The series, which is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, was in development for nearly ten years, as creator Kripke spent several years unsuccessfully pitching it. The pilot was viewed by an estimated 5.69 million viewers, and the ratings of the first four episodes prompted The WB to pick up the series for a full season. Originally, Kripke planned the series for three seasons, but later expanded it to five. The fifth season began airing on September 10, 2009, and concluded the series' main storyline; however, The CW officially renewed the show for a sixth season on February 16, 2010. On April 26, 2011, the show was renewed for a seventh season for the 2011–2012 season, which began on September 23, 2011. On January 12, 2012, the series won the two awards at the People's Choice Awards, which includes Best Sci/Fi TV Series and Best Drama TV Series.
On May 3, 2012, Supernatural was renewed for an 8th season by the CW with Jeremy Carver replacing Sera Gamble as co-showrunner with Robert Singer. One of the main recurring themes is the 1967 Chevy Impala the brothers drive.
Season One aired in the United States beginning September 13, 2005, and ending May 4, 2006. The first sixteen episodes aired on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm, after which the series was rescheduled to Thursdays.
After their mother's death in a suspicious fire that burns down their house, Dean and Sam Winchester live a life on the road with their father as they grow up. Years pass and the boys team up to find their father, John, who goes missing on a hunting trip. However, their father is not a typical hunter: he hunts supernatural creatures like ghosts, vampires, and spirits and he's trained his sons to do the same. Along the way, Sam and Dean save innocent people, fight creatures and ghosts, and collect clues to their father's whereabouts. Sam begins to mysteriously develop psychic abilities and visions as they travel. They eventually find and reunite with their father, who reveals that the creature that killed Sam's and Dean's mother years earlier is Yellow-eyes (Azazel) and the only thing that can kill him is a legendary gun created by Samuel Colt. The season ends with the brothers and their father involved in a car crash when a truck hits the side of the Impala. They lie inside the car, covered in blood and unconscious.
Season Two consists of 22 episodes that aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm in the United States beginning September 28, 2006, and ending May 17, 2007.
The season follows Sam and Dean as they deal with their father's death (he traded his life for Dean's with Yellow-Eyes after the car crash) and continue to hunt this demon, who also caused the fire that led to the deaths of their mother and later, Sam's girlfriend, Jessica. They have assistance from new allies Ellen, Jo, and Ash. Part of Yellow-Eyes's master plan is eventually revealed as he gathers Sam and others like him to fight each other, leading to Sam dying. Dean makes a deal with the crossroads demon to bring back Sam in exchange for his soul, which will be collected in one year and taken to Hell. Yellow-Eyes opens a portal to Hell and as hundreds of demons and souls escape, has a final confrontation with the Winchesters. With the help of the spirit of John Winchester who escaped Hell through the portal, Dean finally kills Yellow-Eyes and the portal is closed, but the Winchesters and their allies are left to deal with the demon army that has been unleashed and the one-year contract Dean has before he goes to Hell.
Season Three consists of 16 episodes that aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm in the United States beginning October 4, 2007, and ending May 15, 2008. Originally 22 episodes were ordered for the third season, but production was halted on December 5, 2007, upon completion of the twelfth episode due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The season number was shortened to sixteen episodes, with four new episodes airing in April and May 2008.
The season mainly focuses on trying to save Dean from his deal and tracking down the fury that was released from the gate. Along the way, the brothers meet Ruby, a 'good' demon, who has an interest in Sam and claims to be able to help save Dean. Also, they meet Bela Talbot, an "acquirer" and seller of occult objects, who is constantly a thorn in their side. The brothers eventually learn from Bela which demon holds Dean's contract: one being of great power named Lilith. Lilith takes Bela's soul after her contract expires but not before she has warned Sam and Dean. The brothers, along with Ruby, track her down and attempt to kill her. Lilith is unable to stop Sam due to his mysterious abilities; however, Dean's contract expires and his soul is taken to Hell.
Season Four consists of 22 episodes that aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm in the United States beginning September 18, 2008, and ending May 14, 2009.
Dean is rescued from Hell and brought back by an angel named Castiel, one of several angels who appears throughout the season. The rest of the season follows the brothers as they work with Castiel to stop Lilith's plan of breaking the 66 seals, which would allow Lucifer to walk free once again. Sam's and Dean's relationship is also strained as Sam starts siding with Ruby over Dean. He also begins to give into his demonic side by drinking demon blood to become strong enough to defeat Lilith. He and Dean eventually have a falling out and Sam sides fully with Ruby in his obsessive quest to kill Lilith. Dean makes a deal with the angels to save Sam and learns that they want the Apocalypse to come in order to rebuild Earth as a Paradise. With aid from Castiel, Dean escapes and tries to stop Sam as he has learned that Lilith is in fact the last seal, but Sam kills her anyway, breaking open Lucifer's prison. Ruby reveals her true colors as a demon loyal to Lucifer and Dean kills her, but as the season ends, Lucifer's Cage opens and he starts to escape.
