Supernatural S09E20 Review: Bloodlines

I almost don't know where to start. Last night Supernatural gave us our first look their spin off series Supernatural: Bloodlines. At a first glance the concept seemed interesting - "The Godfather with fangs" is how they pitched it to us in the promos. It was cool to leave behind the dusty country backroads and see how monsters operate in a city, and balancing running a crime dynasty with keeping your beastly instincts under control would've been very interesting if they had gotten other parts of the formula right. With all of Supernatural's rich lore to draw from, it should've been easy to differentiate it from other shows with similar concepts.

The problem is that none of the elements really came together. The writing was formulaic and strange, the cast had no chemistry and poor acting skills (even for this drama) and instead of keeping it gritty and interesting they end up retconning shapeshifters into gorgeous douche bags that change at will without shedding skin, teeth and nails. This pretty monster trend is overdone and boring, and it feels like a rehash of Vampire Diaries or the Originals rather than an extension of Supernatural's world.

There are about a thousand other viable spinoff options for Supernatural that would've been more enjoyable than this. For example, following the teen hunters lead by Krissy Chambers (if they wanted to target the younger demographic), Castiel getting his own show, expanding on the Men of Letters time period starring Henry Winchester before he fell through time, Sheriff Jody Mills and Alex/Anne that we met last week, a show about the pagan gods getting by in modern times... the list is endless. It's simply odd that the writers chose not to use any existing or established characters that we've encountered, especially when they turn around and give us this cast of young attractive cardboard cutouts instead.

The story was pretty much all recycled. Beautiful girlfriend gets murdered five minutes in to create overwhelming manpain in the main character Ennis Roth. Now he believes in monsters and he's out for revenge. He makes an unlikely ally in a shifter who is the son of the soon to be dead shifter leader who ran away to college to have a "normal life". Throw in a Romeo and Juliet type subplot between this shifter and a werewolf and we're in business. Just in case this wasn't sounding cheesy enough, his absent ex military father calls right at the end in a "surprise bitch, not dead" moment, so on top of dealing with his grief over dead girlfriend, he is now going to be searching for his father.

A possibility is that we've just not seen the interesting families yet. The shifters and the werewolves were a snooze, but maybe the Djin or Sirens or Ghouls will be better. Unfortunately it looks like they will be background while we're forced to trail around with the shifter and werewolf star crossed lovers.

This probably could've been a lot better if they had utilized a backdoor pilot better. The whole point of having Sam and Dean stumble into this situation is to give us a familiar and comfortable vantage point to take the rest of it in with. Problem was, they were completely underplayed, and for the few minutes that they did appear on screen they didn't really bond with the new cast, bring anything out in them or have an effect on the story really at all. On top of that, their reactions to the situation made absolutely no sense. Why would they be okay with working to save the werewolf girl with a shifter while Ennis blows away a very human hunter? Sure, they've gotten better with monster sensitivity over the years but their motivation here made no sense at all. This could've been a stand alone pilot for all the effect that they had.

By the end I was sort of wishing that Dean had just let Death wipe out Chicago years ago, deep dish pizza be damned. The only interesting bit came right in the end when Castiel called to let them know that he had a line on Gadreel and Metatron. It seems to me that other viewers largely felt the same way, though I have seen a smaller group that really enjoyed the spinoff story lines, leading me to conclude that I am just not their target audience. Unsurprisingly, I will be giving this a miss in future, how about you? Leave a comment below.