Book Review: Supernatural: The Official Companion, Season 4 by Nicholas Knight

Hi there…

Now entering its sixth season, Supernatural was a favorite at our house from the beginning. There was something about Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester and their quest to save good people from bad things… The monster of the week format, plus the quest to find the “Yellow Eyed Demon”, and the continuing battle against demons big and small all was part of the appeal. But it’s really the relationship between the brothers – the dialog dripping with sarcasm and sharp wit – that keeps us tuning in season after season.

When Dean died at the end of season 3, we thought that would be it for the show. Instead, the writers managed to pull a new rabbit out of their hats and introduce a new story line. This one involved the angels! And Castiel (Misha Collins) pulls Dean out of Hell to get things started with a bang…

If you missed anything, the Supernatural: The Official Companion, Season 4 book by Nicholas Knight provides detailed synopses of each episode, plus some great additional material on the characters, monsters, and production. Though I’d seen this type of “series companion” in the past, I’d never actually looked at one before and I have to say that I was impressed. Knight provides an amazing amount of depth.

The book starts with a foreward from producer Ben Edlund that takes us into the dark world of Supernatural with humor. As he says, “the angels are coming” and we shouldn’t look at them… “They’ll melt your eyes into blind, salty s’mores!” This of course refers to the scene in “Lazarus Rising” where Bobby’s (Jim Beaver) psychic friend Pamela (Traci Dinwiddie) gets her eyes burned out by peering into angel business. Definitely one of the more memorable scenes from the season.

From there, we go right into how the angels came into things. Creator Eric Kripke had an epiphany – “angels are the other side of the demon coin.” And they were going more for the Christopher Walken in The Prophecy kind of angels, not the Touched by an Angel variety. When you met one of the Supernatural angels, you understood these beings to be God’s soldiers. Scary, less than kind folk who mostly think we’re about at the same levels of cockroaches.

This concept of “angels as dicks” as Kripke put it made this really work. When the big demons such as Alastair (Mark Rolston) or Lilith (Katherine Boecher) are involved in a story, you know things are going to go poorly for the Winchesters. And as the season progresses, you know that when Castiel, Zachariah (Kurt Fuller), or Anna (Julie McNiven) appear, the boys are in just as much trouble. This give and take between God’s army and Satan’s minions provides many great chances for Sam and Dean to get into and out of trouble.

But what really kicked the show into high gear for me was when Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict) makes an appearance in “The Monster at the End of this Book.” Shurley has been writing books about Sam & Dean’s adventures that the boys never even heard of. And they’re popular. VERY popular. It turns out that Chuck is a prophet and every time the boys go on an adventure, he starts writing. This has to be one of my favorite Supernatural episodes ever, because it reminded me of the scene in Spaceballs where they’re fastforwarding through the tape of the movie during the movie…

In addition to providing details on every episode and major character for the season, Knight also includes several “A Closer Look” sections that describe different monsters or concepts from the show and where the ideas came from. These are one or two pages covering “Angels” or “Samhain” or “Magic Wishes.” With Halloween coming up next month, it was interesting to hear how the practice originated as a Celtic harvest festival at the end of summer. As Knight puts it, this is the halfway point between the light and dark parts of the year. “At this junction between light and dark, it was believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest…” So we wear masks and light candles in hallowed out gourds to make these spirits feel more at home. Somehow I doubt the spirits feel at home in the Disney character-dominated world of a modern Halloween.

Long story short, Supernatural: The Official Companion, Season 4 is a great addition to the bookshelf of any Supernatural fan who wants a good reference for prior seasons and a bit of the background behind the spooky stories told week after week!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up Supernatural books and DVDs below!

Enhanced by Zemanta

DVD Review: Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare

Hi!

Though I only remember attending one or two summer camps as a kid, I do remember them fondly. But I think I’d remember if Scooby-Doo and the gang happened to be there. In anticipation of Halloween and kids heading back to school, it’s great to get some fun kid-friendly entertainment out there for a scary good time!

Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare is an all new movie starring Scooby-Doo, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy that takes place at Camp Little Moose. As camp counselors, the gang hopes to inspire confidence in the campers. But when a local legend and camp story comes to life and starts terrorizing the camp, they know they have a mystery to solve.

As with all Scooby-Doo mysteries, you know Scooby and the gang will get to the bottom of things eventually. And the more clues they find, the deeper they get into the dark past of Lake Big Moose with the three campers brave (or unlucky) enough to tag along. Can they outsmart the three ghost stories come to life? The Woodsman – an axe wielding psycho who keeps warning them to “Get Out!”… The Fishman – a former camper who swam so much in Lake Big Moose that he actually grew gills, fins, and a tail to terrorize people in the water… And the Banshee of Black Canyon – a flying, wailing witch who causes trouble for any who hear her cries…

Watching with my two daughters, ages 5 and 9, I think we all enjoyed the antics we’ve come to know and expect from Scooby and his friends. There’s something comforting in knowing that Fred will try to trap the monster, Daphne will find a way to be the damsel in distress but save Fred from himself, Velma will continue to be the brains of the outfit, and Scooby and Shaggy will clean out the refrigerator just to hide inside. The usual thrills, spills, and comedic timing that has made Scooby and the gang fun since 1969 are all present and accounted for in this new feature length cartoon.

In addition to the feature, a few extras are also included on the DVD. Along with a few trailers for other features and video games, we really enjoyed the “Scooby-Doo! Camp Stories” that tells three spooky fireside camp tales with a mix of live action, a few simple animations, and clips from the film.

We also liked the included episode of Scooby Doo! Mystery, Inc. – “Beware the Beast from Below.” However, if you haven’t seen the new series on Cartoon Network, I’d recommend that you watch before you see it with your kids. Though it’s basically the same old Scooby-Doo themes, they’ve added some new wrinkles such as the fact that Velma and Shaggy are dating, which seems a little odd to me. That said, it’s still fun – just might be a shock to some kids (and their parents).

If you’re looking for family-friendly fun for Halloween, I’d definitely recommend you check out Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare on DVD and Blu-ray at your favorite retail or rental counter. Though not particularly scary, it does provide a few thrills and chills for Scooby and his friends!

For some online fun related to the film, be sure to check out ScoobyDooCampScare.com.

[rating:3/4]

Article first published as DVD Review: Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare on Blogcritics.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other great Scooby-Doo DVDs today!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Halloween Giveaway: Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly DVD

Yes, that’s right – the gang from Fraggle Rock is back in time for Halloween with some great episodes full of mystery and magic! On behalf of our friends at Lionsgate, we have the Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly DVD for one lucky winner!

Unfortunately, because of my limited shipping budget, I can only offer this to United States residents… But all you have to do is leave a comment below and I’ll contact the winner via e-mail on October 22, 2010.

Good luck!

From the press release:

Join the Fraggle gang in three frightfully delightful episodes full of mystery and magic! From Wembley accidentally wandering into the cursed “Terrible Tunnel,” Boober discovering what makes Fraggle tails flare when they get startled, and Ma and Pa Gorg leaving Junior alone in the castle on a dark and stormy night, Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly is bursting with Halloween fun! This new DVD includes three ghostly episodes: Terrible Tunnel, Scared Silly, and A Dark & Stormy Night.

Enhanced by Zemanta