The big day is finally here – tonight is the premiere of new series (and prequel for Supernatural), The Winchesters. For the #SPNFamily, it’s been a long, lonely time without the “saving people, hunting things” story we came to know so well, so there’s a lot of anticipation, and all sorts of strong emotions, surrounding tonight’s premiere.
This past weekend, New York Comic Con was a whirlwind Winchesters-focused weekend that resulted from a last minute decision to trek to the Big Apple – because yes, we really are that passionate about all things Supernatural. We being Lynn Zubernis (of MovieTVTechGeeks and Fangasm) and Laurena Aker (“Nightsky” of The Winchester Family Business). After covering the original Supernatural series (or, as Jensen Ackles likes to call it, the “mothership”) for the past decade and a half, we were eager to immerse ourselves once again in the Supernatural universe, so the weekend was a frenzied blur of planes, trains and automobiles followed by panels, press rooms and lots and lots of people at Comic Con. But, finally, we are excited to share with you our first impressions of this highly anticipated prequel in the same way we experienced it – together.
As longtime fangirls and writers about Supernatural, we’re transcribing for you the exact morning-after, Starbucks fueled, adrenaline pumped conversation we had as we unpacked both our personal (emotional fangirls) and professional (analytical reviewers) reactions to The Winchesters. Obviously no spoilers here for the episode itself. Instead, we’re sharing the evolution of unfiltered initial reactions to evolving deeper understandings of what it meant to finally see a piece of Supernatural again.
To set the scene, The Winchester pilot premiered to fans in the largest ballroom at New York Comic Con, the Empire Stage. While not as gigantic as San Diego’s Hall H, the Empire is nevertheless really, really big, so it was exciting to watch it fill up with Supernatural fans eager to reenter the world we’ve been missing for the past two years. To amp up the anticipation, the hosts blared the music that the reunited SPNFamily immediately recognized as the instrumental music cue on every Supernatural DVD. Apropos for the screening of a new episode! Soon enough, the house lights dimmed, and we slumped down in our second row seats to crane our necks (ouch!) at the giant screen that was looming over us (“immersed” in Supernatural in every sense of the word now!) Cue: The Winchesters!
Lynn: I think I went into watching this new series with a little more trepidation than you did, right?
Laurena: Absolutely. I’ve been excited about this show since it was first announced. I had a few unspoken reservations based on the pre-screening promotions, but I unreservedly believe in Robbie Thompson’s abilities as a writer, so I was determined to stay optimistically hopeful.
Lynn: I wasn’t really blown away by the trailer or the teasers either, so I was more cautiously optimistic.
Laurena: I was greatly relieved when the trailer was re-released with music. “Carry On” and Supernatural background music made it more relatable. So, given your concerns about the series, what was your first impression of the pilot?
Lynn: I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it even more than I expected to, particularly after having a chance to chat with (series stars) Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly in the press room and seeing what big fans of Supernatural they are. I was especially blown away by Drake Rodger’s acting – his character is someone I’m interested in, over and above knowing he’s John Winchester.
What about you?
Laurena: Even given the small part of me that was secretly worried about the hippie vibe in the trailer, I can honestly say I loved the episode. I’m completely invested in Drake as John Winchester and totally bought into John’s relationship with his mother. The pilot immediately delivered a depth of story that I didn’t expect. I was actually in tears when a certain familiar musical instrumental (that I won’t name to not spoil it for others) underscored the emotional scars in the Winchester family.
Lynn: I know, I was sitting next to you! I didn’t actually cry during that cue but yeah, that got to me too. And I also believe in Robbie Thompson and have missed his Supernatural writing ever since he left the show. They did a great job depicting John’s relationship with his mother, and Bianca Kajlich was able to bring Millie to life even with the short amount of time she had onscreen. We knew so little about John’s mother in the original show, so that’s a cool thing to be able to explore more.
Laurena: She gave a very emotional performance portraying the complexities that had developed over the years between the two people left behind by a loving father/husband who seemingly abandoned them.
Lynn: The quintessential theme of Supernatural – secrets, trying to protect the people you love, the aftermath of doing whatever it takes to make that happen, etc. I recognized all that in John and Millie’s loving but fraught reunion.
What was your reaction to the other characters?