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May 25 2011

Why Supernatural season 6 was kind of like Buffy season 6. io9's Charlie Jane Anders points the similarities. Spoilers for last Friday's Supernatural finale.

Buffy and Supernatural - two of my favorite TV shows ever! Interesting article. I never thought about the similarities so it's nice to read an article written by someone who did.
Another one: in both shows, the 6th was arguably the weakest except the first.
Or arguably the best, opinions do vary.
Right, that's obviously true. I just think that the "both are worst" parallel is particularly interesting here because the same reasons could be given for both shows.

SuperBuffy S1: Too campy and Monster of the Week-y at the expense of the seasonal arc.

SuperBuffy S6: Too dreary, inconsistent characterization, on unsure footing after the major events of the last season (as Anders points out).

I'm not saying that you have to agree with those positions, but for those who do, the parallels are intriguing.
I loved S6 of Buffy and I have also really enjoyed Supernatural's, but Buffy's is far superior in my opinion, I loved the darker direction that season took, it was great to see the characters driven to hell and back.

I also found the finale to be a lot more rewarding.
I agree with you, Winchester - both were good, but Buffy's was significantly better. Supernatural tried to do too much, and its misdirection - the Mother - was way less interesting than the Trio.

This is also a means of qualifying my earlier remarks: when I say "worst" for Buffy (and to a lesser extent Supernatural), that's not even remotely close to saying "bad." Buffy was great throughout, but just better in some places than others.

[Supernatural spoilers in the black below.]

By the way, does anyone thinkCastiel was right and thinkthe Winchesters were wrong about whether Castiel's plan was a good idea?
Yes! I have been saying this for MONTHS! In fact, I think I posted on Buffyfest about how the S.5 Supernatch Finale was exactly like "The Gift". This season has been so "Buffy S.6", it's not even funny.

Now let's see if Supernatch can avoid going the S.7 Buffy route....that would make me very sad, indeed.
the parallels are intriguing.

The fandom parallels are intiguing.

Online battles regarding the female showrunner.
The focus of attention seemingly turning from the original cast to a once minor character who has now beome an essential part of the show.
Said character's passionate and loyal fanbase who aren't happy with the turn of certain events in season 6.
A cry from some fans to focus the seventh season back on the original core characters and its original premise.
A counter-cry from other fans to let the show develop.
Fans wondering about the input of the show's creator.
That's really clever metanalysis, Simon. I spend no time at all on Supernatural fan sites, so I had no idea until you pointed that out.
I loved Supernatural, but like Buffy I would have preferred it to go out with a bang at the end of season 5. I still watch it, but it isn't nearly as good as it was in the earlier seasons.
It is important to remember, however, that the best episode of the entire series Once More With Feeling was in Season 6 of Buffy.
I think that article is really reaching. The comparisons are weak at best. Both seasons are very different and both shows are very different.

I think Supernatural actually does some things better than Buffy. On Buffy, apocalypses are an everyday thing. On Supernatural, we had THE apocalypse as in, the BIBLICAL one and it was awesome! Supernatural also deals with BIG questions that Buffy didn't, like why god has abandoned the world and what's to be done about it. Buffy and Angel always shied away from religion. Supernatural USES it, even going so far as to use various world belief systems as part of its storylines. I love that.

I also love that Supernatural draws from urban legends, real life ghost stories, ghost hunting shows, real life legends about serial killers, classic horror movies and just about every supernatural thing in our culture while Buffy and Angel always just made stuff up. Supernatural is like taking an Occult Studies 101 class, which is part of its appeal for me. Also, Buffy and Angel had creepy moments, but many Supernatural episodes actually feel like mini-horror movies. It's featured many more genuinely scary stuff than Buffy did. Also, Supernatural has done meta better than just about any other show I've seen

I like Supernatural's sixth season. It's really the story of Castiel, who has actually become very much like our boy Angel and there are shades of Twilight in his season 6 storyline, but it's been handled MUCH better. We see why and how he has gone down this dark path and we see how it is a righteous one from his point of view
Except I loved season 6 of Buffy and can't even watch Supernatural anymore, whereas I used to be a fan.
That surprises me, Green Queen. To each his/her own, of course, but I really don't see much of a chance from last year to this one. I don't know that this was the strongest season of the show--to be honest, I'm kind of a big S1/S2 fan, more than anything--but I think it's at least been consistent.
I agree with both fandom and RL parallels! we don't know if we're kripked or jossed any more ;p

Castiel ;_; When I first saw the finale I was in shock/rage. How could they do that to our angel after everything that he has done! (and after such a sketchy season run...)

Then I rewatched it, twice - and, the two main endings we all thought were gonna happen but didn't pale in the face of this one. It could be the greatest thing or the worst thing (whatever it takes, HE IS FAMILY SO I AM BANKING ON THE WRITERS READING THEIR OWN WORDS) - the thing is we don't know until we see how they handle it next season. The long road ahead - we can have our original pie with development and no-longer-new character topping and be angst and merry...
I loved S6 Buffy, and liked S6 Supernatural quite a bit. There were parallels in the story arc of S6, but there was also a lot of dialogue lifted from Buffy. I can't remember specifics, because I actually never talk about Supernatural with other people - online or off - but in the last two episode of S6, there were lines of dialogue and certain scenes that seem to have been lifted from Buffy.

