Warner Bros. // 2010 // 917 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 26th, 2011
To Hell and back.
I've been singing the praises of this CW ghost-punching series since it premiered six years ago, and I stand by the boosting. This year's installment finds a new showrunner (Sera Gamble), coming off a gigantic season finale that involved God, Satan, archangels, and whatnot. So the bar was raised significantly.
Since Season Five was such an underachiever, the new boss had an opportunity to build up her own creative credibility...and she did.
Things pick up a few months after the finale: Dean (Jensen Ackles, Batman: Under the Red Hood) has essentially retired from the business and become a family man. Sam (Jared Padelecki, Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage), presumed by Dean to be stuck in Hell with Lucifer, suddenly reappears, inexorably dragging Dean back into the evil-snuffing game. But it isn't long before Dean realizes there is something seriously off with his brother.
Another solid season, which wasn't a sure thing given how the previous installment ended. Creator Eric Kripke has stated his vision for the show was a five-season arc with a sense of finality. So the last-minute cliffhanger felt tacked on merely because The CW had greenlit the show for Season Six.
I'm grateful for the reprieve, because that downturn in the clutch coughed up an unsatisfying ending. And yet, as happy as I was Supernatural came back, I had my doubts about the show's quality. Major arcs had been tied up, big-time villains were shipped off, and characters had literally exploded.
After a so-so start, Season Six eventually found its traction and developed an engaging plot, centered around the mystery of Sam's re-appearance and behavioral abnormalities, eventually blossoming into a nicely-tuned arc that drew upon the mythology established over the past few seasons. No spoilers, but I was pleased where the story ended and the finale delivered a fascinating cliffhanger...which, for the record, was resolved in excellent fashion during the Season Seven premiere.
While the storylines are effective and cool, the heart of Supernatural continues to be the work of Ackles and Padalecki. By now, these guys are seasoned vets, having locked down their on-screen chemistry. It's not Emmy-winning stuff, but for what genre television requires, their performances are perfect: humor to lighten the mood (including a super-meta show where the brothers are transported to another dimension as actors on a show called Supernatural) and snarling when the opportunity presents itself to exorcise some demons with extreme prejudice. Also, a gold star to character actor Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica) for his scenery-chewing work as the douchebag demon Crowley.
A good season of television is made better by a lights-out Blu-ray package from Warner Bros. Episodes receive top-shelf 1.78:1/1080p transfers, boasting superb detail and eye-pleasing colors. With so much happening on the screen at any given time -- Supernatural is probably the most effects-heavy series on television right now -- the high definition visuals only enhances the mayhem. An aggressive, well-mapped DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track pushes out the sound cleanly and forcefully.
What elevates this release is the breadth of special features, starting with a Blu-exclusive "The Hunter's Guide," a ridiculously stacked, interactive features that brings interviews, featurettes, and Easter Eggs for each episode. Another Blu-exclusive is a fun trivia track for the meta show, "French Mistake," The bonus materials are rounded out by an excellent documentary on Ackles' directorial debut, a goofy featurettes called "Supernatural and the Quest for the Soul," bonus episodes from Supernatural: The Anime Series, commentary on two episodes, and a gag reel.
One of the most creative and entertaining shows on television, Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season rebounds from mediocrity with a great slate of shows. Buy this season on Blu-ray.
Oh, God. Not Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 917 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Interactive Episode Guide
* Episode Commentaries
* Trivia Track
* Gag Reel
* Bonus Episodes
* Official Site