Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Light on Spoilers, Heavy on Squee Preview of Supernatural 9.20 "Bloodlines"

Well, here it is...the Pilot for the Supernatural spin off! 

This is what's known as a "backdoor" pilot (don't giggle), meaning they embed the pilot into the season of the existing show. This way, they have existing, experienced creative teams and crews already in play, which makes shooting the pilot less expensive as everything is already set up. It also capitalises on the existing audience of the show that the pilot is based on.

The CW have had success with this style of pilot with The Originals which was a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries and was a backdoor pilot in season 4 - episode 4.20 coincidentally (or not). Arrow has also done this, with the pilot for The Flash (episode 2.08), which should hit our screens later in the year.

So here we are with "Supernatural: Bloodlines"!

Let's look at the synopsis:

"Supernatural" Episode 9.20 - "Bloodlines" (airs 4/29/14, 9-10pm):

SAM AND DEAN INVESTIGATE MONSTER FAMILIES IN CHICAGO — Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate a case in Chicago, where they discover that various mafia-esque monster families are, unknown to humans, running the underbelly of Chicago.

One is a family of shapeshifters run by Margo Lassiter (guest star Danielle Savre), whose leadership is thrown into question when her brother, David (guest star Nathaniel Buzolic), returns home. The other reigning family in town is made up of werewolves, lead by Julian Duval (guest star Sean Faris).

While in Chicago, Sam and Dean meet Ennis (guest star Lucien Laviscount), a man with a personal vendetta against the monsters. The Winchesters warn Ennis about heading into the hunter lifestyle, but Ennis refuses to listen and starts down a dangerous path.

Robert Singer directed the episode written by Andrew Dabb.

Here's a list of the characters you're going to meet:

ENNIS ROTH | The de-facto star of the potential series, Ennis is “likeable, strong-willed, resolute, with a strong sense of justice.” He’s the son of a cop who grew up in poverty. He’s en route to the police academy himself when someone he is close to is murdered — presumably by some kind of monster. He meets up with Sam and Dean and “learns the staggering truth” that Chicago is run by five families of monsters (including, but perhaps not limited to, werewolves and shape shifters). And with that, a new monster-hunter is born. Fun fact: Producers are looking to fill this role with an African-American actor in his early 20s.

DAVID HAYDEN | A shape-shifter from one of Chicago’s ruling monster families. He’s been living as a human for some time, but a tragedy propels him back into the life. David is in his early 20s.

MARGO HAYDEN | David’s “professional, strong-willed, determined, ambitious” shape-shifter sister. She’s an “ex-punk rocker gone corporate” who sets out to be the new head of the family in the wake of a tragedy. Margo is in her early 20s.

VIOLET DURANT | A werewolf and part of the wealthy, powerful Durant family. In a twist right out of West Side Story, the early-twentysomething is hot for family rival David (see above), but their love is forbidden.

JULIAN DURANT | Violet’s “savagely handsome, strong, arrogant” twentysomething brother and Ennis’ arch nemesis.

FREDDIE COSTA | A world-weary copy in his 30s, Freddie has a soft spot in his heart for Ennis (he knew his dad back in the day). Fun fact: Freddie’s got a secret.

I'm expecting this episode to be Sam and Dean light, for obvious reasons. We know the guys only shot for a couple on this, 2 days in Chicago...though they only shot 2 days in the Misha directed episode too and that didn't feel light on. But the job of this episode will be to introduce a whole bunch of characters, so I'm expecting the emphasis to be on the pretty CW people and not our fabulous boys.

Let's look at the promo:

Wisely, there is a good amount of Sam and Dean in the promo...this, after all, is an episode of Supernatural season 9! Let's not forget that!

If this was just an episode of the week and not a pilot for a new show, I would think it looked pretty good! It sure is shiny! I don't think "Bloodlines" is going to have the gritty, slightly grimy look that Real!Supernatural has.

To be perfectly honest, I don't know how I feel about this pilot! Supernatural is magical for two very big reasons, both of whom's name starts with J. Yes, it's an amazing story, yes it's wonderfully written and beautifully made, but it's Sam and Dean and Jensen and Jared's portrayal of Sam and Dean, (as well as their lovely friendship) that gives the show a shining light that glows out from within, makes it so very special and warms all our hearts. I can't imagine another show ever capturing anything near that kind of magic!

But then, "Bloodlines" doesn't have to. We know it's a totally different concept to Supernatural, more along the lines of The Vampire Diaries, with a large ensemble cast and a storyline that is more soap than horror with a dash of Romeo and Juliet. There's a definite difference! So it's not trying to BE Supernatural, it's simply set in the Supernatural Universe.

