Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, Supernatural
And you thought last Thursday's "Burning Questions" feature
had satisfied your thirst for Super
When last we tuned in to CW's Supernatural (Thursdays at 9 pm/ET), Sam and Dean were still reeling from the death of their father and trying to figure out what to do about the demon that killed him. But along the way they'll be fighting some other otherworldly evildoers. TVGuide.com caught up with Eric Kripke, aka one of the coolest show creators around, who was more than excited to preview what to expect this season.
TVGuide.com: Loving the show this season. It seems like you are keeping with more of a steady story line, rather than with standalone episodes.
Eric Kripke: We're actually going to be doing a little bit of everything. We're still planning on doing more of what we did the second half of last season, where we sort of caught our stride and figured out what the hell we were doing. It’s a mix of standalones with ongoing mythology. Right now, coming off of the dad's death, there are such major emotional story lines to play that it will be emotionally continuous. In terms of the mythology and hunting down the demon and what the demon's plans are as far as Sam [goes], those are things we'll be touching on every three or four episodes. But there is a lot to play with the boys and how they are so wildly dysfunctional and dealing with their dad's death in the most unhealthy way possible.
TVGuide.com: They were more physical about their emotions in last Thursday's episode.
Kripke: I am so proud of that episode. When we first started working on this story line, the first image that popped in my head was, "I can't wait to see angry Dean." In "Bloodlust" we really see him unleash his fury. From the pilot, what was always so great about Dean was that he shows up and he's a little dangerous and a little unpredictable and you don't quite know what he's capable of. We always liked that, but we got away from it a little bit, because the more you learn about the guy, the more you understand him. [We're] trying to return a little danger to the character. You still love him, but every so often he just does something that you are like, "Whoa, that guys hard-core." We're not interested in him hand-wringing or dressing in black and listening to Morrissey. If the character acts hard-core now and then... I mean, hell, they do it with Jack Bauer. Why can't we do it with Dean?
TVGuide.com: I'm so glad to see the car back.
Kripke: No one needed to worry about the car. Coming off the season finale, hilariously, some people were concerned about whether the Winchesters survived and everybody was concerned about whether the car survived. I'm a bigger fan of that car than anybody. I'd never let anything happen to it, not really, not forever.
TVGuide.com: The people may not be safe....
Kripke: But if anything, that car is going to outlive us all. I just love that car. It was always the plan that after an acceptable amount of time for Dean to rebuild it that it would come back bigger, stronger, faster, and it did.
TVGuide.com: A lot of fans are upset that John is dead. But since this is Supernatural, we see him again in some form?
Kripke: In some form or another. No one stays dead on Supernatural. For now he's dead — we couldn't have made it more clear with them burning his body — and for a lot of reasons he needs to stay dead because the boys need to deal with the issues that come out of it. For the show it is good drama because they are alone and scared and outgunned, and the odds are stacked against them. This is not the last we've heard from John Winchester, but for now he's gone.
TVGuide.com: Am I right in guessing that the whispered words between Dean and John were about Sam and the others like him?
TVGuide.com: Will we ever find out what those words are?
Kripke: Yes! I'm rewriting that script [now]. It comes out mid-season. We don’t even leave that hanging until the end of the year.
TVGuide.com: Are you happy with how your show is doing, considering that you are up against a lot of big shows?
Kripke: Um... I'm happy, but I wish I was happier. We're hanging in there, and that's a testament to the fans. Under extreme competition from the No. 1 [Grey's Anatomy] and 2 [CSI] shows on television, we're sticking in there with comparative numbers to what we had last year. And that's in a much more brutal time slot and on a new network with not nearly the level of marketing that we had last year. All things considered, we're doing well. For the show to be the six-/seven-year player that I want it to be, we need to do better. We need to say to the fans and to the converted, "Spread the word." People catch on by word-of-mouth, so the best thing I could ask from the fans, as a personal favor to me, is to tell people about it.
TVGuide.com: Besides, they can TiVo those other shows.
Kripke: They can always TiVo Grey's Anatomy. All they are going to do on that show is have sex in a hospital.
TVGuide.com: And CSI is just about another dead person.
Kripke: Right. What do you want? Forensic fingernails, sex in a hospital, or good ol' red-blooded, classic-rock demon fighting?
TVGuide.com: Are Ellen, Jo and Ash recurring characters?
Kripke: Yeah. We're excited about fleshing out the world of the show. We've always thought this was such an interesting universe of hunters who live just beneath the surface of America. We started expanding that world and bringing characters in, which we started to do last season with Bobby.
TVGuide.com: What good, creepy creatures do you have up your sleeve this season? The clown was terrifying.
Kripke: [This week] we're doing Pet Sematary-style zombies, and in Episode 9 we're doing a big 28 Days Later sort of town overrun by zombies, which is really, really fun because we've got our own unique twist on it. We've got more demons of course, and we're bringing back the shape-shifter from "Skin." Every so often we figure out a way to do a philosophical episode. We had "Faith" last year, about who deserves to live and who deserves to die. We have an episode coming up where the boys are hunting something of supernatural origin, but then come to believe that it may or may not be an angel. They have to decide whether they are supposed to hunt it or let it be. Sam thinks it might be an angel and Dean, who doesn't believe in those sorts of things, says "absolutely not." I'm excited about that one. I like to do a classy episode about Dean — he believes in evil, but does he believe in good?
TVGuide.com: Do you have a stockpile of urban legends?
Kripke: If you came to the writers' room, we've got a whole board. "Unnecessary surgery," different monsters and spirits, the urban legend called "The Licked Hand," and all sorts of creepy words that signify a potential episode that one of these days we'll get around to. This year we get into the Robert Johnson legend, selling your soul to the devil at the crossroads, into the lost colony of Roanoke, into H.H. Homes, the serial killer from Devil in the White City, America's first serial killer and his spirit.... Not only do we get to delve into urban legends, but we're starting to get into American history and classic folklore. At the end of the day, damn it, I want this show taught in schools.
TVGuide.com: With a warning for the faint of heart.
Kripke: Right. Watch out for the hand getting ground up in the disposal, but otherwise it is very educational.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of the scenes that make me cover my eyes, how do you know when to pull away from the action?
Kripke: When the lawyers make us. [Chuckles] We have no interest in making a splatter film, we're always trying to search for a way to do it elegantly, but the fact is that what you don't see is worse than what you do. It is just scarier. What we care about is being as scary as possible, that having been said, when it is time to see something, we try not to shy away from it. I can only think of one occasion when the lawyers said absolutely not. I'm kind of amazed at what we do get away with. Last year in "Home," when they put the hand in the disposal, we had this shot where it was the bottom pipe of the disposal where you saw all the blood and goo coming out. We were like, "Never in a million years are they going to let us use this shot," and we put it in as a joke, and no one ever said anything.
TVGuide.com: How are you coping with Jared Padalecki's injury and working that into the story?
Kripke: Ah, Jared. We're making it work. Luckily, he gets in fights every episode so it is easy for him to break his hand. It turns out the zombie breaks his hand. I'm glad he's OK, and I'm glad it all worked out, but I do have to say there is a part of me that wished he broke his hand a little earlier because it would have made so much more sense to come out of the car crash with the broken arm. He survived getting T-boned by a semi going full speed, but a zombie broke his hand? We do what we always do — we made a joke out of it and we had Dean give a funny reaction. Not once does it get in the way of the story.