing,” Kripke says. But while puttering around his house one day, it hit him that angels might be a good idea after all. “Old Testament angels, like warrior angels who smite and angels who destroy cities: That could be a whole new real estate that we hadn’t explored yet,” he recalls. “Star Wars had that amazing off-camera scope, where you had this massive empire and this massive rebellion, but the story is about a farm boy, a princess and a pirate. The angels and demons gave us this massive off-camera scope that Sam and Dean didn’t always have be so closely involved with. It really threw the whole world into focus for us.”
And it led to what’s become the big theme of this season. God has essentially gone missing from heaven, the angels are kind of a corrupt bunch, and the archangel Michael has chosen Dean to be his “weapon” against the fallen angel Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), who wants Sam to be his vessel on Earth in this biblical face-off. “Once we started looking at the Lucifer/Michael story and realizing it’s a story about a loyal big brother and a disobedient little brother and their father and their relationship with him, we realized how closely it mirrored Sam and Dean’s story and that this is of course where everything had to culminate,” Kripke says. “This has always been a show that was primarily about family, and the thematics were always different aspects of family relationships: Do you obey your father or do you rebel? How much do you trust your brother? What’s more important, your family or your own personal ambition? We have this attitude that angels, demons, afterlife and the supernatural, it’s all just static, and that what’s really important is taking care of each other and taking care of your brothers, whoever they may be.”
Last night’s episode, the final one of 2009, featured Lucifer facing off against Sam, Dean and the good fallen angel, Castiel (Misha Collins), as Lucifer summoned the second of his Four Horsemen, Death. War was introduced earlier, and Kripke says that while Pestilence shows up near the end of the season, we’ll meet Famine in a February episode. “When you’re under the effects of Famine, you’re not necessarily hungry for food. You’re hungry for whatever that thing is you’re starving for, be it alcohol or attention or love or sex or Twinkies or heroine or gambling. We found a way to create a really quirky and disturbing and provocative episode because everyone at the end of the day is starving for something, and Famine brings that out.” Also, Michael will finally make his appearance in an episode where Sam and Dean go back and see their mom and dad as newlyweds. Michael’s “the one who kicked Lucifer’s ass the first time and is now gearing up for the rematch,” Kripke says. And the boys will visit heaven for the first time. “In case anyone wanted to know, heaven looks a lot like Vancouver,” Kripke quips. “At least we’ve been able to answer that question.”
And yes, God will definitely be appearing, Kripke reveals, probably in the season finale. “One of the storylines this season is about searching for God, and we want to answer that in our own way.” He says that that’s a tough casting call and chuckles at the suggestion of Christopher Walken maybe playing his Big Man Upstairs. “We’re just trying to figure out God’s motivation, and I tell you, that’s a weird place to be when you’re like, ‘So what’s God’s feeling in this scene?’ We’re talking about what should He be like as a character and what should His world view be. It’s like, when God talks, people listen. Whatever message He delivers, it’s going to be the message of the show.”