It's hard to believe 'Supernatural' has been going for seven seasons. It begins its eighth season this month. Season six was an extremely fun ride, culminating in a twist that would keep fans guessing about what was going to take place in season seven. If you haven't seen the sixth season of the show, then you might as well get out right now. Spoilers ahead.
Castiel (Misha Collins), along with the Winchesters, defeated the plan of Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) and Raphael (Demore Barnes). Only, it didn't quite work out so well in the end. Castiel took it upon himself to swallow up the souls of Purgatory and then proclaimed himself to be the new God. There he was, one of the Winchesters' most trusted allies proclaiming his divinity and threatening to destroy them if they didn't obey. It was a difficult notion to wait an entire year for the new season to come around.
I, like many people, thought when season seven started that the battle between the Winchesters and Castiel would play out during the season as the story arc that connected each episode. I must admit to being puzzled when the first episode of season seven appeared to almost brush aside the bubbling conflict with the boys and the newly appointed God.
(Season seven spoiler alert) Crowning himself the Almighty Ruler, Castiel set about destroying the wicked. He killed hypocritical preachers and slimy politicians who claimed to work in his name. He began setting up his own kingdom and how he was going to run it. He even set about making a deal with Crowley to take over as King of Hell again, only this time with a few more rules. Everything was being set up for an interesting season. Then Castiel started decomposing. We then learned that in the process of consuming the Purgatory souls, Castiel also swallowed some creatures called Leviathans (don't worry they aren't as big as they sound, which was quite disappointing actually). The Leviathans want out and at the end of the episode escape from Castiel's body, into the city's water supply and end up inhabiting the bodies of people who drink the water.
After the first episode I felt letdown. There we were, on the precipice of a tension-filled seventh season where the Winchesters were literally going to be fighting against God. Not only that, but this particular deity used to be their best friend. Then the first episode ended and we found out that the guys would be chasing man-eating Purgatory monsters the entire season. Instantly the suspense of the oncoming season subsided. It felt like the show had set itself up for an epic season only to shatter expectations by throwing the Leviathans into the mix. Monsters more suited for 'Grimm' than the world of 'Supernatural.'
Season seven does have its own neat surprises, but its main story arc is a bland one. I found myself much more interested in the monster-of-the-week episodes rather than learning more about how to kill the Leviathans. Sam's struggle with Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) created some much needed interest in the season, but didn't cover up the fact that the show abandoned a great plotline that could've been carried to the seventh season finale.
I'll still continue along with 'Supernatural' simply because I want to know what their endgame is. Although season seven, for the most part, felt lukewarm at best. The Leviathans were a sad substitute of what could've been.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The 23-episode season is packed onto four 50GB Blu-ray Discs. They're housed in a marginally oversized keepcase which contains two swinging inserts with disc hubs back to back. The entire season comes complete with an Ultraviolet Digital Copy. Also inside is a pamphlet that runs down the episodes, their titles, writing and directing credits, original airdates, and brief synopses. The keepcase slips comfortably into an outer cardboard slipcase. It's a Region A release.
Warner Bros. has unfailingly delivered great 1080p AVC-encoded presentations where 'Supernatural' is concerned. I wouldn't expect a TV show that's this dark and slathered in heavy shadows to look so good all the time, but it does. Its image is comprehensive never wavering when it comes to revealing all the fine detail that it possibly can. Only a handful of marginal special effects (the emergence of the Lavanthian mouths from their human bodies for example) betray an otherwise stellar looking high-def presentation.
What's so surprising about this show is how cinematic it looks. Most television shows don't look as filmic as this. The detail on display feels much more like a movie than TV. Stubble, pores, hair, dried blood and even the occasional chuck of grey matter is easily seen. Shadows are heavy, darkness is foreboding, but never is there a time where crush takes you out of the scene. Banding is non-existent, even in the darkest of scenes. Those black to gray gradients usually tend to harbor banding artifacts, not here though.
Clarity is top-notch and so is contrast. Much of the show is slathered in blackness, yet colors like blood red pop with exceeding lucidity. As with seasons of the past, this one doesn't disappoint when it comes to providing a very well-done video presentation that fans should be proud of.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is just as impressive in its own right. Talk about an immersive listening experience. 'Supernatural' is full of all things that go bump in the night and you hear every one of them. This is one of the best TV-on-Blu-ray audio presentations, hands down.
The surrounds are full of screeches, screams, and echoing voices in Sam's head. There's so much going on with the ghoulish baddies that Sam and Dean fight that the surrounds play a vital role in letting us in on the action. Whooshes from fast-moving monsters, sudden fading noises after angel has disappeared into thin air, all of these sound travel easily through the sound field. The front and center speakers are alive with the action on screen. It's a very busy show as the guys find themselves in constant frantic battle with otherworldly entities. All the action is captured with precision as directionality places each character, monster, and accompanying sound effects perfectly.
The LFE is the final piece to the puzzle and boy is it deep. Every suspenseful moment, and scary surprise is complemented by a thunderous crash from the sub-woofer. In short, the release sounds great and will please anyone who picks it up.
There are three commentaries in all. The sixth episode, "Slash Fiction" employs commentary from Jared Palecki (Sam) and Jensen Ackles (Dean). The tenth episode, "Death's Door," features commentary from actors Jim Beaver (Bobby) and Steven Williams (Rufus Turner). The last commentary can be found on the season finale, "Survival of the Fittest." It's provided by executive producers Sera Gamble and Robert Singer.
The commentary from Palecki and Ackles is the most entertaining even though it has plenty of dead spots. They do their best to offer up anecdotes from filming and it's fun hearing how they try to emulate Gary Busey whenever they can. Like the other commentaries, they mainly focus on the episode at hand, memories from filming the episode, and talking about how certain shots were filmed.
Season seven was pretty disappointing all around. Season six ended with a bang and the premiere of the seventh season really undercut the emotional current that could've carried this season to greatness. It did end up finding its footing again in the latter part of the season, but not before it delivered quite a few laugh-worthy episodes along the way; not to mention a main group of baddies who were never all that scary to begin with. As always the video and audio are stellar and there are a great wealth of special features to take advantage of. However, this is one of those shows that you simply have to start from the beginning or you're not going to get what's going on. For that reason the seventh season is for fans only.