Season Five consists of 22 episodes and was rumored to be the last season, due to Eric Kripke's statements over the years that he had planned for the show to run for only five seasons. Despite this, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles had contracts for a sixth season, and The CW renewed the series on February 16, 2010.
The fifth season revolves around the fight to stop Lucifer and save the world from the Apocalypse. Throughout the season, Dean and Sam battle both angels and demons as they fight their destiny to become the vessels of Michael and Lucifer. One way they attempt to stop Lucifer is to retrieve the Colt and kill him with it, but this fails as Lucifer can't be killed by the Colt and they lose fellow hunters and friends Jo and Ellen in the process. This and the revelation that God will not help stop the Apocalypse drive Dean to agree to Michael, but he ultimatly doesn't go through with it, killing the angel Zachariah who has been tormenting the brothers all season instead. Michael ultimatly takes Adam Milligan, Sam and Dean's half-brother as a vessel instead. Unable to defeat Lucifer, they collect the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which act as the keys to Lucifer's prison. The idea of destiny versus freedom and choice plays a large role. Throughout the season, Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Bobby each have a crisis as they near giving up. However, through each other's support, they continue forward until the end. It is also notable that Dean and Castiel have an ongoing friendship during this season, while Dean and Sam initially grow further apart. In the end, after Sam allows Lucifer to possess him and he kills Bobby and Castiel, Sam manages to regain control thanks to his bond with Dean and throws himself, Lucifer, Michael and Adam Milligan (possessed by Michael) into Hell to trap Lucifer once more. Castiel is resurrected more powerful than ever by God and returns to Heaven to restore order after resurrecting Bobby. Dean returns to his old girlfriend Lisa to live a normal life, but Sam is shown mysteriously free and watching his brother.
Season Six consists of 22 episodes. Creator Eric Kripke originally planned for the show to last only five seasons, but due to increased ratings from the fourth and fifth seasons, the CW network renewed the series for a sixth season. Kripke has not returned as showrunner, but still remained as a hands-on executive producer, leaving executive producer Sera Gamble to take over the reins.
The sixth season begins a year after the end happenings of the fifth with Dean living a somewhat happy life with Lisa and Ben. When a seemingly emotionless Sam returns to Dean, he is forced to leave his new life behind. Dean is forced to work with his grandfather Samuel to capture Alpha Monsters, they are unable to get help from Castiel due to a civil war in heaven, and cannot trust Samuel. Dean's suspicions are confirmed when he finds Samuel working with demons to activate the portal to Purgatory. Dean finds that Sam has no emotion due to having lost his soul after Crowley brought him back from Hell, so he implores the help of the Horseman Death in order to retrieve it. In order to ensure Sam does not remember Hell, Death wipes that part of Sam's memory using a wall. The brothers discover Castiel to be behind the events of Sam's return, the Alpha Monsters and the portal to Purgatory. When the brothers try to stop Castiel, he brings Sam's memory of Hell back and goes ahead with his plan, absorbs all the souls from Purgatory and pronounces himself God due to having had evolved beyond being an angel.
On April 26, 2011, CW announced early renewals for five shows for the 2012 season which included a seventh season for Supernatural with 23 episodes. The seventh season aired on September 23, 2011.
After declaring himself God, Castiel goes forth to try and punish all the wrongdoers in the world, garnering attention. Very quickly though, however, he discovers that he had absorbed Leviathan as well who are breaking free. Sam and Dean manage to return the Purgatory souls but fail to return the Leviathans who seemingly kill Castiel before vanishing. The Leviathans inhabit the bodies of many different people around the world, with Sam and Dean learning their weakness Borax, though it has minimum effectiveness on the Leviathan leader, Dick Roman. After Roman kills Bobby, Dean becomes obsessed with taking the Leviathans down and learns of a facility they are making, only to learn it is a facility to cure cancer as one Leviathan puts it: "We're only here to help". The spirit of Bobby later confirms that while they are curing disease, they are doing it as part of their grand plan to turn humanity into the perfect food source. With the help of Castiel, the brothers learn that the only way to kill the Leviathans is with the "bone of a righteous mortal washed in the three bloods of the fallen" and set out to find those three bloods. Eventually Dean and Castiel kill Dick, but are dragged into Purgatory as a result while Sam is left alone to deal with Crowley, who plans to rise to power now that the Leviathans are disorganized.
