Let’s settle in for our rewatch of Supernatural, starting from the very beginning.
As pilots go, Supernatural is at the top of my list. It starts excellent, in media res, which is key to a story being engaging when you know nothing about the world, the characters, or the story. Almost immediately we’re introduced to the Winchesters and their tragedy.
The brothers’ personalities are set up quickly and easily. Sam is the studious, good-boy; Dean, the rebellious and confident bad boy. It’s simplistic to begin with, but it’s a good framework that the rest of the series explores (and even swaps around sometimes, too).
The entire arch of the first season is set up smoothly and clearly.
These brothers lost their mom to a terrible supernatural event, and their family became hunters. Now their dad is missing, and they’ve got to find him. And what keeps burning up the women Winchester men love?
All of that starts from the very beginning. They must have been pretty confident that the show would be picked up based on the story structure they used in the episode; many shows don’t seem to really start the season story until at least the second episode, if not later.
It was a good choice though, because it immediately plants several hooks in the viewer’s brain to keep them watching. My only complaint is perhaps that the end of the episode is kind of rushed to tie everything up in the time allowed.
The time the brothers actually spend dealing with supernatural activity in this episode is actually fairly minimal. This is a small complaint, though, and over all I enjoyed it the first time and I enjoyed it this time.
My kids liked it too, and seemed enthralled with it rather than scared of it. Rarely have I seen them watch a show so intently with little talking or interruptions, and I think the suspense written into the show is part of it. Good start to what will be an awesome season of episodic, supernatural thriller stories.
Favorite Moments of the Supernatural Pilot
I can’t leave off the iconic “Shotgun shuts his cakehole” line that now adorns many bumper stickers. And in their first encounter with law enforcement, I see the lesson I managed to learn from Sam & Dean: Look like you’re supposed to be there, and no one will question you.
And I don’t mean physically – it all comes down to confidence. Watching Supernatural is kind of a cool way to watch and maybe internalize the benefits of that kind of confidence, even if it is a fictional show.
Also you can’t beat creepy ghost kids. This is the very first example of the visual creativity the first season used to make up for their low budget without looking cheap.
This moment really sealed the deal for me on my first watch. And I wasn’t disappointed, as later episodes continued to use the cool and unique effects for ghosts and monsters.
Noteworthy Kid Comments
As I mentioned before, my kids are watching this for the first time with me. I’ve decided to record their comments and reactions here for others to enjoy.
When Mary Winchester burns up on the ceiling, my oldest son very genuinely commented, “I guess she’s a fire hazard now.”
At the beginning of the episode, my son asked “Does this show have guns in it?”
His father and I laughed and said “Wait and see, dude.”
When Dean opens the trunk of the Impala and pulls out his weapons’ stash, my son’s face looked like this:
Other Fun Stuff
Here’s some other fun stuff related to the Pilot.
Did you know that in one version of the pilot script, John Winchester slated to die in the Pilot, and not Mary? Here’s a funny video with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki responding to a fan’s question about this.
And if you like really detailed breakdowns, check out this TV Tropes article on the pilot.
What is your favorite part of the Supernatural Pilot episode? Did it hook you in immediately? Let us know in the comments.