First aired: 13th September 2005
Jensen Ackles Dean Winchester
Jared Padalecki Sam Winchester
Adrianne Palicki Jessica Moore
Sarah Shahi Constance Welch
Jeffrey Dean Morgan John Winchester
Plot: Lawrence Kansas, 22 years ago. A young mother puts her two sons to bed with the help of their devoted father. Waking up in the middle of the night, the mother soon realises that the man looking over the crib with the baby Sam is, is not her husband and runs back into his room. A brief time later, the father John goes to to check too, only to find the baby is fine, but his wife is pinned to the ceiling and slowly dripping blood downward from a huge pool of it coming from her, but pooling on the ceiling, which then bursts into flame. John gets Sam out of the room and gets his other son Dean to carry him out, all three get out before the house erupts into flame.
22 Years later, Sam is a graduate of Stanford and is looking at a full ride to law school, this being celebrated with him by his devoted girlfriend Jessica. One night, Sam is visited by Dean, because their dad has gone missing on a hunting trip. It turns out that the whole family hunts, well hunts monsters spirits and creatures, searching for the thing that killed their mother. Sam got out, wanting nothing to do with the life that John and Dean live. Still having a couple of days before an vital law school interview, Sam has the time to go and check out their dad’s last known location to help find him. Road Trip!!
The last thing their dad was hunting was something killing people in Jericho California. Cut to Jericho, where a young man picks up a hitchhiker, who heavily implies that he’ll be ‘rewarded’ for getting her home. Despite having just spoken to his girlfriend on the phone, the man agrees. It doesn’t go well, he is torn to pieces on a bridge, no body, or evidence of the horrific struggle are left behind.
Arriving in Jericho with a mix of false ID, charm and experience the boys start investigating this death and several others. Their less than orthodox investigation leads them to the death of Constance Welch, that investigation gets them chased off the same bridge by Deans car. Surviving that, the pair get a room at the same hotel their dad used and are looking at his notes on the case, identifying the type of spirit as a weeping woman. A ‘Weeping Woman’ or ‘Woman in White’ is the dispossessed spirit of a mother who has killed her children over the infidelity of her husband and kills herself over what she has done and then seeks vengeance on unfaithful men. Sam also picks up the hitchhiker after Dean is arrested, but Dean is able to escape as mid drive Sam calls in a ‘shots fired’ call to the police and Dean is able to escape, taking with him a gun and their dad’s journal, an object their dad never leaves behind. Sam picks up Constance and is attacked anyway, but drives her into her house, where confronted by what she has done and the vengeful spirits of her children, she is vanquished, to do no more harm.
Sam and Dean learn where their dad went next, but Dean reluctanctly drops Sam off, 10 hours before his interview. Sam gets into bed, but see’s Jessica on the ceiling, bleeding, then burning, just like his mother. No longer able to hide in the safer life he had built for himself, Sam goes back to hunting, telling his brother “We have work to do.”
Notes: There is a soundtrack on most TV shows, songs at the start and end, most of which are either something you can ignore, or a bit annoying. This is something else, the soundtrack is a love letter to classic rock and that sets a lot of the tone for this series and the series benefits tremendously.
Much of the heavy lifting has to be done by the leads, so they’re where the series rises and falls. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are not the best actors alone, but as a pair they are fantastic. They are both a little dickish and most of that is aimed at one another. They bicker and complain and play off eachother so very well. Padalecki does his best to play everyman, while Ackles just pours rogueish charm all over the place, getting most of the most lines and most of the fun things to do. If they didn’t work, this show doesn’t, but trust me it works.
Outside of it we get the supporting cast with Adrianne Palicki playing damsel in distress/idealised girlfriend and Jeffrey Dean Morgan looking too young at one point. They are okay, but pale next to main cast.
The tone is fun, but the stories are urban myth horror stories, gloomily lit and full of atmosphere, making the lighter stuff all that more necessary as the horror is hiding in the everyday. This isn’t a show about people investigating the bizarre and supernatural, this is about hunters. This is not about how people cope with these sorts of thing, it’s about searching for something, or someone.
If that was all I got out of this show, that would be okay, for this was a fantastic start to a series. It did have another dimension to it that I only saw through the eyes of the MIGHTY Rosie. Sam and Dean grew up together, but had very different childhoods. Dean had an awesome childhood, learning all kinds of cool stuff, being treated as a man far younger than his peers, who as he saw it didn’t have it so good. Sam had a childhood where when he was scared of something in his closet, his dad gave him a gun, rather than a reassuring word about there not being anything there. Sam wanted a safer and more normal life, he envied the kids that didn’t hunt for monsters with their dad and wanted to be a kid and that expanded the show for me, adding depth to the performances of the brothers who love one another, but don’t get one another.
Does it work? Yes it does, a road trip hunt for monsters and their dad, it’s a solid premise.
Does much need fixing? Some supporting or recurring characters would be nice.
Does it stand up? Quite well as you get everything you need from the one episode.
Did I want to watch the next one? Yes, I did.
Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.
Overall: 5 out of 5: I had forgotten how well this series started and am glad I had this selected.