Really, though, the only show that I'm seriously white-knuckling my remote about is Supernatural. I am so, so excited for this season, I can't even really put it into words. I've gone through a lot of ups and downs in my relationship with the SPN, but I've reached a place where I'm determined to enjoy what it dishes out. IT'S A GOOD FEELING.
I rewatched S2 last week, coincidentally right around the five year anniversary of the pilot, which really cemented my new outlook. It had been a long time since I sat down and marathoned one of the older seasons, and I was amazed at how many ~feelings came back to me.
I've been in a lot of fandoms over the last ten years, but the sheer intensity with which I have loved the SPN universe is unlike anything I've felt before or since. I don't know if it's the characters, or the depth of their relationships, or the fact that it's basically the only show on television that is all about family ties, but its emotional resonance is incredibly hard to shake. Unlike other fannish interests that might fade or drift away, be spoiled by the fandom or part ways with you amicably, Supernatural just will not quit. Even when I lapse in keeping up with the episodes, I'm still thinking about it and still caring. It's impossible for me to pave over the place it holds in my heart, no matter what twists and turns the story takes.
It's strange to stand back and realize how many years this show has been on and how much canon has been established. How many things these characters have seen and done, and how far they've come from, "Dad's missing. I need you to help me find him." There have definitely been moments in the last three seasons when I've felt completely gobsmacked and let down by the story, but when it comes down to it, the glory of what it once was overshadows the missteps.
I still vividly remember watching "All Hell Breaks Loose II" when it aired. I started following the show right at the beginning of that season, so for me that episode was the culmination of everything I had just fallen in love with. I distinctly remember sitting there afterwards and marveling at what I was feeling -- that I was happy and excited and optimistic about a story when one main character was undead, the other had a doomsday countdown on his life, and the armies of Hell had just been unleashed. The show had convinced me, completely and utterly, that the power of family -- especially that family -- was strong enough to overcome anything.
Rewatching that episode now is a little surreal, because it has the exact same effect on me. Even knowing what happens in S3 can't change how EPIC the ending of S2 is. I don't find myself feeling bitter about the way the story eventually played out, or how the tone of the show changed; that finale is so perfect that I still get chills when Bobby sees Sam alive again, when John appears in the graveyard, and when Dean closes that trunk to go save the world from the army of demons. I don't think it's possible for the show to have the kind of airtight storyline it had back then, or to begin and end a season with the kind of breathless momentum that book-ended season two. But at the same time, revisiting that chapter makes it clear how much it's still the same story. The grim, stoic, grief-stricken Dean who monologues at Sam's body in AHBL2 is the same grim, stoic, grief-stricken Dean who Bobby had to bitch-slap into saving Sam at the end of S4 -- it's just that the circumstances under which he lost Sam and became that person were different. The fact that Sam is what keeps Dean sane, whole and human (which Dean himself acknowledges in S5) remains the same.
There's something fundamental about SPN that I can't distance myself from, and it goes deeper than the beautiful cast or the touching relationships they portray. I really, really love the world itself. I love the dusty, gritty version of America that Sam and Dean drive around in -- that I drive around in and grew up in and have so rarely seen portrayed in pop culture. I love that all of the characters -- the Winchesters, Bobby, Jo, Ellen, Ash, even randoms like Andy and Chuck and Ronald "Mandroid" Reznick -- are people that I've met before, seen before, and can easily believe are out there in some small town up the road.
And really, it's that universe as a whole that keeps me coming back for more. If I hadn't watched S5 I never would have experienced "Dark Side of the Moon", which provided me with one of the greatest moments of fan payoff in my life. The Roadhouse was part of what I fell in love with, and losing that whole subplot broke my heart. Having Ellen and Jo return to the storyline only to die was one of the hardest moments for me as a viewer; I took their deaths as hard as I took Sam's and Dean's in previous seasons. But the show came full-circle with that story, and now I know there's a Roadhouse in Heaven for Ash, and for Ellen and Jo when he finds them up there. The show didn't leave them hanging, or make their involvement and sacrifice happen for nothing.
That's the kind of world-building that makes me love it so much. Even though it's evolved into a much bigger story about theology and destiny, it hasn't abandoned the simplicity of what it used to be. The rough and tumble roadside bar that epitomized Sam and Dean's eternal roadtrip has just been relocated to one of the show's new frontiers, folded back into the storyline as it grows.
So even though it's changed a lot over the years, I'm excited to have a new season and I'm grateful that it's not over yet. Give me your family-man Dean, your Evil Sam, your sappy masses of Sera Gamble sex scenes yearning to breathe free. It's my show; I will never say die. S6 OR BUST.