Supernatural: The Complete First Season (2005) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Thriller|
|Warner Brothers || NR - 936 minutes - $49.99 || June 15, 2010|
|Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-06-22|
Writer(s): Eric Kripke (created by)
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Comment on this and other movies on the message board!
WB. Anyone actually remember that network? Before it and UPN merged into the CW Network, we had a vast array of Sci-fiish genre shows: "Smallville", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel", "Birds of Prey" and "Enterprise". For some reason, most people forget about "Supernatural". It was one of only a few shows picked up in the merger (nearly everything else was UPN - which makes sense since Dawn Ostroff, President of UPN, was becoming President of the CW). Heck, I knew about the show but never bothered to tune in simply because it just looked like a really goofy show. It wasn't until season 4 hit Blu-ray that I decided to give the show a shot and watched all the previous seasons back-to-back in the matter of a month or so and got all caught up. Damn... what a terrific show. CW made a good choice to rescue this show for its second season.
Plot: Sam Winchester (Padalecki) grew up hunting terrifying things. But that's all in the past. Law school beckons him, so he does the smart thing and chooses a path that does not involve Werewolves, Vampires and Ghosts. That is until Sam's older brother Dean (Ackles) appears with troubling news: their father has disappeared, a man who hunted evil for 22 years. To find their father, the two brothers must hunt what their father hunts... and Sam must return to the life he thought he'd left years ago.
So let's discuss the first Season. Right off the bat I will warn you that aside from the first episode, the first handful or so episodes are pretty damn bad. In the first episode we learn that Sam seems very happy at College with his girlfriend, but something goes terribly wrong when his brother Dean shows up. He is alerted that his Father has gone missing and Dean needs his help to track him down. Well, within a short time, the evil that Sam thought he had left behind kills his girlfriend and Sam reluctantly sets sail with Dean to find his Father and get some answers. What starts out as a temporary thing quickly leads into a new life for Sam.
There are a few things that bother me about this season (and series in general). The worst being the first handful of episodes. Why? Network pressure. All new shows have them. Each episode needs to be self-contained because you just can't have such large story arcs early on because as weeks go by, viewers will tune out and any new viewers who tune in will simply be lost on what is going on if the arc is far too complicated. Sure, we may get reminders every 20 minutes that they are out looking for Papa Winchester (One of the best last names ever - and you'll quickly understand why they are called that), but nothing mind-blowing really happens.
We get sloppy ones like Episode #3 (with guest star Amy Acker) about some demon that takes people into the water. Or Episode #5 about 'Bloody Mary'. But we soon see why the show required a second Season with Episode #9, 'Home'. We learn what went on (at least what the writers wanted to tell us...more information happens and the show goes on) in the Winchester house. That is soon followed by Episode #11, 'Scarecrow', which is one of the best of the season. And from there, it's all good.
I should clarify that - the whole damn show becomes good. The chemistry between the two leads (and they are the only stars of the show until Season 5 - yeah, the whole show is saddled on two people, how often can you say that about any other network show?) is great. You really start to think they are brothers in real life as they play off each other (Dean being the older, tougher brother with a comedic side and Sam the younger brother who looks up to Dean, but does not want to be him). This is a show where you have to suspend belief - much like "Buffy". There are far too many weird things for people not to notice, but I guess everyone just blinks an eye when strange things happen to them.
Locations. Oh boy... each episode is a road trip. Were not stuck in the same town every week, we get to travel with the Winchester's all across America in their awesome Impala and get to meet new and exciting people each week. Aside from Bobby in the last episode of the Season, the only familiar people are the two Winchester brothers and the demon Meg.
To just flat out say it - this is the start of an awesome adventure. We are soon entering the sixth season of the show and it continues to improve in ratings and become a staple of the CW Network.
This release includes not only an attractive 'shiny' slip cover, but an episode guide as well.
Commentary on the following Episodes:
"Pilot" by Eric Kripke, David Nutter, and Peter Johnson
"Phantom Traveler" by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles
Tales from the Edge of Darkness (22 Minutes) - Interviews with the entire cast (yeah, all two of them), Producers, Eric Kripke, McG, Crew etc. A big focus is on the two boys and their adventures with some tidbits about shoots and locations sprinkled in.
Day in the Life of Jared and Jensen (10 Minutes) - This is a short look at what an average day is for the boys as they shoot scenes. Not all that interesting...
Deleted Scenes - Some snipped scenes/dialog from about a third of the season.
and a Gag Reel (7 Minutes).
The only thing missing from the DVD set is the DVD-ROM features which were simply links to information on season two (and who cares about that now?)
** Blu-ray Exclusives **
Paley Festival Panel Discussion (73 Minutes) - This was filmed back in March of 2006 when UPN and WB knew they were going to merge, yet had still not picked up any of the 'bubble shows' for another Season. The announcer is as dry as Mom's Turkey Dinner and the non-stop screaming by girls gets really annoying, but overall this is a pretty informative look at the first 15 or so episodes.
The Devil's Road Map - Aside from it taking way too long to load (damn Java!), this is actually really cool. Created exclusively for this Blu-ray release, you get to click on various places the Winchesters visited and find new(!) behind the scenes clips, interviews, journal entries, pictures and other nifty things. This is fantastic! There is at least a few hours’ worth of material here. There is even a fun little Easter Egg to find (short 3 minute clip where they name drop my small little town).
...and a BD-Live portal.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“Supernatural” The Complete First Season is presented in 1.78:1 (VC1) on 4 BD50 Discs. Since this is one of Warner’s first catalog TV on Blu-ray releases, I set my expectations to it simply be average. I was wrong. This season looks pretty darn good on Blu-ray. I did a quick comparison between it and the DVD and found the Blu-ray to have an improved image, better color, and got rid of some of the dirt and crap the very low budget first season had. While it's not as nice as season three or four (read.php?id=supernatural-season4-bd) on Blu-ray, you're getting to watch the way it was meant to be seen; especially since I don't recall UPN ever being available in HD and the show was just recently sold into syndication.
Warner has included an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well as an English, French and Spanish 2.0 tracks. Ok, fine, whine about it not having a lossless track. Go ahead. You know why I don't give a damn? Because season one on DVD was 2.0 only. Having it in 5.1 is a real treat and anyone who owns the show on DVD really has to upgrade. As one might expect from a low budget first season, 5.1 simply offers up some rear noise and better sounding dialog.
A word to the wise: this is Warner’s first attempt at TV Catalog on Blu-ray. Sales of this Season may or may not green light season two of the series out on Blu-ray as well as other shows held in limbo (i.e. "Smallville"). So if you are a fan of TV on Blu-ray in general go buy this season!