Missing Supernatural

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m missing Supernatural.

We all count on the things we’re passionate about to get us through the rough times in our lives. Our favorite shows and characters and books and bands inspire us to keep going, to never give up, even when things look bleak around us. Immersing ourselves in the things we love provides a much-needed temporary escape from the stressors of our lives, so we can let down our constantly-on-the-alert defenses and just spend time with some beloved characters or people. Spending time with our favorites  – whether watching a favorite television show or enjoying the familiar songs of a favorite band – gives us the same chemical reaction in our brains as sitting down to dinner with our closest friends and family. That’s one of the many things that makes fandom healthy and beneficial.

I find myself wishing I could immerse myself in Supernatural right now, because these are tough times. For fifteen years, the show has been my go-to when I’m anxious or sad or dealing with a lot of stress, and right now we have a lot of that. I’ve grown used to hopping online at those moments, and being swept away by episode discussions and speculation and news and new photos of cast or episode promos or PR content in articles and videos. I’m spoiled by that, and have been for a very long time. When there was a hiatus (hellatus) it was temporary and we knew when it would end, and fandom stepped up and increased their fan-generated content to compensate. While that still happens, and I’m still in awe of and grateful for fannish creativity, it’s not as much as it was in the past, when there was so much being created it was impossible to keep up with it all.

The show stopped production due to the Coronavirus after one day of filming on its penultimate episode back in March, right after the last (and only, I think) convention of 2020 in Las Vegas. It hasn’t been safe to resume filming since then, which I think the entire fandom is 100% on board with, but it means that both cast and fans are in limbo, not knowing how or when the show will return – or how it will be able to wrap up. There was an announcement that the last seven episodes were slated to be aired in the fall – a sort of last ‘mini season’ continuing and finishing up Season 15. But no one really knows when it will be safe to resume filming or how – and where – that might happen. So Supernatural is not on the air, and that’s difficult. (Of course, if it had ended when it was intended back in May, it wouldn’t be on the air either, so at least we have something to look forward to).  The pandemic has also changed the landscape for Supernatural fans and actors, who are accustomed to conventions at least once a month and sometimes more. Whether it was your one and only con that you were so looking forward to, or you’re a vendor who’s used to being ‘on the road’ and constantly at conventions, or you enjoy the photos, tweets and videos that fans post at every con, it seems very quiet in the SPNFamily without them. Fans miss seeing the cast at cons, and also miss seeing each other. The actors miss each other too.

I am looking forward to virtual Comic Con in a few weeks, but not as much as I was looking forward to my annual pilgrimage to San Diego, with all the insanity it entails and all the adventures with friends. Even if Comic Con wasn’t virtual, this would have been the first year that Supernatural didn’t have a panel and a press roundtable where we could all hear for the first time the scoop on the new season. I miss that! I am, on the other hand, so grateful to all the actors and fans who have put themselves out there in some way virtually during the pandemic, from Stage Its to virtual cocktails, from inspiring zoom video townhalls that have taught me so much to hilarious podcasts, and even a few fan-organized and Wizard World online cons. I did a virtual panel for Comic Con At Home with some of the Supernatural actors that’s coming up on the 26th, and I’ve had fun talking about the show in podcasts and video interviews for the new book ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural’. When we busted our butts to get the book out for May, we thought it was because the show was ending then. Turns out we just really needed an inspiring book to get through this unprecedented time we’re living in!

Still, I miss my Show, and it’s hard not knowing how and when it will be back to wrap up. CW president Mark Pedowitz said in TV Insider back in May that “Everybody — the studio, the executive producers, Jared, Jensen, and Misha — all want to end 15 years the right way. So it is important that these two episodes that they will be shooting be done the way they hoped to do them and we will just wait it out. We are very much attached to this.” They’ll rearrange the schedule if they need to, Pedowicz said, adding that they planned to resume airing in fall 2020.

