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SUPERNATURAL:
THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

If you’ve never caught an episode of SUPERNATURAL, the series is cool, creepy hip, and freaky. While the series concept borrows from other sources, it does it all so well and so effortlessly, that SUPERNATURAL comes off as fresh, original and totally fun. Just to give you an idea of what I mean by borrowing from other sources, SUPERNATURAL is sort of like if THE HARDY BOYS were nurtured on MELROSE PLACE, before taking a detour into THE X-FILES, then hooking up with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER.

The basic premise of SUPERNATURAL follows estranged brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) who are reunited when their father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) disappears while on a hunting trip. Of course, their father John was on no ordinary hunting trip… As it turns out, something supernatural killed the boys’ mother, when Sam was just a baby and Dean was only a few years older. So, for the last twenty-two years, John has been hunting for whatever killed Sam and Dean’s mother, while at the same time, destroying every other supernatural beastie that he and the boys encountered along the way.

As the series opens, we learn that Sam has tried to make a normal life for himself by leaving his father and brother behind to attend college. Sam is just about to get into law school, when Dean shows up on his doorstep needing Sam’s help to locate their missing father. Although Sam is disinclined to leave his new life behind, tragic circumstances force his hand and he joins Dean on the road to find their missing father and take down whatever supernatural beastie they encounter.

SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($50) comes to Blu-ray in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were aired in the show’s freshman year: Pilot, Wendigo, Dead In The Water, Phantom Traveler, Bloody Mary, Skin, Hook Man, Bugs, Home, Asylum, Scarecrow, Faith, Route 666, Nightmare, The Benders, Shadow, Hell House, Something Wicked, Provenance, Dead Man's Blood, Salvation and Devil's Trap.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-two episodes from SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Season one looked great on DVD, but the 1080p presentations on Blu-ray, really just blow standard definition out of the water. Other than some mild softness that creeps into occasional shots, primarily those with some sort of postproduction work, the image appears sharp and very nicely defined. The show also includes some visually stylized elements, which can also introduce a tiny bit of softness. Colors generally appear at a natural level of saturation, but SUPERNATURAL does feature moments where hues are de-saturated to add to the creepiness factor. Blacks are deep, whites are clean and contrast has been given a stylistic push. Shadow detail is very good for a television level production. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear very clean. Grain/noise is noticeable, but generally mild.

All the episodes that comprise SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. Once again, I would have preferred lossless soundtracks, but the standard Dolby Digital is fairly effective. This is a better than a typical television caliber mix, but its production level origins are undeniable. As expected, the episode sound designs are front-loaded. However, the sound mixes that do deliver more than their fair share of directional effects, especially across the front. The rear channels provide mild ambient reinforcement, as well as occasional active effects and musical fill. Fidelity is respectable where the musical component is concerned and the sound effects are fairly convincing. Dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand. French, Spanish, German and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Dutch, German, Danish, Finnish, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials. Running Audio Commentaries have been provided for the episodes Pilot (creator Eric Kripke, director David Nutter & producer Peter Johnson) and Phantom Traveler (actors Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles). Unaired/Extended Scenes are provided for the following episodes: Pilot, Wendigo, Phantom Traveler, Hook Man, Home, Scarecrow, Faith and Nightmare. Supernatural: Tales From The Edge Of Darkness is a twenty-one minute look at the creation of the series. Day In The Life Of Jared And Jensen clocks in at ten minutes and follows the two stars through a day on the set. A Gag Reel and an interactive trip guide The Devil’s Roadmap close out the supplements.

SUPERNATURAL is everything a horror genre series should be: smart, scary and fun. The Blu-ray release offers a terrific visual upgrade over standard definition. If you are a fan, you’ll want to add SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON to your hi-def collection. Highly recommended.

 

SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 


Supernatural: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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