Laying a Foundation: A(nother) Study of TV’s Supernatural

Posted on Updated on


Those of you who’ve read my blog probably know what a big Supernatural fan I am. Demons, monsters, and two hot sibling demon-hunters? What could be better than that? Especially considering how amazingly fresh the writers have kept the show’s content over the years.

I remember seeing an interview some time ago featuring Jensen Ackles, the actor who plays yummy older brother, Dean Winchester. He talked about how he was a big fan of westerns and would love to do a Wild West episode on the show one day. So when I saw the commercial for this past week’s episode, I had to laugh. It was….drum roll…an Old West episode! How will the writers pull this one off, I thought?

Amazingly enough, they did. And here’s how they did it: by building a foundation throughout the show. Past episodes have gone over things like demons and how they could be killed (a gun invented by Samuel Colt in the 1800s), as well as the ability to time travel (angels can send humans back in time for limited periods to accomplish specific missions). So when the writers put these things together into a storyline where the brothers have to go back to the Wild West to find Samuel Colt and the ashes of a phoenix, I totally bought it. That’s because a foundation had already been laid for time travel and for why they would have to go back into the past.

Us novel writers can take a few lessons from the screenwriters for Supernatural. They know that when you build a proper foundation, your fans will follow you wherever you choose to take your storyline, as long as it fits within the parameters of the world you’ve built. But there has to be some basis for that action. If the Winchester brothers had never traveled back in time before, I probably would have scoffed at this episode. It wouldn’t have been believable. But because they’ve done it before, it doesn’t come out of the blue. I can suspend my disbelief and just go along for the ride.

So the morale of this story is: You can do anything, as long as you lay a proper foundation for it in your story.

Did anyone else see last week’s episode. Did you find it as fun as I did? 🙂


12 thoughts on “Laying a Foundation: A(nother) Study of TV’s Supernatural

    Brinda said:
    April 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I don’t watch this show but I can appreciate the writing you note in your post. I hate it when a show I love picks up a totally unbelievable storyline. The writers of this show obviously have done a great job in building world rules that will support creative diversions from the expected plots.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

      I can say that it’s definitely kept me entertained throughout these past six years, Brinda, and that’s a long time to keep a show fresh.

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    April 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I have got to watch this show! It’s one of those shows you either love or hate, but so far everyone I knows loves it.
    It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much you can learn from television. Writers must keep the story moving forward, they must establish a foundation, and they have to do it in less than an hour (usually). They must cut out all the fat – if they don’t, the show won’t work.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      We really can learn a lot from screenwriters because they have to hook you fast. Since novel readers are now used to that, it’s doubly important for authors to do it in books too.

    Sharon Hamilton said:
    April 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I have watched two seasons of this one on DVD and loved it. But I got hooked (late) on True Blood, and both US and English versions of Being Human, plus Fringe, Castle, and for a time, Caprica.

    You just reminded me I’ll have to get back to it, and search for it.

    I’m probably dating myself, but their adventures sort of remind me of the George Maharis (well, he was the cute one so the only one I remembered) series: Route 66. They were in a different place each week, each of them close to love interests, sometimes the same girls, etc. Loved that show when I was in my teens.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      All good shows, Sharon! I just love shows with supernatural elements.

    Roni Lynne said:
    April 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Dean was hilarious in last week’s episode! The whole “posse” conversation was priceless. I read in TV Guide where there’s an upcoming episode centered around Castiel—can’t wait for it! I’ve been needing a Cas fix for awhile!
    All this aside, I agree: the way the writers have plotted out this show allowed me to suspend my disbelief until the very end—even the “dead letter office” package from Samuel Colt, although I did have mixed feelings about that “save”.

    ~Roni Lynne
    YA Adventures in the Paranormal…and Beyond!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      It all works for me, Roni, because I expect the unexpected there. And the fact that the ‘boys’ are so cute doesn’t hurt either!!

    Anita Clenney said:
    April 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Okay, you’ve got me really intrigued with the Supernatural series. I write about warriors and demons so I’m definitely going to have to start watching. Writers can learn an amazing amount from tv and movies.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Oh it’s awesome, Anita. Whenever I’m feeling my muse flag a little, I make sure to watch a show like this. So much fuel for the imagination! 🙂

    Traci Bell said:
    April 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Rosalie,

    As an AVID Supernatural fan it’s nice to find someone else who is! My family doesn’t quite get it. I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, and thought Bobby’s ‘soulonoscopy’ crack was hilarious.

    You hit the nail on the head. There’s enough backstory in the series that the ties to Samuel Colt and time travel made it plausible. It made it more humorous for me knowing that Kripke is an avid Western fan (thus his death in the fourth wall episode where he gets gunned down).

    Okay. I’ll stop now 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      Yeah, I never get it when people don’t get the show. I’m always like, “Don’t you see how hilarious it is? Seriously!” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s