Season 3 of Big Sky Kicks Off – With New Sexy Sheriff Beau Arlen

There is so much great television coming up this fall that there’s no way I can do the kind of deep dive reviews I relish doing for all of them – but there’s also no way I can not post at least a little squee about Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles’ new role as Sexy Sheriff Beau Arlen. There’s also no way I can not post some of the gorgeous screencaps from the episodes that CappingQueen created. So each week I’ll trace the evolution of Beau here just for fun as we discover who this new character is – which does not mean the show doesn’t have other great characters and an intriguing mystery going on. I mean, Reba is on this season! And her oh-so-creepy (spoiler alert!) son who hangs out in the woods being menacing is already living up to Big Sky’s tradition of creating characters that make you go eeeeek!  So yes, all that’s happening and I appreciate it when I watch.

But this little review? It’s all about Soldier Beau… I mean Sheriff Beau…

He’s handsome, that goes without saying. And we’ve seen from the season 2 finale that he’s charming as hell. Season 3 kicks off with reminders of both those attributes. And then we get the show’s slightly meta acknowledgement that Big Sky was maybe a little caught off guard by the passion of Ackles’ fans at first, but they catch on fast and they sure know now! The show’s social media been courting what they’ve picked up on as the ‘Ackles Army'(though that has some interesting connotations in the fandom that they are likely unaware of…). They’ve also been parrying back and forth with The Boys social media (the show Ackles was on last season), as both shows have clearly realized they have a PR goldmine on their hands.

The Boys is a whiz at social media, so it’s been fun watching the two networks go back and forth. Talk about meta!

In this episode, Big Sky brings the acknowledgement of (a small part of) Ackles’ appeal right into the show, as Beau returns a casserole dish to Denise with a good-natured complaint that if he keeps eating like that, none of his clothes will fit. Seems like Beau has a little bit of Dean Winchester’s hedonism when it comes to food.

Denise unselfishly offers to take him shopping, assuring him she’ll make sure his pants fit just right, especially in the back – leading to lots of peach emoji use by the fandom. Deservedly so.

Sheriff Arlen is anything but put off by Denise’s generous offer – or her sincere appreciation of his assets. His cheekiness is charming…and oh wow, that was totally a Freudian slip on my part…

We get some nice conversation between Beau and Jenny in this episode, some of it just for fun and some of it more serious.

We also start to learn more of his backstory, as he advises Jenny to do what he’s done to handle the reservoir of anger he’s carrying around – make a ‘punch list’.

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Supernatural Comes to DC – Jared, Jensen, Misha and Lots of Friends at DCCon 2022!

DC Con is one of my “home cons” – that means I can drive there instead of flying. I hate driving, but it’s still better than spending a fortune to fly, so I started down I95 on Friday and actually managed to navigate to Crystal City without any major mishaps – until I got to the parking garage that is. I then drove around for a ridiculous amount of time to find ZERO spots. Finally, in desperation, I inched my Honda into a spot that it barely fit into, and then went through some truly disturbing acrobatics to inch my way OUT of the car. Not fun!

I cheered up when Carrie Genzel came by my vendor table soon after I got set up. It was SO good to see her again and have her at a con – I sadly didn’t get parked in time to catch her actual panel on Friday with Nate Torrance, but hugging her made up for it a little. Carrie wrote a powerful chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and is an inspiring person in so many ways. Follow her on social media if you don’t already!

Friday night was a rare tourist excursion while at a con, joining friends for a tour of DC with our tour guide extraordinaire Smiley. The bus stopped for us to get ice cream too, and I got to catch up with some SPN Family friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, and get to know some new ones a little better too.

Saturday I caught some of the Matt and Rob panel. Rob and Rich are watching the show from the beginning for the Supernatural Then and Now podcast, and Matt is also watching the show – it’s been interesting to hear all their takes on this show that I’ve watched from pretty much the start.

Matt: I was impressed that Jensen Ackles was the same badass in early seasons as he was in Season 15.

Someone asked Matt, if John Winchester picked a theme song for Supernatural, what would it be?

