STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $38.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 651 minutes

From Legends to Reality: Supernatural Effects featurette
The Impala
Ghostfacers! Confessionals
A Closer Look mini-featurettes on selected episodes with crew members
Diital copies of all episodes for computer
Gag Reel

Supernatural: Season 1 review
Supernatural: Season 2 review

The Pitch

Two guys killing monsters, a ’67 Impala, hot demon / vampire / werewolf babes of the week…what’s not to love?

The Humans

Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Lauren Cohan, Katie Cassidy, Jim Beaver.

The Nutshell

The continuing adventures of two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester (Ackles, Padalecki), who ride around America in a ’67 Impala and battle all of the forces of evil while frequently listening to classic heavy metal.  In Season 3, Dean has literally made a deal with the devil to save Sam’s life that will come due at the end of the year.  Sam is determined to find a loophole to get Dean out of his predicament, while Dean is determined to go out in a blaze of glory and take as many monsters with him as he can.  Along the way, they encounter a couple of literal femme fatales – both of whom have secrets – who occasionally join them on their missions to eradicate demons, ghosts, vampires, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Amway Salesmen, etc.

“Okay, Sam.  We go into that den of evil and we keep firing until there’s no one left standing but us.  Are we clear?”
“Yep.  That Michael Bolton concert won’t know what hit ‘em…”

The Lowdown

Back when Angel was canceled, I was beyond pissed, not only because I absolutely loved the show, but also because I didn’t think that another show anywhere remotely like it was going to come along to give me my weekly occult fix.  I’m glad I was dead wrong as Supernatural has emerged to fill the void quite nicely, telling great stories with clever writing and a very original mythology with a nice bit of Americana added to the mix. Supernatural is must see TV for me, which is getting rarer and rarer these days.  It started off strong, didn’t fall into the sophomore slump and in its (criminally strike-shortened) junior year, has continued to kick all kinds of genre ass.

“As it turns out, Supernatural was on the verge of cancellation half way through the second year.  Strangely enough, the TV exec making the decision has turned up…well…missing… 

In earlier reviews, I compared Supernatural to X-Files and Angel, with the more apt comparison going toward X-Files somewhat due to the early premise of the show of the two brothers looking for their missing father, ala Mulder’s search for his sister.  Now, however, I’d say the show has drifted more to the Angel side of the bay in that they’re now full-bore with the mystical adventures the Winchester boys continually find themselves embroiled within.  Supernatural continues to be a solid show week in and week out, with compelling season-long arcs that mine old territory in new ways and provide for an entertaining watch.

Excuse me, I…uh… have to go make a deal…

The heart of the show is of course the bond between Sam and Dean, and Padalecki and Ackles are now fully in their stride, comfortable in their roles and their interactions.  They explore the full gamut of brotherly love including the heartaches and the kidding around.  That bond has grown ever stronger this season as Dean has made the ultimate sacrifice for Sam: making a deal for his soul in order to bring Sam back to life after having been killed in the finale of Season 2. 

Vampire: “Before you dispatch me here, I just have to know if this is personal.”
Sam: “You’re a bloodthirsty creature of the night.  I’d do this to any of your kind.”
Vampire: “OK, that’s comforting…I thought it might be racially motivated or something…”

The driving narrative of Season 3 is the brothers’ attempt to find a way out of the deal for Dean before he’s sent on a one-way ticket to the Pit.  Dean runs the entire spectrum of emotions on this: from fear, to ambivalence to desperation and hope.  Ackles really gets to shine this season, as his ass is on the line and the clock is ticking.  Not being outdone, however, Sam is even more desperate, as he doesn’t want his brother to make this sacrifice for him, even though the deal is ironclad.  Sam is also undergoing a noticeable change since his trials of Season 2, where Azazel (Yellow Eyes) was grooming him to lead his demon army.  No longer the heart-on-his sleeve, less aggresive brother, Sam is becoming a full-on badass like big-bro Dean, and he takes steps in his hunting that would have been unthinkable for him in the early going.

“Alright, Bela, before anything sexual happens between us, I just gotta know that you’re not some life-sucking succubus, demon or vampire or something.”
“No, I’m just your average, homicidal bitch who’ll backstab you when you least expect it.”
“Good, ’cause I need a normal relationship in my life right now…”

Another major plot of season 3 is that, in saving Sam from Azazel and having unerringly released a demon army upon the world, the Winchesters now have to face the fact that the true war with the minions of hell has begun in earnest, and they’re on the front lines.  There are hundreds of new demons in the world, ready to spread all kinds of mayhem, terror and destruction, and they come back to haunt the brothers seemingly at every turn.  The first major encounter is in the first episode, “The Magnificent Seven,” where the original seven deadly sins, in the form of seven demons, are on the hunt for the Winchesters, looking to pay them back for releasing them from Hell by sending them there for a permanent vacation.

