Over the past few years I’ve gotten increasingly annoyed with one of my favorite shows, CW’s Supernatural. A series about two brothers hunting demons, ghosts, and on the rare occasion, just evil people. It was a great horror show with a little comedy thrown in, which made for some great memorable moments. However, over the last few seasons, maybe since season five, I’ve noticed the show-runners have gotten increasingly lazy with creature designs.
Special effects, or lack there of, is my biggest issue. Now I’m talking real practical effects designed from scratch, something original. The first three seasons featured some pretty great concepts and designs. From the brief appearance of the ghostly “Woman in White” to the Wendigo, there was thought put into every character. There was a unique look unlike anything done on television and in film. It was a shining moment in the series and something to look forward to.
Part of the reason fans loved the show was due to it being a mini movie each week. Now it’s gone from monster-of-the-week to huge season long arcs. This sort of setup has decreased their need to come up with original concepts for creatures. Although, it’s not just new ghouls who have been seriously lacking style. Old ones have returned and looked completely different. I’m unsure if it’s because of budget or time constraints, but intriguing characters have been watered down.
A great example are Reapers. We first are introduced to them in the first season when Dean comes face to face with one. It was an elderly looking man, but not fully human. This design was super subtle, but effective. Jump to the next season when Dean meets another one. This time it looks like a young woman. The reason for this was she deliberately appeared this way so Dean would talk to her. However, from then on all Reapers appeared as humans.
The same thing then happened with the djinn’s, or “evil genies”. When we see them for the first time in season three, they look like a heavily tattooed creature with blue eyes. He also has a blue flame appear on his hand to signify his magic capabilities. The clothing was also representative of him being mystical.
The next time we see a group of them, they have just one giant sleeve or neck tattoo and that’s it. It’s not like the makeup before was that complex. There were no special prosthetics, no intense costuming. So it makes me wonder why they have been made to simply blend in as just another human in the series. For continuity purposes, at the least, this should have stayed the same.
Another great example were the Alphas, the main big bad for the season. All of whom looked like basic humans. Supposedly the first of every creature the brothers have come across, and they look like any other person you’d walk by on the street. Then we have another main villain in a later season called the Leviathan’s, who were human in appearance accept for poorly CGI’d mouths when they fed.
Everything for the most part has been consistently human in appearance. A few CGI effects here and there, but no real makeup or design. I remember how creepy a simple monster of the week was, like the scarecrow seen below.
Now we get powerful monsters that look like you and I, as for example Eve pictured below. Supposedly the most feared mother-of-all-monsters and she looks less than intimidating. As someone who has an extreme interest in designs, and with shows like Face/Off proving it’s capable, I know they can do better than what they’re giving us.
Let me know in the comments below how you feel regarding Supernatural and the featured characters!