Supernatural: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
Twenty-two years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force, so their father, John, raised the brothers. He taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America...and he taught them how to kill it. Sam, however, wanted nothing to do with this violent and dangerous life, and he left it behind, until the day Dean appeared on his doorstep with troubling news. Their father had gone missing on a "hunting trip." Sam and Dean have spent the last year cruising the highways of the United States searching for their lost father and encountering creatures that most people believe exist only in folklore, superstition and nightmares. Along the way, they have battled the various supernatural threats--and each other as well, for their sibling rivalries and conflicts were never far from the surface. Finally, they found their father, just as he was closing in on the Demon who claimed their mother.
As programs ranging from Kolchak: The Night Stalker to, well, Night Stalker have proven, it's difficult to scare TV audiences on a weekly basis, but Supernatural seems to broken the trend. Not only has its blend of Route 66 and The X-Files provided some of the more chilling TV moments in recent history, but its core story--two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) battle the forces of evil to avenge their late mother--has been compelling enough to warrant a second season, which is compiled in its entirety on this six-disc set. Season Two maintains the show's "Monster of the Week" approach while adding compelling layers to the main characters and their history; in "What Is And What Should Never Be," a djinn offers the boys a glimpse of how their lives might've played out had their mother not succumbed to demonic forces, while the two-part "All Hell Breaks Loose" brings the season to a close with not only a rift between Sam and Dean, but the gates of Hell swinging open to unleash monstrous spirits. And if that's not enough of a creepshow for you, the boys also encounter a cannibal clown ("Everybody Loves a Clown"), seductive demons ("Crossroad Blues"), a town gripped by mass psychosis ("Croatoan"), as well as a barrage of ghosts, vampires and werewolves. If it's chills you want, the second season of Supernatural has them by the score. There's also a wealth of extras on the Complete Second Season set that should please longtime fans and help newcomers catch up with developments since the show's debut. Informative and entertaining commentaries are featured on three episodes: "In My Time of Dying" (by Ackles and Padalecki), "What Is And What Never Should Be" (by series creator Eric Kripke), and "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1" (by Kripke, writer Sera Gambles, and director Robert Singer). There's also a featurette on "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2" that offers observations by the cast and crew on the season as a whole; viewers should note that the 11-minute short is difficult to find and is accessible only after accessing "The Devil's Road Map," a virtual tour of the places (and monsters) visited throughout the show's history. Padalecki's screen test for the role of Sam is also included, as well as three webisodes about the writers, visual effects and props for the show, and an amusing gag reel. -- Paul Gaita