Are We Ready, Fandom? Supernatural Season 15 Premieres Tomorrow

 

It’s Wednesday, October 9, 2019. It hasn’t been a noteworthy date in the past, but to many of us who are Supernatural fans, it’s feeling like one now. It’s the night before Supernatural’s Season 15 premiere – and the last time I will ever sit here trembling in anticipation of a new season of the Show that changed my life a decade and a half ago. Like most humans, I don’t do all that well with change – and I certainly don’t do well with loss. Supernatural has been incredibly important to me, in countless ways. It brought me some of my closest friends, gave me a community that I cherish, pulled me out of my anxiety-caused reticence to go places and do new things. It inspired me to attempt career moves, world travel, new relationships. It turned me into a writer, because I had so damn much to say about this show and these characters and this fandom that even fear and self doubt couldn’t keep me from saying it.

It’s been a long time that Supernatural and I have been together. It’s a long term relationship, with all the benefits that brings and all the potential losses that carries. I’ve grown used to the rhythm of the seasons, intense weeks of episode after episode when I join other fans in jumping up and down in joyous celebration of what we love and gnashing our teeth over what we hate, followed by intermittent hiatus breaks where we all speculate about what’s going to happen next and read a lot of fanfic. Supernatural is part of the ebb and flow of my life, enriching it in the best of ways. It’s personal, this thing I have with the show – and I don’t mean that in the pathologizing sense of the old scary term “parasocial relationship”. I mean the real one, the validating and inspiring and healthy one that lets me immerse myself for 42 minutes a week in a fictional world with beloved characters who manage to teach me about myself and feel like old friends. There’s research on this folks, I’m not making it up. It’s good for you. And for me.

The past week has seen article after article in all the mainstream media publications that cover all the shows and are well aware that a venerable series is about to end. I remember when no one was writing about Supernatural. When my first phone call to the studio was met with an incredulous “you want to write a book about this show?”  I remember season premieres heralded mostly by fandom, mainstream media unaware of this hidden gem that only we knew was going to be something very special. I was frustrated for a long time that the rest of the world didn’t recognize Supernatural for what it was, or its cast for how amazing they are. Now, as it prepares to tell its last stories, it seems like the whole world finally knows. And I’m so very proud of our Little Show That Could, but each time I read an article I also think, you don’t really know. Not the way we do.

You don’t really know what this show means to us or how much it’s changed our lives. (Unless you’ve read Family Don’t End With Blood, and then maybe you have an idea). You don’t really know how we feel right now, caught between incredible joy and anticipation for tomorrow night and the constant looming knowledge that this is the last time we’ll have this. As always, I’ll have a slice of pie and a glass of wine and a comfy blanket ready as I sit down to watch tomorrow night. As always, I’ll also have a big box of tissues. But this time, I need those tissues tonight too. I’ve needed them all week, every time I read another headline. This time I’m steeling myself for the first of the lasts, desperately not wanting that to be the case. I’m determined to cherish every moment I have left with my favorite show and my favorite characters, but I also know this will be a rough season full of anticipatory grief as well as celebration. Luckily I know I’m not alone – as always, the fandom community who really does get it is there to take the last trip on this wild ride with me, just as it’s always been.

Buckle up, SPNFamily.

See you on the flip side.

— Lynn

You can read how Supernatural really has

changed lives – for the actors and the fans –

in Family Don’t End With Blood – links on

the home page

 

Happy Birthday Rob Benedict – And Here’s to Season 15!

 

As we head into the last season of Supernatural, we know there will be lots of familiar faces returning for one last time. I think we’re all agreed that we’re grateful one of those familiar faces will be Rob Benedict, returning as Chuck or God or The Writer or whoever the hell he really is. We all have mixed feelings about his character right now, but no one I know has mixed feelings about Rob himself.

Whether he’s kicking ass with Louden Swain or the Station Breaks in concerts all over the world or waxing eloquent about The Bachelor on Will You Accept This Rose podcast or showing off his acting chops on multiple projects (how does he have so much energy??), Rob makes us happy.

I’m forever grateful that he took down all his defenses and wrote the inside story of what happened when he had a stroke at a Supernatural convention six years ago in Family Don’t End With Blood. Not only did his story inspire many others to ‘always keep fighting’, but his chapter saved some lives for real because people who had read his story recognized when they were having a stroke and got help right away. Talk about making a difference!

The fact that we almost lost Rob has made us even more grateful that we still have him as the heart and soul of the SPNFamily. He is every bit as passionate when he takes the stage for a Saturday Night Special and brings us all together to celebrate Supernatural, the fandom, and life itself as he was the very first time I saw him play a decade ago. I watched that concert sitting in the back with Richard Speight Jr. – and we all know how that turned out! What a gift to have Rich and Rob together for all these years, making magic onstage at conventions, emceeing at Comic Con, and immortalizing a tongue in cheek (and hilarious) take of what this has all been about in Kings of Con.

