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Dean and Sam Winchester are brothers. They have had a tough time growing up, as twenty-two years ago their mother died in mysterious circumstances. Then their dad disappeared. He was a hunter, of sorts, tracking demons and the paranormal and generally fighting evil with a view to saving lives. With the help of his diary, the two brothers decided to go looking for him and, on the way, take up the reigns of the very same profession. Posing as cops, priests and basically anybody they have to in order to obtain information and get to the truth, they often end up with their knuckles bruised and their hands dirty at the end of each mission. And the journey to find their father appears to become an eternal road-trip, their path paved with both natural and supernatural obstacles.

Supernatural: Season One Part Two

Series


This is the second half of the first season of Supernatural and it kicks off with a bang, with Dean facing the fact that he only has days to live. In a bid to save his life, his brother takes him to a potentially fraudulent blind healer, who magically cures him, but there is a price and it may just involve the Grim Reaper himself, or at least one of his Reaper stooges. After that the episodes just tend to get more mysterious, with a ghost truck killing people on a highway, a fragile abused teenager with telekinetic powers and even a witch. They not only have to deal with ghosts and demons and monsters, they also get embroiled in a redneck family hunting business where the prey are humans. The brothers return to their high-school, rekindle old loves, deal with their own past issues and discover new friends and enemies. Amongst these we find the shady Meg returning to confuse Sam and cause mayhem (including for the climactic last two episodes in the season), and Sam discovering that he might just have a new power, if only he knew how to use it.

Supernatural: Season One Part Two
The stars are the two actors who play Sam and Dean. Jensen Ackles (from Dark Angel, Dawson’s Creek and Smallville) is Dean, the more gung-ho of the two, who is more interested in following in his father’s paranormal detective footsteps than actually finding him. Mysterious and brooding, he often lapses into being just plain headstrong and stupid, thinking with his fists for the most part. Sam is the more cautious of the two, brought to life by Jared Padalecki ( House of Wax, Flight of the Phoenix). He thinks twice before taking any risks, but we do occasionally see him having to resort to violence when all other options fail. The recurring characters are fairly thin on the ground, with Nicki Aycox as the dark femme fatale Meg as one of the few noteworthy returning individuals. Guest stars are also pretty sparse, with only Angel’s Julie Benz really worth noting in this half of the season. Perhaps as the show gets bigger, the names will correspondingly get bigger.

Supernatural: Season One Part Two
All in all, Supernatural is a superior piece of TV viewing, a worthy successor to the likes of Buffy and Angel, with an added hint of X-Files to it and a hell of a lot more violence and blood than any of the above-mentioned shows. It’s dark, atmospheric and at times quite shocking, with people stabbed, tortured, slashed and shot throughout. The two heroes almost always end up bloody at the end of every episode. Still, I did find something slightly lacking in the show. Whether it was because this is just the first season (and many shows take a couple of seasons to hit their stride) or not, I do not know, but there was a distinct lack of humour (Joss Whedon’s shows are unsurpassed in that respect and X-Files had its witty edge). The seriousness suits the gritty, dark portrayal of the paranormal investigations but you do start to miss it after a while. Couple that with the lack of any significant female characters and you have two big aspects in which this show is deficient. Still, it is a quality piece of TV viewing, worth sticking with to see what future seasons have in store. This has the potential to be great.

Supernatural: Season One Part Two
Episode Listing:

12) Faith
13) Route 666
14) Nightmare
15) The Benders
16) Shadow
17) Hell House
18) Something Wicked
19) Provenance
20) Dead Man’s Blood
21) Salvation
22) Devil’s Trap

Supernatural: Season One Part Two

Video


The episodes of this, the second half of the first season of Supernatural come presented with 1.78:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfers. They are all reasonably decent in quality, particularly considering the largely shadowy, night-set material. Detail is generally good, with little softness, no noticeable edge enhancement and acceptable levels of grain. The colour palette is quite dirty and wood-based, to suit the atmosphere of this series, with the blood looking pretty realistic and solid enough blacks for reasonable shadowing.

Audio


Accompanying these episodes we get fairly rudimentary Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, which do the job but are a little disappointing considering that most TV shows produced these days get graced with six-speaker surround sound. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently throughout, with quite a few effects, from rain spattering to engines revving, to pad out the ever-important atmospheric noises. Bigger noises like gunshots and screams certainly get your attention and the brooding score, packed full of ‘jumpy’ bangs, really gets you in the mood. We even get a couple of recognisable song tracks like Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ at suitable points, but however good the audio is, it is still a high quality stereo mix, which is always going to be a shade worse than a poorer quality 5.1 effort.

Supernatural: Season One Part Two

Extras


There are no extras to speak of on this release, which is slightly disappointing as commentaries from the participants would have been interesting for this TV series.

Overall


Supernatural is a decent new supernatural adventure series. It is also definitely not for kids, instead using dark tales and plenty of blood to engage its older intended audience. This DVD release presents the second half of the first season of this show with decent video, slightly disappointing audio and a distinct lack of extras, but if you caught a couple of episodes and found that you enjoyed it, then you are likely to find the whole series enthralling. Definitely worth checking out and for those still yearning for a show to fill the gaps of the likes of Buffy and it’s darker brother Angel, this is a good place to start.


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Media Copyright Acknowledgement (Fair Use) © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy Warner Home Video.