- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2021

The longest-running, live-action fantasy television show in the history of the medium bowed out gracefully on the CW Network last year after 15 seasons and now arrives in a mega boxed set for super fans in Supernatural: The Complete Series (Warner Bros Home Entertainment, not rated, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 13,700 minutes, $359.99).

Creator Eric Kripke‘s horror saga about the paranormal and legendary monsters starred the struggles of the Winchester family — John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), his wife Mary (Samantha Smith) and their sons Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) — playing out over 327 episodes between 2005 and 2020 and now spread out over 57 Blu-ray discs.

The story takes viewers initially on an odyssey shared between the brothers as they attempt to find their missing father, a man driven by the supernatural death of his wife and on a mission to hunt down all that is evil.

Sam and Dean take on his obsession for the “hunt” as they drive across the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala nicknamed Baby with a trunk full of monster-fighting gear.

The deeper they uncover the horrors of their quest, Sam’s and Dean’s realities about the dark forces become much more complicated as their extreme heroic exploits eventually plunge them into the very battles between God and the Devil.

Characters that complicated and assisted in their journey included the fallen angel Castiel (Misha Collins); hunter and father figure to the boys Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver); occult antiques thief Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohen from “The Walking Dead”); immortal witch Rowena MacLeod (Ruth Connell); Lucifer’s son Jack Kline (Alexander Calvert); and the King of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard).

Pop legend guest stars that made the show even more fun included Linda Blair (“The Exorcist”), Robert Englund (Freddie Krueger), Barry Bostwick (“Rocky Picture Horror Show”), rocker Rick Springfield and Robert Picardo (“Star Trek: Voyager”).

Perhaps some of the most memorable of episodes for this geek was when the creators broke out of the serious weekly narrative and went off the rails including the boys getting help from the Mystery Inc. gang in an animated homage from the 13th season’s episode “Scoobynatural” or the show’s 200th episode “Fan Fiction” devoted to a high school musical based on the brothers’ lives.

For those who love the historical lore of vampires, werewolves, demons, witches, ghosts and a variety of urban legends, they got a potent dose from a series that combined some of the best of the “X-Files,” “Charmed” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” all bundled up in many jump-scare, nail-biting episodes.

Best extras: “Supernatural” home entertainment fans were never disappointed over the years by the selection of bonus content packed into each of the season Blu-ray sets.

Viewers that finish the roughly 228-hour story now get to appreciate all of that great content ported over into the complete set, spread out over the discs that are found in seven, hard-shell plastic cases.

Let’s begin with 30 optional commentary tracks featuring Mr. Kripke, Mr. Padalecki, Mr. Ackles, writer Sera Gamble, executive producer Robert Singer and producer Ben Edlund as well as more than two dozen production featurettes offering hours of information on the series and shows.

Next, add longer segments, the best being a 60-minute look at the series’ mythologies; a 73-minute spotlight on the cast and crew at the MTR Paley Television Festival in 2006; comic con panels from 2013 to 2018 (averaging 30 minutes each); and a 22-minute look at making the “Scoobynatural” episode.

Equally entertaining, for those wanting to completely immerse themselves in the series using Blu-ray technology, were a collection of interactives allowing viewers to use their remote to explore the world of “Supernatural.”

They included a map of U.S. urban legends for the first two seasons, an Apocalypse Survival Guide for season five, a Hunter’s Guide for season six, a Creature Fest Drive-In experience for season seven, and a set tour based on the episode “Men of Letters” for season nine.

The extras also offer gag reels, deleted or extended scenes, and two episodes from the 2011 anime series (45 minutes).

Owners also get a 58th disc, in a separate cardboard slipcase, with another round of extras (roughly 2.5 hours in total) highlighted by a short documentary on the importance of family in the series, a segment of final cast and crew interviews and the obligatory 2019 Comic Con panel.

Additionally, included in the sturdy cardboard box covered in foiled art featuring the boys and their car, is a generous, 68-page, full-color booklet.

It contains plenty of photos, an introduction from Mr. Kripke and, most importantly, a guide to the series offering short synopsis of each episodes and list of extras per season.

The booklet even highlights extended scenes that featured some classic rock music from AC/DC, Styx, Aerosmith, Steppenwolf and Blue Oyster Cult.

• Joseph Szadkowski can be reached at jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com.

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