In this post, English MA student Bethany Stayer recommends something a little off the beaten path as far as “reads” go. She recommends spending cold winter nights watching the television series, Supernatural.

Why should we watch this, Bethany?

If you haven’t already delved into the cultural phenomenon that is Supernatural, the seemingly endless summer hours offer you the perfect chance. Supernatural follows the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who travel the country hunting demons, spooks, and anything that goes “bump” in the night (or any other time of day really). A perfect mix of horror, humor, supernatural-season-and intertextual elements that draw on myths, folktales, and superstitions from around the world, Supernatural will have you hitting “Keep Watching” again and again. There really is something for everyone here.

I’ll admit, the first season can be a little rough to sift through; it is kind of like a watching a toddler try to fit those little shape blocks into the correct holes. You know they’re going to get it right, you just have to be patient, and your patience is well worth the wait. In the beginning episodes they are finding themselves, but once you make it to season two you’ll be glad you did.  By the time season three rolls around, you’ll be hooked. The characters really develop, the writing dramatically improves, and you become unwittingly engrossed in the story of the Winchesters. Watching the actors, writers, and characters improve and learn before your eyes really is part of the fun of the series. Once things start firing on all cylinders the theme of brotherly love and self sacrifice permeates the plot lines, while the humor and occasionally ridiculous situations keep the story from becoming melodramatic.

It is a truly unique experience that I can’t recommend enough. I do not think there is a television show (or book or movie) that provides such a fun take on the horror genre while developing characters and relationships we really care about, and mixing in actual folklore. I’ve learned a ton about myths and myth creation from this show. Basically, if you enjoy the supernatural/horror genre with a healthy dose of comedy then Supernatural is for you. And even if you don’t think you like this stuff, watch it anyway, there is plenty here to love for pretty much anyone.