Wednesday, October 12, 2005

TV Review: Supernatural, Episode #5: "Bloody Mary"

Jeez, at 9:21 last night, I thought I was going to be writing a really positive review of Supernatural, a series that thus far I really haven't enjoyed much. The fifth episode of this WB series starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki is called "Bloody Mary" and it begins strong, with a group of tweens (a group formerly known as teeny-boppers) invoking a vengeful spirit by facing a mirror and saying her names three-times over. You can guess what happens, and well, it's pretty terrifying.

the first twelve minutes of "Bloody Mary" moved well. The musical score was better than previous weeks, more subtle and creepy than before. And the two central performers had a grim seriousness about them that was missing from many previous installments. Even better, the episode made some bow to reality when the boys failed to convince a coroner worker that they were students and had to bibe him to learn more information. I was getting real tired of the Winchesters pretending to be Federal agents.

So when the second death came, I was really hooked, and thought - thank God - I can write positive things about Supernatural on my blog! Because I really hate being negative, and I'd much rather write about a great show than a bad one, or one that fails.

But then, by about 9:21, the episode, "Bloody Mary" started getting really bad, as though the production company was just constitutionally incapable of maintaining a degree of quality. A pat, manufactured "guilt" crisis for Sam made for some truly wretched "acting" moments and some treacly relationship stuff between the brothers. And I thought Dean had promised in "Lady in White" that there would be no chick flick moments! But the kicker, ultimately, was the derivative finale, wherein Bloody Mary - imititating Samara from The Ring in movement, appearance and murderous intention, crawled out of a mirror and into our reality.

Man, I still can't believe I saw that. It's one thing to evoke movies with similar plot lines (like NBC's Surface tries to channel Steven Spielberg every week...), but it's another to rip-off an entire, specific and noteworthy sequence. I mean, I think that moment in The Ring wherein Samara pushes out of the TV set, herky-jerky, creepy-style, is pretty much an iconic moment in modern horror. Whether that moment works or not for you (it does for me; big time) is ultimately immaterial. That's a signature sequence, and whether we want to or not, we all recognize it. To steal it like that - down to staging and even hair design - is lame beyond belief, and a really terrible idea.

Well, I said I was giving Supernatural a five week trial. Five weeks are up. I've watched and reviewed five episodes, from the pilot to "Wendigo" to "Dead in the Water" to "Phantom Traveler" to "Bloody Mary," and - sadly, especially for a series set on the road - this show just ain't going anywhere interesting.

I have the feeling it's one of the shows that will still be on in five years; like Charmed. One that manages to keep getting renewed, but which nobody I know actually watches, let alone likes.

Which is sad. Because we so much need a new X-Files for this decade. If this is it, we're in worse shape than I thought. I'm now going to be banking all my X-files hopes on the new Night Stalker. It has failings, no doubt, but at least it has growns-up appearing in it, and isn't quite as predictable (and therefore, I guess, mass-marketable...) as Supernatural.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:23 AM

    It's kind of unfortunate that you bailed out of Supernatural as soon as you did. If nothing else, you should scope out "The Benders" for something a little different. And "Dead Man's Blood" has one of the more interesting vampire examples within. Believe me, things start to change when the second season comes.


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