Warner Bros. // 2012 // 970 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 23rd, 2013
Carry on. My wayward son.
The Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) will not be denied. Who would have thought that nine years ago, this CW genre series starring a pair of also-rans from other CW shows would still be going strong and, arguably powering the entire network. Yet here we are, with Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season (Blu-ray), and shockingly there's still a good deal of meat left on this bone.
Last season it was the Leviathan. Giant, ink-filled monsters that love eating humans. After powering through that threat, Dean and Sam have a whole new ball of wacky on their plate. The series focus shifts back to Heaven, which is in utter disarray ever since God took off and Michael was tossed into the Hellpit with Lucifer in Season 5. After the events of the season before, Dean and angel pal Castiel (Misha Collins) find themselves stranded in Purgatory, with all manner of diabolical beasts gunning for them. Meanwhile, Sam has moved on, taking his brother's instruction to try and lead a regular life. Inexorably, the brothers will be reunited and get tasked with a new, world-saving quest. For Season 8, the boys have a hot lead on a plot device that will forever seal the gates of Hell.
I've been with this crew from the beginning, as it transitioned from a semi-interesting monster-of-the-week bonanza anchored by a couple of strong leads, to a genuinely compelling, mythos-rich genre show. Supernatural has done an admirable job of carrying the Whedon banner -- or at least a passable version of the Whedon banner -- aloft for the last near-decade. Actually, I need to give it more credit. Any show that can hold my attention for so long must be doing something right, and the blending of humor, mythology and likable characters has given Supernatural a whole lot more checks in the win column than the loss.
But let's be honest: when you're this late into the life of show, and your finale three seasons back featured a fight with Lucifer himself, there are going to be some uneven moments and that's pretty much what you get with Season 8. The show starts off with a stutter, the first batch of episodes hanging its hat on continued Dean/Sam angst, a plotline with a vampire Dean brought back from Purgatory that stutters, and some new plot-device-connected characters of questionable depth. Then, for a sustained chunk in the middle, new life is breathed into the arc and some of the most entertaining, creative episodes in the entire show drop.
Supernatural: Season Eight kicks off with the debut of an interesting strand of Winchester mythology and the introduction of a new set, which functions as a sort of Batcave. From this base, Sam and Dean fan out for a series of really, really fun one-offs. Nazi zombies, super-golems, oblivious LARPers, time travelers, witch cops and Greek gods, and many more! (I have to confess, I was half-expecting and all-hoping that the Winchesters would pull together their own Scooby team of supernatural bad-asses, but it didn't work out; maybe next season?)
The stretch run focuses on the Heavenly shenanigans and it all works fairly well, driving headlong to a finale that turns out to be one of the most memorable of the series. I especially appreciate the writers' resistance to go the easy "shock" route, opting instead for a legitimately cool final sequence that sets the table for a compelling ninth season. And, really, that's all you can ask.
Typically stand-out Blu-ray release from Warner Bros: a solid 1.78:1/1080p transfer, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and selection of decent-to-good extras, including three episode commentaries, a making-of doc on the "found footage" episode, a look at the tablets plot device (with some actual history and mythology mixed in for good measure), an overdue featurette on Castiel, deleted scenes, the always entertaining gag reel, plus DVD and UltraViolet copies.
Felicia Day...ummmmm. Nah.
Supernatural keeps on and keeping on and I'm not bored yet. Psyched for next season.
Not guilty. Hunter's license renewed.
Review content copyright © 2013 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 970 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* DVD Copy
* UltraViolet Download
* Official Site
* Facebook Page