I take alot of solace in what Mr. Pedowicz said. Nobody knows whether that is more up in the air now that the spread and impact of the virus has gotten worse in many areas and there are travel restrictions in place. The uncertainty, for fans, is not just when will they finish it – but how. Will it be the same if they can’t film in Vancouver in the studios they have been in all this time? Will their long-time crew, who are like family to the actors, still be able to be with them? Will there be restrictions about what they can film, or how close they can be to each other? Will we lose out on some of the hugs we’ve been counting on – and needing badly? (Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night…)

Nobody knows. I’m pretty sure the fandom whole-heartedly puts the safety of the cast and crew before any consideration of what the series finale will be like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid worry – for both actors and fans. We are all invested in this show, and after 15 years, we are all invested in having an ending that’s gratifying and meaningful and feels like what the fictional characters we love deserve. I know how much the actors care – they wrote about it in ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done’ and have talked about it many times. I know how much fans care too. We want the show to be able to have the ending its creators intended, and for the cast and crew who have given so much of themselves for so long to feel like their characters got the ending they deserved.

A few days ago, an interview with long-time Supernatural director and producer John Showalter ran in the Quad City Times. “It’s really heartbreaking that the show is ending this way,” Showalter said. “We’re not going to get to do a big finale because of COVID-19.”   It’s not clear what he meant and not a reason to panic – it could have been a reference to pandemic filming restrictions, timing changes, even the inability to have that epic wrap party that I’m sure they were all so looking forward to (and we were looking forward to the photos!)  But there’s a lot of worry going around right now, for everyone involved with the show.

Like so many things in the time of this pandemic, it’s a complicated decision of when to resume filming and how. There are new projects and employment waiting for many people involved that bring a pressure to get back to work and there’s also the desire to film the last episodes the way they were intended; pressures that may be at odds. Of course we’re all anxious about that and we’re all understandably eager to have the show back on our screens. I miss it! However, I think we’ve learned a few things from this Show we’ve loved so long and so hard. Back in Season 1, when John Winchester said that ‘killing this demon comes before everything’, a very young but already wise Sam Winchester stood up to his father and disagreed.

“No sir. Not before everything.”

As often happens, the SPNFamily pulls their inspiration from the show itself. It’s lives that are most important. And on that, I think we all agree with Sam.

So stay safe out there, SPNFamily. Fingers crossed that, when the time is right, Supernatural can (safely) pull off one more miracle.

-Lynn

You can read the actors’ and fans’ personal thoughts

on the legacy of Supernatural in There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done, links on home page!

 

 

Star Trek’s Robert Picardo’s New Video Spoof asks ‘Why Was I Not Born Brent Spiner’?

I write most often about my favorite show for the last fifteen years, Supernatural. But before Supernatural took over my life, I was a lifelong Star Trek fan, literally since I was a child. I’ve watched most of Trek’s incarnations, and loved both The Next Generation and Voyager. And my research is on both fandom and the psychology of being a fan and also celebrity and what that entails psychologically.  So I was delighted to run across a hilarious little video by Robert Picardo (who played the iconic role of the holographic Doctor on Voyager) – which was inspired by an equally hilarious video by TNG’s Brent Spiner (Data) – that has something to say about celebrity and the profession that both are in.

The pandemic and being in isolation has changed the entertainment landscape in every way possible, mostly not for the better (other than delaying the ending of Supernatural perhaps, but that’s another story), but one thing it has brought fans is some unique social media offerings of all kinds from their favorite creative people – including these two videos. Both Brent Spiner and Robert Picardo have current projects going on that are exciting, but I’m glad they took the time to share a few minutes of poking fun at their profession, the idea of celebrity, and themselves!  (You can check out the video plus a special director’s cut at the end of this article)

We discovered that we’re both from Philly before we actually started the interview.

RP: James Darren from Deep Space 9, who’s a great guy, is also a Philly guy – and proud of it!

Lynn: Rightly so. Philly rocks. I loved your video, it was hilarious! It’s also very catchy. I knew you could sing, since you sang on Voyager, which I think helped it be very aesthetically pleasing, and the lyrics are also very witty. How did it come about? Did you write and conceive of it yourself?

