In the producers' Hollywood-ese shorthand, Route 66 meets The X-Files and Star Wars at a truck stop. Two estranged brothers head out in their '67 Chevy Impala to search for their father, who trained them to hunt for supernatural phenomena — and the answer
In the producers' Hollywood-ese shorthand, Route 66 meets The X-Files and Star Wars at a truck stop. Two estranged brothers head out in their '67 Chevy Impala to search for their father, who trained them to hunt for supernatural phenomena — and the answer to their mother's haunting demise years earlier.
With Supernatural, WB is pinning its hope on scare tactics.
Horror has been hot on the big screen, with films such as The Ring, The Village and The Grudge all scoring more than $100 million at the box office. WB entertainment president David Janollari says that audience — more female than male — could flock to a horror series, giving it breakout potential.
The films "are scoring huge with the young moviegoing audience, particularly the young female audience. That's our audience," he says.
The series' otherworldliness is a reminder of earlier WB shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. And the twentysomething protagonists should be a familiar fit for longtime network fans: WB veterans Jared Padalecki of Gilmore Girls and Jensen Ackles of Smallville (and earlier, Dawson's Creek) play Sam and Dean Winchester.
Janollari sees the show as "a thrill ride — just scary and suspenseful and creepy and cool."
Its significance to WB is evident in a big promotional campaign that includes signs at gas stations, trick mirrors — which turn into ads for the show — in bars and clubs, and multimedia magazine inserts.
Supernatural comes in a season when eerie happenings are multiplying on the fall schedule. Other new fall shows, including ABC's Invasion and Night Stalker, CBS' Threshold and NBC's Surface, also traffic in mystery and monsters. But Supernatural executive producer Eric Kripke says most of those are science fiction, not horror.
Kripke (Boogeyman), joined as a producer by McG (Charlie's Angels) and Robert Singer (Midnight Caller), acknowledges the success of ABC's Lost in making it easier for these kinds of shows to get on the air. They reflect an uncertain post-9/11 spirit in which an enemy "is not only out to get us. He could be living among us."
Although Supernatural may fit with the times, Kripke, 31, has been nurturing this idea for almost a decade. He considers himself a disciple of the late Joseph Campbell and his examinations of mythology. The names of the two lead characters are an homage to the wandering Sal and Dean of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. And Kripke also cites contemporary signposts, including Star Wars and The Matrix, when discussing the heroes' journey.
Structurally, Supernatural will be made up primarily of self-contained episodes: "They'll be driving into town to kill that evil and then they'll drive back into the sunset," Kripke says. A longer thread including their search for their father will be established over time.
Supernatural's apparitions will reflect a commitment to folklore. In their travels, Sam and Dean will confront a Windigo, a man-eating creature from Native American lore; the hook man, the scary subject of many a campfire tale; Bloody Mary, a demonic wraith in the mirror; and a succubus, another kind of female demon.
Although Kripke's research indicates a thoughtful approach, he has a visceral goal. "We want to scare the hell out of you."
Source: USA Today