This is my S8 boxed set weekend, so bear with me...I'm hitting up the special features, since I've memorised most of the episodes already (aka, I'll watch them next...). "Bitten" was not a fan favourite in the nooks and crannies of extreme fandom, but it's clear the creators loved it. Why? And whose point of view is important?
Well, I got nothing against found footage, other than I find it a bit exhausting, since I dedicate a portion of the processor power to tracking which camera is recording the footage we're seeing at any point in the narrative. But, you know, there's a part up there making sure that every character is visible to all other characters, every character is tangible, etc, so it's a price of doing genre business. The movies seem to do decent business—is a problem that the fandom doesn't like the genre?
Basically, I think the big problem is often "What is this? Backdoor pilot? We showed up for Sam and Dean (or Dean and Cas) and barely even like Cas (or Sam)!" Clearly it is possible to introduce characters in one or few episodes and grab attention—few Gabe lovers remember he was only in four, and enough people still miss the shit out of Missouri, who had one episode eight years ago. And she hit Dean (working both for and against her, clearly). But when you have three new protagonists (who aren't sticking around) and so little SamandDean in your ep, even the most open-minded of fans (i.e. me) are pre-disposed to be impatient.
To steal the phrasing of Tim Minear—"show not called 'Spoilt Hairy College Love Triangle'". But then again—it is called Supernatural. Just...we always hear Winchester underscoring that, and some expectations barely expand to welcome Castiel who's been in more than half the seasons by now. But everyone shows up for at least one Winchester, and WHERE THE FUCK WHERE THEY????
Fair enough. I did enjoy it decently, but as one in twenty three. Maybe one in forty six.
But oh, this special feature. The writers and producers and even the director of photography—so excited! They talk about the invigoration and deterioration of the genre with and after Blair Witch, obviously, then the expansion of scope with Cloverfield, subsequent similar deterioration, and then another "done right" with Chronicle, whose momentum they want to ride here. Fair.
But most of all—they do love Sam and Dean, but the series is eight seasons on. Second sequential season of twenty three episodes. These guys need, you can tell from their eyes and their tone, to do things. They can't go straight every episode. It's not what the show's about, once they got momentum up—like an X Files or a Xena or Farscape or a Community, and not like most shows on TV—they've had a Western and a monster movie and a Groundhog Day and gone meta up the wazoo (yes, Joss, you're very pretty too) what do you do next?
eta: What I forgot to note first time around was that once the writers committed to the genre that got their blood racing, they boxed themselves out of Sam and Dean. What gyrations do you have to do in order to get two recording-shy guys like those on 4 or 5 different cameras for their normal 30-35 minutes? Yeah...so they chose new people dealing with old problems, and fandom yawned. Maybe newer problems? Old people, but not the Winchesters? Could previous victims, other hunters, Castiel, anyone have held the episode with Sam and Dean on the edges like they were here? Would fandom have taken that better?
I think that the writer's room doesn't always take into account how desperately in love we fans are with the Winchester brothers. How can they not know? Don't J2M do a con every other month with actors who did two episodes? We are infinite in our obsession!
We are also not representative....so let's look at the numbers:
1.86 share, low end for the season, but who hasn't complained about the uselessness of Nielsen? What do those numbers really mean (episode 8 should be higher! That was the cartoon episode!!!!)?
I do think, though, that the choice that didn't work for the fans might have worked for the *audience* because we're not the same people. Hard as that is to remember much of the time. I wish I had that answer, though. If I had to give one episode in 22 or 23 back to the writers so they don't stagnate and feel they can give me more of what I love for seasons and season (let's leave Smallville in the dust!!!) I will make the trade (easy to say since I didn't hate it, I know...).
How do you feel?