Supernatural is a series centered on a pair of brothers named Dean and Sam Winchester who spend their time hunting a wide range of supernatural entities that pose a threat to humans. Said series started up in September of 2005 and has continued running since that time, thus making it the single longest-running fantasy series to have ever been broadcast on U.S. TV screens. Based on this, most people would expect Supernatural to have seen considerable change over time, but while that is true to some extent, it has managed to hold on to the core characteristics that fueled its success in the first place.
How Has Supernatural Changed Over Time?
Season 1 of Supernatural was very episodic in nature. There were clear signs of a longer running narrative situated here and there, but for the most part, the season consisted of episodes that could be viewed on their own with minimal issues.
Since that time, these “monster of the week” episodes have continued to show up, but their use in the series has seen significant changes. For example, later seasons have put more of an emphasis on longer running narratives, meaning that there is an increased proportion of episodes that are focused on those narratives rather than the latest in the long lines of supernatural entities that the Winchester brothers have managed to run into. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that even when “monster of the week” episodes show up in later seasons, there is more of an effort to integrate them into the rest of the season, which is something that has produced various degrees of success.
Moving on, the sheer number of seasons means that the setting of Supernatural has seen a huge expansion. For instance, most of the earlier episodes were focused on monsters that are within the capabilities of a couple of brothers with plenty of preparation but without the means to call in a lot of backup. However, the Winchester brothers have long since reached the curious point where they can make a meaningful difference in confrontations with world-shaking consequences while still remaining capable of being threatened by lower tier monsters, which calls for a neat bit of balancing to say the least.
Naturally, this change in scale has resulted in new members of the cast showing up as well. This can be seen in how Misha Collins as Castiel wasn’t introduced until Season 4 but has managed to become a main member of the cast for the most part ever since. Likewise, there are a lot of other recurring characters on the Supernatural series, though most of them haven’t even come close to securing the same kind of prominence as Castiel.
Having said this, there is plenty that has managed to remain the same, with an excellent example being how the character Bobby Singer has been in each of the seasons so far. However, there is an even better example in the form of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who have played Dean and Sam Winchester for the entire run of the series. This is important because the core of Supernatural is the relationship between the two Winchester brothers, meaning that the charisma of these two actors as well as the chemistry between them have played critical roles in keeping the project going and going.
Based on this, it is clear that Supernatural has managed to change enough to keep things interesting for its viewers but not so much so that it starts to alienate those who have been following it for season after season. As such, it seems safe to say that the series will be with us for some time to come, which is rather remarkable considering how long it already is. Simply put, so long as Ackles and Padalecki remain willing to play the roles of Dean and Sam Winchester, Supernatural can continue to bring in its unusually stable fan base, thus ensuring that its existence will last that much longer. The crew can change, other members of the cast can change, and even the lead figures can change, but so long as those two are in it, Supernatural will remain Supernatural in the truest sense.
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