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I guess most of you will have seen the panels and reports from Comic Con by now, so what are your thoughts? Personally, I could not say that I am particularly happy with the information Carver & Co released about S9 so far, but that does not really come as a surprise to me.



So, Comic Con came and went, and it was surprisingly uninformative. Carver & Co did not reveal much about S9 we did not already know or concluded from the events of the season finale. I guess I should count it as a win that, rather than leaving me in a state of misery and despair, the spoilers from Comic Con only resulted in quiet resignation on my part. As expected, the spoilers divulged nothing that would get me excited for S9. The idea of suffering through a season that, once again, has its main focus on angels and demons is absolutely unappealing to me, and I really could not care less about the woes of Metatron, Castiel and Crowley. Obviously, the spoiler most relevant to my interests was the reveal that the way Sam heals from his trial-related illness involves a big secret between the brothers that Sam is not aware of and that Dean keeps from him – a secret that will, no doubt, create yet another rift between the brothers when it comes to light – and words cannot describe how tired I am of this narrative device to create conflict between the brothers. It is entirely contrived at this point in the show, and worse, it makes a mockery of past growth in the brotherly relationship. I wished I could say that I expected better, but fact is that this is exactly the kind of repetitive and unimaginative plotting I came to expect from the current creative team.

Now, Dean keeping yet another secret from Sam would be upsetting in and of itself, but it is even more disconcerting coming on the heels of the S8 finale, in which Sam broke down and openly showed Dean how much it hurts him when Dean does not trust him. Dean seemed genuinely shocked and distressed by Sam’s confession, clearly unaware of how deeply his brother is affected by his words and actions. So, the fact that his reaction to Sam’s hurt is to turn around and lie to him – no matter how good his intentions may be – is just a slap in Sam’s face. Moreover, the fact that Sam’s choice and control over his life/body are taken away from him, again, by keeping him in the dark about what is happening to him is unsettling. It is also rather frustrating that Dean once again has double standards when it comes to him and Sam. I mean, in Goodbye Stranger he emphasised to Sam how tired he is of being lied to by the people closest to him, and yet he has no problem doing the same to his brother. Not that this is news, but after eight years this kind of behaviour has just become tiresome.

Another information that left me quite frustrated was Jensen’s statement that, so far, he is under the impression that the writers did not plan out a distinct character arc for Dean; they rather try different things with the character and see what will stick. Jensen’s statement plays into my perception that, instead of carefully planning a season as a whole, Carver & Co just do whatever pops into their minds and that seems cool at any given moment, regardless of continuity or consistency. Well, at least that is how S8 came off to me. With that in mind, I do not have any confidence that the writers have any well thought-out plans in store for Sam’s long-term character arc or the mythology either. All in all, my motivation to watch S9 is at an all-time low at the moment, and I am not sure that will change in the next three months. Maybe I will just have to accept that my time with the show has come to an end, even though I am still emotionally invested in the characters. I guess I will have to wait and see.

Date: 2013-07-24 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
Hello brain twin!

I was just contemplating writing up my thoughts about S9 based on spoilers, but then (before reading this) decided that I didn't care enough to do so. :( The fact that SPN-related stuff, even if it's bothersome, fails to elicit more than a "ho-hum, ugh, *headdesk*" response from me just shows how underwhelmed I am and the degree of my detachment. :(

I'm finally admitting to myself that I do not care about angels or Crowley. And for me the most compelling angel isn't Cas, but was Namoi, who won't be returning in any way shape or form (confirmed at SDCC)--not that I was really holding out too much hope, though. But at least I'm not in denial anymore about the fact that angels and Crowley do not interest me, right?

Ditto regarding your thoughts on Sam and Dean and secrets and the potential for character "regression" and strange double standards. I'm hopeful that whatever pans out with "the secret" is cool and clever and makes sense because JP seems to be so excited about it.

Another information that left me quite frustrated was Jensen’s statement that, so far, he is under the impression that the writers did not plan out a distinct character arc for Dean

