The title of the television series is simple and to the point: Supernatural. Over the last month, I've sat in dimly lit rooms (sorry, I understand it's a cliche) and watched Season One of the show. For the first time, our house was on the same episode. Last night, Pat came over with the rest of my housemates and we watched the first three episodes of Season Two.
Jump, shift, catch my breath - I confess to tensing up and allowing the show to surprise me. One of its greatest strengths is its main characters, Sam and Dean Winchester. They are brothers hoping broadly to conquer evil, town by town, and narrowly to avenge the death of their mother and Sam's girlfriend, who both fell victim to the same demon. They also seek the approval of their absentee, demon-hunting father, who purposefully evades them because he perceives his tenderness for them as a weakness on the supernatural battlefield.
Sam and Dean gain depth as the season progresses. Plus, the ghosts and evil they face seem to motivate their personal introspection and growth: what exactly do they hope to accomplish? They are not only charismatic, but able to empathize with the tragedy in other people's lives. In dealing with loss and pain, they still believe in good. Despite the demons and vampires, the story still contains normal moments, jokes about musical taste and girls. You begin to feel like you connect somehow with Sam or Dean or both. So, during an episode, as you're creeped out by a vengeful, child ghost with barber shears, you wonder not only how Sam will escape death, but also how he's dealing with the loss of his girlfriend, friends, and school. Sam and Dean never have a complete victory since you can bet your bottom dollar that the evil will come out tomorrow.
Each episode from the first season invites you into a horror story. The series starts off giving urban legends a twist. Some junior high girls are playing truth or dare at a slumber party. One of them accepts a dare to say Bloody Mary three times into a mirror. What could happen? Cut to a funeral. Scene change. A young, blonde, sorority girl stiffly stares into a mirror and sees her image shake its head in reproach. Bloody Mary crawls out of the mirror in dark clothing that matches her dark intent. Bloody Mary attacks in vengeance, judging her victims harshly based on their feelings of guilt rather than their intent to hurt anyone. Since the old saying goes that a person's spirit shines in his/her eyes, Bloody Mary claws her victim's eyes out. Understanding the value of leaving some things to the imagination, the clawing happens off screen.
Anyway, I watched the episodes right before bed. Sometimes, I have some pretty intense nightmares and, sometimes, sleep just does not come to bed. I end up laying there meditating in that frayed state of wired exhaustion. Do more people have vivid, complicated nightmares since the advent of mysterious, surreal, or graphic horror stories on screen? Last night, though, I fell quickly asleep and dreamed about magical, flying bunnies competing with an Abraham Lincoln look-alike in building houses by a river. For now, Supernatural is staying out of my dreams.