Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Supernatural Snooze

You! Are you responsible for this script?


The older I get, the less I like reality.

If a TV show or movie doesn't have some sort of out of the ordinary element--magic, monsters, swords (swords are good)--it just doesn't hold my interest. So my search for a new show invariably wanders off the path into the dark woods.

I gave the WB's "Supernatural" (could a title be anymore unimaginative?) a try last night. Sadly, it scored a big ole, "meh." Not good or really bad, it generates neither the cool frissons of "Lost" nor the fuel for my sharpest snark.

The premise is fairly simple: Sam and Dean Winchester's dad has gone missing. Dad is an expert on things that go bump in the night, as are his spawn. (How do you get to be an expert in Evil? Is this a uni course? Shit, and I chose engineering.) Rather than just picking up a phone, Dad's been sending the boys cryptic messages, sending them all over the country, and in the process, setting them on all sorts of monsters. Last night's beastie: ravenous, cannibal of the far north, a Wendigo.

I liked Jensen Ackles as "Dark Angel's" Alec. In that role he played his fresh-scrubbed, all-American looks against a smart-ass, opportunist personality. As Dean, I think he's supposed to occupy a similar niche in Supernatural. Trouble is, the script doesn't give him much to work with: it's serviceable. Like an old truck that gets you from point A to point B, but is so ugly the City slaps a "Tow Now" red sticker on it whenever you park it by the curb.

As the primary purveyor of snark, Dean (Ackles) has a long struggle against humorless little brother Sam (Jared Padalecki), the La Brea Tar pits of Angst. The rest of the cast--the episode's expendable characters--are barely two-dimensional, which makes it difficult to build tension. Sigh. See, Mr. Director Guy, the audience has to actually identify with and/or care about the victims, otherwise you might as well be killing off department store mannequins.

The plot is more of the same; ruler straight, with nary a twist. Granted I missed the first five minutes of the night's episode. But unless there was there was a kink early in the plot, the story was just-add-water formulaic. Dean and Sam arrive in...someplace...where they learn a young man has disappeared. They join a team, which includes the lad's sister and Great White Hunter, and march off into the scary woods. The monster arrives and makes a lot of noise. Dean whips out...yeah, I wish...Dad's big book of monsters and declares the monster is a Wendigo. Great White Hunter laughs--Ha, ha, ha!--at silly superstitions. Yeah, I so knew whose leg old Wendy would be gnawing on that night.

Anyway, Wendy does his thing; Great White Hunter does his; then it's up to Dean and Sam to rescue Hot Chick's lost brother. Wendy leaves convenient red claw marks on the trees every five feet. (Perhaps there was a sale on red paint at Home Depot.) Several miles into the forest, Dean realizes, "This is too easy." I realize, "He's my kind of man--pretty but stupid." Wendy attacks and hauls away Dean and Hot Chick. Oh, but they're smart. They leave a trail of M&Ms. (No way in hell would I be wasting good chocolate. Not when death was eminent.)

So Sam and generic character follow the trail into an old train tunnel; fall (loudly; Wendigos must be deaf) into a cave; and rescue Dean and Hot Chick. Suddenly, Wendy arrives. Keep in mind Dean told us what great hunters Wendigos are a few minutes earlier. Anyway, he says he'll lure the monster away. So off he goes, making a racket and insulting Wendy's housekeeping skills. The others sneak away.

Ah, but Wendy isn't that stupid. Old meat breath shows up right behind the gang! Oh, my! Right. Unfortunately, like every Big Bad since the dawn of film, he has to monologue. He poses like a body builder and roars. And Dean sneaks up and fries him with a flare gun.

Alas, poor Wendy, we knew him not. Really, we didn't. Other than a quick, sketchy explanation and a lot of pointing at a particular page in Dad's Monster bible, information on Wendigos was scarce.

Late evening is when my muse finally drags her ass out of bed. When the sun sets, she's up and stomping around in my brain, trashing the place like a hopped-up rock star. I'm not really sure I want to annoy her by wasting another Tuesday evening on "Supernatural."

Writing...

One-thousand words yesterday, even with TV watching and long nap in the afternoon.

P.K.

 

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