I groaned out loud when those words came out of Jensen's mouth. Just. Ugh. Show. Do not waste my time. I feel like this is what happens during the first season of a TV show and it shouldn't be happening to this degree with an established show with characters who have a HUGE history that has played out onscreen right in front of the audiences' eyes. Part of me wonders if I should be slightly insulted and wondering if Carver and Co. think that either we're going to discount or "forget" years of Winchester characterization/story telling or if they're that arrogant to think that they can just conveniently ignore most of what has come before. Or maybe it's just that they don't know what else to do so they're just doing a bunch of things (again) to see what the audience likes *groan*. My biggest pet peeve is lack of vision in story telling and a meandering, nonsensical story with weird dead ends and an unsatisfying ending. And so far there's not much that's dispelling my worry that S9 is veering in that direction and, worse, will be filled with too many fan-service!angels and fan-service!Crowley. :(
Edited Date: 2013-07-24 05:11 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-07-24 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
But at least I'm not in denial anymore about the fact that angels and Crowley do not interest me, right?
ROFL yes, coming out of denial is a good thing. But I often do that, too, trying to convince myself I like something because I want to like it, but there always comes the moment of defeat. I've been tired of the angel mythology since S5, and I was very pleased that Sera Gamble slowly but surely backed away from it and opened the mythology in other directions - alpha monsters, eve and purgatory, souls, leviathans. Gamble really did a lot of great things to flesh out the universe Kripke left her. Carver is just trampling around in it. :( And I really used to love Crowley. I enjoyed him and his snark and his clever, opportunistic ways. However, in S8 he was reduced to a cardboard villain, whose actions made little sense and were often out of character. It's a shame, really. :(

I'm hopeful that whatever pans out with "the secret" is cool and clever and makes sense because JP seems to be so excited about it.
I won't hold my breath, particularly not about the clever part. That's one thing about the current creative team, they always think the things they do are cool and exciting and they don't care if they're walking all over past canon/characerisation with it. And I adore Jared, but he is very excitable and he always tries to make everyone on the show look good. He would never say on camera 'this storyline sucks!' Bless him!

My biggest pet peeve is lack of vision in story telling and a meandering, nonsensical story with weird dead ends and an unsatisfying ending.
Ditto! S8 was like that and S9 will be, too. Has to be, because it is the same creative team. I am not sure either if Carver & Co are oblivious to the damage they do to the characters and the mythology or if they just do not care. I want to believe that they're genuinely trying to do their best, but some of the stuff they pulled last season was just so outrageously bad and destructive - Taxi Driver comes to mind - that it seems incomprehensible that they had no clue what they were doing.

Date: 2013-07-27 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
I was very pleased that Sera Gamble slowly but surely backed away from it and opened the mythology in other directions - alpha monsters, eve and purgatory, souls, leviathans.

I liked the exploration of monsters and the idea of Purgatory. It made sense to go there; after all we'd already been dealing with Hell and Heaven. I feel that there's still room to explore with the monsters, esp. the Alphas (I was ready for the Leviathan to move on, however). It's too bad S8 turned into whatever it was.

That's one thing about the current creative team, they always think the things they do are cool and exciting and they don't care if they're walking all over past canon/characerisation with it.

:'(

I want to believe that they're genuinely trying to do their best, but some of the stuff they pulled last season was just so outrageously bad and destructive - Taxi Driver comes to mind - that it seems incomprehensible that they had no clue what they were doing.

That will forever be The Episode that was a complete and utter waste of something that could've been amazing. I think it may come down to a show runner who has a clear vision AND will demand better. I read some interviews with Kripke for Revolution at SCDD and he's still the same opinionated guy who acknowledges his mistakes and doesn't hesitate to rally for what he wants (he was yelling about the Revolution characters looking too clean "It's not a Noxzema commercial! More dirt!" and that reminded me of him freaking about about Sam and Dean holding umbrellas in "Bugs"). I don't get the sense that Carver has a clear vision. At this point, I'm just hoping for a S9 story with a cohesive beginning, middle, and end and not something that resembles the first draft of a choose-your-own-adventure book.

Date: 2013-07-27 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
was ready for the Leviathan to move on, however
Aww, man, I loved the leviathans. I think the last time I found a villain on the show as entertaining as the leviathans was when Zachariah was still gracing the screen with his presence. I never found either particularly creepy or menacing, but enormous fun! :)

I don't get the sense that Carver has a clear vision.
Yeah, I don't think that either. And that is especially damaging for a show that is as arc-oriented as SPN is. And I agree about Kripke. I always admired about him that he had no problems to openly admit when he went into a wrong direction or when he pushed for something that proved to be stupid in hindsight. Carver seems to lack that kind of critical reflection. At the end of S8, he still made the same statements about the development of the brothers' story as he did at the beginning of the season. He seemed to have no awareness about how deeply he failed the characters and the mythology.

Date: 2013-07-24 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] llywela13.livejournal.com
Hey Chris. I'm very out of touch - and getting more so by the week, it seems. The above all sounds horribly unappealing and mostly only serves to remind me of all the reasons I became dissaffected from the show in the first place - but I feel really bad for you because you still care and I want a good season for your sake!

It's sad to think that 12 months ago I was still watching and still reasonably optimistic, no longer as invested as I once was, but still. And then in such a short time that lingering investment was just killed stone dead. The show really has lost its way, forgotten what it used to be about - and, worse, forgotten how to tread new ground. Or possibly ceased being brave enough to tread new ground. So instead it goes around the same stagnant circles, grinding the characters into dust. It really sounds as if the current production team has no true vision for the show at all. All they have is a stale formula and an ear for the loudest and least critical voices in fandom. When I think what it once was...but we'll never have that back now.