It seems fitting that Rob would rejoin Supernatural for its final season. He’s been an integral part of the family since his first appearance on the show over a decade ago – and a force for good in the lives of so many. I wrote a retrospective of the many chats I’ve had with Rob last year, with lots of great quotes from Rob and lots of Kim Prior’s pretty pretty pictures, which you can read here:

Looking Back – Rob Benedict and SPNFamily

He’s pretty special.

Happy birthday, Rob – here’s to much much more of your beautiful music and inspired acting, and to an amazing Season 15!

— Lynn

You can read Rob’s heart-stopping chapter in

Family Don’t End With Blood, links at the

Home page!

Happy Anniversary to Supernatural’s Castiel!

In celebration of the anniversary of Castiel’s debut on Supernatural (which isn’t really his birthday because we all know he’s WAY older than that), here’s a throwback to what Misha Collins had to say about that fateful moment and Castiel’s epic entrance in the season premiere of Season 4 in a little excerpt from the chapter he wrote in our second book, Fan Phenomena: Supernatural.

I didn’t expect being inducted into this world to be anywhere near as strange, wonderful or overwhelming as it has been. I didn’t expect any of it. I remember watching the season premiere of Supernatural Season 4 – the episode in which my character was introduced – with the producers and writers at a little screening party at producer McG’s offices in West Hollywood. Sera Gamble, a writer and producer on the show, was standing next to me as we watched. When my character came on-screen, she leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Your life is about to change.’ I thought, ‘That is a truly arrogant thing for a producer of a CW television show to say. I’ve been on plenty of television shows. My life is going to stay exactly the same, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Well, Sera, I think I owe you an apology for that thought.

I think Sera probably just chuckles when she remembers that now. Not only did Misha’s life change, but the character he brought to life changed the lives of many fans as well. Sera Gamble has good instincts.

You can read more of Misha’s thoughts on his character and how Supernatural has changed his life in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood. That book benefits Random Acts, the real life change that this show and this character have created in the world.

Happy Cas anniversary, Misha and Supernatural!

— Lynn

Links to all books on the home page!

 

Happy Supernatural Day 2019 – Once More With Feeling!

 

For Supernatural fans, this has been a day we won’t forget for a very long time. Today was Supernatural Day, the fourteenth anniversary of the airing of the very first episode way back on September 13, 2005. It’s also the last Supernatural Day we will ever have when the show itself is still on the air. As Supernatural begins filming its 15th and final season, that makes every milestone something that kicks off a flood of conflicting emotions for its devoted fans. Me included.

On the one hand, I’ve been smiling all day, enjoying the constant posts on social media – articles about the show’s longevity and legacy from all the media outlets, tweets and Instagram posts from the cast, past and present, about what the show has meant to them.

The network itself showered the fandom with gifts, from the official Season 15 poster…

… to the first promo pics for the new season, which knocked the breath out of me when one of them was a half shirtless Sam and a protective big brother Dean patching him up.

A more iconic Supernatural moment I can’t imagine.

Also we’re starting off half shirtless right off the bat? Chuck help me.

They also released the Season 15 promo trailer, which ended with – wait for it – Sam and Dean slamming the trunk of the Impala saying “We got work to do.” It’s a brilliant call back to the phrase that started it all fourteen years ago, and hearing the Winchesters say it now as we start down that road one last time – it literally made me gasp and choke, and then reach for the tissues. I’m so grateful though, because this is what I need. I need the show itself to realize how much this means, and give me the full circle wrap up that these characters deserve.

It felt good.

Graphic by @amyinsydney

The cast has spent the past decade launching multiple charitable campaigns and helping with everything from natural disasters to mental health support, and for this last Supernatural Day they came through with another in a big way. Jared, Jensen, Misha and the show teamed up with Hot Topic to sell an “End Of The Road” tee shirt with 100% of profits from all sales today going to Random Acts to help the victims of Hurricane Dorian. So many fans went online to buy it that it sold out within HOURS. Talk about a show going out at the top of its game! I jumped in the car and drove out to my local Hot Topic when I couldn’t get one online and luckily they had a few left – it felt so good to join in and do some good and celebrate Supernatural Day in a tangible way. More smiles.

The SPNFamily felt bigger and stronger and more cohesive today than ever – #SupernaturalDay and #SPNFamilyForever were trending on Twitter for most of the day. We may be small, but goddamnit, we are mighty.

And I will miss that. I’ll miss my timeline being FULL of Supernatural posts and Supernatural content and my fellow Supernatural fans celebrating this little show we love so much, overflowing with it.

