Season one of the CW series “Supernatural” has been on DVD since 2006, but only in the standard DVD format. Warner Brothers corrected that on June 15 with the release of season one on Blu-ray with a new, high-definition transfer and two new special features.
“Supernatural” follows brothers Dean and Sam Winchester, played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki respectively, who travel the country battling the forces of darkness. Urban legends, campfire ghost stories, and monster legends come to life in each episode as the Winchesters fight evil and look for answers to a long-time family mystery.
Horror shows tend to be too dark for a wide audience, but ‘Supernatural” is thoroughly entertaining thanks to Ackles and Padalecki, who anchor the show with characters the audience can sympathize with. Network standards keep the blood and gore to a minimum, which actually serves the series better. In “Supernatural,” it’s what you don’t see that really scares you.
In comparing this Blu-ray edition with the “Supernatural” DVD set released in 2006, the difference in video quality is dramatic. True to the atmospheric nature of “Supernatural,” many of the scenes in each episode are shot in dark conditions. The new Blu-ray high-definition transfer gives these scenes more detail and visible movement. Colors in the series are somewhat muted but are much more vibrant on Blu-ray.
On the Samsung high-definition television used for this review, the image was surprisingly sharp, with very few artifacts during scenes with motion or smoke. There is some grain visible, but this may be due to the producers’ artistic intent. Overall, this is excellent image quality, and “Supernatural” really benefits from it.
The Blu-ray edition features a new Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix, but since the original was only 2.0 (according to the original DVD set), this new mix isn’t going to hit you from all sides. However, it is sharp and clear, and doesn’t detract from the viewing experience.
The extras for the Blu-ray edition are mostly lifted from the original DVD version, including featurettes, deleted scenes, commentaries, and a gag reel. There are two new additions that fans will enjoy.
First is a 2006 Paley Center for Media panel discussion with Jensen, Padalecki, and creator Eric Kripke. The enlightening panel delves into the show’s mythology and a number of “behind the scenes” stories. Second is an interactive map that highlights episode locations and delves into the myth and legend. It is a great addition for true fans and provides some interesting insight.
BUY IT OR NETFLIX IT?
For fans of horror and suspense, this is a must-add to the video library. Others should give “Supernatural” a rent and watch it at night to see if they like it. Spoiler alert: most people get hooked with the pilot episode.
Sources: Blu-ray and standard DVD sets