The Sickboy Syndrome Strikes Supernatural!

Monday , 29, May 2017 37 Comments

John Winchester and sons.

What is it that makes awesome things start to suck? Star Wars, Star Trek, Western Civilization…

I mean, there’s the Sickboy Theory—“At one time, you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever.”—but that’s a mere description, not a cause, and it refers to people, not TV series or movie franchises. Though, given the example of the James Bond films—wherein the new Casino Royale is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory—you could certainly argue it applies to them as well. Which doesn’t bode well at all for Supernatural.

Supernatural started off as a monster-of-the-week TV show about two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) using their father’s diary to hunt down monsters and kill them. Its quality varied from episode to episode, but the byplay between the brothers, the variety and quality of the monsters, and the steadily increasing stakes season to season kept it interesting and even compelling. Starting as a couple of scruffy-looking monster killers of no particular note, the two brothers gradually became the focal point of the war between Heaven and Hell, and eventually the leading figures in the End of the World battle between Good and Evil.

Then the show was supposed to end. The creator, Eric Kripke, had finished the tale he meant to tell. The Apocalypse had been averted, Lucifer was again banished, and Good triumphed over Evil. Finit.

Enter the network, of course. Ratings had increased through Seasons 4 and 5 (corresponding to more dramatic shows as the Apocalypse neared), so the CW decided to renew the show for a Season 6. And 7. Also 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. And things got stupid.

Instead of new monsters—dug out of actual local folklore, traditional myths, and urban legends—the show focused on stuff the writers or showrunners just made up (meaning they tended to be less colorful and interesting than the creatures plundered from outside sources) or fan favorites from past seasons (mixing and remixing the same ingredients in slightly different ways). And when even THOSE rewarmed leftovers became too bland, they resorted to sheer stupidity.

The Wizard of Oz made a couple of appearances. So did the Stynes, an entire family of Frankenstein’s Monsters (that is to say, normal humans who steal body parts and use them like Street Samurai use cyberware, and are wealthier than the Rothschilds and more powerful and connected than the Illuminati). The Mother of Monsters, who created all the evil creatures that bedevil the world, was an unremarkable 20-year-old hot chick, not imposing or impressive at all (wasting what could have been an absolutely TERRIFYING character). And God’s older sister, “The Darkness”, even made an appearance as the 11th Season’s Big Bad.

Stupid as these sound, none of them—NONE—top the utter idiocy that was Season 7’s Leviathans.

Back in the deep mists of time, after God kicked his big sister out of Creation, but before he made anything else, he created the first things, the Leviathans. These things were so voracious, so ferocious, so totally horrifying that they would consume all else He created, so God made Purgatory and locked them away, forever.

Through a series of events both silly and tedious, the Leviathans were unleashed upon the world. Originally appearing as black goo, they entered the water and, when drunk, took possession of people’s bodies. They were tough, superhumanly strong, and absolutely unkillable, until the brothers Winchester discovered their weakness: Borax. Borax, or sodium borate, a key ingredient in pretty much every cleanser ever.

Yes, the primordial monsters, the first beings ever, predating angels, humans, demons, and everything else, beings that God himself found too voracious and ferocious to allow to run free, could be killed by dumping laundry detergent, floor cleanser, or gritty low-quality gas station bathroom hand soap on them. It just melted them away. Soap.

How utterly terrifying.


In their native form, the Leviathans were all mouth and they ate and ate and ate. The ultimate punishment among their kind was “bibbing”. They gave the Leviathan a bib, and he ate himself until nothing was left. No, that’s not an exaggeration.

The worst, most terrifying figures in all the show’s lore, the most ancient and primordial monsters from before the Dawn of Time itself, creatures everything else feared, and this is what we got. “Bibbing.”

What made it all worse was the political commentary. Leviathans were, at different times, used to satirize consumerist culture (because they consume everything, get it?), corporate evily evilness, and “OMG FAT AMERICANS EATS SO MUCH AND AIN’T THEY DISGUSTING AND FAT!”

Season 7 was long and painful. It wasn’t so much the show jumping the shark, or even being thrown to the sharks, as it was the show putting on a bib and eating itself until there was nothing left.

The post-Season-7 episodes haven’t ever been that bad, but that’s because the show has largely turned away from introducing anything new, instead preferring to focus on fan favorites: more Crowley, more Castiel, more angels and demons and yadda yadda yadda. Supernatural has ceased being original, and become its own self-referential fan-fiction.

