Friday, December 21, 2012

Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 7

I’m not normally a fan of behind the scenes guides and companions. I’m very fond of my suspension of disbelief and don’t like staring too hard and seeing the wires and trap doors. I don’t even check out actor interviews on my DVD extras

But Supernatural is on hiatus for a time and I’m getting withdrawal, so when I was offered this book I was sorely tempted. And when I realised that it would have pictures of Castiel inside I made frantic grasping motions and begging sounds.

I am easily swayed by trench coat wearing angels
 Upon reading it, I enjoyed it because of the amount of detail there is in there (and not just pictures of Castiel). There was a lot of detail as to what the writers and directors intended behind the show as well as what they wanted to portray and the themes they wanted to develop. Like the whole idea of Leviathans as a faceless, corporate threat that could be anywhere – how that motivated them to drop the Impala to continue the theme of loss and even the decision to keep the Leviathan gaping maws to a minimum simply so they could be presented as a corporate, wealthy, almost humanly powerful threat rather than a new gribbly monster. These insights into the planning behind the show actually tempted me to go back and check out the episodes again to see fully what they meant.

It also covered things that they realised where major barriers to get round in the writing – ensuring that their world setting remained consistent, even down to the colour of light used in souls, and working around having Castel, how hard it is to have an angel in the plotline without him becoming a deus ex machinae

The book also contains an episode by episode examination which I really loved. We got to see not just the various issues over the series as a whole, but also specific issues that arose in each episode; which was fun for finding specific sets and addressing specific fun one off characters or characters that only appeared in 2 or 3 episodes – like Garth (saved by Sera Gamble from being killed off!) or little touches like directors and writers being used as extras or painting of them used in sets. It’s hard not to go through each episode with the book and compare notes.

And it has some really fun anecdotes from the set giving a nice insight into how they work and the relationships the actors have – like the rubber duckies dangling from wires and Jared tweaking Jim Beaver’s toes when they were trying to have an emotional deathbed scene. Or the planning they had to fit around Operation Moose Drop (Jared and Genevieve Padelecki had a baby during this season)

The guide also gets into the nuts and bolts of the show. How exactly does one make a ripped out throat look realistic? How do you have one of your characters eat human flesh and make that look real? Where are the various sets? What exactly is that music? How do you mock up all the food when Jensen Ackles has to constantly eat as Dean but has a much much healthier diet than the role he plays? I liked that it talked not just to the actors but also the makeup artists, stunt co-ordinators, the composers, the graphic designers – all the people who add a lot to the show.

Of course, it finishes with some excellent interviews with the actors including Misha Collins acting with food poisoning, Jensen Ackles directing and Jared Padelecki’s new baby.

And it was fun to read about what they couldn’t do because of those pesky people in Standards not letting them rip Reaper heads off or boil someone’s head in cheese. Or sometimes simply because it was too expensive – so many dreams cut short by reality

If you’re a Supernatural fan, there’s a lot here you will love.

If you’re not a Supernatural fan… shouldn’t you be watching Supernatural and catching up?

And it has pictures of Castiel.