RP: Yes I did. My friend and colleague from Star Trek TNG, Brent Spiner, who played the character Data, who was an android — and probably the most famous and popular AI character in Star Trek, simply because their show was the first of the reboots and I think had the biggest audience when they were on of all of the subsequent series. Brent, about 6 weeks ago on twitter, uploaded a hilarious 2 minute or so singing parody that I highly recommend you watch…

Lynn: Oh, I did! When I saw yours and it mentioned Brent’s, I immediately went looking for his – it’s a hilarious spoof of himself and of celebrity and it’s awesome.

RP: And really he did that as a gift to his social media fans. It was just something he decided to do – it was shot during the lockdown with appropriate precautions. He thought it would be fun to give something humorous like that to his fans. I was very impressed.

Lynn: Me too!

RP: Meanwhile, a mutual friend of both Brent’s and mine named James Marlowe – his main business is to produce big corporate events for large tech companies like Apple and Facebook. He has a whole staff of people he had on salary and none of them were working because these events were all being cancelled.  I had shot before with his little crew of five or six people to do videos for these events, so that’s how I know James and Brent also knows him. He called and asked if I’d seen Brent’s video. I said I watched it and it’s hilarious and he said, would you like to answer it? I said, what do you mean? And he said well I have a crew that’s at your disposal. I’m paying them and they’ve got nothing to do. I said, I can’t think of a single thing, but thanks for the offer.

Lynn: (laughing)

RP: So I hung up the phone and I thought about it. I thought that Brent’s was so colorful and fun and joyous, I thought wouldn’t it be amusing if I did something entirely different that looked sort of like a lament, like film noir in black and white, a joke lament, like an actor bitching about his career.

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The Day Supernatural Didn’t End: Some Inspiration from There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done

 

May 18 is a day circled in many colors on my wall calendar, and a day that will always bring a jolt of emotion. It’s the day that Supernatural was supposed to air its last episode ever – its series finale. The day that Supernatural was supposed to end. I was supposed to be in Lawrence, Kansas, right now, gathered with fellow fans and friends (and lots of tissues) so we could support each other through that ending, in the place where the story began. Instead, I’m in my living room on my laptop, but I know that all over the world, fans are joining me in thinking about the significance of May 18 and the eventual ending of Supernatural.

For a long time, it’s a day that I was both looking forward to and dreading. This little show and its incredible fictional characters have been so important to me that losing it seemed on par with some of the most momentous occasions of my life. That might sound silly to someone who has never been a passionate fan and part of a passionate fan community, but it’s true. May 18 was going to be a day that I probably am never going to be prepared for.

The universe had other plans, and now we’re in what sometimes feels like a real life apocalypse, waiting for it to be safe for the cast and crew to film the final two episodes and for the final seven to be ready for broadcast. Sometime this fall, the CW promises, we’ll take our last ride with the Winchesters and Cas and Jack. I probably still won’t be ready.

We put together a new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, as a way of coping with the end of this special show. Both actors and fans came together to celebrate the legacy of Supernatural in a book that we hope is as inspiring (and beautiful, with fans contributing photography and original art) as the show itself. Jared and Jensen’s chapters bring together some of the emotional things they’ve said over the past year about the show ending, as a comfort and inspiration to fans, plus some new thoughts about Sam and Dean’s legacy. Misha Collins includes a special message to end the book, short but heartfelt. Fourteen other Supernatural actors and one of the show’s writers wrote chapters sharing their personal experiences on the show and with the fandom, and seventeen Supernatural fans also wrote from the heart about how the show and its characters and the fandom community have changed their lives. Actors and fans wrote from diverse perspectives and celebrated the show’s evolution in reflecting that same diversity.

We planned for the book to come out in May so that fans would have it to hang onto, as a source of comfort and hope and positivity, when the show came to an end. Somehow we pulled that impossible timetable off and the book went to print before the show went on a last surprise hiatus. The best laid plans, right? But now it seems like this is a time when we all need messages of hope and inspiration more than ever, especially from our favorite show and characters and actors and our fellow fans. Maybe it was for the best that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done came out in May after all – we are all facing a lot of loss and uncertainty right now, so we hope this will be a source of comfort that helps to get us through.