Matt: Miley Cyrus, I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball.

Rob: If Chuck chose the theme song, it would be What If God Was One Of Us.

Also Rob: It’s all fun and games until I actually get to Heaven and God’s like, oh no, not you, I watched the show…  I’ve actually signed some bibles – I’m like oh, I’m glad that you liked my book…

Rob said he did his first con right after The Real Ghostbusters aired, and he was scared shitless, then thought OMG this is exactly how I felt in the episode!

(When I live tweeted that it apparently said he was scared shirtless and now I’m laughing at my own mistakes – no shirts were frightened off)

The conversation turned to that time Benedict Cumberbatch was being interviewed by Matt for EW and pronounced him “hot”.

Rob, apropos of nothing: If I married Benedict Cumberbatch, he’d be Benedict Benedict.

Lol

Matt: I just interviewed David Boreanaz and he was like, why are you not ON the show, you look like a SEAL!

I mean, accurate…

It was nice to have Matt a a con again (Matt, Rob, Kim and Briana all wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood too).

Saturday also had an awesome ladies of SPN panel with Carrie Genzel, Samantha Smith, Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster.

Carrie got some props for being amazing at karaoke the night before, which I missed due to playing tourist with friends (and Smiley).

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Excited for ‘Walker: Independence’? Justin Johnson Cortez Is!

As a long-time Supernatural fan, there’s a lot to be excited for this fall on television. There’s the prequel, The Winchesters, on The CW, with Jensen and Danneel Ackles executive producing, and Jensen Ackles’ guest starring role on ABC’s Big Sky (with none other than Reba as the big bad). There’s the return of Jared Padalecki in Walker for a third season (yay!) and a prequel for that show as well – Walker: Independence (nicknamed ‘Windy’ by its director and thus captioned that way in all my saved files), with Padalecki exec producing. At some point, Gotham Knights with Misha Collins will join the party. There is both excitement and controversy about all these shows because fandom is fandom, but I’ll be watching and reporting back in some fashion here (assuming I have a prayer of keeping up with all this TV!)

Although Jared won’t be appearing in Walker: Independence, his executive producing keeps it in the Supernatural extended family, and there’s a lot of buzz about the show, which looks absolutely beautiful in terms of location and cinematography. This week I got a press release spotlighting principal actor Justin Johnson Cortez, whose character Calian I’m excited to meet, so thought I’d share. (Parentheticals added because … because I’m excited!)

Native-American/Latino actor, writer, producer and all-around creative Justin Johnson Cortez is set to star in Walker: Independence, premiering Thursday, October 6, a spin-off prequel of the hit CW series Walker. He’s also set to star in the upcoming indie film “Gift of Fear”, which highlights the major crisis of missing and exploited women devastating Native populations across the US and Canada.

Set in the late 1800s, Walker: Independence begins with Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara) left for dead after her husband is murdered. She survives thanks to the Apache tribe who tend to her injuries and Calian, her Native guide who takes her to Independence and an uncertain future. On her quest for revenge, her path crosses with Hoyt Rawlins (Walker and Ten Inch Hero alum Matt Barr), which ultimately leads to an entangled relationship for the three characters. (Intriguing…). Johnson Cortez takes on this role with the weight of his ancestors on his shoulders – a Native Yaqui, he learned to speak Apache through an Apache translator on set. He also did the majority of his own stunts, including some impressive ones on horseback. (Looking forward to seeing that!)

“When this opportunity came up, I was a bit nervous because I wanted to make sure that the character was going to be represented in a positive way”, Johnson Cortez, who is Yaqui and Latino, says. “I didn’t want to represent the same old image of Native American characters onscreen, assimilating into Western culture, so I’m excited to dive in deeper and show the complexities behind this character. There is a way to tell this story by sharing his interests and curiosity in the town in the expansion of the West authentically. That’s going to come out when exploring his past through his history and experience in the world up to that point.” 

