Not even stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki could have foreseen Supernatural's cultural impact as not only The CW's longest-running series, but also one of TV's most beloved shows. As the occult drama prepares to wrap up its 15th and final season this month, the weird little show about a pair of ass-kicking brothers who hunt demons for a living remains as popular and relevant as ever.
Unsurprisingly, the final season has been an epic affair as the Winchesters, along with Jack (Alexander Calvert) and Castiel (Misha Collins), have faced a biblical fight for humanity against Chuck (Rob Benedict), aka God. The long road to get to this climactic last battle has been difficult for the Winchesters, as the brothers faced their fair share of strife, from close calls with death (and actually dying on multiple occasions), to going toe-to-toe with powerful beings hell-bent on ending the world for 15 seasons. The brothers' story is quickly coming to an end, though, as the show is set to close up the family business for good on Thursday, Nov. 19 with an hour-long special at 8/7c, titled Supernatural: The Long Road Home, followed by the show's series finale.
In honor of what promises to be a spectacular ending, we're looking back at the road traveled thus far in a celebration of all things Winchester, including this ranking of every Supernatural season ever. So check out the full ranking below and find out where your favorite season landed.
Between convoluted storylines and the Winchesters facing loss after loss, this just wasn't a fun season at all. After absorbing the souls from Purgatory and declaring himself the new God, Cas turned into a Grade-A jerk and abandoned Sam and Dean to rule Heaven. But as it turns out, his mind was being controlled by the Leviathans, Sam and Dean's biggest threat. Meanwhile, Bobby (Jim Beaver) died and became a vengeful spirit before finally being put to rest. Plus, Sam was left all alone when Dean and Cas wound up in Purgatory, and Crowley (Mark Sheppard) abducted Kevin (Osric Chau) and Meg (Rachel Miner). It was all too much for the youngest Winchester, who decided to quit the hunting game. Yeah, not a fun season.
For a season that included Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) possessing a rock star named Vince Vincente (played by Rick Springfield), Season 12 was pretty dull. Sam and Dean returned to form, hunting monsters of the week alongside their mother, Mary (Samantha Smith), who'd been resurrected, and even took on a group of Nazi necromancers trying to resurrect Adolph Hitler. But it all sort of meshed together. Despite the lack of excitement, however, this season also gave us the birth of Jack, the Nephilim son of Lucifer and human Kelly Kline (Courtney Ford), who turned Cas into a surrogate dad. So there's that.
We hate to see Sam and Dean fight, which is why this season ranks so low on the list. The aftermath of Sam trying to close the gates of Hell resulted in him nearly dying, leading to Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) taking possession of his body. Taking control of Sam, Ezekiel killed Kevin, and the fallout left Sam and Dean's relationship strained as they grieved over their fallen friend. It was also the season in which Dean went straight-up evil, thanks to the Mark of Cain, and turned into a bloodthirsty killer with super strength. After he was stabbed in the heart by Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), Crowley resurrected him as a demon, an unsatisfactory ending to a tumultuous season.
Season 10 improved over Season 9 with the introduction of Rowena (Ruth Connell), Crowley's powerful witch mother whose lively spirit made her an interesting villain (or ally, depending on the day) to watch. The stakes were high for Sam, who searched for his missing brother while a weakened Cas faced a grim future as his grace slowly drained from his vessel. Sam and Dean eventually reunited, but Dean, still bearing the Mark of Cain, endured the consequences, which included an insatiable lust for killing and uncontrollable rage. He was forced to fight Sam to the death, and the season delivered an epic brother moment when Dean chose to kill Death (Julian Richings) instead of his brother. Oh, and Rowena eventually removed the Mark, but Cas was left under a dog-attack spell that made him more dangerous than ever.
This season doesn't get enough credit for how decent it actually was. Sure, Sam and Dean fought over their less-than-savory choices — Dean was upset Sam retired from hunting, and Sam was not cool with Dean letting a vampire live — but it also gave us the unlikely team-up of the Winchesters and Crowley while introducing us to the Men of Letters, which breathed new life into the show. Plus, the season ender, in which Sam, Dean, Cas, Kevin, and Crowley watched helplessly as angels fell from Heaven, was as breathtaking as it was unforgettable.
At best, this was a middle-of-the-road season full of episodes that all seemed to blend together. However, it delivered several memorable ones, including "Baby," which took place entirely from the perspective of the Impala. It's also the season we first met the reaper Billie (Lisa Berry), who dropped an ominous warning on Sam and Dean: The next time they die, she'll send them to the Big Empty, an endless void of nothingness. With Cas still under an attack spell, the Winchesters turned to Rowena to remove it, which she eventually did. But the season went out with a bang when Cas found himself banished and Sam was shot, his fate left unknown. On the plus side, Dean was gifted his resurrected mother, Mary, after convincing Amara (Emily Swallow) to leave Earth instead of destroying it. Oh, and the show finally, officially, 100 percent confirmed that Chuck was God.
