Supernatural will hit 300 episodes this year. Going into its 14th season, Supernatural still has one of the most dedicated fanbases in television. As a result, this impressive feat does not come as a huge shock. While the show firmly remains Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester's, a rotating cast of characters populates this rich tapestry of a universe. It’s hard to get a complete count of how many characters, but with almost a decade and a half on the air, it’s definitely a lot. Some have won over fans' hearts and minds, while others made fans ready to crawl into the TV and take care of business themselves.
One thing that we can count on in the show is that every character will meet their final end - you know, except for the Winchesters (and Castiel). No character is permanent on the show, which is comforting if you hate them and emotionally exhausting if you love them. Seriously, does Supernatural have a higher body count than Game of Thrones at this point? It’s probably a close race between the two series, but Supernatural had a 7 year head start.
With this in mind, we’re taking a look back at the whole run of the series. This time, we’re talking characters. Which characters have withstood the test of time and fandom, and which have certainly not? Which made us cry when they left for good, and which made us cheer?
It’s time to look at 12 New Character Additions That Hurt Supernatural (And 13 That Saved It).
26 SAVED: Ash (Chad Lindberg)
Season two brought in new locations and characters - some who were rejected by fans and others who were embraced.
MIT dropout Ash was a brilliant hacker who lived at the Harvelle Roadhouse. As played by Chad Lingberg, he was more like a living relic of the '80s, complete with mullet and Lynyrd Skynyrd roadie aesthetic.
Ash quickly became a fan favorite thanks to his excellent background humor and an instant kinship with Dean Winchester.
When the Harvelle Roadhouse was set aflame by demons, fans hoped that Ash had somehow survived. When it was confirmed that he hadn’t, it was definitely a gut punch.
25 HURT: Doctor Hess (Gillian Barber)
The Men of Letters from the UK were meant to answer a couple of long-standing questions in the series: if there are other Men of Letters and what hunting was like outside of the US.
Doctor Hess, the elder of the UK Men of Letters, was just the worst. While most of the other British Men of Letters had some redeeming qualities, such as Mick’s turn at redemption. Doctor Hess was just rotten, forcing everyone around her to do her dirty work and expecting them to give their lives for the cause.
It definitely gave audiences a bad impression of both the Men of Letters and the international hunting community at large.
24 SAVED: Garth (DJ Qualls)
This cheerful yet inept hunter appeared in “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!” where his dynamic with the exasperated Dean left fans howling with laughter.
With such a positive reception and excellent portrayal, Garth would drop in yearly for a visit with the Winchesters.
After the sad passing of Bobby, he would step up to take over his role as the hunting community’s point of contact and researcher, where he was better suited.
It was revealed in season nine that Garth had been bitten by a werewolf, but joined up with a pack that taught him to control his urges. He remains happily married and alive with his pack.
23 HURT: Adam Milligan (Jake Abel)
John Winchester definitely had a lot of secrets that he took with him to his grave. One of them was the existence of his third son, Adam.
When he appeared in the episode “Jump the Shark”, it was to the shock of fans and characters alike. Then it turned out he had been eliminated. Then he was resurrected to be Michael’s vessel, and then he was sent to Hell.
The issue with Adam is that audiences were expected to care for him without really even knowing him.
Unfortunately, even the writers forgot about Adam, letting him languish away in Hell. So why should we even care?
22 SAVED: Death (Julian Richings)
During the endless war against stopping the Apocalypse in season five, it was honestly refreshing to see one of the horsemen on the Winchesters side.
Given how much fatality has followed these two, it’s not a huge surprised that he was the one who helped. As it turns out, the ultimate Reaper is a pretty reasonable sort of guy who likes food that is absolutely terrible for you. It still hurt when Dean betrayed him to save Sam's life.
This makes Dean Winchester the only person in history to have beaten mortality.
21 HURT: Becky Rosen (Emily Perkins)
With a fanbase as dedicated as Supernatural and the series existing in universe, it makes sense that there would be fan characters popping up from time to time. Yet no one seems as cartoonishly mean-spirited as Becky Rosen, whose obsession with the series and characters, especially Sam, crosses into some deeply uncomfortable territory.
She sold her soul in order to marry Sam Winchester, and actually forced him to fall in love with her.
It's just really uncomfortable and kind of mean to the fans.
Becky has seen disappeared following said soul-selling (the boys were able to get the contract voided) and has not been seen since.
20 SAVED: Gabriel (Richard Speight Jr)
Even though he was only in four episodes across three seasons (before the resurrections kicked in), Gabriel was an immediate favorite.
Before the reveal of his identity, everyone was in stitches over his lovable yet conniving Trickster. The reveal of his true self only kicked things into high gear, producing one of the best episodes of the series “Changing Channels”.
His death was another that hit fans hard, though his return (to the brothers Winchester, at least) in season thirteen was met with happy cheers from the legion of dedicated fans. Here’s hoping we see more of Gabriel to come in future seasons.