Born and raised in Santa Paula, California, just outside of rustic Ojai, Johnson Cortez still lives in the rural house he grew up in. As a youth, he loved and excelled in anything athletic from skateboarding, surfboarding, snowboarding, football, baseball, to riding dirt bikes and motorcycles. It wasn’t until his mid-20s that he began showing an interest in acting and began taking classes, which ultimately led to getting signed with a manager and agent. Around this time, he also began writing as well, as he didn’t see roles that featured characters like him. Half Native Yaqui and half Latino on his mother’s side, he was disappointed in the lack of representation in film and television. He additionally has another project soon to be announced which highlights the lives of Native people in an honest and impactful way. Cortez has also guest starred on Fox’s 911: Lone Star and Lucifer. He also served as actor/writer/director/producer of the short film The Fall, a 2020 Skins Fest official selection.

A true handyman and artist at heart, Johnson Cortez enjoys using his hands to build custom furniture (his whole home is filled with his craftsmanship), riding his motorcycles, painting and doing art/stencil work out of wood blocks, and spending time with his wife Rachel and two daughters Olivia and Evelyn.

I was already looking forward to Walker: Independence for its fascinating premise, talented cast and its gorgeous locations and cinematography – now I’m even more excited!

And as a lifelong Supernatural fan, I’m so proud of Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and the entire cast for all the great story telling and wonderful entertainment they’re putting out in the world.

Lynn

You can read the Supernatural actors’ feelings

about the show and the fandom (and fandom

itself) in Family Don’t End With Blood and

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done –

links here or at:

 

Happy 40th Birthday Jared Padalecki!

It has been a wonderful week of celebrating Jared Padalecki’s birthday for his fans – every day was a different hashtag so we could highlight something else, from photos and videos of Jared with other celebrities, or exercising, or smiling, or with pets, to his best performances and fans’ favorite photos. The hashtag #JaredPadaleckiWeek trended all week long, and my timeline was full of good feelings and positive posts and it felt like all the best things about fandom.

Then the week got even better – Jared popped onto twitter, shocking the fandom as he enjoys doing, to shine some light on a teacher trying to get ready for the next school year and without funding for things her students needed. So many teachers have a list of needed supplies that they often have to spend their own money to get, so #ClearTheList was a call to action for anyone who wanted to help. And help the fans did! People retweeted, donated, sent messages of support. Jared hopped on and thanked fans for the help, and then later in the week highlighted another person in need of help for a very sick cat, once again shining a light that allowed others to help if they could. The collective endorphins that we get from being able to help others just added to the good feelings already there, and made this a really special week.

When I started putting this post together, it was because I’d been reminded of some of my favorite Jared performances over the years. He has brought so much joy to so many of us, first as Sam Winchester and now as Cordell Walker, so I do want to post a few of those moments. But this week also reminded me that I value so many things about Jared that aren’t about what he does for a living. He’s a good soul who genuinely wants to help others – we saw that again this past week. More about that in a minute – but first let’s look back at a few of those performances that really demonstrate Jared’s powerful acting.

The first one that came to mind was one of the two episodes that made me fall in love with Supernatural, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’.

I’d been watching, but I wasn’t head over heels, and then there were a few episodes in a row in Season 2 that just blew me out of the water. Jared’s performance as Sam possessed by Meg was one of those things that made me realize just how special Supernatural is. He was somehow so NOT Jared, not sweet smart caring Sam Winchester – he had an edge to him, evil, sadistic, insecure. Those scenes with Alona Tal as Jo and then with Jensen Ackles as Dean tries to exorcise his brother were breathtaking. Literally.

The second Supernatural episode I thought about was another opportunity for Jared to play a different version of Sam, this time as Lucifer’s vessel in ‘The End’. It’s a short scene, but it’s one of the most memorable in the entire series, Jared making Lucifer absolutely terrifying without ever raising his voice or appearing angry at all. His soft spoken manner nevertheless radiates horrible power, his almost affectionate oh-you-poor-thing reaction to Dean’s tearful resistance enough to turn my stomach. Jensen has talked about how blown away HE was by Jared’s performance, and it came through powerfully on screen too.