Still... I can't help feel a tiny bit gypped that we're losing an episode...at least that's how it feels!

Though... Andrew Dabb has said: "A big shoe drops at the end of this episode, which kind of kicks off into our last three episodes."  So we will finish "Bloodlines" with something important to the mytharc of Season 9...which will remind us that this IS an episode of Supernatural.

And you know what, I'll be there this week with bells on...(thank you Captain Obvious...d'uh it's Supernatural) and I'll definitely tune in and check "Bloodlines" out when the series hits the air (assuming it's picked up, which I assume it will be), because I can't help but want to support the Supernatural brand and the team putting "Bloodlines" together. Plus, I'm sure with Dabb and co. at the helm, it will be good. Hey, I'll always have Supernatural's back.

And here's a bit of trivia for you... The Impala used in Chicago belonged to a fan! A fan from Texas supplied her (yes, her) replica Baby for shooting. You may have seen Stefany's Impala at Dallascon. But seriously, what an honour to have your very own Impala being driven by our very own Sam and Dean around the streets of Chicago! It'd never wash the upholstery again. Just sayin'!

You can read a report on filming with a comment (1st comment) from Stefany about having her Impala on the show, here.

One thing's for sure, it's going to be wonderful seeing our boys in the big city, don't you think? (Boy they look cold in that photo!) (Also, it's alwasy wonderful to see our boys...I'm just stating the obvious all over the place this week!)

As I'm writing this, no sneak peek has been released,  why I do not know, but you can bet when/if it does and when/if the CHCH promo drops, you will find them here!

For more on the Bloodlines pilot, check out the SuperWiki entry.

And check out this great interview with Andrew Dabb - it's got a lot of cool info!

So what do you think? Are you looking forward to this pilot? Outside of the fact that you all always look forward to a new episode of Supernatural of course!

A spinoff. Who'da thunk it huh? 

Let me know what your thoughts!


"Sometimes you gotta work with the bad guys to get to the worse guys" Um. Yessssss. Hmmm.

CHCH PROMO! New look at some of the monsters!


  1. I kind of have mixed feelings about the spin off but like you, will be supportive of the Supernatural crew and give it a shot. Like you, I enjoy SPN for the two main reasons and of course the wonderful story lines that they give us week after week so since the new show will involve shapeshifters and werewolves and vampires, well what's not to like there. I am not familiar with any of the actors on the spinoff since I do not watch TO or TVD so at least I won't have any expectations on the characters there. Personally, as I am watching the "backdoor" pilot tomorrow night, I'm sure my thoughts will be floating towards the fact that 5 days later I will be in the personal space of them hunky guys visiting Chicago. Just saying that is probably where the mind is going to go.:)

  2. I don't know there is a reason why no one else was considered for the parts of Sam and Dean. Everyone knew they had lightning in a bottle. These are characters we have never seen before, have no emotional investment in and other than vampires, werewolves and whatever has no connection to our beloved show. Now there are SPN creative showrunners behind this spinoff. One of their best writers, most seasoned directors and all tptb behind it. I expect it will be an entertaining episode but in the end will we care. Of all of the possible storylines and characters they could have gone with for a spinoff it is interesting that they chose a soap with fangs approach.

  3. Ok I just read two interviews with Andrew Dabb. It sounds more like Grimm to me. Cops and monsters. However evidently the end of the ep has a huge reveal that kicks off the last three eps of SPN.

    1. Which interview was that, Cheryl? I've read a couple but haven't come across that little tidbit!

  4. There were two interviews that were posted by geordiegirl on IMDB. I don't know how to do links. One was from tvguide and the other was tvline. I think the tvlive interview was where he said that the end of the episode had the reveal.

  5. I don't understand the negativity that has surrounded this spinoff since it was announced. I tend to adopt a 'wait and see' approach. The main complaints seem to be:-

    1. The premise/story/characters are ridiculous/not interesting, etc: So I ask how would you know if you don't watch it? Forming an opinion based on an episode synopsis and a couple of blurbs seems premature. For example, apart for Elijah, I never really cared for the Original vampires on TVD and definitely did not like Hayley's character. So when the spinoff was to revolve around these characters I did not think I would be interested. But I watched the planted pilot. I still wasn't sure if I would watch the show, but decided to try the first few episodes. That show turned out to be really good. Granted it lost some steam in the latter half of the season, but it was great in the beginning.

    2. It is a slap in the face for Supernatural/ Why didn't they do the spinoff with established characters becoming a hunting team: I'll admit to wondering why characters we knew were not going to be used. But after reading Andrew Dabb's interviews I feel that their reasoning for going a totally different route in terms of story and characters makes sense and actually displays a great deal of respect for the mothership. Perhaps if they had done something like that it would be viewed as a replacement show or competition which I think would have been more disrespectful.