I don't think Supernatural is consistently as good as Buffy was. The worst episodes of Buffy were far better than half the episodes of Supernatural. I mainly watch the latter for Ben Edlund's episodes, because his writing is brilliant. The French Mistake (and pretty much anything BE has written) had me laughing as much as Jaynestown.
Supernatural is a weird case for me. I've never felt the writing was particularly stellar on either the micro or macro scale--even Edlund's episodes often don't work for me entirely--nor do I find the actors really fantastic. And yet somehow all of the elements work so well in conjunction with one another that I've ended up adoring it. I'm guessing a large part of it, for me, is that it has a lot of that old-school WB charm that I grew up with and loved so much, the sort of thing early Buffy had too (but then complemented with outstanding writing and such). I dunno, I feel like this will come off as me slamming the show, which I don't intend to. I honestly love Supernatural. I just have no idea why.

Oh, well, I have one idea: Castiel. Still, doesn't explain the first three and a half years.
Exactly Arkham258,

I couldn't believe I had gone through my life without knowing America had it's own Jack the Ripper, H.H. Holmes, who is thought to have murdered over 200 people during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. "No Exit," Season 2, episode 6, I thought for sure they had to be making it up, it was so unbelievable, and then I read "The Devil in the White City," excellent book by the way.

It amazed me how seamlessly they integrated Angels into the Supernatural mythology at the start of Season 4, though admittedly Misha Collin's performance was a big part of that.

Season 1 and Season 6 of Supernatural do kinda parallel each other, rocky start, but a solid second half and great finish.
I really enjoyed S6 of "Buffy," even though "Doublemeat Palace" would have been enough to make me stop watching almost any other show. I did notice a couple of whopping inconsistencies in "Supernatural," namely that Sam and Dean almost got killed a few zillion times due to Crowley and his minions, whereas it seems like if Castiel had simply gone to them in the first place and said, "Raphael still wants the apocalypse, here's my plan to stop it, can you help me?", he might have gotten cooperation. Castiel should have been *more* busy (and less able to take time to save Sam and Dean), not *less* busy, as the season went on. Of course, the really big parallel - Spike got one soul, Castiel got a bunch of souls. This has obviously wreaked changes in their personalities - in Spike, for the better, in Castiel, for the worse. Now, if Dean *really* viewed Castiel like a brother, he might have hit on a logical argument that could possibly have dissuaded Castiel - "If you do this, you won't be you any more. 1) I don't want to lose you and 2) who knows what you will do once you aren't you? If you stay you, we can fend off the apocalypse. If you don't stay you, you may cause one." I think he'd try that argument with Sam. Or maybe not, because logic is not always a strong suit here. My completely uneducated guess for next season is that Dean will have to prevail upon Death to reap Castiel - Death has said he'll eventually reap "god," so that's been set up - and/or Big-G God will finally put in an appearance.
I did wonder if Chuck the Prophet was actually God.
Dean *shouldn't* have dissuaded Castiel! Though this outcome is bad, sure, Rafael winning - the inevitable consequence of not-Castiel's plan - would have been infinitely worse. Sam and Dean could never have understood that (b/c Dean's deal + Ruby), but their failure to even try drove Castiel to what he became. There's no way he would have killed Balthazar if Balthazar hadn't been working with the boys behind Cas' back.

In fact, would Castiel even be driven this crazy by power if his support network hadn't abandoned him, teaching him that the only thing he can trust is his own power and efforts?

On the God question, the actor that plays Chuck seems to think so (at about the :50 mark):
The thing is, they showed us that Cass didn't want to disrupt Dean's new family life. So it makes sense that Cass didn't get Dean's help. Also, it's GOOD that Cass kept showing up to help the Winchesters despite fighting a war. It showed that Cass is a good man who wants to help his friends no matter how busy he is. It also showed how self-centered Dean has been to keep relying on Cass while showing no concern whatsoever for Castiel's war. This sets up the conflict between them in the last few episodes beautifully. It all made sense to me, especially when that other angel was furious as Dean for constantly pulling Cass away from more important matters

Also, Dean DID use those arguments you gave. They fell on deaf ears. I think a large part of that is because Dean has been kind of a jerk to Cass all season and given how many people have betrayed Cass since his introduction to the show, having Dean treat him like crap the moment he learned Cass was working with Crowley didn't help matters. It's all there in the finale, Cass says, "I have no family". Who HASN'T betrayed Cass? That angel who was his friend in season 5, the red haired angel who tried to kill Sam in that same season, Castiel's lieutenant who betrayed him when she found out he was working with Crowley, Balthazar, Rafael(who was his brother apparently), God himself, I mean EVERYONE. Crowley is the only one who I think HASN'T betrayed Cass, but ironically Cass betrayed him. So yeah, I can buy into Cass becoming a villain and clearly all the power from those souls is affecting his mind as well. Power corrupts as they say and this could be a subtle jab at the idea that the all powerful gods we see in world religions often seem corrupt as well, not to mention the crazy ones we see in Greek, Roman and Nordic mythology.

I don't see a parallel between Spike and Cass personally. Their stories are completely different and we're talking about a soulless vampire who got a soul for a woman he loves and an angel of heaven who is coping with the idea of fate not being set in stone and the idea of a universe with no God. I don't see how they are similar.

It's just my opinion, but I feel like people are really reaching to find those Buffy season 6 comparisons. It's like the really unrealistic comparisons I see people make between Fringe and Lost all the time. Those two shows have a crossover audience and Fringe has ties to Lost, but the shows and characters have been completely different. People generalize so much these days, but I guess it's fun to try and find parallels between our favorite shows
That's basically it, Arkham - it's fun (relatively speaking) and something to do. Some of the latest other stuff is the NBC and HBO comparisons - Community is Deadwood and Parks & Rec is The Wire. It's silly, but the parallels (mainly thematic) are intriguing.
Another parallel; Amber Benson got to play a corpse in both shows' S-6s. The only reason I almost don't want to watch anything with her in it anymore.
DaddyCatALSO, BOTH in exactly the same episode: #6.19

But she ROCKED the Lenore - I loved her character.

Oh, Cas.

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