On Supernatural

Sympathy for the Devils

By Robert T. Jeschonek

What makes Supernatural so special? Here’s a clue: it’s the same thing that pumped up Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The X-Files.

It’s the monsters, of course. The colorful villains who kick-start the action, chew the scenery to pieces, and threaten our way of life. They’re so scary and cool, their names are burned forever into our memories … the names of some of the wildest monsters in TV history:

Carl Kolchak.

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Sam and Dean Winchester.

These are the monsters who haunt the TV screens and nightmares of viewers like us–viewers who just happen to be vampires, demons, and other creatures. Monsters like Sam and Dean would be our natural enemies if we ever met them in real life, yet we’re drawn to watch them on TV. They make for great drama, serve up metaphors for our common struggles, and reenact blasts from the past. We might even identify with them a little … and as the show goes on, they begin to identify with us.

All About the Drama

Real life wouldn’t make much of a TV show, would it? Who wants to watch people like us–vampires, demons, changelings, ghosts, and ghouls–going about our daily business–sucking blood, possessing housewives, shifting shapes, haunting houses, and slaughtering innocents? In other words, the same old same old? Let’s face it: even the wickedest ways can become kind of humdrum if they’re repeated day in and day out.

When we watch Supernatural, we want the opposite. We want thrills and  …

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