Not only is this warmed-over garbage boring, it ruins what used to be great about the series. Demon King of Hell Crowley was a great character when he was ruthless, successful, and rarely seen. Since becoming a series mainstay, he’s become a self-pitying and codependent loser. He who used to strike terror into the hearts of all he met has been reduced to a sidekick and lapdog, openly crying in his beer because his man-crush on Dean isn’t reciprocated. It’s disgusting.

All this isn’t to say that they didn’t have good, or even great episodes scattered here and there through the post-Season-5 episodes. They did (the Imaginary Friends episode, S11E08 is especially noteworthy), but these were few and far between, and the necessity of trudging through a bunch of dreary crap to find the increasingly rare good ones tended to drain even them of some of their spark and luster.

Not everything is meant to last forever. There’s something to be said for going out on a high note, instead of lingering on in mediocrity. At one point Supernatural had it, but it’s lost it, and it’ll never get it back.

No matter how many times they bring back Bobby.

Jasyn Jones, better known as Daddy Warpig, is a host on the Geek Gab podcast, a regular on the Superversive SF livestreams, and blogs at Daddy Warpig’s House of Geekery. Check him out on Twitter.

  • Ostar says:

    Tolkien had the right idea – he briefly started a sequel to LOTR (The New Shadow) but stopped, because it was “not worth doing”. To many initially successful projects in literature and media should take his advice.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    Never seen this show, but now…I dunno, maybe I need to watch those first five seasons.

    • NARoberts says:

      Maybe. The elements of silliness were already creeping in by then though.

      I actually watched up to the beginning of season five itself (I think it was five). But during that period the main duo was split up. The folks on here saying that the show is about the relationship are pretty much right. With the brothers at odds with each other and going their separate ways, my attention was lost. The story really wasn’t much without their interactions. The fact that I was sure I knew exactly how the season’s scenario would play out it advance didn’t help. Never went back to see if I was right either.

      • NARoberts says:

        Oh! And another horribly fatiguing thing about the show was that the villains seemed to constantly succeed at intimidating or blackmailing the leads. Every damn time the villain would go “Do this thing or your brother will die,” you know they will go right along with it, whingeing all the way, even if the thing will have horrible consequences. I don’t know how many times it happened, but I felt the strain of weakness/selfishness on the part of the leads running through entire seasons.

  • Tyr says:

    I totally gave up on the show when the writers, for no apparent reason other than to score SJW points, decided to shit on H.P. Lovecraft.

    They even went to so far as to say he was a terrible writer as the punchline after a sympathetic character confessed to having murdered him. I was willing to give the semi-literate morons responsible for the show a pass for what I considered a dumb, but fun, show up to that point.

    • Jeffro says:

      Okay, that makes me mad right there.

      • Tyr says:

        It’s especially galling given the low level of writing and the utter lack creativity on the show. Even the first few seasons disappointed with unimaginative creature designs and hackneyed stories.

        Of course, we all know what Lovecraft was guilty of, and it wasn’t being a bad wordsmith.

  • Brenda says:

    Well I have to say I have always been a fan of Supernatural. After reading your review , I understand where you are coming from and I agree there are episodes and seasons I have enjoyed more than others. Taking an objective look at the overall program, there are a few things that make this TV series such an outstanding success.
    I would have to say the producers and directors as well as screen writers play a vital role in bringing the story to life and presenting a very well put together plot and weaving in just the right amount of suspense and family drama.
    Most importantly I believe are the relationships the cast and crew have formed off stage as well as on. That seems to be evident in their performances and there is definitely a familiarity (family) atmosphere here that is very appealing to the fans.
    There is something very unique about this and I don’t think your going to see this go away very soon. Its not about what monsters or folk lore or what you call “stupidity” characters or monsters showing up. It would’nt matter to the fans.
    Nothing lasts forever I agree but I do hope it does a few more seasons before it goes gently into the night.

  • Andy says:

    I checked out on the show after season 4, I think. I just wasn’t finding the apocalypse storyline interesting at all and even then the show seemed to be getting more self-indulgent. Even my wife kept asking, “What’s up with them taking their shirts off all the time now?”

  • Winnie says:

    Say what you want to say,but don’t try to take the experience we as fan have love from the show. Yes the show was schedule to end but when you have a fan base as enormous as Supernatural have. We wanted more and they delivered. There are many different shows that Supernatural seen come and go and I think one or two of your show didn’t get the attention that Supernatural got so what’s the next course of action. Write a bad review. PLEASE don’t be a hater and for you people that haven’t seen the show. Don’t knock it to you try it.

