Spooky 'Supernatural' shows promise on WB

BY NICK KOCHMANSKI
Daily Arts Writer
Published September 15, 2005

Much like a campus Halloween party, The WB's "Supernatural" features a slew of scantily clad women, ghosts, demons and notably absent parents; there are even a few arrests made for good measure. And fortunately, like any good holiday shindig, this show gets better as the evening wears on, revealing multiple layers and introducing characters that encourage viewers to tune in again next week.

TV/New Media Reviews
"Who the hell are we?" (Courtesy of The WB)

"Supernatural" stars Jenson Ackles ("Smallville") and Jared Padalicki ("Gilmore Girls") as Dean and Sam Winchester, two brothers who set out in search of their eccentric father while battling evil demons and grim-grinning ghosts along the way. In the opening scene, an evil, unknown force attacks the two brothers' mother, which results in a deadly blaze. Viewers eventually learn that the Winchester family suffers some strange curse, which appears to afflict only female loved ones. It is this curse that drives the brothers' father to find, and hopefully destroy, the entity responsible for his wife's death. Dean and Sam refuse to be left behind and set out in search of their father.

The first episode features a stop in small-town America, the traditional setting for ghost tales. Here, the brothers run up against the ghost of a seductive female materializing as a "White Lady," a common spook that involves a seductive, hitchhiking woman. After a series of encounters with the local police, Dean and Sam finally confront the specter, which results in a surprisingly exciting clash between man and evil spirit. The ghosts are well crafted using digital effects, and the climactic death scene is enough to bring back fond memories of "Ghostbusters." Even the obvious scare shots, accompanied by the all-too-familiar rush of sound, are delightful enough to set viewers' pulses pounding.

The strong chemistry between Dean and Sam also supports the show. While certainly not on par with "The Sopranos" or "Six Feet Under," "Supernatural" features believable performances, especially from its lead roles. Ackles and Padalicki work well together, resulting in good-natured chuckles and the general feeling that as time goes on, the two brothers will grow even closer.

If there's one complaint against "Supernatural," it's that the show doesn't explore anything new. Instead of offering fresh and exciting scares, it appears the writers drew heavily from already-popular horror films. Whether or not this is an intentional move is unclear , but the current stable of spooks does nothing to improve the experience. As the story of Dean and Sam Winchester unfolds, more original creatures will hopefully cross their paths, nudging "Supernatural" a little closer toward greatness.

"Supernatural" is an enticing new show that will leave viewers of The WB's other teen series anticipating next week's episode.