astolat (astolat) wrote,

Supernatural glee

Somehow I was expecting Supernatural to be an eyecandy-and-emo show (which as a genre I approve of highly, just so we're clear!) with enough horror thrown in to freak me out, and instead, I was kind of surprised to discover that it's a much more serious show than I gave it credit for. And granted, it helps mainlining, so that the best moments jump out and the rest recedes into a general background, and it helps to have come to the show in s2, after they've knocked out a bunch of the bugs, but all that said -- IMO, it really is hitting the caliber of X-Files at its height. The central relationship of the show is fully as interesting and satisfying to me as Mulder/Scully, which is saying a lot, and I think they've taken advantage of post-XF hindsight to eliminate a lot of the problems the XF mytharc had.

Okay, so first off, if you are a fraidy-cat like me, do not believe anyone who tells you it is not scary. It is scary! *sits on all the SPN fans about to start arguing with me, because they are clearly ridiculously fearless* Things jump out at you and people do that horror-movie thing where they walk right into the evil haunted asylum/house/barn/woods and you sit there going noes! and there are ghastly looking monsters and ghosts that move in weird and disjointed creepy ways and then you try to go to sleep and you KNOW there is a demon sitting in the closet just WAITING for you to close your eyes. um, or maybe that's just me then.

However, also take into account that I *am* a massive fraidy-cat and despite the fact I was staying at my mother's creaky isolated house in the dark woods in Pennsylvania mid-mainline, I kept watching. (I slept with the lights on, but I kept watching!) My own coping mechanisms include reading spoilers, fast-forwarding (in particular, I almost always go right past the entire opening teaser, which is usually just setup for the A plot with guest actors), and using mute and pause liberally to interrupt the buildup of creepy.

And if you're a slasher avoiding because of the incest thing -- this is obviously a question of personal tastes, but at least for me, incest pairings in general face the difficulty not so much that they squick me but that they bore me, because it's hard to do incest stories without dealing with, hm, the practicalities of committing incest, which just make me go eh, and are generally sort of tawdry and mundanely unpleasant, like most non-genre fiction.

However, in Supernatural, like neery mentioned here, we have a setup where incest is not actually difficult as a practical matter (they're dramatically isolated from the rest of the world, on the road and constantly on the move, among people who don't know they're brothers), and where you can imagine incest with a happy ending (frankly, more easily than I can imagine a happy ending for many another relationship for these guys given the circumstances of their lives). And on a meta level, the show really could not be more explicit that it's made them brothers in order to amp up the emo porn while avoiding the gay reading of the buddy show, to the point there are multiple episodes where they get explicitly mistaken for a gay couple and have to say "no, no, we're brothers" in order to make sure that we the audience understand. It's very the lady doth protest too much (and also hilariously funny).

Leaving some white space to protect against more specific spoilers, particularly for Bugs, Nightmare, Hell House, The Usual Suspects, Croatoan, Hunted, and Night Shifter...

To go in reverse order, what I really crazily adored about The Usual Suspects and Night Shifter is that with these episodes, the show is taking a constraint and using it to generate more story. A lot of entertainment asks us to ignore realistic details, or plays them strictly as is convenient to a particular story or for laughs, and until that moment where I saw the previouslies on The Usual Suspects, I was sure that the show was going to treat their identity theft/credit scams/impersonation routine just like that. But I find in my own writing that stories get better when you take what looks on the surface like an annoying constraint or detail and force yourself to respect it and work it into the fabric of your universe, and I really see them doing that here (in the Supernatural mythos as a whole). They essentially have taken the boring mechanics of how the boys pay for their hunting and how they get people to talk to them, and turned it into the foundation for a whole second and complementary arc to the yellow-eyed demon arc.

It's just -- I love the respect that shows both for the audience and for their own universe, because I think generating stories this way -- looking back at what you've done, asking, "what are the implications of what we've already put into canon? how can we use it?" -- basically helps to turn the show into a much more solid and three-dimensional story-generating universe.

Secondly, I'm going to be a shallow fangirl here and say how much I adore the fan-service in this show. They are taking the fanfic character playbook and just going with it here, in all the right ways. As a slasher, I am just DEAD ON THE FLOOR from the three separate episodes where people EXPLICITLY mistake Sam and Dean for a gay couple. Overtly! That moment in Bugs where they get the "we welcome homeowners of any...sexual orientation" for the second time, and Dean slaps Sam on the ass! Calls him honey! sadklafj;fdaadf;lj;

(Sorry, I'm better now.)

And then Hell House -- actually, first of all I have to confess here that I read a million stories in the last week without leaving fb because I was downloading heaps of them in tabs and then reading offline at my mom's place, and now I am trying to find them all again to actually leave comments and so far have not found this one, so if anyone can point me at it, I will be grateful -- but so I read this story where the boys are pranking one another like mad, and I just took it in stride, of course fans write the story where the boys juvenile-prank each other on the road, that is part of what fanfic is for, assuming without QUESTION that it was made up fanon, and then I watched Hell House and that drumming noise was me on the floor kicking my feet against the ground in sheer glee.

I am also enjoying the hell out of the demon arc -- that moment where Sam manages to move the dresser in Nightmare, and the way Dean deals with Sam's confession and fears at the end of that episode -- the joking about the spoon, Vegas, and the underlying seriousness of his promise that nothing bad is going to happen to Sam as long as he's around -- just makes me endlessly happy no matter how many times I rewatch it, and even more so the way Dean's still trying to keep that promise, desperately, in Croatoan and Hunting, even as he's clearly feeling more and more scared and helpless to actually manage it.

Anyway, if you're not already watching, I highly recommend it! And the fandom is all big and shiny and happy, and also you should buy the DVDs to help promote the show, because based on how it's going so far, I feel there are good grounds to hope they will actually handle the mytharc well if they are given the time.

Speaking of the fandom -- I have found spnnewsletter and supernaturalfic; is there an active flashfic community going anywhere?
Tags: supernatural
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