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Supernatural – Pilot Review (2005)

My History With the Episode: 
I don’t remember the commercial that advertised the debut of Supernatural, but being a horror fan I knew I had to check it out. It featured a muscle car, two brothers, 70’s and 80’s rock, and a sense of humor. I was on my couch watching it the night that debuted on September 13th, 2005, fifteen years ago this month and I loved it. That night began a love affair for me with a television show that’s first five seasons were amazing. Sadly, the product has been all over the place since then, but those first five seasons really made an impression on me.

In 2010, I was going through a divorce and I found myself revisiting the series. I started at the beginning and that was the last time I saw the pilot. Ten years later, I’ve decided to revisit it.

What The Episode Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Two brothers go searching for their missing dad when they encounter a mystery involving a hitchhiker and missing men.

What I Liked About It:

-This is a very solid pilot episode. It takes just enough time to introduce all our major players and set the stage for what’s to come. We are introduced to our two leads, who are brothers with very different personalities. They are both likeable and that’s something you need when setting up a TV show that will feature two brothers who road trip fighting off the supernatural.
-It was clear that both Jensen Ackles (Dean) and Jared Padalecki (Sam) understood their characters and the core of their personalities. The characters the present in this pilot are pretty much the same characters you can find fourteen seasons later which is impressive considering how much the tone of the show has changed.

-Adrianne Palicki portrays Jessica, Sam’s girlfriend, and in her very short amount of screen time she makes an impact.

-Considering this was a WB show from fifteen years ago, I’m impressed with how well the CGI and special effects have held up. There is one particular scene where it’s bad, but for the most part, it’s very impressive and impactful.

-The show had a hard horror vibe going for it early on and this is made apparent in this episode. This is a straight up ghost story featuring a terrifying ghost.

-Steve Railsback (Joseph) has a very small role, but as always, he provides a creepy presence.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Other than the one bad scene of CGI, I don’t have much to complain about. This is a great pilot episode.

Additional Notes:

-This was the only episode show in Los Angeles, the rest of the series was shot in Vancouver.

-Jensen Ackles (Dean) originally read for the character of Sam.

-The show was pitched as a supernatural Star Wars with Dead being Han Solo and Sam being Luke Skywalker.

-The pilot was directed by David Nutter, who directed the pilots of several other shows including: Millenium, Roswell, Dark Angel, Smallville, Without a Trace, The Mentalist, and Arrow.

-This episode is based on the Mexican folktale La Llorona.


I wasn’t sure what to expect in revisiting the pilot episode of Supernatural, but I’m delighted to say it holds up well. Actually, when compared to the later seasons, it’s quite superior. The characters are untainted by the crazy events that are to unfold and the show was angling itself as a serious horror television product. I’m sure there is a huge audience of people who wouldn’t even realize that the show started off in such a way.

I really enjoyed the pilot episode and would rate it a solid four out of five. I can recommend the first five seasons of Supernatural as a fantastic, cohesive show that explores a wide variety of horror elements, but I’d stop at the end of season five if I were you.

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