In what has to be the most belated opportunity in television history, the CW's sci-fi show "Supernatural" finally got its spin-off with "Supernatural: Bloodlines." It debuted as a backdoor pilot that's positively stuffed to the monstrous gills with new characters, tragedies, daddy issues and few moments of "Supernatural's" whiskey-soaked charm.
Backdoor pilots seem like a good idea on paper: target 100% of the original show's audience by having the characters stumble into a related but dynamic universe that leave the viewers wanting more. However, most are rushed, unbalanced and choppy. "Supernatural: Bloodlines" easily supports this theory. Instead of focusing on the show's hero Ennis’s journey as he deals with the violent loss of his girlfriend and the discovery that Chicago is ruled by five monster families (or having Sam and Dean work this case and take Ennis under their wing), the pilot is jam-packed with so many characters and plotlines that the viewers don’t have time to learn names and alliances, let alone care about them. Should I root for Ennis (Lucien Laviscount), the son of a slain cop who stumbled into this supernatural mess? Should I root for David Lassiter, the shapeshifter who uses his abilities to sell answers to exams and speaks more woodenly than Pinocchio? Or Violet, a werewolf who abandoned David so they wouldn’t taint the bloodlines? Or Margo, David’s warmongering sister who spends too much time at the MAC counter?
Like its predecessor, Bloodlines excels at building the bromance. Do-gooding Ennis, who wisecracks like Dean and angsts like Sam, and David (Nathaniel Buzolic) quickly bond by crossing enemy lines to help each other and save lives whilst trading sassy one-liners. "Supernatural" was built on the bromance, so it's good that the show has already laid the groundwork for an epic one.
Unfortunately, the world the Winchesters built has never been able to sustain a romance nor has it been that kind of the fairer sex, and Bloodlines is no different. Ennis' girlfriend is murdered in mid-proposal, much like Mary Winchester and Jessica Moore were nearly a decade ago in "Supernatural's" pilot. Enter Violet, a WASPy young werewolf who does little more than be towed around by men and told that her job is to be "pretty." Even when she is kidnapped by a masked, clawed man trying to ignite a monster-on-monster war, she allows herself to be chained and scorched by silver. She only wolfs out when David, her ex, is tortured but sadly, a pomeranian has more ferocity than her shewolf as she merely claws at the bad guy's face instead of going for his heart or the jugular like a true monster…or even an agrieved Winchester.
The show ends with David leaving college to join his the shape-shifting family business. What that is, I'm not entirely sure. Sam and Dean literally leave Ennis in the street to attend to “Supernatural” business, instead of eradicating the monster families in the city. It’s a rude and abrupt exit, but it does leave the door wide-open for their return next season or maybe Ennis’ presumed-dead father will reveal himself.
The beauty of the backdoor pilot is that it gives the show time to re-tinker and revise the show before diving into a full season in the fall. The human characters need to find their humanity and give us a reason to care about them. The monsters clans need to embrace their inner wickedness and bloodlust. The show as a whole needs to create its own identity instead of recycling the old aliases “Supernatural” has flogged for the past nine seasons. To put it plainly, “Supernatural: Bloodlines” has a lot of work to do.
What did you think of "Supernatural: Bloodlines"? Will you watch this next seasons? Sound off below.