Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season Review

With major networks increasingly eager to swing the axe so early and so often these days that choosing what new shows to pick-up each season is now an exercise in futility, it's a testament to patient approach of the CW that a show like Supernatural has flourished such as it has. Originally tagged as Buffy with dudes, or X-Files-lite, the series has steadily evolved into an intelligently written, superbly acted drama, ably blending ham-horror, broad comedy, and genuinely affecting pathos.

Now at the end of their fifth season, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki remain the bedrock of everything that's good about Supernatural. Well settled into a comfortable groove the pair spark effortless chemistry, both possessing a disarming amount of charisma in driving a dynamic that could so easily tip over into hokey, borderline homoerotic, territory and yet somehow never does (although that doesn't prevent the show from poking fun at itself in this regard to great comic effect).

With their relationship shattered at the end of season four, the gates of Hell now flung open, and Sam seemingly lost to the darkside, season five opens with the brothers rescued by heaven and dispatched on a quest to find Michael's sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Lucifer. This season also finds the recurring Castiel, brilliantly played by Misha Collin's, bumped up to the status of almost a third lead which adds a refreshing element to the formula.

While a great many shows offer numerous subtle allusions, rarely, if ever, does a series wholeheartedly embrace the concept of Heaven in the way that Supernatural has. But it really does work. Series showrunner Eric Kripke has deftly mined scripture for some quite ingenious conflict, adopting traditional Christian mythology and adding his own ironic and numerous twists. In addition to demons and angels, season five also introduces us to the likes of the Demon Crowley, the Angel Gabriel, and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, all of whom have their own intricate part to play in this final escalating showdown over the fate of the world.

With both Ackles and Padalecki contracted for a full six seasons, the network has confirmed that Supernatural will return for one last go-around, despite having already crossed the threshold for viable syndication. With that in mind Kripke has confirmed that he will not return as showrunner, and the relaxed vibe will allow for such things as Ackles to take a turn in the director's chair. We'll happily tune in to see how the series wraps itself up, but for all intents and purposes the overriding series arc that has driven Supernatural from it's inception ends here with this fifth season.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Solid, if unremarkable, as always, extras include Bobby's video diary, the Ghostfaces webisode series, Producer/Writer commentary on episode 4, The End, extended scenes from episode 9, and the customary gag reel.

"Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season" is on sale September 7, 2010 and is not rated. Fantasy, Horror, Television. Directed by Phil Sgriccia, Philip Sgriccia, Robert Singer, Steve Boyum. Written by Eric Kripke, Ben Edlund, Sera Gamble, Mark Sheppard. Starring Fredric Lehne, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Misha Collins.

Sep
13
2010
Neil Pedley • Associate Editor

Neil is a film school graduate from England now living in New York. In addition to JustPressPlay, Neil writes about for Uinterview.com as well as being a columist and weekly podcast host at IFC.com. His free time is spent acting out scenes from Predator in the woods behind his house, playing all the different parts himself.

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