A Few Problems with TV’s “Supernatural”

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Spoilers Ahead

I’m not exactly a fan of Supernatural, the long-running (and recently concluded) series featuring the monster-hunting Winchester brothers (Sam and Dean) and associates. I am, however, a fan of several of the characters, which is why I’ve stuck with the show. I’m currently re-watching older seasons in anticipation of catching up on the last couple I haven’t seen yet, including the series finale.

The thing is, no matter how much I try (and I have tried), I just can’t pretend this show doesn’t bother me on numerous levels. I’m not trying to ruin anything for the fans out there (who I’m sure far outnumber detractors like me), but someone needs to say it. Supernatural has problems. Here’s four of them.

  1. “Librarians”

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In season 8 Supernatural introduced the “Men of Letters,” a secret society that, among other things, made a point of amassing and preserving vast stores of occult and magical knowledge. Sounds pretty cool, right? You’d think so, but apparently the show’s writers disagree, as multiple characters repeatedly refer to the Men of Letters as “librarians.” And it’s never a compliment.

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First of all, fiction is full of librarians who could hold their own in the Supernatural universe. Secondly, the show itself establishes that the Men of Letters were also men of action– they just put a little more thought into their actions than the Winchesters and their fellow “hunters” tend to. More importantly, though, is that real-life librarians deserve better than this kind of casual derision. Yes, they spend an inordinate amount of time with books (not sure why that’s a bad thing), but they also help people and improve lives on a daily basis (here’s a story from last year as just one example). Librarian as an insult? You’re only showing your own ignorance.

2. Mary Shelley Didn’t Create Frankenstein

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Season 10 brought us the ill-conceived Styne family, an ancient clan into all kinds of evil, including murder, Nazism, and really poorly stitched body modification (seriously, this is your thing– learn how to sew). But– big reveal– it turns out the family’s name was originally… Frankenstein (groan), and that their family friend Mary Shelley, after spending a few days at their estate and seeing what they were up to, wrote her book to try to warn the world. In other words, Frankenstein isn’t a work of Shelley’s vibrant imagination (and one of, if not the, first works of science fiction), but rather non-fiction based on something she witnessed.

Seeing as how women writers throughout history have been consistently ignored, suppressed, forgotten, and denied credit, for Supernatural to come along and discount the achievement of one of the few who did receive her due… let’s just say that Supernatural owes Mary Shelley a huge apology.

3. The Writers vs. Castiel

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Introducing angels to the show is generally acknowledged as being one of Supernatural’s smarter moves. Castiel especially turned out to be a great character, with some decent development over the seasons. Unfortunately, the writers backed themselves into a corner with angels. Debuted as incredibly powerful beings who can destroy a human just by existing in their natural state, the writers subsequently were forced to find ways to make angels far weaker than they started out. As the Winchesters’ protector/friend Castiel gets the brunt of this– the writers spend the rest of the series finding excuses to take away his power. Poor Cas loses his mind, gets stuck in purgatory, is put under the control of another angel, and even becomes human, among other things. Even when he is at full strength, the writers ignore the extent of his abilities, inexplicably render them useless (“I can usually heal anything, but not this…”), or simply pretend he doesn’t exist. He can be summoned by phone or by prayer, yet he often “isn’t answering,” or more often, the Winchesters don’t bother calling. There are so many times when Cas could easily have dispatched demonic enemies or fixed an unfortunate situation (like, say, bringing Charlie back to life), but it’s inconvenient to the story, so he’s nowhere to be seen. What all this amounts to is a lot of poor and/or lazy writing that ultimately lowers the quality of the show. F for effort, guys.

4. Sucky Vampires

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Vampires aren’t the focus of Supernatural, and it’s a good thing because the ones on this show are awful. From the hideous rows of fangs to their bland personalities, I have to wonder why the show bothered including vampires at all. Mercedes McNab, who brilliantly played student-turned-vampire Harmony on Buffy and Angel, shows up as a vampire in one season 3 episode of Supernatural. Her character mostly spouts exposition and whines about being hungry before Dean finally beheads her. Other vampires throughout the series are similarly unremarkable (although there was one storyline that had potential, about vampires taking advantage of the Twilight craze, but it ultimately missed the mark). Even Benny, who befriends Dean in season 8 and actually gets a story arc, serves mostly as a source of tension between Sam and Dean. Not every vampire is going to be a Dracula or a Spike, but it takes some skill to make all of yours forgettable.

There are other problems with Supernatural (like Sam and Dean’s casual willingness to murder innocent people just because they’re possessed– remember when they used to at least try an exorcism first?), but I’ll leave it here. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my points? Share in the comments…

Want to read something that’s all about the vampires? Get my books!

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Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Haiku: Snow

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Snow

Snow falls steadily,

consoling our grey despair

with downy silence.

-Aspasía S. Bissas

If poetry isn’t your thing, check out my fiction…

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6 Writing Tips from Writers

One good thing about being a writer is that you can always be better. While it might be a little disheartening to know that you’ll never be as good as you could be, it’s also comforting to realize that no matter what kind of writer you are, you can always improve. That striving to be better is also what keeps things interesting. The amount of writing advice out there can be overwhelming, though, so I’ve gathered a few of the best tips on how we can all keep improving.

Know your characters as well as you know your best friends

Have you ever heard an author say they were going to write one thing, but their character had other ideas? That’s because smart authors know their characters so well, those characters are essentially real people. Knowing everything about a character (including details that will never make it into the story) helps you write about them, adds depth, and makes them more interesting to readers.

Do what works for you

“If you are a writer who thrives under routine, who has their writing time at 6 a.m. or forces themselves to write a page a day, that’s great. But if you write when you feel like it, mull over ideas in your head for days, weeks or even months before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, that’s just as valid.” –Zalika Reid-Benta

Find the ‘write” time

Everyone seems to have a particular time of day (or night) when they’re at their most creative. Find your creative time and try to arrange your schedule so that’s when you can focus on writing.

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Know when to stop

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck.” –Ernest Hemingway

Take Note

If you’re away from your keyboard and come up with an idea or think of something you want to add to your story, write it down immediately. You think you’ll remember that perfect description for the sound of the breeze through autumn leaves, but you won’t (and there’s no worse feeling than knowing you had something great and forgot it). Keep a notebook with you, or take notes on your phone (I like to send myself emails).

Keep at it:

What other writing tips have helped you? Share in the comments…

Looking for your next read? Download my books…

Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas, Blood Magic by Aspasia S. Bissas, Tooth & Claw by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, free books, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, gothic, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer a good paperback to an ebook, order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Currently Reading

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Apparently Victorian-beach-house tearoom paranormal mysteries are my jam, because I’m starting the third book in this series. In my last Currently Reading post, I mentioned I really liked these covers. Well, I have another confession to make: the silly titles make me giggle. Yes, I have a thing for wordplay, which (thankfully?) tends to come out only in conversation and not in my writing.

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So, what are you reading these days, and how do you feel about puns? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

(P.S. Follow me on Goodreads!)