The CW’s upcoming Supernatural spinoff has cast its two leads, and the actors chosen fit the usual network strategy of casting pilots with relatively unknown faces that have previous CW experience.
First to join the lineup is Australian actor Nathaniel Buzolic, who spent his early career appearing on popular Aussie dramas like Water Rats, All Saints, and Out of the Blue. He also hosted late night game show The Mint from 2007-2008. Buzolic made his stateside TV debut on The Vampire Diaries, playing the recurring role of villainous vampire Kol Mikaelson from 2012-2013, and he also briefly appeared on Diaries’ own spin-off The Originals late last year. He can next be seen guest-starring on an episode of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.
Soon to become Buzolic’s reluctant hunting partner is British actor Lucien Laviscount, who’s followed a career path similar to his new co-star. Laviscount has been working regularly on U.K. dramas like Grange Hill, Coronation Street, and Waterloo Road since the mid-2000s, with his only U.S. credit so far being a recurring role during the currently airing season of BBC/Showtime co-production Episodes. Laviscount’s American debut was originally set to happen on The CW itself, as the actor was cast in the second pilot for twice developed drama The Selection. Unfortunately, the second attempt at a pilot for that series got no farther than the first one.
The spinoff, dubbed Supernatural: Tribes, is being penned by long-time Supernatural writer/producer Andrew Dabb, and directed by SPN executive producer Robert Singer, the namesake of fan-favorite supporting character Bobby Singer. Not wanting to simply re-do the “two young men hunt monsters across the U.S.” premise that has served the original series so well, Tribes will be set entirely in Chicago.
The premise concerns an ongoing organized crime-like battle between various powerful monster families for control of the city, a fight normally waged under the noses of its unsuspecting human residents. Buzolic will portray David Hayden, a repentant shapeshifter and member of one of the ruling families. David grew tired with the monster life years ago, and has been living as a human for some time.
Laviscount will play Ennis Roth, a police academy cadet whose fiancée was killed in the crossfire during a violent encounter between two of the feuding families. Ennis subsequently uncovered the truth about the various creatures that go bump in the night, leading him to dedicate his life to ridding his city of their influence. How David and Ennis end up involved in each other’s lives is still unclear, although it’s pretty much a given that they’ll end up working together.
Still going strong in its ninth season (and already renewed for a tenth), Supernatural is easily The CW’s longest tenured series currently, having been around since before UPN and The WB combined. Normally, one would think that a drama that long in the tooth would be preparing to head off into the sunset soon, but Supernatural shows no real signs of slowing down.
While rumors have been floated that this fall’s season 10 will be Supernatural’s last, CW President Mark Pedowitz recently made it clear that he can easily see the show continuing on into season 11 and beyond, as long as the ratings hold up.
On one level, a spinoff might serve to spread the Supernatural universe too thin, eventually leading to fans getting burnt out and one or both shows getting canned. On the other hand, The CW has had tremendous success with aforementioned spinoff The Originals, and is already building immense buzz around its planned Arrow spinoff The Flash. So it makes perfect sense that they’d want to try and extend the lifespan of their most enduring franchise.
Whichever way fans choose to look at it, the success or failure of Supernatural: Tribes could mark a clear turning point for the future prospects of Supernatural as a brand. If this one works, will The CW attempt another spinoff? Will they attempt to make Supernatural the Law & Order of monster hunting? There’s no reason it couldn’t happen if Tribes is a huge hit.
Supernatural: Tribes will premiere as a planted pilot during the April 29th, 2014 episode of Supernatural. If successful, it will likely get a full first season in Fall 2014.