"Saving people, hunting things – the family business."
Somewhere on the dark backroads of northern Midwest America, a 1967 black Chevy Impala with an 80’s rock song blasting through the crackling speakers slices through the darkness. With a trunk full of guns, ammo, salt and the seldomly used rocket launcher, a bow-legged driver and lanky long-haired passenger are joined by a curious character in a trenchcoat. This may seem like the start to every horror movie but it’s much more than that; it is the CW's Supernatural, the longest running live-action fantasy TV series in the history of American broadcast television. It is the last remaining series from the CW’s predecessor, the WB, and it has amassed one of the largest online fanbases to date. With fanfiction for every genre and a gif for absolutely everything, SPNFamily is a force to behold when it congregates at one of the yearly worldwide SPN conventions. But what is Supernatural and why has it affected such a large group of fans?
The brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, set off on September 13, 2005 on a cross country roadtrip that would span fifteen years. Hunting everything from witches, vampires, and dragons, to the occasional killer clown, rogue ghost or goo oozing turducken sandwich crafted by Dick the Leviathan, the show wasn’t concerned about its image or trying to stay within a guideline of what everyone thought horror sci fi should be. Spending equal time on serious matters such as the humanity of monsters and the pending apocalypse to the hilarity of Dean; the hardened hunter unafraid of anything being infected with a ghost virus that made him scream at a jumping cat and run from a tiny Pomeranian. Supernatural set itself apart from any other television show on air. The aforementioned episode “Yellow Fever” also gave the world the amazing viral video of Jensen Ackles singing along with Survivors ‘Eye of the Tiger’; check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
While Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (a name only true fans can spell without thought) were pretty established when the show started, nothing made them household names more than being Dean and Sam. Ackles had acted in a number of shows from Days of Our Lives, Dark Angel, Dawson’s Creek and Smallville while Padalecki was known already for playing Dean Forester, Rory Gilmore’s on again off again boyfriend in Gilmore Girls. The show was a kickoff point for the rest of their lives. They found friendship in each other, both being from Texas and Jared even met his wife on set when she played the demon Ruby in season four. Later seasons would add to the twosome; casting the cranky old hunter known as Bobby Singer (named after one of the show’s Producers Robert Singer who produced other hits like ‘The Adventures of Lois and Clark’, ‘V’, and Stephen King's ‘Cujo’) played by Jim Beaver of Deadwood fame, the fallen Angel Castiel played by Misha Collins and even Crowley the king of Hell himself portrayed by Mark Sheppard from hits like Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who and Warehouse 13.
The attraction to Supernatural isn’t just the witty banter, deep hitting stories or Dean’s brooding and chiseled jawline; it's the community that surrounds it. In 2015 Jared launched the campaign “Always Keep Fighting” where proceeds from t-shirt sales went to the To Write Love On Her Arms foundation, The Wounded Warrior Project and A.I.R. Attitudes In Reverse - Student Suicide Prevention - Mental Health foundations. Since its launch, Jared has been open about his own struggles with mental illness and depression, encouraging fans to seek help without shame for anything they are fighting. Mischa Collins has used his visibility on the show to start his own charity called “Random Acts'' a non-profit organization dedicated to funding and inspiring acts of kindness around the world. He also created the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, GISHWHES for short, which is the record holding largest online scavenger hunt. Its purpose is to draw people of like minds together to compete in ridiculous tasks to spread good across the world. Supporting cast have even used their appearances on the show to boost causes close to their hearts. Felicia Day who plays the adorable nerdy girl Charlie advocates for Stomp Out Bullying and Rob Benedict, the big G.O.D on the show supports the The National Stroke Association after suffering from a stroke while at a Supernatural convention. The ordeal is the epitome of what SPNFamily means. Long emotional story short, Rob suffered a stroke while signing autographs and his cast mates Richard Speight Jr., Misha Collins, and Jensen Ackles rushed to the rescue; even stayed overnight with him at the hospital in Canada until they could fly his family in to support him. Rob has since made a full recovery and is back on the show making things difficult for our boys in this final season.
For fifteen years the Winchester’s have fought monsters, demons, angels and even fended off the apocalypse a few times. From season one where they searched for their missing father to season fifteen where they must yet again save the world from a God who has lost faith in his creation, these boys have made us laugh, cry, worry and scream out loud in frustration. As the 327th, and final episode looms near, the fandom sheds a single perfect tear as a fond farewell to an amazing journey.
"Happy 15th Anniversary SPN!"