Key plot points presented in the season were Sam struggling with the constant hallucinations of Lucifer and the ghost of Bobby "haunting" Sam and Dean through his alcohol flask. Bobby's rage towards Dick Roman slowly causes him to become a vengeful spirit, and Sam and Dean trying to deal with this fact ultimately leads to them burn his flask at his request, destroying Bobby.
Season ends with Dean killing Dick Roman after which Dick explodes and Dean with Castiel appear in Purgatory surrounded by 'monster souls'.
On May 3, 2012, Supernatural was renewed for an eighth season by the CW. It is set to air Wednesdays at 9:00 PM.
Throughout the series, Dean drives a black 1967 Chevrolet Impala. Having been passed down to him by his father (John), it is Dean's most prized possession, with actor Jensen Ackles feeling it is Dean's "life" and "sanctuary". The brothers travel in it throughout the country as they hunt the supernatural, and the trunk holds various weaponry and their fake ID's. In the first two seasons, it has a Kansas license plate with the number KAZ 2Y5, a reference to the Winchesters' home state of Kansas, and the series premiere date of 2005. Towards the end of the second season, the car sports a new Ohio license plate (CNK 80Q3) to aid the brothers in hiding from the FBI.
The origins of the Impala were first depicted in the comic mini-series Supernatural: Origins, in which John Winchester takes ownership of the car from Mary's uncle after accidentally getting him killed during a hunt. However, fans responded negatively to this, as John is shown with the Impala in the teaser for the pilot episode, which is chronologically set before the comic series. Due to this, the comic was altered for the trade paperback version, with the Impala's true origins later being depicted in the series' fourth season. Having been sent back to 1973 by the angel Castiel, Dean convinces his father to purchase the Impala over a 1964 VW Van. The car's origins were further explored during the season five finale, in which a frame story surrounded the plot of the episode tracking the Impala's history from its manufacture, through several previous owners, up until the present day. According to Chuck Shirley, the brothers have "made it their own," and they are shown as kids sticking an army man into an ash tray that remains there (Sam), putting blocks into the heating vents (Dean) and carving their initials into the car. The Impala later proves important when seeing the old army man allows Sam to overpower Lucifer during the final confrontation. According to Chuck, as they have the Impala, the Winchesters never consider themselves truly homeless. In the seventh season, after two Leviathans go on a killing spree in an identical Impala, Sam and Dean are forced to put the car into storage and use various other cars as they are too identifiable with the Impala. Dean later pulls it out of storage to confront Dick and has the demon Meg crash it into Sucrocorp to create a distraction.
All of the cars used in the show are stock 1967 Chevrolet Impala four door hardtops. They feature Chevrolet small-block engines, recolored interiors, custom seats, and nonfunctioning radios. Other than the one used in the original, all of the Impalas had to be painted black for the series. One of the Impalas used features a detachable roof and doors for up-close shots, and is capable of being separated in half.
The 1835 Colt Paterson revolver, usually referred to as "the Colt", was made by Samuel Colt for a paranormal hunter. According to legend, anything shot by this gun, using one of its thirteen original bullets, will die, including creatures normally immune to any and all weapons. John Winchester gives it to the demon Azazel in return for Dean's life being spared after an almost-fatal car crash, and at the end of the second season, Azazel uses it as a key to open a gateway to Hell that Samuel Colt had sealed. The last bullet is then used to kill the demon, though the gun is later altered to allow the use of more bullets. Towards the end of the third season, Lilith's right-hand demon Crowley acquires the gun and hides it. It is then featured in two time-travel episodes, before Crowley returns it to the Winchesters so that they can kill Lucifer. However, after Dean shoots Lucifer in the head at point-blank range, an unharmed Lucifer boasts there are five things in creation which the gun cannot kill, and he is one of them. It is unknown what happened to the weapon after that point, as its only subsequent appearance on the show was a chronologically earlier version, seen when the Winchesters travel to 1861. Sam gets it from Samuel Colt and Dean uses it to kill a Phoenix as they need its ashes. Dean drops the Colt just before being transported back to the present day, where it is presumably retrieved by the saloon owner Elkins, the ancestor of Daniel Elkins, who possessed the weapon at the beginning of the series.
The gun used in the series is actually a replica Paterson modified to fire metallic cartridges. The gun was described as being built in 1835, before Colt made firearms, and fires metallic cartridges which were never made to fire in a Colt revolver until 10 years after Samuel Colt's death. On the barrel of the gun is inscribed the Latin phrase non timebo mala, meaning "I will fear no evil". On the handle is a carving of a pentagram, with much of the finish removed to give it an aged appearance. The props department also has a rubber version of the Colt to be used in fight scenes for pistol-whipping.
