When the CW’s Supernatural ends its 15th and final season in 2020, it will be the end of an era in television. The show is the longest-running sci-fi/genre series in American television history, having begun in 2005 (when the CW and the WB Network were both still in existence). It’s understandable.
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have been the cornerstones of Supernatural’s popularity for years. “They have developed something of these two brothers [Dean and Sam Winchester], we’ve had these dialogues that actually transcend anything,” according to CW president Mark Pedowitz (via The Hollywood Reporter).
It’s also one of the CW’s best-performing programs to date, attracting more 18-49 viewers than more than half of the network’s entire schedule. So what’s the big deal about canceling it now?
The Ending Of Supernatural Explained
It was expected to be a five-season deal.
If you’ve been watching Supernatural since the beginning, you’ll notice that there’s a definite point in the series that feels like a true ending, and it is. Season 5 concluded with Mark Pellegrino’s defeat and the apocalypse being averted. According to Syfy Wire, series creator Eric Kripke had always insisted on ending Supernatural after five seasons, and the show’s performers were well aware of this.
“I’m stunned that the show is going as long as it is,” Misha Collins, who plays angel-turned-sidekick Castiel, said in an interview with TVLine prior to the show’s tenth season, “not because I ever thought it should be canceled or wouldn’t survive,” but because when she joined in season four, she thought, “Well, this is probably somewhere near the end of the show.” “Five was supposed to be the end of it,” Collins stated afterward.
At least for Kripke, Season 5 was a sort of conclusion. After the end, the showrunner stepped down and became an advisor. When the sixth season of Supernatural premiered, he told Entertainment Weekly that the show’s DNA was “hardwired” for change.
Every supernatural story imaginable has been told about it.
Supernatural has tackled pretty much every… well, supernatural narrative out there over the course of the last 14 seasons. The Winchesters have encountered everything from vampires to apocalyptic horsemen to the wendigo, according to the show’s use of urban tales and lore from numerous nations.
The showrunners of the series indicated in a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly that they attempt to avoid revisiting old stories as much as possible. “Obviously, we nod to our historical mythology,” executive producer Robert Singer says, “but we really want to be mindful that we’re not presenting the same story over and over.”
Of course, they’re not always as successful as they’d like, particularly when it comes to creating monsters from the ground up. “Sometimes when we stub our toe, it’s because we’re attempting to build new creatures with new laws,” Singer explained.
This is an opportunity to reintroduce old favorites.
Some of Supernatural’s most adored characters have come and gone as the seasons have passed. However, several of them have returned to the show, albeit for a limited time. For season 14, a time-traveling version of John Winchester was resurrected for a brief appearance, and Mary Winchester, who died in the pilot, became a series regular. However, concluding Supernatural allows the showrunners to do whatever they want with the series.
Season 15 is a better place to end because it provides for a more satisfying conclusion.
While some may claim that the Supernatural has passed its prime, the numbers speak for themselves. The series would carry on indefinitely if it were up to the network. “As long as the ratings hold up and the guys want to do it,” stated CW president Mark Pedowitz in January 2019, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, destroying a beloved series isn’t the best option, which is why it’s probably best for Supernatural to end on a high note.
Jensen Ackles stated of the last season in the season 14 digital feature “The Winchester Mythology: The Choices We Make,” “The universe has just opened up, essentially, and all of those things that we have spent so many years battling are going to be knocking now,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
“They’re teeing up what might maybe be the best season of the show,” he continued. That might spell the end of the characters for the show’s stars. In an interview with TV Guide, Misha Collins stated, “I hate to say it, but I’m hoping that the show’s primary protagonists die before the finale. That finality, I believe, is needed.”