The End of the Road – A Wrap-Up on Supernatural and Fandom Culture
The hit show Supernatural is airing its final episode after fifteen years, so it is time to look back and see what impact it made on fan culture.
By Amy Smith
Credit: The CW
Back in 2005, Eric Kripke came up with a concept for a show, based on two brothers who go out and hunt creatures. Not just serial killers or murderers, but monsters. Zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, you name it. Never did anyone expect this little CW show would gain thousands of fans across the world and have the show go on for fifteen full seasons. That was what Supernatural ended up doing.
I am one of those fans of Supernatural that has been watching the show for years. Roughly eight years ago, I was one of those girls who were on Tumblr, sharing fan photos and GIFs of musicians and film stars. This was when a culture was building on the site, and none were as loud as one community: the SuperWhoLock fandom. This fandom consisted of three shows that the fans loved: Supernatural, Doctor Who, and BBC’s Sherlock. As someone who had already watched – and loved – Sherlock and Doctor Who, I knew I had to check out Supernatural to complete the fandom trilogy for myself.
Unlike any other show I have seen, there is a real sense of community with the Supernatural fanbase. Firstly, it may be unexpected to have a show like this, one based on supernatural beings and two men hunting, to have a dominantly female lead. However, the show is fully aware of this female-dominated fanbase. The showrunners have made sure to write powerful women into the show, with characters such as Charlie, Jo, Mary, and Rowena all being bad-ass in their own right. In fact, there were rumours years ago that a female Supernatural spin-off was in the works, but this never came to development.
It was not only female representation that the fanbase wanted the show to highlight, but also LGBTQ+ representation. Many people saw this show as one that was more accepting of people, given the nature of the show presenting the idea that anything could exist or be real. This was canon in certain characters, once again highlighting Charlie and the fact that she is a lesbian. However, the main representation done by the fanbase was a relationship between two of the lead characters, Dean and Castiel. Some fans were worried that the showrunners would make this a queerbaiting situation, but one scene in Season 15 finally gave the fans a moment that they were looking for – even if it was fleeting.
The representation was clear inside of the show, but it was also there away from the cameras. The cast and crew of Supernatural have always been accepting and loving of their fans, and that is clear from all the work they do off-screen. When they were not filming or promoting the show, they were on the road attending conventions across the world. From San Diego Comic-Con to the Asylum conventions in the UK, they would spend a lot of time giving back to the fans that helped them make the show as successful as it was.
Supernatural was not the first fanbase I joined, but it may be the one I have stuck around with for the longest. It is more than just a show: it is a community and a voice for many people who feel like they don’t have one. Whilst the show may have dropped in quality over the past few years, it has been comfort food for me – something I know I can stick on and just let the world go by and have some fun. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye when the final episode airs, but I know it will still be with me. Carry on, my wayward son.
The final episode of Supernatural airs in the US on Thursday, whilst the final season is currently being aired in the UK on E4.