Supernatural: A Lesson in Binge Watching

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I’m a late-comer to Supernatural. I didn’t start watching until last spring, when I was bored with the current TV options and wanted to know why it had such a huge cult following. I watched ten seasons in just a few short months, cramming one to two episodes into every weeknight (and four or more on the weekend days). This may sound slow to some of you binge watchers out there, but I have a toddler, which means no scary bad guys during daylight hours–unless it was nap time, of course.

To be honest, I’m pretty impressed I got through it so fast and was able to catch up before the start of season 11.  That did mean that season 11 was a different one for me. I got what it felt like to watch week to week, waiting between episodes. You’d think this would be especially tough for episodes that had cliffhanger endings, but actually, it was the one-off episodes that were worse. Some of those solid episodes I could breeze through when binge watching. But that was all I got for the week? Give me more!

But this post isn’t really about that…exactly. Since today is Supernatural Day, I got to thinking about my experience watching the show. As I’ve seen list after list of best episodes and favorite sidekicks, I suddenly started asking myself, did my binge watching actually hurt my Supernatural experience?

Let’s start with the details. I can tell you main characters, but there’s a lot I can’t recall. I can tell you main villains and general plotlines, but by rushing through the series, I have some fuzzy spots. For example, recently, it took me way too long to remember who or what Lilith was.

What’s more, I can only imagine how incredibly tough some of the poignant (or devastating) moments were. I mean, sure, I had a some good tears and heartbreak with Bobby and Charlie, but I’d only “known” them for a few months. Those watching the series over the years had, well, years! I can only imagine how that felt differently.

In fact, watching week to week for twelve years is very impressive, and I can see how this cult following is so strong. That’s quite the commitment. That said, bingeing did give me the opportunity to watch and watch fast, so I could catch up and join in the fun. And perhaps it made me a more rabid fan, wanting more more more because I’m not used to waiting for a week. I don’t know. But I have all the respect for those who can name episodes and guest stars, much like I’ve done for shows like Buffy for all these years. I may have picked up some of the canon, but you guys clearly know John’s journal, front to back.

*Photo by the CW

The Little Tree Hill That Could

I wish I could find the worlds to explain the joy that fell over me today when I heard the news.

A. The CW is NOT folding like a beach chair on the back lot of a tailgating party after a loss.

B. One Tree Hill has been renewed.

Oh, little One Tree Hill, don’t you make me happy?

Last night I remember reading a wee (yet vague) spoiler about the finale of the show, and I remember wondering how that would fit in a series finale. I figured it was a series finale. After all, The CW is not doing well, and I don’t know what would save it. Plus, who thinks about One Tree Hill other than me?

Well, apparently that “finale” will be a season finale because it’s gotten an early pickup for next year, including five other shows: Smallville, Supernatural, 90210, Gossip Girl, and America’s Next Top Model. No, it’s true. Read it here.

Now, you know I’m thrilled. I’m a wee bit surprised, as OTH is not really the show of shows and it definitely isn’t one that will get The CW on the map. But then again, I read an article in Entertainment Weekly this year that basically said that it’s the underdog that stays just above the cancel line in ratings, but just below the radar that gives it the freedom to take risks. No one pays attention to it, so it stays and works. And no, ratings are going up.

I’ll take that! I like it!

As for the others, I’m not surprised about 90210 or Gossip Girl. Even Supernatural. But Smallville? This show is way done. It should have ended with Clark starting at the Daily Planet, which was in the season opener this year. How can it really keep going? Haven’t we lost Lex Luthor by now anyway?

And then there’s ANTM, which is no surprise, too. This show will never die. If The CW didn’t pick it up, we’d be seeing it on another network. I mean, look where all it’s syndicated! Someone would have picked it up. No problem.

So how about our little WB and UPN survivors? Four out of six are from the original networks. Only two are newbies. The big question is what they’ll do next. Reaper and Privileged are two favorites that aren’t renewed yet, and you know some people are sweating bullets. But it’s early yet. There’s still time. But will loyal followings bring the power to renew? Is there room in the schedule with the new shows they’re developing (like Melrose Place and the Gossip Girl spinoff–I cringe at both of those, by the way).

Only time will tell. Right now, this just makes me want to go sit in a corner with a blanket and read my Season Finale book, reliving the rise and fall of The WB and UPN. You know what? Maybe I will.

What’s on tonight…Thursday…muah-ah-ha!

I know we’re probably all waiting for a new episode of The Office. Too bad. Not one tonight. Even if the rest of the NBC lineup is new. Sigh. Here goes.

NBC has a new My Name Is Earl, Kath and Kim (but why??), 30 Rock, and ER. The Office is, of course, a rerun, stuck right in the middle there.  But you can’t complain about new 30 Rock, right?

ABC is also trying to get people with new episodes. Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice–in its new night and time–are all new. Can you taste the transitions? New timeslots, yummy.

CBS is a haven for reruns, yet again. But if you like CSI, CSI: NY, or Eleventh Hour, by all means, watch away.

The CW, also reruns. Normal schedule, though: Smallville and Supernatural. You know, maybe I’ll catch Smallville now that Kitchen Nightmares isn’t on, and I have barely watched any episodes this season. You know, reruns let you catch up. And I’ll take anything over watching Kath and Kim. Wait, so would the rest of America. Why is that show on the air, again?

Wait–let’s backtrack. Kitchen Nightmares isn’t on? Nope, football again on FOX. It’s not Ohio State, so I won’t be watching (or angrily screaming at the television followed up with pouting, like I did on Monday. Thanks football, I hate you).

That about sums it up!