SuperWhoLock…a horrifying Tumblr memory originated in 2011. We were possibly the most annoying online community in history and this series was born and bred out of gen Z’ers trying to claim it's creation. The oldest of the Gen Z’ers was 14 when the fandom originated so no you created nothing, this online horror belongs to Millenials. Also if you had really created it you wouldn’t want to claim it, it was a terrible time of hijacking posts that had nothing to do with us and the wildest of fan fictions. Its existence was a flash in a pan and it came crashing down as quickly as it rose to dominance. With the long hiatuses between seasons of Sherlock and Doctor Who and the decline in quality of Sherlock and Supernatural, paired with the fact that the main fanbase simply grew up the SuperWhoLock fandom ran out of steam. Though jokes of a resurgence emerged with the rumors of Sherlock season 5 and David Tennent returning as the Doctor for another anniversary special. It is a fandom that never needs to see the light of day again, and for most of us it is simply an embarrassing memory. But we are going to explore why these shows had such a chokehold on the internet, why they seemed to pair together so well and why we all simply stopped caring. So we are starting with Supernatural…the basis of Superwholock, the emotional demon fighting show that ran for way too long. I love the show, I find deep emotional connection to it and it quite literally saved my life. I've been to a convention and met the cast members, I’ve spent money on merch and I had a dean's necklace that I wore until it fell apart but the show went on for far too long. I stand by seasons 1-4 without hesitation, 5-7 were still good and I really won’t take criticisms on those either, 8-10 were questionable but at that point the fandom fell victim to the sunken cost fallacy and it was too late to stop watching 11-15 simply showed our dedication to the boys as there was next to nothing redeemable in those plot lines.
But as I revisit how the SuperWhoLock fandom emerged and evolved I must also revisit the shows themselves and we are starting with season 1 of Supernatural.
First of all, one of the things that I love about the Supernatural pilot is that they set up the world so well through dialogue, it's natural and not just a big exposition dump (a common problem among specifically magic, supernatural, fantasy related shows).
As much as I love Jared Padelecki, his acting in the first season is so so terrible, it's breathy and awkward. Jensen was always perfect and he looked like such a baby.
My husband said “How do they both look like the younger brother?”
The monster of the week structure worked so incredibly well for this show and the fact that it was able to eventually move away from that and maintain its quality and its audience is really incredible and something that very few shows have been able to do. It's arguably the only show that has been able to do something like that, yes Buffy had bigger and badder plots going on but I would argue that until the end of season 7 it was still at its core a monster of the week story.
Episode 6 “Skin” is easily one of the most emotionally impactful episodes of the early seasons. It really shows Sam’s history in between hunting and when Dean found him, it exposes both Sam and Dean’s insecurities and really breaks open their relationship.
Season 1 did an excellent job of giving us history on the boys just a couple episodes after "Skin" was “Home” which gave us Mary Winchester and both of the boys feelings about her, their childhood and her death. I am not gonna lie. I cry like a little bitch baby at this episode every time I watch it. My mom died when I was little so watching Mary protect her boys from beyond the grave is always very emotional for me.
Season 1 does a very good job on focusing on the monster of the week stuff with the vague air of the boys trying to find John and Sam having very specific abilities, they crept that in very early and it was very clear that there was a bigger plan from the start.
In Scarecrow we have the first Sam and Dean crack, from Sam wanting to follow their father to California. Now them going separate ways becomes a recurring thing over the course of the series but this is also where we are introduced to Meg. I find it funny how we are introduced to the idea of demons pretty immediately but the rest of the biblical characters don’t come in until season 4.
After their first brotherly fight moment, we see them reconcile pretty hard in the very next episode, Faith. The core theme of this show is family and in all of season 1 I think having these two episodes back to back showcases that. Sam continues to try and escape his family destiny, this family business but Dean and his love for his brother keep pulling him back into the life. When John finally enters the picture in episode 20 we see him continue to be a bad father, he really only reunited with his boys so that he could find the colt so that he could kill that thing that killed Mary. Now I’m sure I’m going to have a lot to say about John Winchester being a bad father as this series continues because even after his death we are constantly reminded that he sucks. That said, the end of season 1 also brings us the boy's real father figure, Bobby. Dean even says it in the last episode “he’d be furious that I wasted a bullet, he wouldn’t be proud of me he’d tear me a new one”. That tells us enough. Also the way that John rips into Sam after his son chooses not to kill him.
So the entire show really centers around folklore, and superstitions at the beginning so that's really basic and expected. I find the thing in Supernatural that earns its name is how they did something more, in season 1 with Sam having visions and discovering that he is different. Toward the end of the season Sam gets really overwhelmed with his powers, at first it's something that’s happening to him and not because of him.
The first season did a really good job of setting up the bigger story as well as letting the audience know the rules of the world we’re watching. Demons, symbols to trap demons, salt to keep them out. They did a great job of setting up their lore.
The original appeal of this show was attractive brothers fighting things that go bump in the night and realizing that family was the most important thing, this evolves so much in the seasons to come. But in season 1 it was the idea that they could get through anything together.
Next of course is the first seasons of both Doctor Who (which we are taking from the reboot) and Sherlock. Then we can draw some conclusions about what drew us in in the first place and what drew these shows together.
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