PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune


The misadventures of Sam and Dean Winchester seem like they’ll never end. The show, which has recently been commissioned for an eleventh season next year, seems unstoppable, and it’s nice to see that a collected edition of last year’s season has finally arrived.

Season 9 of Supernatural is a return to form for the long running TV series. This makes sense when you realise that it’s a soft reboot of sorts. Season 8 ended with a potential ‘show ending finale’ - Sam was about to die and all the angels had been kicked out of Heaven. As cliff-hangers go, it was a powerful one, but also one that would be hard to top. Fortunately, the next season began quite strongly and avoids descending into farce (though if the show ever did go down the comedy route, we’d hope they’d rename it to Carry On My Wayward Son).

From the get go, we have Sam fighting Death itself and angels rampaging across the Earth. Long-time ally Castiel has lost all of his angelic powers and is mortal. Not only does this allow actor Misha Collins to get all the best lines, it also throws some of the flaws of the show into sharp contrast; Castiel’s journey of discovery highlights the essential lack of humanity that Supernatural has had since Season 6 onwards, and this arc tries to fix that. Mark Shepherd turns in a similarly masterful performance as Crowley, the King of Hell, who begins the series locked in the Winchester’s basement. If all of this sounds like a bit much, rest assured that this is just another Tuesday for Sam and Dean.

The arch plot deals with the disenfranchised angels and starts to tie up loose ends that have dogged the show since Season 6. With hell lacking its king, another demon attempts to take the role and the result is a war of attrition with humanity slap bang in the middle. Of course, the two brothers are keeping secrets from each other and there’s plenty of angst. The show’s internal mythology begins to take over at this point, and they are some lovely stabs at the uniquely American interpretation of Christianity and TV-evangelism in particular.

Highlights include Slumber Party, which introduces us to a version of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. It also features Felicia Day’s character, Charlie and the two hit it off almost straight away. It’s a fun episode with some wild ideas that really work. Sharp Teeth brings everybody’s favourite amateur monster hunter Garth back into play and introduces us to the idea of friendly werewolves. Garth and chums do a better job introducing us to the idea of supernatural communities than Bloodlines, a back door pilot that was (thankfully) never made into a series. With a dull backstory and boring characters, Bloodlines is the only real clunker in this season. A better episode is The Purge, which is not only funny, it also explores the idea of monsters living in human communities better than Bloodlines ever did.

Fans of Dean are well served throughout, though the episode First Born is a great mix of violence and horror and has some brilliant scowling from actor Jensen Ackles. The season finale is a similar treat, with a shock ending that will make you want to see Season 10 immediately.

They are a raft of extras available as well, which mostly explain how much loving detail and thoughtful backstory go into the show. The commentary is also worth a listen, though don’t expect anything world changing. Overall, a great collection of extras and episodes, and it’s easy to see why this show is so popular.

Special Features: Audio commentaries / Nine featurettes / 2013 Comic-Con panel / Deleted scenes / Gag reel



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