    3. The mythology of Supernatural has been manipulated to accommodate the spinoff: Has it really? We've seen 'monsters' with humanity since Lenore. Okay, it has been more prevalent lately, but it was there since the early seasons. Then the 'becoming a monster through 'bloodline rather than turning' debate - Yes it was overtly set up in Sharp Teeth, but we have seen 'monsterhood' being inherited through a bloodline before. Remember the Rugaru (I think)?

    Calls for a boycott of this episode through loyalty to Supernatural is really counterproductive. After all it IS an episode of Supernatural and boycotting is going to hurt SUPERNATURAL's ratings (assuming a significant portion are Nielsen viewers), during sweeps, which I believe is used to determine ad prices during the show (I stand to be corrected here).

    Look, the show doesn't have to grab you in the same way that Supernatural did. I highly doubt that there will ever be a show that can do that. It just needs to interest you enough to get you to watch. So I too will watch this episode (as if I would ever miss an episode of Supernatural). And if it is picked up will try it out and then decide. I think it would be best to approach it as a completely different show then (just set in the SPN universe). This would change expectations.

    Oh, and if nothing else, I would watch just for the slim chance of an Impala broment based on that picture of them sitting on Baby. Hey, a girl can hope!

    1. Agreed! If nothing else, at the moment, it's an episode of Supernatural and our boys are in it!

  6. Ok Dean hotness (and humor) aside why did everyone get out of the car? Was Dean having a "not another word, I will turn this car around moment". If there is humor it could be fun.

  7. I thought that was sulfur for breakfast.

  8. So, as expected, the loudest online reaction to this episode was negative. I think that is largely due to most people approaching it as just another Supernatural episode, rather than a pilot for a new show. I've seen a number of comments that state that the episode was better on rewatch, and that change in opinion is probably due to a change in perspective. The negative reviews are getting the most attention, but there are some positive ones as well. The one at BuddyTV and Vulture.com are two examples. This show would fit very nicely with the CW lineup, and we don't even know if they were targeting the Supernatural fan base or the younger TVD/Originals one. Probably both. So, I wonder if anyone is thinking if younger viewers who have never watched Supernatural watch Bloodlines they might say 'Hey, this universe is cool. Maybe I should try watching Supernatural'. It could actually bring new viewers to our show.
    Many feel cheated by this being an episode of Supernatural when it could have worked as a standalone pilot. But it all comes down to the bottom line, doesn't it. Television is a business after all. It's cheaper to have a backdoor pilot than shooting a totally separate one. My only issue with it was it's position in the episode lineup. With so much going on with mytharcs, it would have worked better earlier in the season. But I suspect this was a network decision. The Originals was episode 20 of TVD and The Flash was supposed to be episode 20 or 21 of Arrow, so this seems to be a pattern. Something to do with sweeps maybe?
    My biggest disappointment had nothing to do with the episode itself. To see reviewers not go into it with an open mind and not approach it as a pilot when they are aware of the business of television was a real downer. But to see a staff member of one of the biggest and most respected Supernatural fansites express disappointment (albeit in a personal capacity) that the episode got good ratings was the worst thing that I saw and it just made me sad, because it WAS an episode of Supernatural after all.
    I enjoyed the episode. I'm not saying that it was perfect. There is room for improvement, but it has potential. I'm no expert, but I predict that it will be picked up for mid-season, 'Supernatural' will be dropped from the title and it will just be called 'Bloodlines'.
    Some random thoughts:-
    - To those who are complaining that nothing is actually spinning off from SPN: How about the whole mythology of monsters and hunters? How about the monsters that exist in the universe? We saw Shapeshifters, a Wraith, Vetala and Djinn, heard of Ghouls, and know that Sirens are the fifth family. These monsters come from Supernatural mythology.
    - The complaints of how the Shifters change being altered: We've seen this before with the Alpha and it can probably be explained as having something to do with purity of bloodline. If I remember correctly there was something in Bitten that explained that the closer to the Alpha the more powerful the werewolf is. So this could be something similar. Also it's probably more practical for production to do VFX than having shifters shedding there skin every time they shift if it is going to happen fairly often, which given that one of the main families are Shifters is quite likely.
    - I don't wear make-up often, but I couldn't help thinking that Margo's makeup was stunning
    - When I saw Ennis' father's photo I guffawed and was like 'Wait! Ennis' father is the president of S.Africa?!?! Maybe he's a Shifter or a Ghoul. That would explain sooooo much!' Seriously, Google Jacob Zuma and tell me that is not a picture of him :D