If you are interested in watching this show, beware of spoilers up to season 15!
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019: Due to her busy schedule, Oswego High School senior Jessica Knutson will get home late on Thursday evenings. Due to her work, she will have just enough time to finish her homework and nightly routine before she goes to bed.
There’s something else on her mind, though: It’s Thursday. “Supernatural” airs a new episode tonight, and she wants to see it, but she’s working after school in the auditorium. Sometimes, she chooses to miss the episode and watch it in class the next day, but today, she decides to watch it during her shift. As she works, her eyes flick from her phone screen to her current task as the sounds of hunting and daddy issues flood from her earbuds into her ears.
Through the years, “Supernatural” has bounced around rumors of ending, but before it got to, it has changed into the show that it is today.
The show revolves around two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, trying to find the demon that killed their mother in a world infested with monsters of every kind. As the seasons go on, the characters developed more; bigger threats come out of the depths, and the brothers have to save the world from total catastrophe quite a few times.
Season 15, which is currently airing, will be the show’s last season. At this point, the show is filled with angels, demons, leviathans, wendigos, pagan gods, and treats from the Bible itself. With the engine of a 1967 Chevrolet Impala roaring in the background, season 15 takes off. By May 18, 2020, the final episode of the show will air on The CW.
Season 4 of the show had the highest number of viewers at 3.14 million. A character that went by the name of Castiel was introduced into the plotline, and he was quickly a fan favorite. It was only a week after he was first introduced that immense amounts of fanart and fanfiction alike were released. With every new episode that is released, the fan base grows bigger and bigger. Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Ownーalso known as AO3ーact as a site for individuals to visit if they have and fan work that they want to publish, and, with every new episode, more and more new stories are created, bringing the number of Supernatural stories on AO3 to over 200,000. The word “fandom” is what would describe this large group of devoted fans, some of them involved with the fandom for just a few months and others involved since the show began airing.
“Middle school was a time. I was into fandoms a lot, and I think it kinda started with ‘Dr. Who,’ and then I watched ‘Sherlock,’ and natural procession in fandoms is to watch all three: ‘Dr. Who,’ ‘Supernatural,’ and ‘Sherlock’,” Knutson said.
A fandom is a group of people that are a fan of a show, movie, book, cartoon, or any other form of public media. Anyone can be in a fandom, no matter the age. Not everyone needs to contribute to it a fandom, either, but a lot of people choose to by uploading fan stories or fan art. Sometimes they even make their spinoff of the thing they are a fan of. A fandom is a great way for newer shows to gain a committed following. Since Supernatural has been airing for a long time, the fandom that follows the show helps with episode ratings and helps keep the show airing.
“Supernatural” has been airing for 14 years now. Throughout that time, the show has been through its ups and downs, despite being a fan favorite.
“It should have but, I mean, it probably should have gone in a different direction for some of the seasons because they kind of lost a lot of people,” Knutson said. “But in all honesty, it has succeeded as it went on, and it probably could go past season 15 if they’ve got good enough writers.”
The show has changed in many more ways than one might imagine, the fanbase shifting along with it. From the beginning to where now, the story has been melted and molded into something completely different since the first episode aired in 2005. When the show was smaller, the fans didn’t have much to focus on, but the main idea was that Sam and Dean Winchester hunted monsters that were somehow real. But, as the show grew and grew, the fans got a bigger world, more backstory as to how the monsters even got there, and dozens of characters to work with.
“It has definitely become more inclusive with all of the characters, and they have definitely expanded on the entire universe,” junior Katherine Valdez said. “I can see them taking a lot of steps to try and keep it interesting by adding new things and pretty cool stuff.”
The show has had a pretty good reputation thus far, though season 12 is something that no one seems to talk about, despite some of the good aspects of it while it aired. There was a large period of time on fanfiction publishing sites that posted many “fix-it fics,” which basically take the current story and take it in a different direction, mainly what they would have liked the story to become.
“I didn’t come in until season 12,” Knutson said. “I caught up the night before going to a convention. I wasn’t there throughout a lot of the seasons, but …season 1 to season 15, that’s…insane. Just the actors look different now, and their dynamic has changed. They used to have this great ‘brother relationship’ where they didn’t get along, and that created tension in the show, but, around season 11, they always agreed. They kinda got back in the later seasons, and I like that a lot.”
It seemed as if the fans helped shape and mold the show into what it is today, for better or for worse. The writers of the show took what the fans said into account and brought back old relationships, old characters, and plotlines that had loose ends to tie them up within an episode or two. The end of season 11 was a clear sign of this, as the writers brought back Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean’s mother. The review from the fans was a mix of positive and negative, but the majority of the fanbase was curious as to what they were going to do with her story. Chuck (a.k.a. God) came back during season 14, and the response from the fans was wonderful, which was an abundance of fanart and fan-stories being released to try and predict what they were going to do with his character.
It’s not just the immersive plot that brings the viewers in: it’s the characters and their relatability. Sam and Dean Winchester grew up mostly alone, their mother dying at a young age due to a demon deal made years before Sam was even born. Although there may not be demon deals in real life, this has touched many viewers of the show and prompted them to create their own characters that could fit into the universe. The “Supernatural” tag on Fanfiction.net is No. 1 in the T.V. category, holding over 125 thousand stories written by so many different individuals.
“The show inspired me directly, but the fanbase because of Misha Collins, who I helped with GISHWHES this past summer since one of my friends was doing it and I helped her out. I…covered her in maple syrup,” Knutson said.
It is a different answer for every person. The show can have a different impact on every individual, whether it be the actions of the characters on the show, the plot, or the actors that bring the characters to life. Just buying a simple keychain of the anti-possession symbol is inspiration enough.
“Supernatural” is a show that has changed in the way it looks and in the way the characters interact. The fanbase around it has shifted, and the show has changed to meet the expectations of those newer audiences. Ever since the first episode aired on Sept. 13, 2005, it was like the community that gathered from the beginning knew they were in for a wild ride. It just depends on the way people look at it.
“Every show has its effect on you, and this one will probably will at some point,” Valdez said. “I’m probably going to buy a classic car and start a road trip.”