  • Captain says:

    If you don’t like a show that’s your right but don’t fucking try to ruin it for those of who do love the fucking show we like what we like y’all like what y’all like everybody doesn’t have to have a fuckin opinion get over yourself

  • Eliza says:

    It’s a fun show.FUN.One can either watch the news or Supernatural.I choose Supernatural,leviathens, werewolves,and all

  • Eliza says:

    Its a fun show. FUN. I can either watch the news or Supernatural and I choose Supernatural to take me away from reality for an hour each week, Leviathens and all…

  • Norvis says:

    I checked out at the end of season 5. It was getting to ve a bit of drudgery for even at that point. Sounds like I made the right decision for me.

  • Lilly says:

    I’m pretty sure this writer wrote this piece just to get a rise out of Supernatural fans by being an all around ass. This past season shows everyone there is a lot more life in this underrated, entertaining and brilliant show. Long live the Winchesters.

  • Petra Wilson says:

    Wow. So much negative about the show. Do you know how many fans this show has and the love the fans love Jared and Jensen. Some episodes are better than others but season 13 starts soon and I’m looking forears to it.

  • Gloria S says:

    I love it, the great episodes and the less than great episodes. I am not the “target” audience, I am 58 and my husband is 62. It’s funny, sad, and it has to do with family and people who are like family. I’ll watch it until it ends. They lost Mark Sheppard this season which is so sad. I think it’s an amazing show.

  • Anthony M says:

    Someday alerted a “Supernatural” fan forum to your presence, it seems.

  • Dee says:

    The show is as fun for.its fans as it ever was you horses Ass

  • Ann B. says:

    Im 53 and my husband is 55. Not the target audience but we love this show!! This show is such fun! The boys are fun, the villians are fun and the stories are meant to be enjoyed!! Its about family and good v evil. We look forward to Sam and Dean every week! Schedule our activities around the show!!

  • Tyr says:

    Hahahaha! Good grief! I knew that the show had grown increasingly moronic, but I had no idea that it had sunk to such depths of stupidity:

    Oddly enough, a face consisting of only a huge mouth is exactly how I picture the mouth-breathers defending this garbage to look.

    • NARoberts says:

      After hearing about the Leviathans online I was stupidly expecting something awesome–Creatures like Sin from FFX. Oh well. Also I knew it had turned into “self-referential fanfiction,” but this is sillier than I even imagined.

      …Actually, no, they announced an animated Scooby-Doo Supernatural crossover for next season just a week or so back. Nothing could surprise me now.

  • Man of the Atom says:


    Not everyone has to *just lurrrve* your favorite show, snowflakes!

    Might need an exorcism or two here, DWP!

    Don’t step in the pea soup, folks!

  • Eli says:

    I have to laugh at all the comments from the crazed fandom coming from the shadows to defend their show. Get a grip. It’s alright to like garbage shows/movies people. There is a place for b-movies and that’s essentially what this show is. Of course I also noticed that no one actually is debating what he said. Insults and fanaticism/worship over a show.

  • Geoarrge says:

    Part of it is simple rent-seeking. Once you build a franchise the temptation is always going to be there, to do the minimum work necessary to keep cashing in. Human nature.

    The other factor that wouldn’t be purely due to simple human nature, might be that the prevailing model of corporate law makes it difficult to give the cow a break before you milk it to death.

  • Blaine says:

    It is what it is, I love the show myself…I agree that the Leviathans were a low point, but since then you’ve had remarkeable stories and episodes. The mark of Cain, Demon Dean, and one of my personal favorites, season 11 episode 4, “Baby” a story shown from the perspective of the “other” Winchester, one 1967 Impala named Baby and on and on…sure, there have been hit or miss…but it really is about the fandom, the characters, family and the fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is reportedly coming back next season…don’t know how they’re going to pull that one off…but like I said, it is what it is, I can see both sides here\m/

  • The Marble Man says:

    Did the Supernatural fan club just discover Castalia House, or is it one angry person writing these nonsensical comments?

  • Desiree Brackin says:

    Supernatural forever..and I’m 50.. it’s nice to have asl show to escape in and the guys aren’t to bad to look at! This past season was like a new beginning can’t wait to see #13

  • David says:

    Well, the Supernatural fans did answer one question very well…why this show has lasted for so many seasons. They keep tuning in.

    While I have never watched more than a few episodes of the show, I can see why people would love the two brothers and keep coming back each season, the show and characters are like comfort food.

    I actually like the two actors who play the brothers and wish the show would end so I could see them do something else that might hold more interest for me. They both have the size and looks to play a Marvel or DC superhero in a movie.

    • A. Nonymous says:

      Jensen Ackles voided Jason Todd in one of those innumerable DC direct-to-video animated films, so perhaps you’re on to something there.

      • Andy says:

        Ackles apparently auditioned for Captain America but I think the potential conflicts with his TV schedule killed his chances for getting the part.

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