There are lots of other great acting moments in the fifteen years of Supernatural, but a few from the later seasons stand out too. One is from ‘Red Meat’, one of my favorite episodes of the entire series – largely because of Jared’s incredible acting. From the moment that Sam gets shot, he makes you believe how much agony Sam is in, and at the same time, makes his almost superhuman persistence believable too. His every facial expression, his every bodily movement, radiates the pain he’s feeling and the struggle it is just to keep going, and that makes the episode one of the most compelling of the series. It literally hurts to watch – and yet I love it.

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Supernatural Rewatch: Supernatural Goes Meta with Hollywood Bablylon

As my friends and I make our way through a Supernatural series rewatch, I am so struck by the quality of these first few seasons. Season 2 is one of my favorite seasons – maybe my favorite of all. There are very few episodes that don’t feel like classics now, and this is certainly one that fits that description. Hollywood Babylon is extra special because it’s the first “meta” episode of Supernatural – something that the show would become known for over its 15 year run.  I LOVED its wink wink nudge nudge making fun of itself and the industry when I saw this episode then and I loved this episode just as much rewatching it now.

Written by the brilliant Ben Edlund, also the mind behind ‘The Tick’, and directed by the venerable Phil Sgriccia, of course Hollywood Babylon was going to be both entertaining and creepy and just plain weird. Which is ALL good in my book!

The opening teaser is a stereotypical horror film, so dimly lit it’s almost black and white, a young woman (Elizabeth Whitmere) with a flashlight searching for her friends in the woods in front of a creepy looking house, the porch swing swaying, scary music playing.

And pretty terrible acting as the woman (searching for her sister, because Supernatural) is deserted by her cowardly male friend and then hears a twig snap behind her. Slowly she turns….and unleashes a bloodcurdling scream into the camera.

That…fades out.

We hear a rather annoyed “cut” and realize we’re on a film set as the camera pans out. She’s been screaming at a suspended tennis ball, which at least partly explains the lack of conviction in her scream.

The meta kicks in instantly, as we meet the director, named McG after the very real producer of Supernatural and many genre shows. He’s as insincere as can be, critical behind her back and then fake oh that was great but let’s do it again and dial up that scream to Tara Benchley’s face. He assures her that the tennis ball will be replaced by a monster and look great “once Ivan and the FX guys are done with it” – an in-group reference to Supernatural’s real life VFX supervisor Ivan Hayden.

For fans who were paying attention, the episode was already leaving us grinning – and I have no doubt it did the same for the cast and crew who were also in on the jokes. Showrunner and creator Eric Kripke has loved playing with meta and in-jokes from the start, and he’s still enjoying doing that on his new show The Boys – and I’m still enjoying it too.

A long-haired crew member named Frank wanders around the set spreading suspicion that there’s some kind of real haunting going on, adding to the fun. At least it’s fun until poor Tara is walking through the fake woods trying to master that scream and is confronted with a dead and bloody Frank up in the scaffolding.

She screams for real, and on the other end of the set, McG happily announces “now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

Enter Sam and Dean and our title card. The meta picks right up again, Sam and Dean on the Warner Brothers studio lot taking the trolley tour that many of us have taken in real life, myself included. Dean is in excited fanboy mode, telling the unimpressed kid next to him that ‘Creepshow’ was filmed over there.

The camera pans up to Sam as the tour guide announces that Stars Hollow is to the right, the setting for the TV show, Gilmore Girls.

Tour guide: And if we’re lucky, we might even catch one of the show’s stars.

Close on Sam, who looks suddenly wary and hops right off the trolley.

The joke, of course, is that Jared also played Dean on Gilmore Girls, so he could have been that star she was mentioning. Poor Dean is upset not to be able to finish the tour, but reluctantly follows his brother. He’s convinced he sees Matt Damon on the lot, undeterred when “Matt” is pushing a broom and insisting he’s probably researching a role while Sam rolls his eyes.  Sam’s trying to work the case while Dean just wants to have fun, saying he wanted to come to LA for a vacation, swimming pools, movie stars.

Sam: Does this seem like pool weather to you, Dean? It’s practically Canadian!

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