The results of watching the entire Republican National Convention in a marathon sitting now confirmed…

“Sin City” has demons turning a small Ohio town into a den of inequity of booze, prostitution, gambling and death.  The biggest demon confrontation comes in the episode, “Jus In Bello,” where Sam and Dean are finally captured by Henricksen (Charles Malik Whitfield), the FBI agent who had been tracking them for months.  When a gang of demons lay siege to the sheriff’s station where the boys are holed up, Sam and Dean, along with a now-true-believer Henricksen and some locals have to fight them all off.  The resolution to that episode introduces the new big bad in the form of an extremely powerful demon named Lilith, who likes to inhabit little girls.  The season finale, “No Rest for the Wicked” wraps up Dean’s “deal with the devil” story in a way you might not have anticipated. 

A new element – or two rather – that was added in Season 3 were the introductions of Bela Talbot (the luscious Lauren Cohan), a crooked black market dealer of occult items, and Ruby (Katie Cassidy), a blond with a penchant for killing demons with a special Bowie knife that’s similar in power to the Winchesters’ Colt revolver.  Both Bela and Ruby appear in various episodes throughout the season to help and likewise hinder Sam and Dean’s hunting.  Also, both Bela and Ruby have their own secrets that means there’s much more to both of them than meets the eye.  Although, in Bela’s case, the revelation of her secret doesn’t seem to jibe 100% with how her character was portrayed throughout the season.  I almost wonder if that secret was added on later in the season when the show runners realized they were going to have a shortened run of 16 episodes rather than 22.

Have I mentioned my thing for hot demon chicks?

While Supernatural makes with the heavy mythology episodes, it’s also equally adept in portraying the Winchesters’ lighter adventures.  “Bad Day at Black Rock” is a humorous episode where Dean and Sam come across a cursed rabbit’s foot that provides for the ultimate lucky streak…until you inevitably lose it…and then it’s your ass, or your spleen or skull or whatever.  I’d say it’s a toss up between “Mystery Spot” and “Ghostfacers” for funniest episode of the season.  The former refers to a Groundhog Day episode where Sam has to continually relive the same day over and over again, each of which finds Dean dying in every imaginable way possible.  “These tacos taste funny to you?” was never funnier than in this episode.  And the latter of the two has Sam and Dean locked in the most haunted house in the country with a couple of old acquaintances who are doing a Ghost Hunters-style reality show.  It’s hysterical.

Nice to see Dakota Fanning still getting work…

One last but critical area Supernatural deserves props on is that this show consistently imports some of the hottest-looking young actresses as their guest stars.  Some of these demon chicks could possess me anytime, dude.  For instance, in “The Kids Are Alright,” Dean’s old flame and potential babymama is portrayed by Cindy Sampson.  In “Sin City”, the main demon is Sasha Barrese.  “Fresh Blood” brings back everybody’s favorite ditzy blonde vamp from Buffy and Angel, Mercedes McNab.  “Bedtime Stories” has Sandra McCoy as the Crossroads Demon.”  And in “Malleus Maleficarum,” Marisa Ramirez plays another badass demon.  If Eric Kripke and company aren’t running the illest casting couch in Hollywood right now, I don’t know who is.

One thing that the show continues to lack however, is the presence of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who at this point in his career, seems to be making a steady paycheck getting killed.  He was great on the show and I wish that he hadn’t been done away with.  Although he does make a cameo appearance of sorts in “Long Distance Call,” the show would still be even better with him back on the payroll.  Also, I wish that a certain government employee hadn’t been dispatched.  But the old saying of omelets and broken eggs comes to mind I suppose.  Supernatural is running on all cylinders right now like a certain black Chevy and is a great watch.  If you don’t know then now you know.

Dean: “…take one down pass it around, no bottles of beer on the wall…”
Sam: “Dean, you think we could try something different now like 99 Bottles of Pinot Noir on the wall or something?”
Dean: “Don’t make me kill you, Sam…”

The Package

The show looks as good as ever in widescreen, with a lot of creepy darkness setting the mood and good special effects.  The episodes are offered in English DDolby 5.1 Surround and Portuguese Dolby Surround, with English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese and Thai subtitles.  There are a couple of featurettes. From Legends to Reality: Supernatural Effects is a 23-minute behind-the-scenes on the shows visual effects.  The Impala is five minutes of everything you ever wanted to know about the Winchestermobile.  There’s also an eight-minute gag reel.  And Ghostfacers! Confessionals is 16 minutes of the humorous filler material that was used for the “Ghostfacers!” episode featuring the characters of the Ghostfacers! TV show shot for their pilot.  There are short mini-featurettes on various episodes called A Closer Look. These include “The Magnificent Seven” with director Kim Manners, “Bad Day at Black Rock” with writer / producer Ben Edlund, “The Kids Are Alright” with producer Eric Kripke, “Jus in Bello” with writer Sera Gamble, “Red Sky at Morning” with VFX supervisor Ivan hayden, and “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” with Kripke.  Finally, in a special feature that seems to be becoming the norm, there are digital copies of the entire season available for download.

8.1 out of 10