19 HURT: Zachariah (Kurt Fuller)
Annoying characters are a reality of any show. Some, however, are worse than others. No one quite captured the worst traits of the angel as well as Zachariah. Arrogant, dedicated to the cause, and a bureaucrat, this suit-wearing angel attempted to force the Winchesters into playing their predetermined parts time and again.
Due to his continual failures and his manipulations, Zachariah ended up a constant irritant rather than a real threat.
He wasn’t a zealot like Uriel or Raphael, or conflicted like Anna or Castiel. He just wanted to get the show on the road because that’s what the bosses said in the most condescending way possible. It left everyone glad when he finally was gone.
18 SAVED: Claire Novak (Kathryn Love Newton)
The daughter of Castiel’s original vessel Jimmy Novak, Claire was introduced in season four in “The Rapture”. Then she disappeared until season 10, when a grown-up Claire Novak returned, reminding us all of the family that was left behind when Castiel hooked up with the Winchesters on a more permanent basis.
Claire is definitely an interesting character who has been through a lot of pain in her young life thanks to the supernatural. It was interesting to see Castiel attempt a fatherly dynamic with her along with Claire finding her own path as a hunter.
It’s definitely a shame Wayward Sisters wasn’t picked up.
17 HURT: Cain (Timothy Omundson)
We all love Timothy Omundson, who has played some fantastic characters over the years. Unfortunately, Cain was not one of his better roles. It probably doesn’t help that season 10 was definitely one of the series' weaker seasons. After all the build-up with the mark of Cain and meeting Cain, it just seemed like such a let-down that Cain wasn’t all that he was promised to be.
He lost to Dean in fist-fight, after we were told of his prowess and how he had this rage inside of him.
It just seemed like a cop-out for a character that could have been explored more. It was also a waste of Timothy Omundson.
16 SAVED: Chuck Shurley/God (Rob Benedict)
A prophet of the Lord, Chuck was introduced in season four as the hot mess author of the canceled Supernatural book series. Over the seasons, it was revealed that Chuck was in fact God.
He was actually a more interesting interpretation of God, who simultaneously loved and was disappointed by those who he had given free will.
He was deeply complex, flawed, and very human in that sense. His relationship with his sister Amara was what made season eleven so compelling to watch. In the end, it looks like even God was just searching for a family and a place to belong.
15 HURT: Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan)
Perhaps Supernatural had a different, better plan for Bela Talbot in mind before the writer’s strike reduced season two's episode order. We’ll never know, but what we got wasn’t great.
A broker for occult artifacts both real and fake, Bela Talbot operated for profit.
Her adversarial relationship with the Winchesters was definitely a prelude to better ones, such as Crowley.
Even though Bela would eventually do the right thing, it always felt too little too late.
When her soul was dragged to Hell, most were just glad to be rid of her.
14 SAVED: Jo Harvelle (Alona Tal) and Ellen Harvelle (Samantha Ferris)
While the family by blood usually disappoints the Winchesters, their family by choice always comes through. No one quite filled that void of surrogate mother and little sister like Ellen and Jo Harvelle.
Both refused to put up with grudges and were full of fiery determination. They both cared about the boys.
Their exit in Carthage in the fifth season remains one of the more heartbreaking ends. Jo passed from a hellhound attack and Ellen followed moments later, trapping and blowing up the hellhounds while holding Jo’s body. The two have appeared in Heaven.
13 HURT: Samuel Campbell (Mitch Pileggi)
The familial background of the Winchester brothers presented something of a question mark in the early seasons. Outside of basic knowledge about their parents, audiences did not have a lot of information. In season four, we were introduced to Mary’s parents, who were hunters. They both died at the hands of Azazel.
In season six, Samuel Campbell was resurrected and worked to get the family back to hunting.
While there could have been some interesting family dynamics explored, it honestly did not go anywhere.
Campbell committed the sin of being boring, his impact on the show remains non-existent at best.
12 SAVED: Rowena (Ruth Connell)
It’s clear that Crowley had to learn his tricks from somewhere. You can definitely see where he got it from after seeing his mother, Rowena, in action.
Much like her son, she’s firmly on her own side though she can usually do the right thing if it works in her favor. She’s cunning, manipulative, and has the same cutting sense of sarcasm as her son.
Rowena remains one of the most complex female characters in the series. She has also possibly been resurrected as many times as the Winchesters, which is definitely impressive.
11 HURT: Dick Roman (James Patrick Stewart)
The worst kind of character is one that you’re stuck with for a whole season, with no escape.
Dick Roman, the Leviathan turned businessman, definitely ranks up there on terrible Big Bads.
We don’t mean that as a compliment. He was smarmy in an attempt at charming, held way too much power, and his name led to a lot of juvenile jokes. Plus, this was the monster that took down uur beloved Bobby Singer.
Bobby's manner of passing remains the highest of insults, even though his send-off had us all in tears. When Dean and Castiel ganked Dick, we were all glad to see him go.
