Wednesday, September 14, 2005

TV: Supernatural

Supernatural is one of the less awful pilots I've seen so far this season; certainly it's better than The War at Home or Reunion. And yet, I'm far less likely to watch another episode of Supernatural than those other two shows.

I think it's the bland competence that makes it such an inessential show for me. It basically does its job of being a teen-skewing X-Files ripoff. It has some suitably creepy moments, it has a couple of genuinely decent scares (especially the fiery tragedies that bookend the episode), it has a slick, modern style that doesn't devolve into MTV-type idiocy (which in itself is a great triumph, considering hackmeister McG is one of the executive producers). But as technically well-made as it may be, it's just not very interesting.

Part of the problem, of course, is the two leads. Jared Padalecki, who plays ghost-hunter Sam, comes to Supernatural from Gilmore Girls, where he played kind of a wimpy stud -- the James Dean-esque tough guy who was wrapped around the finger of his girlfriend Rory. He plays pretty much the same character here, but is far less interesting. Jensen Ackles, who plays Sam's older brother Dean, comes from the last season of Smallville, where he played Lana's tool boyfriend (who eventually turned evil). In this show, he's far more interesting; he plays things much lighter, and has fun wisecracking and getting down and dirty at the service of the silly ghost story plot. But I still can't help being prejudiced against him from his awful run on Smallville.

In time, I might change my feelings toward him, but I don't think I'm going to give him that time. The show isn't awful -- as I said, it's fairly well-made -- but it's just not something I need in my TV diet. A spooky show with Teen Scream heartthrobs just doesn't hold any attraction for me. I wouldn't actively discourage anyone from watching it, but I can't find myself encouraging anyone to watch it, either. It's just not for me.

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