This morning I was talking with a friend when the subject of Supernatural came up. She’s not a big fan, just a casual viewer who can’t stop watching the show because she “loves the characters too much”. However, she thinks that the show should end already once and for all. “The plots aren’t interesting anymore”, she said. She even admitted not to like the Men of Letters (!!). This made me think of a discussion that came up in the fandom a couple months back when Supernatural was confirmed for another season: should Season 10 be the last season of Supernatural?
SUPERNATURAL THROUGH THE YEARS
Eric Kripke, the creator of the show, had originally planned the show to only have 5 seasons. In fact, 5×22 was so perfect and had such a sense of closure that it looked more like a series finale than a just a regular season finale. Many casual viewers have told me they either stopped watching or that they thought the show should have ended there. And I partially agree with them.
Sera Gamble took over the reins after Kripke’s departure and gave us Season 6 and Season 7, which are known as the worst Supernatural seasons (seems like S9 is getting close to those according to some people in the fandom). Season 6 gave us a bad image from the Campbells and the finale was kind of weak. The leviathans didn’t really scare anyone and Castie’l's inconsistency upset many fans. A lot of people stopped watching the show during those seasons.
Finally, Jeremy Carver came along with a 3-year plan. He gave us Season 8, which can be considered as one of the best seasons we’ve had. Season 8 gave fans and casual viewers the hope and excitement they had lost for this show.
Season 8 set a new theme with new stories and mythological elements. We had the angel tablet and the demon tablet and we discovered that both Heaven and Hell can be closed. We had the trials, we had the Men of Letters, the bunker, Abaddon, the Trans…
Season 9 is just the second act. The second act in a 3 year structure is the act in which everything goes to hell. Dean lied to Sam by letting Gadreel possess him, Kevin ended up dead, and the boys feel more alone than ever while being separated from everyone they love (Cas, Charlie, Garth, Kevin…). This is probably also the reason why people aren’t liking this season as much: everything’s as bad as it can get.
And that is why Season 10 should be the season in which things finally get resolved and end. For good this time.
WHAT DOES THE NETWORK THINK?
The CW is happy enough with Supernatural‘s ratings and apparently they will let them go on as long as they wish. Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW, stated in February that “as a fan of the show, who’s seen every episode, as long as I’m here and those ratings still hold, God bless them, they can go as long as they want”.
Also, Jeremy Carver stated (half-jokingly) last year in Comic-Con that the series could even go on to Season 19, due to the storylines that are being introduced in this season:
JC: I think me, personally, I have an obligation to plan forward for an arc, but also to keep the show in a position where, if they wanted to go for season 11, 12… 19, it can.
But should it?
Let’s face it. There’s shows that have gone on and on (Smallville, Grey’s Anatomy…) but those are shows that have a wider audience than Supernatural has. Supernatural was able to maintain the same general audience up to Season 5 but irremediably lost it during Seasons 6 and 7. To keep fans around and still interested in what happens to these two brothers for ten years is a big challenge. Part of what made S6 and S7 flop is the fact that they had already gone as big as they could go. What do you do after you’ve done the Apocalypse? This is kind of similar to a problem Doctor Who has had before too (what do you do when you’ve already had the end of the universe?). It’s gonna get harder and harder to come up with good storylines that are big, original and new. At this point, we’ve seen everything. And what we haven’t seen, we’ve either thought about it or read about it somewhere (the world of SPN fanfiction is MASSIVE).
Also, there’s the problem that new fans that might potentially be interested in the show might get scared when they see that the show already has 9 seasons so they’ll rather go and watch Grimm or any other supernatural shows that have less than 5 seasons instead.
Believe me, I’m a HUGE fan of Supernatural myself. But I’d rather have it end soon and have a good ending, than seeing it go on for ever and eventually ending up disliking it.