And when that May 18 replacement date gets set and Supernatural does come to an end later this year, we hope you can reread the heartfelt messages of hope and inspiration in the book and get through that too. In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done to get you through today!

It’s clear from their chapters that both actors and fans have been changed by this little show, and that it will always be important, to all of us.

Over the years (and lots of therapy!), I’ve gradually come closer to feeling like that brave, strong little girl I once was, which was why it was so important to me to portray Linda Tran on Supernatural. And although I still feel like a misfit and an outsider at times, I realize now that most people probably feel that way—our situations and particular details might be different, but we, as humans, are all much more alike than different. Perhaps that’s what has bound the Supernatural family so close together. We are all—fans, crew, and cast—a bunch of bighearted misfits who have come together around a show that we all love. At the end of the day, we all long for that sense of belonging.
– Lauren Tom (Linda Tran)

The best thing to come from the SPNFamily and Supernatural for me was the opportunity to do some good works in the world. I want to give full credit to Misha Collins for paving the way as the innovator and leader of the community in our charitable efforts. What is so rewarding about this experience is that it’s something I never would have chosen to do on my own. The “Less Than Three” campaign came out of the social interactions and conversations I had with people online who were following me, in a completely organic way… And again, we come back to family. The truly extraordinary, unique, inclusive SPNFamily.
-David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch)

There’s another way in which Supernatural has changed my life. I can’t express how happy I am to have become friends with the cast members. I know I can reach out to any of the SPN ladies (not discounting the men here, but the SPN ladies are something special) when I need advice or I am feeling low, or when I’m stuck across town and want to kill a few hours. This was the best unexpected side effect of being cast on this show, and I am forever grateful to be a part of the SPNFamily. There is nothing more important than having magical women in your life that you can trust to show your entire true self to—the good, the bad, the ugly, the badass. How lucky I am that Supernatural has given me that . . . and so much more.
– Julie McNiven (Anna Milton)

That camaraderie and built-in support group that Julie talks about in her chapter is exactly what so many of us have found in the fandom as well. When you can be real with people, when your creativity and self expression is supported, that can be life changing.

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FAQ – How There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done Came Together

We can’t wait for the virtual book release party on Wednesday night! Join us on Alana King’s youtube channel at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT as we chat with many of the book’s contributors, both actors and fans, about putting together There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. For those who haven’t heard from podcasts or livestreams already, here’s all the scoop on the process of putting together the book.  We had a nearly impossible timetable for turning this book around in time for the May release when the show would be ending (books go to print well before their release date – this one in the beginning of March when we still expected the show to end on May 18, so the book was in print before the filming shutdown). We all wanted it to be out at the time when fans would really need it, since the whole point of the book is giving the SPNFamily a book full of comfort and inspiration to get them through a difficult time. The process was different for different contributors, but everyone who contributed had the final say in what was published and officially signed off on what they wanted to say – some chapters are interview style, some traditional style, some compilations plus new material.

A few people have asked why most of the wonderful cast who wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood don’t have chapters in this book. I intentionally didn’t ask those actors or fans to write a chapter for this one. They wrote their hearts out in that book – especially Jared Padalecki, who worked on his 30 page chapter for over two years! It was emotionally exhausting and it took incredible courage for him to do that. We had almost no time to put this book together and Jared, Jensen and Misha were in the midst of filming and dealing with their own strong emotions about the show ending, yet they wanted to be included in this book so they could send a message of comfort and inspiration to fans. Jared and Jensen’s chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done include some of the heartfelt and emotional things they’ve had to say over the past year about Supernatural and its ending, in public panels and events, so fans can remember and be inspired by them — plus some new thoughts about Sam and Dean’s legacy. I collaborated with them as they edited the chapters so they could be sure that this was exactly what they wanted to have included and the message they wanted to send to fans, in their own words, and this is the result – chapters that they hope will be a comfort and an inspiration to fans as we face the end of the show, in the middle of one of the most stressful times of any of our lives. They – and all of us – want the book to be that for the SPNFamily. Misha was arguably even busier than anyone else between cookbook finishing and hip surgery and (for real) saving the world, so the message included from him is short but no less heartfelt. It’s the last word in the book because it’s a hopeful note to end on, and we hope that lets everyone close the book feeling good.

