“Supernatural”: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

supernatural_season_1_posterThe CW’s Supernatural, according to many I respect, is a show that’s gotten better and better over the years, which is impressive, given that it’s on Season 8 right now. THAT IS A LOT OF SEASONS! Especially a lot of seasons to devote to two brothers in an Impala fighting demons. But brilliant people like Ben Edlund work on this show, and like I said, the people who like it are people I trust.

One of those people is the super-talented Leslie Levings, famous among those who like adorable clay monsters as the creator and sculptor of the Beastlies. However, while Leslie is a big Supernatural fan, she’s also quite upfront about how the show has improved with time, meaning that much of the earlier seasons is not so much with the good.

So below please find Leslie’s personal guide to the show, unannotated because I have not seen any of them (but do know a good place to copy/paste episode titles from).

SEASON ONE EPISODES TO WATCH:

1. “Pilot”
4. “Phantom Traveler”
6. “Skin”
9. “Home”
11. “Scarecrow”
14. “Nightmare”
16. “Shadow”
20. “Dead Man’s Blood”
21. “Salvation”
22. “Devil’s Trap”

Says Leslie:

Some of those aren’t WONDERFUL, but they have plot stuff you’ll need later. The “previously on” segments are often exhaustive to the point of spoiling the whole episode (Previously on, Supernatural: HERE ARE ALL THE RULES OF SHAPESHIFTERS. Now: Gee, why is Sam acting so out of character??), but at least they help when you’re skipping several episodes.

SEASON TWO EPISODES TO WATCH:

1. “In My Time of Dying”
3. “Bloodlust”
5. “Simon Said”
7. “The Usual Suspects”
8. “Crossroad Blues”
9. “Croatoan”
10. “Hunted”
12. “Nightshifter”
14. “Born Under A Bad Sign”
15. “Tall Tales”
18. “Hollywood Babylon”
19. “Folsom Prison Blues”
20. “What Is and What Should Never Be”
21/22. “All Hell Breaks Loose” (Parts 1 and 2)

Says Leslie:

I’ve skipped some that are so-so but don’t move the plot forward in the myth arc. So some of the ones I skipped aren’t TERRIBLE. A few are.

SEASON THREE EPISODES TO WATCH:

1. “The Magnificent Seven”
2. “The Kids Are Alright”
3. “Bad Day at Black Rock”
4. “Sin City”
6. “Red Sky At Morning”
7. “Fresh Blood”
8. “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
9. “Malleus Maleficarum”
10. “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”
11. “Mystery Spot”
12. “Jus In Bello”
13. “Ghostfacers”
16. “No Rest For The Wicked”

Says Leslie:

It’s a short season (writers’ strike), so it’s a dense season. Almost all the eps have stuff in ’em you’ll need later. You can really pass on #5 and #14, though. I don’t like #15 much, but there’s some plot-moving elements that you need a little bit for the finale… Actually, those plot elements can be conveyed in about one sentence for you, and then you can skip that episode too… Okay, here. When you get there, just read the “Revelations” section here and then move right past it.

From Season 4 on, Leslie’s recommendations for episodes to skip peter out: “At this point, if you’re not a softy for this show, then I’ve done this wrong. Or your heart is made of ice.” But she does recommend taking a miss on:

SEASON 4, EPISODE 11: “Family Remains”

SEASON 5, EPISODE 7: “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester” (Though Leslie notes that “It’s just not stellar. So perhaps that’s a ‘watch if you’re having a great time and want more’.”)

I’ll conclude this with Leslie’s final thoughts:

  • You will hate the Winchester’s stupid, boring father. BUT DON’T WORRY. He’ll go away and then things will be better.
  • The music in this show is great and part of the charm, but not in Season 1. Season 1 originally aired with epic music, but it’s gone now. All the rest of the season have the music intact, though.
  • Dean tears are the manliest tears of all. Also the most frequent.
  • When you get to the Castiel, you’re in for a goddamn treat.
  • You may notice that female characters tend not to stick around very long? Blame the fangirls. They FUCKING HATE when any ladies get close to their baby boys. Eventually you’ll notice that everyone’s getting dead, though, not just the ladies. It’s Whedony in that respect.
  • So many X-Files references! So many references in general…
  • BRO-FEELS

All of that, I can get behind, so I’ll soon be embarking on Leslie’s guide. What do you other Supernatural fans think, though? Any other episodes that could be skipped? Or should not be?

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About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller, based in Los Angeles, is a writer for the screen and the web, her work including G4's Attack of the Show and the tech blog GigaOM. She also co-hosts the podcast Timey Wimey TV, contributes to the video curation site Here's Some Awesome, and tells her friend Frank about stuff at Liz Tells Frank.

Posted on March 13, 2013, in No Spoilers, Other People Telling Liz Stuff, Skip It/Watch It Guide, TV and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Hmm interesting….for me it launched well but was rough (I think the dad, John Winchester, was not a great casting choice, but an important character even so), but then in the second series fired up better – and ramped up even more when Castiel showed up. He is such a cool character. But then we started losing people, good secondary characters. And the purgatory thing, and the new monsters. No, did not like them, too CGI and not enough story and character. Now, maybe, just maybe….

  2. This show’s hatred of recurring characters is, at times, borderline infuriating. But it did give rise to our nickname for Castiel – “Supporting Cas.” Jesse and I refuse to refer to him by any other name.

  3. I just climbed on board and here we are in the midst of Season 9. Spent my holiday time off, not bonding with my family as I should- but in pursuit of Supernatural learning. Knocked out 4 seasons in a weekend and I’m still going since I actually started somewhere in the middle with the TNT repeats. I actually like the casting of Jeffery Dean Morgan as John Winchester and thought him being around seemed to throw the dynamic off a bit, I wouldn’t trade it for the depth it brought to ALL the characters. Without him as a backdrop, I was just stumbling around wondering what all went into making Sam and Dean who they are now. Besides, Morgan is flagrantly hot and we need fortysomething representation of hotness from time to time. And I’m in total agreement about Castiel. He is completely fascinating, disarming and takes sexy to an uncomfortable level for those of us who don’t like to think of angels as sexual beings:)

  4. Oh, and thank heaven for Netflix.

  5. popcultindia

    could you make a skip guide for the 2nd half of the series as well?
    particularly seasons 7-9.

    thanks.

  6. DO NOT SKIP MYSTERY SPOT! It blew my mind

  7. I just finished season five and have loved every minute! But the first few episodes of season six have gone in a direction that just doesn’t feel the same. I think they shouldn’t have made the finals of season five such a definite end where basically every big bad villain is defeated and the story arc is over. Cause that felt like it should’ve been the end of the series and now they’re just petering on. Cause now the Campbell clan is apart of the show whole the whole five seasons have been Sam and dean making a family out of bobby Ellen Jo and cas. But now suddenly the only ones they trust are blood relatives. Hope it gets its groove back 😦

  8. Is the episode where Dean screams like a girl at the cat in the locker on the skip list? I don’t remember if that happens in the earlier seasons but I definitely don’t want to skip that one!

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