I’ll miss the cast all coming together to celebrate with us, posting messages of gratitude and love, and the network and media joining in with new photos, new posters, new videos. So many gifts, so much to squee over. That’s the “on the other hand.” Knowing that next September 13 won’t be the same; that this part of my world won’t be the same. It’s so hard to love and enjoy something so much and want it to stay exactly the same and know that it can’t.

So there were some tears today, often mixed in with the smiles. Jared and Jensen and Misha and company have already filmed four of the episodes of Season 15. They’ll film 16 more, and then they will be done. By the beginning of April, these characters I love will have had their stories told. (Sometimes I’m so damn grateful that fandom is so creative, because I’m counting on fanfic to continue those stories). But it will be different; it won’t be like today.

(Sad face)

Mostly I’m grateful, as I sit here wearing my new tee shirt and staring happily at the new promo pics and reading everyone else’s posts about what Supernatural has meant to them. Some people expressed gratitude for Family Don’t End With Blood today, because it gave the actors a chance to write down what the show and the fandom have meant to them in a book that we can all keep forever. I’m so grateful to all of them for doing that, for baring their souls the way they did and telling the truth – for caring so much. I’m so grateful to them for making this show for all these years, for bringing these characters to life so vividly that I fell in love with them, and I let them change me.

That will never end. What this show has meant to me, and to so many others. That’s forever.

I tweeted my gratitude to Eric Kripke this morning, in response to his tweet for Supernatural Day expressing his own gratitude. Every time he likes one of my tweets, I squee. Nope, I’ll never get over it.  He CREATED this world and these characters, how can I get over that?

Happy Supernatural Day, SPNFamily.

Tonight we’ll keep sharing our joy and celebrating everything that we love about this little show. Tomorrow we’ll watch Jensen Ackles play soccer for a good cause and eagerly await photos from the lucky fans who will be there. And on October 10, we’ll tune in one more time and go along for the wild ride as Supernatural premieres for the fifteenth and final time.

I’ll have both the smiles and the tissues ready.

From @JasonFischer’s Quote Of The Day

— Lynn

You can find Family Don’t End

With Blood at the links on the home

page or on Amazon

 

Always Keep Fighting – A Message of Hope for World Suicide Prevention Day

As a psychologist, I’ve had the privilege of helping many people come out on the other side after considering suicide. As a psychologist who researches fandom, I’ve experienced firsthand how the television shows and films and bands and books and celebrities we love can also inspire us to keep living, and how the supportive community of fandom can provide a safety net while we fight through those difficult times.  What those two realms of experience have in common is someone else encouraging us to talk about it. Not to keep those thoughts and feelings and hopelessness to ourselves, but to share it so that someone can help us through. There is still a tremendous amount of stigma and shame around talking about suicide, and there’s nothing more important than changing that. I teach my students who are learning to be counselors every the importance of creating a safe space within which their clients can share ALL their feelings. I’m honored to work with Attitudes in Reverse to try to erase that stigma and start the important conversation.  I was also honored to be able to work with some of the people I proudly fangirl (the cast of Supernatural, my favorite television show) to put together a book that shares their most private, difficult to talk about, even shameful feelings – to inspire those who read the book to also share theirs. None of us can find the help we need without first opening up and letting someone else know we need that help.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, I wanted to share some of the messages from that book, Family Don’t End With Blood, that people have told me have helped them to “always keep fighting”. Some are from the chapters written by the actors and some are from the chapters written by the fans, because there’s tremendous wisdom in both. It can help to know that even the celebrities who we idolize have fought through debilitating self doubt, depression, insecurity and anxiety. It can help to know that other fans, who are just like us, have struggled with the same – and how they managed to keep going anyway. Every time someone tells me, or tells Jared or Jensen or Misha or anyone else, that reading what they wrote in this book saved their life, it means so much. So here are a few of those messages, in the hopes that they’ll keep inspiring us all to keep fighting.

The chapter that Jared Padalecki wrote is the longest one in the book, by far.  More than 30 pages long. He worked on it for almost two years, repeatedly wanting to add to it and edit it even though I kept saying that it was already amazing. He knew, I think, that if he didn’t have the courage to share the depths of his own experience with depression and anxiety honestly, that his chapter wouldn’t help anyone. And so, courageously, he did. I still can’t read it without crying. Over the years, countless fans have told me the same – and that Jared’s words are the ones that inspire them to ‘always keep fighting’.

Jared writes about how the fandom and the show have changed him, about his struggle with anxiety and not feeling good enough, about the times he’s broken down. In one powerful part of his chapter, Jared writes about the time he pushed himself to go to Europe for a convention at a time when he knew he wasn’t okay, but didn’t want to let anyone down. When he found himself with one day free and looking forward to going to the watch museums in Geneva – only to realize the one day he was there was a national holiday and they were all closed – the pressures that had been building for a decade overwhelmed him. Here are a few small excerpts from his chapter:

Read more