Even for a cult series, Supernatural is a rare beast, with the franchise as seemingly unkillable as the main protagonists.
Picking up exactly where we left them at the end of last season, Misha Collins has tremendous fun going off the deep end as angel Castiel, while Sam (Jared Padalecki) faces his own rather personal demons, and big brother Dean (Jensen Ackles) tries in vain to save the day.
A large part of the charm of Supernatural is the mix of light hearted episodes and heavy ongoing plots of angst and doom, not to mention the ridiculously attractive stars. Season 7 though leans largely towards the dark side, and the light touch of ‘The French Mistake’ is sorely missed. The liveliest characters of the strong supporting cast, Castiel and Bobby (Jim Beaver), are both missing for the bulk of the episodes, but while this does open up more potential for the Winchesters to enjoy episodic brotherly adventures, there are far more tears than joy.
Thankfully, Crowley (Mark Sheppard) and newcomer Garth (DJ Qualls), a fellow hunter with a very different approach, bring some much needed fun to proceedings, giving Ackles the opportunity to exercise his brilliant comic timing. James Patrick Stuart, as Dick Roman, leader of the Leviathans, has a truly terrifying dead eyes grin; half shark, half dentist. Hamming it up insanely, and providing the writers with all manner of material for dick jokes, Stuart is a consummate scene stealer.
Fantastic guest stars abound, from The Guild‘s Felicia Day and Firefly’s Jewel Staite, to a wonderful episode featuring a magical and maniacal couple, Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter.
In all, the playfulness and energy of previous years is a little lacking, however this season is not afraid to stab you directly in the feels, and this is heart wrenching stuff for a series with such a dedicated fanbase. A risk well taken on that front, but we’re hoping that the upcoming Season 8 remembers to laugh amongst the punches.