‘The Winchesters’ Review: A Rush Prequel That Struggles to Catch the Magic Once Again

The time of the CW might be coming to a close. For a couple of decades, the network established itself as one of the secure bastions of geek Fandom by creating shows that appealed exclusively to that demographic. Riverdale, The Arrowverse, and, of course, Supernatural became staples of the network and captured the imagination of millions of fans around the world. However, after the recent acquisition of Warner Bros. by Discovery, the future of the network is uncertain. Will this new series, The Winchesters, manage to survive this apocalypse?

For many years, Supernatural tried to take a spin-off off the ground, even including the pilots for those spin-offs inside the original show. The audience often met these tryouts with skepticism or hostility because they were not good at all, with poor world-building and even worse characters. So, now that Supernatural is over, the CW needs to take a risk and order an entire series from the get-go. This time the premise is a lot safer than any of the others and technically stars some fan favorites from the original show.

The Winchesters is a TV series developed by The CW and produced by Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester himself. The series stars Meg Donnelly, Drake Rodger, Nida Khurshid, and Jojo Fleites. The series tells the story of Mary and John Winchester before they married, and before they became the parents of Dean and Sam, the protagonists of the original Supernatural. The two will be accompanied by their friends, Lakita, and Carlos, as they travel through the country to stop an ancient evil from rising.

The premise itself is a classic Supernatural affair, and you can see that the creators were smart in deciding to do something that doesn’t stray too much from the formula that made the first series so successful. Let’s remember that Supernatural ran for 15 seasons, which is a big achievement for any scripted live-action series. Will the Winchesters have that longevity? Probably not. It will all depend on how well the writers and the actors can build these characters to a place where the audience can feel 100% invested in them.

RELATED: 20 Scariest Supernatural Horror Movies of All Time (2022 Update)

As with any prequel that comes our way, The Winchesters is already at a disadvantage because we know exactly how the story of these two characters ends. This series is a tragic love tale that will serve as the foundation of what the Winchester brothers faced in the original show. So, how do you create tension and drama when most of the audience already knows what will happen to the characters? It is a hard job, and the writers must give their all to prove they can meet the fans’ expectations.

Of course, the series is also designed to be newbie-friendly. You won’t need to have seen the original show to enjoy this one. Nevertheless, you will certainly get more from the show if you can catch up with all the small references to the original series and the many concepts that the series uses right from the beginning. The Men of Letters, for example, is a very important organization in the Supernatural universe. In this show, they are mentioned and are involved in the plot, but their mechanics are tackled in a very shallow way, which wasn’t the case in the original series.

Donnelly and Rodger are pulling from the interpretations of the originals, Dean and Sam Winchester to develop their characters. Here, Donnelly’s Mary is the role that Dean covered in the original series, an experienced hunter who has only one mission in mind. While Rodger’s John is what Sam was at the start of the series, the rookie demon hunter is having a hard time grasping all the new information and his naïveté.

Both actors are fine in their roles, and their chemistry is very nice. They are beautiful people who will spend tons of time together as the story progresses, so it makes sense that they end up falling in love, even under such strange circumstances. While Mary and John are good, the series also tries to introduce new characters like Lakita and Carlos, and the result is quite poor. The acting coming from both actors, especially Khurshid, is quite off and the comedic banter between them feels forced.

The entire first episode feels rushed, and it feels like the series is trying to catch up to something we are not sure about. It is certainly not taking the necessary time to make the relationship between the characters feel real. They don’t share the brotherly bond Sam and Dead shared in the original series, but they are already ready to sacrifice themselves for each other’s lives and much more. Maybe more time spent on the characters acting as themselves would be good.

The Winchesters will probably not capture the magic of the original Supernatural, but it will serve as a nice distraction for those who need their fix of this universe.

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.