Ho, ho, ho? More like hi, hi, hi-atus!
With almost every primetime program taking a few weeks off, TV Fanatic staff members are using the break to assess the first halves of various seasons. From Private Practice to The Vampire Diaries, we've already handed out a slew of midseason grades. Up next, courtesy of its lead critic, Sean McKenna, Supernatural...
Best Episode: "Meet the New Boss." While the most recent episode involving Bobby's death was another series high, I have to give it to the premiere episode. Not only was the idea of Castiel as the new God scary, but when he transformed into the psychotic Leviathan, I had no idea how the brothers would handle the problem. Even Sam dealing with Lucifer mind games upped the ante on a great start to the season.
Worst Episode: "How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters." As much as I'm a fan of writer Ben Edlund, this episode didn't stick with me. I recognized the jokes from getting high to eating turducken, but really, that's the grand Leviathan plan? And Dick Roman as the leader wasn't cutting it in terms of scary. Overall, the episode felt all over the place and lacked in the tense and creepy factor normally attached to the show.
Best Character: Bobby Singer. I know it's normally a toss up between choosing Sam and Dean, but Bobby has had far more to do in terms of depth and exploration of character this season. He really stepped up as that father figure and more recently viewers got to see a little of his past. If anything, his death was a fitting ending (even though I still don't want it) to a great character that will truly be missed.
Worst Character: Dick Roman. Or maybe the Leviathan in general. I think Dick's smarminess and politically corrupt agenda would be better suited for a show like The Good Wife. He doesn't come across as supernatural scary or threatening. In fact, the whole of the Leviathan are lacking in that department and maybe it's because we still don't know what their primary goal is. For creatures that are supposed to be worse than all the other big bads that Sam and Dean have faced, they sure don't feel like it.
What worked: I love the return to hunting monsters of the week again. I've missed dealing with urban legends and ghosts, so its been a real treat to see the brother's back to their original work. Even the idea that Sam and Dean are left to face everything on their own is an intriguing concept. Plus, although it's felt more absent in the later episodes, Sam dealing with Lucifer as a hallucination was a fun and thought provoking idea. Is Sam really still in the cage?
What didn't work: Aside from running away from the Leviathan, there's been a lack of direction for Sam and Dean. I have no idea the end goal other than the typical save the world, and I have no idea what the Leviathan want besides eating people. In general, the Leviathan have felt like wasted potential, especially with the set up of the menacing creatures played by Misha Collins in the premiere episode.
Hopes for 2012: Don't get me wrong, I love Supernatural, the brotherly relationship, and fighting off demons, ghosts, etc. But I'm really hoping that the second half of the season gets an adrenaline kick to bring back the scary, the tension, the jaw dropping cliffhangers, and a bad guy worth fearing. Maybe it's been a slow lead up, but it would be nice to see a grand scheme finally revealed to give the brothers something to do on the larger story arc.
Perhaps returns from Misha Collins and Mark Shepherd as well? I recognize that after six seasons, its going to become harder and harder to top the last one, but no matter what complaints or dislikes I might have, it's safe to say that the show pretty much always delivers in the end. I look forward to seeing Sam and Dean dealing with truly being alone and facing that long road ahead of them. And please bring back that Impala!
Overall Grade: B-
Agree? Disagree? Post your grade for the season so far below!
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.