Supernatural: The Complete Series

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/25/21;
Warner;
Fantasy;
$329.99 86-DVD set, $359.99 58-disc Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Katie Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Mark A. Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, Jim Beaver, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samantha Smith, Adrianne Palicki, Kathryn Newton, DJ Qualls, Felicia Day, Osric Chau, Lauren Tom, Alaina Huffman, Courtney Ford, Sterling K. Brown, Kurt Fuller, Curtis Armstrong, Ruth Connell.

It may be a cliché to say they don’t make ’em like they used to, but it’s an idiom that certainly applies in the case of “Supernatural.”

The series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who spend the show traveling the country in a black 1967 Impala hunting monsters, demons, ghosts and other supernatural beings. Their quest to find their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and find their mothers’ killer introduces them to a wider world of demon hunters, magic and divine beings who hold the fate of reality in their hands. At one point, the characters even become animated for a crossover with Scooby-Doo (in season 13).

Running an amazing 15 seasons and 327 episodes, the series began in 2005 on the old WB network, its last year before it merged with UPN to become what’s now known as The CW. Airing on the lowest rung of the network ladder certainly helped it flourish, as it became the longest-running American sci-fi/fantasy TV series in history with its 11th season, surpassing WB/CW sister series “Smallville,” which had run for 10 seasons and 217 episode, outpacing another 10-season sci-fi series, “Stargate SG-1,” by three episodes. The British side of the genre has produced “Doctor Who,” of course, with separate runs of 26 and 12 seasons (and an upcoming 13th), but with shorter episode lengths in the classic era and fewer episodes per season in the modern.

That’s the kind of output the TV industry just isn’t interested in sustaining anymore, beyond the handful of legacy procedurals that are sticking around on the networks. Between cable and streamers and the short attention spans of audiences, three- to four-season runs of 10 episodes apiece are much more the norm now.

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The massive complete-series Blu-ray disc set efficiently repackages all the previously released individual season sets, as well as the new 15th and final season set, and all the bonus material that entails.

The set comes in the form of a handsome outer box housing seven thick Blu-ray cases, packed two seasons per case, except for the seventh case which contains the final three seasons. Each of the first six cases house eight discs (except for case two, which has seven discs for seasons three and four), while case seven has 10 discs in total. This distribution pattern left no room for the season 15 bonus disc, which is instead housed in its own separate cardboard sleave at the end of the stack, alongside a booklet containing an episode guide, photos from the series, production artwork, and notes to the fans from series creator Eric Kripke and executive producer Robert Singer.

It’s a slightly awkward configuration but seemingly unavoidable without either splitting up one of the seasons into two separate cases, inventing an 11-disc case, or putting the four discs of season 15 in its own case and making the overall box bigger. All in all it’s just a minor infringement on any OCD some fans or collectors might have.

Among the extras on that final disc are a featurette about the series finale, a documentary about the show’s strong themes of family, and a look at the Winchesters as American heroes in the vein of folklore archetypes. There’s also a gag reel, a retrospective of all 15 seasons, and highlights from the show’s 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel, which due to COVID-19 canceling the 2020 event turned out to be the show’s last.

In the final extra, a lucky fan wins a replica of the show’s iconic Impala.

The set does not include Supernatural: The Anime Series, which was released on Blu-ray in 2011.

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