Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, <EM>Supernatural</EM> Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Supernatural

Make no mistake, it's show time for those ghoul-bustin' brothers on WB's Supernatural (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET). Although well touted by fans and many critics, the dark li'l series now needs to prove itself more than ever in light of the announcement that come September, both WB and UPN will give up the ghost and be replaced by CW, a new channel offering the "best of" the two sixth networks. Do Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles' Sam and Dean have what it takes to make the cut? All eyes are on the back half of Supernatural's freshman season, which promises to scare up many more surprises and revelations pertaining to the series' mythology.

"We've already tackled the Hook Man, Bloody Mary and the Phantom Traveler," recounts Padalecki. "But there are still a great deal more spooky, unexplained urban legends that we are planning to explore."

For one and you have to imagine this is a major player in the underworld "we'll visit the Grim Reaper," Padalecki continues. "We'll also explore many varieties of the occult, and meet a young man who shares not only Sam's psychic abilities, but also the pain of losing his mother to a fire-starting demon [as the Winchester brothers did]."

Perhaps most frightening of all is the prospect that the bros' biggest foes may not be spectral. "We'll discover that things that go bump in the night aren't the only reasons to be afraid in this world," Padalecki promises.

As for the boys' search for their boogeyman-hunting begetter, Ackles says, "We'll get closer and closer to finding our father, whom you will learn a lot more about, and [you'll discover more] about our pasts, presents and futures."

Supernatural's precisely measured balance of unleashing shockers while keeping key secrets under wraps keeps its stars, like its audience, enrapt. "It's been fun growing along with these characters and learning more about their backstories," says Ackles. "[Series creator] Eric Kripke has been careful not to divulge too much too quickly, while giving viewers enough information to interest them in coming back for more."

But how much "more" will there be? Supernatural, like all but a handful of WB-UPN series, is left pondering its future in light of CW's announced arrival. Fans of the eerie serial can for now only take heart in the words of WB Entertainment president David Janollari, who was raving about its all-but-guaranteed longevity just days before the CW news hit. "The show continues to deliver compelling, scary episodes with state-of-the-art special effects while remaining, at its core, a series about two brothers' search for their father and their quest to find answers to the mysterious death of their mother," the exec noted. "It is delivering on the promise of the pilot, and we expect it to be on the WB for many, many years."

On the WB, he said. Sigh. Seldom has such a strong and assertive sentiment been rendered so tentative.