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I have watched a few Supernatural episodes and I understood that there should be a background story (in the beginning the search for the father and somebody told me that later they find him, but something else happens - I do not know what). Still, in every episode, they hunt some other creature.

The question is how many episodes contain unresolved mysteries or reveal something important about the background story? I mean, is it just "monster-of-the-week" series, or does it make you want to watch the next episode in order to find out the truth (in a Lost-ian way, or something similar).

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You're actually pretty spot on with your assessment of the beginning of the series. However, a look at Wikipedia's Supernatural entry gives us some insight:

According to creator Eric Kripke, the show originally was intended to focus on the weekly monsters, with Sam and Dean Winchester merely being "an engine to get us in and out of different horror movies every week". His sole desire was to merely "scare the crap out of people". However, a few episodes in, Kripke and executive producer Bob Singer noticed the onscreen chemistry between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. This revelation caused them to change the series to focus more on the brothers than the monsters, basing the weekly monster around the storyline they wanted for the Winchesters. According to Kripke, "...sometimes we don't even have the monster until way late in the break, once we get all the angst and the drama done first."

Unlike shows with "endless mythology" like Lost, Kripke prefers to keep Supernatural's mythology simpler, saying, "It's so hard to go season after season after season with a mystery and then provide an answer that's going to be satisfying." He prefers to have the series' structure like that of the earlier X-Files episodes, having mythology-based episodes spread through many self-enclosed episodes—Supernatural usually having three self-enclosed episodes followed by a mythology episode. With this format, viewers do not have to have previous knowledge of the mythology in order to watch the series, being able to "join the party at any time".

So, to summarize, the series did start as a monster-of-the-week show, but developed into a show about the brothers. They kept the format of 3 monster shows - 1 "canon" show; however, they started including a lot of story line around the brothers later into the first season.

Keep watching, it only gets better.

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I am more interested in the above mentioned "mythological" episodes, or as you called them "cannon", but from what I understood, that shouldn't be the reason for watching, but the relationship between the brothers. Am I right? – Dragos Mar 13 '12 at 22:09
I'm thinking you want the word canon here - 1 'n' - established rules governing faith and practice – wbogacz Mar 13 '12 at 22:27
@wbogacz Yes, this makes sense, but I am not accustomed with these kinds of terms. Thank you. – Dragos Mar 13 '12 at 22:52
While there are certainly episodes you can skip early on, the frequency of the throwaway episodes diminishes significantly as the series progresses. – Jacob G Mar 14 '12 at 1:09
Yup, the show started out as an episodic and was so-so. It got to be really good and gained in popularity when it switched to a serial format. They’ve retained the monster-of-the-week aspect as a side to the big-bad-of-the-season format to keep things from getting too boring. – Synetech Mar 14 '12 at 3:04

Many times the Supernatural series have been described as being either about the brothers or about hunting monsters. I have seen all episodes through all eleven seasons until now, maybe just out of habit, or because of a gem or two once in a while.

Personal opinions

I like the good episodes and hate the bad ones. There are very high and very low moments in quality. Hence, I believe hard-core fans, which I feel are many by public acceptance and imdb score, do over-rate a bit. But also the non-viewers may be missing suprising elements too.

Hunting monsters is very little valuable, they mostly have very little plot, and are just kicking asses and eating, drinking, banging, seducing nice stuff. Once in a while a character is presented and/or some development on secondary characters or main ones. This isn't always painful but the most interesting catch of the program may be another side, to which I argue in favor.

Suggestions for watching some parts

Season 4-5 & 11 have participations of highest(/lowest?) spiritual entities known to most mortals:

God / Lucifer

And they get to develop very interesting dialogues and leave a lot to think of. That alone I believe is enough to make the show valuable and forget the rest. Other topics/caracters that deserve attention and may appear on other seasons: Reapers, Death, The Four HorseMen, Cain's Mark, Djinns, Groundhog day experience, a cursed rabbit's foot, etc. For reruns, I'd be pleased to see those seasons and several episodes again. The rest, well... I'm giving forward notice, so the warning is there.

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