Date: 2013-07-24 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Hey, hon! We really need to have that chat session, soon. We haven't talked in ages. *hug*

I feel really bad for you because you still care and I want a good season for your sake!
Aww, thanks. I still care about the characters and always will. The show as a whole, though? Not so much. Apart from the brothers, they've stripped everything away from the show that I loved. Okay, I care for Charlie and Garth, but still. I've become a lot more detached this last season than I ever thought possible. I never thought I could let go of the show while it is still on the air, but I feel I've reached that point now. The current show has little to do with the show I fell in love with. Maybe the best I can do is quit and just be happy that I have 7 seasons that I genuinely love, warts and all.

So instead it goes around the same stagnant circles, grinding the characters into dust.
Exactly! I think what I hate most is that these narrative circles make a mockery of past development for the brothers. I was so proud when Sam and Dean grew into mature and wisened men in S5-7. Not without setbacks, mind you, but well on the way of truly growing out of their issues. But by pushing them into the old patterns over and over again the writers take all that development away. I resent that so much, you have no idea. :(

When I think what it once was...but we'll never have that back now.
Sadly not, no. When I go back and watch older episodes, I am always shocked by how different the show was in the earlier seasons. The quality of writing and acting was just outstanding.

Date: 2013-07-25 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] llywela13.livejournal.com
I know, I miss chatting!

I'm still bitter that Gamble was so deplored by huge swathes of the fandom just for trying to do something different with the show and breathe new life into it, which it desperately needed and does again now more so than ever - alas, the angelic rot had already set in at that point and those that latched onto it will apparently not settle for anything else, to hell with what that does to the integrity of the show.

I'd like to say 'yes, stop watching, preserve the love you once had', but it hasn't worked like that for me, I stopped watching and now still can't even look at the early seasons because all that does is remind me of how far the show fell. :( So I totally understand your resentment because it's a large part of what drove me away and keeps me away - I guess this is how you came to feel about AtS (and I've still never managed to rewatch S5 of that myself, despite owning the DVD for so many years).

But I'm dissatisfied with a lot of things at the moment, which might also contribute.

I do want to watch the early seasons again someday, when I can get past my upset over how far the show drifted from that original vision. If I can focus on the episodes and not let myself think about the turgid mess it descended into in later years... Not yet, though.

Date: 2013-07-25 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Well, I have no plans this weekend. If you have the time, we could catch up! :)

I'm still bitter that Gamble was so deplored by huge swathes of the fandom just for trying to do something different with the show
I know! I really miss her clear sense of direction and most of all her clear sense of the characters and their history. The lack thereof is my biggest gripe with the current creative team. And now that Edlund left the team as well, there is no actual writer left who was with the show in the early years. I don't count Carver, because for some reason he lost his deft touch with the characters during his absence from the show. Not to mention that I am under the impression that he didn't care to catch up on what he missed in S6/7.

I'd like to say 'yes, stop watching, preserve the love you once had', but it hasn't worked like that for me
I am not at the point with SPN yet, where the current downward spiral affects my love for S1-7. I've just rewatched Fresh Blood and Mystery Spot and I felt as affected by them as always. However, I fear that my love for the show may not recover from 3 years (S8-S10 possibly) of watching it be driven into the ground by Carver & Co.

Date: 2013-07-25 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] llywela13.livejournal.com
I don't have any plans for the weekend (yet) - and my week off work has ended up being so busy, I think I owe myself a lazy Saturday! A catch-up would be great. I'll try not to be grumpy...

What I loved most about the Gamble era was that she allowed the characters to grow up. She took them beyond the childish, fratboy humour rut they'd been mired in and let them mature into the seasoned adults they should long since have become. She also allowed their story to be driven by what had gone before - she kept them moving forward. I can't even describe what Carver's team has made of the characters, but forward certainly does not describe their character movement. Bah. Even talking about the show makes me glad I stopped watching. :(

Date: 2013-07-25 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Okay, Saturday it is, then. :) And hey, you can be grumpy. We can be grumpy together. LOL

And I couldn't agree more about Gamble. I also loved that she turned away from internal conflict between the brothers and rather explored what their past life had done to them as individuals and how they deal with that. /sigh It's so tremendously sad that such a huge potion of fandom was unable to see how beneficial Gamble was for the show. :( And yes, Carver regressed the characters. Basically he tried to re-tell the brothers' S4/5 arc in one season - only way, way worse than Kripke - making the characters look like idiots in the process. Ah, well. Nothing we can do about it. Best to ignore it and move on, for our sanity's sake.

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