Supernatural: a Progressivist Re-watch

So, recently I decided I’d like to get some regular writing, and having enjoyed a bunch of really good re-watch/re-read threads at various places (Tor.com got me started, but the one I’ve loved best was The Viewscreen’s Star Trek: TOS series, followed by their work on the animated series, and other works on the astrogator for later), thought it might be time to start my own.  To some extent, then, Torie and Eugene, this one’s for you.

You’re probably thinking: OMG, Caitie, why the fuck would you want to subject yourself to a show that is SO not feminist?  And yeah, I’ve asked myself a few times.  But I’m a fan, what can I say: I love the show.

Oddly enough, I don’t like horror movies (I’m a big fan of being scared, but I tend to believe suspense + surprise = pleasant scare, and suspense + gorefest = unpleasant scare), so being a fan of SPN (as we call it in the fandom) is a real surprise: not really progressivist at all, very man-centred, horror-lite series.

But one can’t always choose what one will fall in love with, can one?

Who am I?

I’m a queer polyamourous working-class trans white woman gamer geek with mental and physical disabilities, and an immigrant from the UK to Canada (but you can just call me Cait – short for Caitlin, pronounced, in NorthAmEnglish anyway, as “Kate”).  I wrote for a couple of years at Shakesville as a contributor and moderator (CaitieCat), and have been published in a couple of anthologies (one of queer pastiche, one of trans erotica).

I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to watch ST: TOS on my own.  That’s…ooh, probably forty years now.  I use fan as a shorthand for someone who is a general sf/fantasy geek, and who has a (possibly unhealthy ;o) devotion to one or more media properties in that pursuit.

What is Supernatural, anyway?

Supernatural is the tale of two brothers (Dean Winchester, played by Jensen Ackles, and Sam Winchester, played by Gilmour Girls alum Jared Padalecki) in a world where monsters, demons, and angels are all real, though most people don’t know about them.  Circumstance reveals the truth of that world to their father when their mother is killed by a demon when the two are very small (Sam an infant, Dean four and a half).

Created by Eric Kripke, the show has recently finished its eighth season as I write this, and has shifted from a Monster-of-the-Week horror-lite show with a background story arc, to a show more or less defined by each season’s story arc, with some MOTW action thrown in to break up the big story.  Think of it sorta like the X-Files, except that instead of the mind-numbing and eventually show-killing takeover of the conspiracy episodes, we have a set of story arcs that work with and among the MOTW stories.

What Can We Expect from this Re-Watch?

Ahh, good question.  I’m glad I asked.

My concept here is to watch each episode, lay out a synopsis, and then look at the things they do that are or are not progressivist, before closing with a bit of trivia about the ep in question and the show in general.  Among those latter trivia will be, for instance:

  • a running count of the “innocent*” people slain by the two heroes;
  • a percentage rating, for how many named characters who are POC and/or women end up dead by episode’s end;
  • favourite lines;
  • good bits: stuff that is stealthily/surprisingly progressivist!;
  • and a misogynist slur watch (how many times a show is someone called a “bitch” or a “whore”, et c.).

Closed out with a rating of how much I, personally, enjoyed the show.

So that’s the premise.  I hope you’ll enjoy watching along with me, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve already set up the first four episodes to roll out on schedule.

A Note About Spoilers

There will be some.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect to do a re-watch without them.  What I’d like to see is people trying to avoid giving spoilers about shows we haven’t done yet, but the episode we’re looking at will, obviously, be chock-a-block with spoilers.  Until we get caught up**, anyway.

* For instance, if the boys kill a demon with the, well, y’know, (SPOILER!) that thing they can kill demons with, and the human doesn’t survive?  That’s one for the boys’ total.  People who die because Our Lads haven’t figured out the MOTW yet, they don’t go on the total.

** If we ever get caught up – at eight seasons, the show has something like 170+ episodes, which at two a week means this is a two-year project, by which time there will be (supposing no cancellation) another 20+ episodes, and so on.

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7 thoughts on “Supernatural: a Progressivist Re-watch

  1. Pingback: 9 Supernatural Season 9 (mini) Spoilers | The Collective

  2. I’m so flattered! And hey, I won’t judge. I constantly have to defend ST’s inability to recognize women as people as something that doesn’t stop me from loving the show. I’m a firm believer that books and media can have value beyond affirming my already existing worldview. If I only read or saw things that reinforced that view, I’d lack both cultural richness and, um, things to read/watch…

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