Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Hello Reader!  This week, I'm going on a Supernatural binge.  Both on this blog AND my other blog.  Yes, I have two blogs.  Supernatural is a television show on the CW that has been going on for five years now.  Count that, FIVE years.  Yes many of you will say: it's just two pretty boy, white-trash brothers gallivanting across America trying to kill a couple boogeymen.  And it kind of is just that.  Except the show has humor, cleverness, is self-referential without being preachy, and a beyond stellar recurring theme: free will is great, but it also has its consequences.

But the one thing that Supernatural does that I'm most in awe with is make the surreal wholly bland, and the bland a part of elegant drama, possessing a beauty wholly ethereal.  There's a good reason why I say this.  Take for example the episode "Hammer of the Gods" just this past season.  Despite its clunky mythology surrounding Odin, Shiva, etc. the show managed to do something brilliant: explain why humans are better than angels.  Without being cliche, melodramatic, or preachy in any way!

Forgive me for the bad quality.  On the left is Gabriel, on the right is Lucifer.  They're brothers and they're discussing how Dad, i.e. God (swt), loves Humans more than Angels.  And how God is right.  "Damn right they're flawed," Gabriel says, "But a lot of them try...and you should see the Spearmint Rhino!"  How beautiful is that?  That reference to the strip club is brilliant, underplaying the soft sad music hitting us over the head in the background.  And it balances the dark theme with an airy tone that alleviates some of the tension.

Am I getting ahead of myself in describing this show?  Absolutely.  It's a popular, mainstream TV show on the CW.  THE CW!  Home to such scions of civilization as Smallville, Gossip Girl, and The Vampire Diaries.  Yet somehow, despite the trappings of popularity that shackle it, Supernatural soars above everything else on the boobtube.  The last episode wasn't incredible just because it asks the audience what the nature of God (swt) is and never answers the question.  The season finale was frikkin' awesome mainly because the goofiness that makes the show unique remained intact.  It carried the finale away from the apoplectic storyline to a place of common humanity that we could all relate to.  Case in point: an Angel calls an Archangel an assbutt.

Why is this important to me though?  Why is this goofiness so crucial that I'm dedicating both of my blogs to this one television show?  Because I want to write Supernatural.  I want to so badly depict surreal situations populated with real characters whose flaws make them who they are, and have far running consequences.  Is that too much to ask?  I do not think so.

In fact, I think it's what every science fiction novel should strive for.  You can read my rant about science fiction here, but in general there are so many problems with the way the genre has been written over the past fifty years I can't just relegate them all to one post.  So I didn't, and a little bit of my ire has leaked into this post.  Speaking in a blanket manner, science fiction has become more a contest of who can create better, more scientifically accurate worlds than the other.  Authors have pried themselves away from what makes any and all stories good: the humanity of it all.

Flaws are rich pools for diversity to be created and maintained, for plots to develop and push forward, and for characters to interact with each other in both heartbreaking and uplifting ways.  Take those flaws away from us humans, and we're just like the angels:

Following destiny like dogs, never forgiving, never learning.  We all know that isn't human.  We all know that doesn't make for a very compelling story.  And that's the kicker: I'm still astonished that a show I started watching just last November has taught and inspired me so much in terms of my writing.  Both Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica are huge influences on me (more on Battlestar next week).  But what Supernatural does, and what Battlestar sometimes didn't, was give weight to each character through their flaws.  Dean Winchester confronts Satan, pictured above, and Michael, the one Archangel powerful enough to kick Beelzebub's ass, while playing "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard.  Goofy?  Stupid?  Reckless?  Unnecessary?  No, none of those.  That's Dean Winchester.

I want people to say that about my characters, about my story.  Briok just broke out into a fit of rage because someone yelled at him?  Was that childish?  Overdramatic?  Unnecessary?  No, that was Briok being Briok.  Can I get there?  Bakhayr, maybe.  Even if I don't though, I'd still be happy with myself.  Because I tried my very best to emulate a show like Supernatural, to paint a portrait of humans fighting aliens without pretension and heavy-handedness.  To tell a story, pure and simple.  Until next time then.

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