“I think what’s key to doing this show is that we can go from using Milton and Dante and then make an entire left turn using Porky’s as a reference point.” Writer Ben Edlund there, summing up Supernatural’s modus operandi perfectly. This is a series that can swing from high drama featuring archangels and the Antichrist to an episode in which Paris Hilton plays a pagan god – don’t ever say the writing team aren’t having fun...
After a fourth season spent trying to fend off the apocalypse, the show’s latest episodes go all-out mythological and bring Lucifer to Earth (in the form of Lost’s very own ‘bad’ guy, Mark Pellegrino) to wipe out humanity. It’s up to the Winchesters to stop him, while taking time out every now and then to hunt lesser evil creatures (and, at one point, to attend a Supernatural convention – what fourth wall?).
You have to feel sorry for the show-runners, though, because, as they admit in their massively entertaining commentary on the fourth episode, the show’s budget doesn’t stretch to depicting all-out global skirmishes with the Devil. And so we have to doff our caps to them for being able to do anything – although the best stuff is probably being saved for the second half of this season.
In the meantime, we have all of Supernatural’s signature gore (bellies ripped open, beheadings, creatures sucking brain juice from skulls) coupled with a wicked sense of humour. One of the highlights of this set is ‘Changing Channels’, which sees the Winchesters zapped into TV-land and forced to enact scenes in various shows (their CSI: Miami spoof is hilarious), while the biggest highlight – not just of this set but possibly of the show’s entire five-year run – is ‘The End’, which throws Dean into a post-apocalyptic future where he finds a hardass version of himself, a world ravaged by disease and Lucifer resplendent.
There may be a dearth of extras on this release but at least the chattrack on ‘The End’ is fantastic stuff, detailing all the routes the story almost took and pointing out, quite correctly, that if Supernatural were a more mainstream show, Jensen Ackles’ double role would have seen him nominated for an Emmy.
Although the full boxset may well contain more extras when it’s released later in the year, if you don’t mind an almost-vanilla half-release you won’t regret buying this in the slightest. Supernatural’s one of the best shows on television right now – and we’re not telling Porky’s.
This apocalypse may be on a budget – but who cares when there’s so much to enjoy?