Ruby possessed a mysterious and presumably magical demon-killing knife, which Kripke refers to as "a hand-to-hand version of the Colt". Its handle is made of elk antlers, and the knife has engravings on both sides of the blade, although the symbols are all nonsensical. It has been seen and used many times following its introduction in the third season. Upon being stabbed in a vital area, the demon is almost immediately killed, usually taking the human host with it. The only known survivor is Bobby Singer who was left paralyzed as a result. It is unknown if it is effective against other supernatural beings, although it is useless against angels. Furthermore, the demon Alastair is resistant to the knife's power. How the knife functions has yet to be revealed, and creator Eric Kripke doubts it ever will be, stating, "I like to leave some things mysterious. And that's likely to remain mysterious."
Holding Lucifer at bay are over 600 mystical seals, only 66 of which have to be broken for him to be released. The first seal needed to be broken is a "righteous man" spilling blood in Hell. The demon Lilith ensures Dean Winchester gets sent there at the end of the third season. While in Hell, Dean's decision to torture souls to free himself from his own torment breaks the first seal. This allows Lilith to begin breaking the remaining seals, prompting the angel Castiel to resurrect Dean from Hell to stop her in season four. The remaining seals are broken over the course of the season, with the final seal being broken by Sam when he succeeds in destroying Lilith in the finale "Lucifer Rising". Sam broke the last seal by killing Lilith, the first demon Lucifer ever created and whose death would break the final seal. The season ends with Lucifer's cage opening with a bright white light and Sam and Dean standing over it, Sam quoting "Dean, he's coming".
Trouble With the Law
Because Dean and Sam do not get paid for their hunting, the brothers earn their living and pay for their hunting equipment through credit card fraud, poker winnings, and pool hustling. Furthermore, their investigations often put them on the wrong side of the law, as they have desecrated graves, impersonated various officials, and committed breaking and entering. Framed for murder and bank robbery by shapeshifters, Dean has become a highly wanted man, and the brothers are occasionally pursued by various law enforcement officers, most notably FBI Agent Victor Henricksen. Because of their wanted status, the brothers often use aliases, usually derived from hard rock musicians, film references, or a meta-reference. However, in the third season's mid-season finale episode "Jus in Bello", Sam and Dean are presumed dead in the explosion of the Monument, Colorado Sheriff's county jail, effectively ending the FBI's pursuit of them. By the seventh season, however, the FBI are in pursuit of the brothers again, believing them to be mass-murderers (while the actual murders were actually committed by Leviathans impersonating the Winchesters). However, with the help of a sheriff who learns the truth and the bodies of their dopplegangers, they are able to fake their deaths again, but have to lie low to prevent discovery, abandoning the Impala and taking on new aliases.
In season 7, after the wall between Sam and his memories of Hell is broken by Castiel, Sam starts to be haunted by hallucinations of Lucifer. According to Castiel, these hallucinations are merely a projection of Sam's own torment, but they slowly drive him insane. Sam is able to make his hallucinations disappear by repeatedly pressing on a wound on his hand to prove that this is reality, but after Sam allows his Lucifer hallucination to help him in "Repo Man," this method no longer works as he let Lucifer in. The hallucination takes to keeping Sam from sleeping and later eating, trying to kill him through sleep-deprivation and starvation and it gets so bad that Sam is locked in a mental hospital where he is nearly tortured to death by a possessed orderly. Dean locates Castiel who returns in time to save Sam from the demon and tries to rebuild his mental wall, but is unable to as by that point, the wall has been completely crushed into nothing. Out of remorse for his actions, Castiel transfers Sam's madness and experience in Hell into himself and Sam stops hallucinating Lucifer while Castiel starts to and goes into a catatonic state. Castiel later wakes up, but as a result of absorbing Sam's madness, has been driven insane though he explains the Lucifer hallucination soon disappeared as it was just a projection of Sam's mind.
After Bobby is killed by Dick Roman, he remains behind as a ghost tied to his old alcohol flask to help Sam and Dean, though its not clear for several episodes if he's really there. Bobby drinks Dean's beer, makes papers with needed information appear, drops a book with a business card that ultimately leads to Castiel and moves a sword into Dean's hand before it becomes clear that he is still there. After Bobby manages to reveal himself and learns how to become visible, Sam and Dean are faced with the prospect of having the ghost of their dead friend with them when they believe it's unnatural and that he should've moved on. Their fear that things will end badly increases as Bobby displays signs of becoming a vengeful spirit, from which there is no return. Bobby's increasing power and aggressive behavior point more and more toward him becoming a vengeful spirit until he finally gives in to his anger at Dick Roman, possesses a maid, and tries to kill Dick. In the process he nearly strangles Sam to death, but manages to regain control. Realizing that he may not be able to hold on for much longer, Bobby requests his flask be burned so he will move on to whatever lies beyond. The Winchesters abide by his request and Bobby asks them not to remain as spirits when they die and not to give into vengeance like he did.