This season had a lot going on. On one hand, Dean was living a normal life away from demon hunting, and Sam teamed up with their grandfather Samuel (Mitch Pileggi), who was actually working for Crowley. Meanwhile, Cas was stuck dealing with a civil war in Heaven thanks to the archangel Raphael (Demore Barnes), who planned to free Michael and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and start the apocalypse. We were also introduced to a soulless Sam, who came back from Hell a different person and committed some heinous acts, like attempting to kill Bobby. On the other hand, this season delivered one of the show's most memorable episodes, "The French Mistake," which found Sam and Dean thrown into an alternate universe in which they were known as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, actors on a TV show called Supernatural. Meta, right?
In Season 13, the Supernatural family expanded to include Jack and Kelly Kline. We saw a different side of Sam, who took the young Nephilim under his wing as Cas was lost in the Big Empty. Plus, the show traveled to an apocalyptic universe where we got to see some familiar characters, albeit as alternate versions. It was also the season that delivered "Scoobynatural," the epic animated crossover between Supernatural and Scooby-Doo, automatically ensuring a higher place on this list. This was really a season of experimentation, as the show also tried to launch the spin-off Wayward Sisters.
Season 14 took the show into uncharted territory as Apocalypse Word Michael (Christian Keyes) possessed Dean for an extended period of time, forcing a bearded Sam to step up as the sole leader of the pack. We got to see a new side of Dean, who fought for control of his body while the menacing archangel waged war against the Winchesters in that snappy tweed suit and newsboy hat. Season 14 was also a season of introspection for the show's ever-evolving characters, like Jack, who grappled first with life as a powerless being and later as an extremely powerful being going through an identity crisis. Plus, this season saw Supernatural ring in its milestone 300th episode with a poignant hour that featured John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) returning to offer up much-needed closure for Sam and Dean, who were finally able to unload some of the personal baggage they've been lugging around for three decades. Season 14 laid the groundwork for a spectacular last ride with consistently strong episodes, complex character work, and a game-changing season finale that will go down as one of the show's strongest.
Before Sam and Dean were ass-kicking demon hunters, they were part of a normal, happy family. However, their lives were forever changed when their mother Mary was murdered by a demon, leading their father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) on a never-ending quest to find his wife's killer. Kicking off with the brothers reuniting to find their missing father, Season 1 explored their relationship and how that deep brotherhood was formed. Utilizing the monster-of-the-week format, this first season was exciting and dark and bold. The season wrapped on a huge shocker, with Sam and Dean rescuing their father only to wind up in a car wreck.
Building upon the strong first season, Season 2 was when we saw the show really start to become the juggernaut we know today. With their father dead, the boys teamed up with John's friend Bobby, who would eventually become their surrogate father. This season was also notable because it marked the first time one of the brothers died; Sam was fatally stabbed and died in Dean's arms, which was a real gut punch. In an effort to save his brother, Dean sold his soul to a crossroads demon and had one year before it collected on its offer.
The writers' strike of 2007 cut this season from 22 episodes to 16, leading to a disjointed but fun season. Delivering memorable episodes like "Mystery Spot," in which Sam was forced to watch Dean die over and over again, and "Ghostfacers," in which the Winchesters ran into wannabe ghost hunters, Season 3 proved the show wasn't afraid to step out of the box and have a little fun. The season also delivered one of the show's most heartbreaking and iconic finales with "No Rest for the Wicked," which featured all the Sam and Dean angst your heart could handle.
Where do we start with this one? It's the season that really expanded Supernatural's mythology beyond horror folklore to include angels and the idea that God actually exists. It's also the season in which we met the angel Castiel, who rescued Dean from Hell and would go on to become the Winchesters' extended family. Plus, it featured a compelling overarching story as Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Bobby united to take down Lillith (Katherine Boecher), who planned to free Lucifer from his cage. It was also the first time we saw Sam really go off the rails after drinking demon blood in order to get strong enough to defeat the enemy, which backfired when he started becoming a different, less likable person.
By the time Supernatural had reached Season 5, it had already figured out what it wanted to be; therefore, it could really stretch its legs with a grand story that included end-of-the-world stakes on an entirely different level. With Lucifer unleashed, Sam and Dean faced a new enemy who turned out to be surprisingly likable thanks to some funny one-liners and Mark Pellegrino's brilliant turn as a truly formidable, complex foe. Sam and Dean were up against their biggest threat to date as Lucifer was hell-bent on destroying the human race via the Four Horsemen. This season also delivered a satisfying finale that could have served as a series finale if The CW had pulled the plug, with Sam and Dean winning the epic battle and Dean deciding to retire and live a normal life.
Supernatural's series finale airs Thursday, Nov. 19 at 9/8c on The CW. An hour-long retrospective, Supernatural: The Long Road Home, will air prior at 8/7c.
In honor of Supernatural coming to an end after 15 seasons, TV Guide presents Winchester Week, a celebration of Sam, Dean, and the entire SPN Family. Find out how the stars feel about saying goodbye, look back on the best episodes and moments, and join us in sending the Winchesters off in style.