The Winchesters Season 1 Promo “Love Story”

It’s not quite changing the facts established in the original, but there’s certainly a little bit of a side eye coming from fans, especially when at the NYCC panel the showrunner Robbie Thompson–a longtime Supernatural writer/director–said that they weren’t going to rewrite what the show is doing. As prequels go, there’s certainly a lot of space to explore the Men of Letters, the adventures of John and Mary in the ‘70s, and to right some of the retrospective wrongs of the original show. Thompson said at the panel that by the end of the season it will be very clear that this show is setting itself apart from the original.


If this “wait until the end of the season to judge us” attitude rubs you the wrong way—fair. It’s 13 episodes of monster-of-the-week television, I get it. But it is kind of the Supernatural way to spend the whole season monster hunting in between arc building, and reveal a big twist in the 13th hour. But if the show continues to build and expand on what we saw in the first episode, I suspect it will be a very entertaining season. It nails the tragicomedy vibes of the show, where the most devastatingly emotional lines are the ones often delivered like a joke, and we already have a supporting cast of characters that I personally would go to war for.

The original aspects of The Winchesters are, perhaps unfortunately for the show, much better than the bits of lore and the main characters that have been ported from Supernatural. We meet two new hunters—Latika (Nida Khurshid of Station 19) and Carlos (Jonathan “Jojo” Fleites)—who are immediately very charming, likely because they are not weighed down by the same baggage that John and Mary have to carry with them. Latika, called Lata in the series, is a scardey-cat lorehound who is nevertheless desperate to help her friends. Carlos is a wonderfully fey chaos bisexual who shows up in a hippie van and with an exceptional wardrobe and sense of timing. These two are really quite fun, and while my immediate reaction to John and Mary is more of a “oh what trauma will we retread this time” kind of moment, Lata and Carlos are genuinely delightful characters.


Mary and John are interesting characters, and the show is working overtime to convince us that their story will be interesting despite us knowing the ending. They flirt a little bit, the constantly-angry Mary Campbell using her resting bitch face like plate armor as she slowly warms up to the traumatized puppy dog that is John Winchester.

Ultimately, The Winchesters is a slightly more sophisticated, but still slightly campy, version of Supernatural that isn’t held back by the absurdly expansive levels of lore that Sam and Dean had to deal with by season eight of a show that continued for seven more years. Using all that as a foundation seems to have given The Winchesters permission to explore facets of cyclical, generational trauma and bring real depictions of PTSD to the forefront of their storytelling, dispensing with metaphor as it directly tackles the ways in which parents fuck their kids up in the same ways they have been fucked up.


The Winchesters premiered on October 11, and airs Tuesdays on the CW.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.