Equally important, the book contains twenty chapters written by fans of Supernatural, who are also people who we didn’t hear from in Family Don’t End With Blood. They too wrote their hearts and souls out, sharing their very personal stories and how this show and this fandom has inspired them to be who they are. We all wanted the book to be inclusive of everyone, so that anyone who reads it can find themselves represented in the book – both actors and fans made themselves incredibly vulnerable to do just that. We hope that when you read it, that one or many of the chapters will resonate with you, bring comfort to you, and inspire you too. We hope it will help us all always remember just how unique and special Supernatural is and will always be. And perhaps most important of all, this book is special to all of us because it benefits Random Acts and SPN Survivors, whose work is more important than ever.

We sincerely hope that There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done does just that – brings you peace.

— Lynn

There’ll Be Peace When You Are

Done releases on May 5!

 

A Supernatural Celebration! Book Launch Party for There’ll Be Peace When You are Done

The book many of us have been working on for almost a year is finally ready to be launched – and we’re having a party to celebrate!  Join me (the editor), Alana King (who wrote a chapter) and Kim Prior (who coordinated the gorgeous photos in the book) for a Book Launch Livestream Party!

When and Where?

Wednesday May 6 kicking off at 9 pm ET/6 pm PST on Alana’s YouTube channel!

Who Will Be There?

We’ll be joined by lots of the actors who wrote chapters for the book at 9 pm – Andrea Drepaul (Melanie the werewolf), Carrie Genzel (Linda in Just My Imagination and Bugs), Chad Lindberg (Ash), Lee Majdoub (Hannah), Julie McNiven (Anna), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), Lee Rumohr ( of the ‘hunter husbands’), Todd Stashwick (Dracula), Shoshannah Stern (Eileen), Brendan Taylor (New Doug)  and Lauren Tom (Mrs. Tran) are planning to join the fun (schedules permitting). And we’re expecting a few more actors to join in too, so stay tuned!

We’ll also have almost all of our talented fan contributors – writers, photographers and artists — joining us at 10 pm to chat about their journey with Supernatural and the SPNFamily and how the show and the fandom have inspired them.  Tedra Ashley-Wannemeuhler, Michael Banh, Patricia Barbera, Allison Broesder, Tanya Cook, Tara Coste, Sherri Dahl, Dawn Gray, Cris Griffin, Amy Hutton, Kaela Joseph, Liz Madsen, Gail Z. Martin, Jessica Mason, Vickie Ann McCoy, Suzanne McLean, Joelle Monique, Dmitri Novak, Emerson Lopez Odango, April Vian and Sarah Wylde will join me, Alana King and Kim Prior to talk all things Supernatural!

About The Book

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural has chapters by the cast of Supernatural and the fandom, and is all about what has made this show so special. The actors talk about what it has meant to them to portray their characters and how the SPNFamily has changed their lives. The fans talk about the characters and the actors who have inspired them, how the show has evolved over fifteen years, what this show has meant to them, and how the SPNFamily has done a ton of good in the world.  And we ALL weigh in on the legacy of this one-of-a-kind show and how we’ll (always) remember and love it. Including these two guys.

We hope this book will be something inspiring and comforting to hang onto as we come to the end of Supernatural’s fifteen year road trip (and also in this really stressful time when we all need good positive things in our lives).

Join In The Fun!

Please leave your questions for our contributors, both actors and fans, in the comments below or at the @FangasmSPN twitter post or Facebook post of this article. Then tune in to the livestream at 9 pm on Wednesday May 6 as they answer your questions and talk about their own journeys with Supernatural and the SPNFamily!

Come celebrate Supernatural with us!

— Lynn

You can pre-order There’ll Be Peace

When You Are Done now at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com