10 SAVED: Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day)
Season seven definitely goes down as one of the worse seasons of Supernatural. It did, however, bring one amazing character, Charlie Bradbury.
This hacker had a “spark” that even made Dick Roman notice. The Winchester work to bring her into the hunting fold, gaining a valuable ally in the process. Once Charlie learned about the monsters of the world, she tried to help anyway she could.
Charlie's exit from the series remains a huge slap in the face to fans. She was fridged by Eldon Frankenstein in order to spur the boys on. It just ends up being a huge disservice to her character, though at least her alternate universe counterpart reappeared in season 13.
9 HURT: Naomi (Amanda Tapping)
Angels keep making this list, and for good reason too. They can turn out to be some of the best or worst characters of the series.
Naomi, played by Stargate’s Amanda Tapping, fell into the latter category. Over the course of season eight, she sought to tear the special bond between Dean and Castiel apart. She continually erased Castiel’s mind, continually manipulated the situation to her advantage. This led to Dean losing his best friend and his life.
Given how she specifically targeted Dean and Castiel, it’s no surprise that she was instantly hated.
She’s reappeared in season 13 to a slightly better reception. Slightly.
8 SAVED: Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino)
After four seasons of build-up, when Lucifer officially burst onto the scene in season five, he had to live up to expectations. And did he ever.
The character is definitely one of the most complex and nuanced bad guys to come out of the series -- mainly because you can’t help but like him. He’s charming and willing to wait you out. Sooner or later, he will get what he wants. And if he doesn’t? Oh, it will get chilling.
Supernatural has avoided overusing Lucifer, which helps maintain his effectiveness as a villain.
7 HURT: Arthur Ketch (David Haydn-Jones)
The UK Men of Letters just did no favors with every character not Mick, huh?
Ketch was a genuine sociopath, groomed at the altar of the Men of Letters and a certified dragon for Doctor Hess. While he could be charming from time to time, it wasn’t enough to forgive his actions or give him a character. He also manipulated Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith), who was in a really delicate emotional place.
Despite a storyline trying to redeem him for past actions, it just felt a bit hollow.
It actually feels like this should have been Mick’s story arc as he did have a genuine change of heart. With Ketch, it just feels forced.
6 SAVED: Jack (Alexander Calvert)
One of the biggest plots of season 12 was the race to stop Lucifer from reproducing. His child, however, was born and fully grown within a matter of hours. Most fans believed that this would lead to their season 13 Big Bad. Well, what happened was that the Winchesters and Castiel got a chance to explore parenthood by helping the newly-named Jack learn how to be a force for good in the world.
More to the point, Jack decides to be good. Calvert’s portrayal of the inner struggle and journey of Jack in season 13 won the hearts of fans and critics alike. We can’t wait to see where he goes next.
5 HURT: Eve (Julia Maxwell)
For the being hailed as The Mother of All, Eve never lives up to her reputation on the show. Throughout season six, she continually builds up to be a very real, very bad threat to the Winchesters. She brought about the Alpha monsters after all. Yet, nothing really came from this plotline.
She appears in a couple of episodes, creates hybrid monsters, and perishes at Dean Winchester's hands.
Given her importance as the mother of monsters, it would have made sense to have her be more interesting.
There was only so much Julia Maxwell could do with the role when the character didn’t have much of a personality.
4 SAVED: Crowley (Mark Sheppard)
Originally a shout-out to the demonic Good Omens character of the same name, Crowley first appeared briefly in season five. He was so well-received by fans, however, that he was given an expanded role in subsequent seasons.
From his self-serving manipulations to his flashes of decency, Crowley definitely works as a more fully realized Bela. The Winchesters could never fully trust him, but they needed him from time to time. It was a fascinating dynamic to follow.
Needless to say when Sheppard finally exited the show, it was definitely a sad day. Love him or hate him, Crowley definitely brought the show to interesting places.
3 SAVED: Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes)
Who doesn’t love Sheriff Jody Mills? The tough as nails, kind-hearted sheriff of the town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota appeared in season five when her son came back from the dead.
After helping the Winchesters and Bobby Singer put the dead back in the ground, she turns into a real force in the Winchesters lives. Practical minded and determined to keep her town safe, Jody becomes a brilliant hunter in her own right.
The character was so beloved by fans that the spin-off Wayward Sisters was meant to be centered around her. To the eternal dismay of fans, the CW passed on that project.
2 HURT: Metatron (Curtis Armstrong)
There have been a lot of terrible angel characters over the years with unclear motivations for doing what they do. No one, however, has really topped Metatron.
Petty, manipulative, definite God-complex which is ironic, Metatron manipulated everyone for his own ends, especially Castiel. He stabbed Dean in the heart, which led to him becoming a demon.
When he finally got what was coming to him by being made human, the writers attempted to redeem him.
Yet after two seasons of selfish annoyances, fans were glad to see him go.
1 SAVED: Castiel (Misha Collins)
No other character could have honestly topped this list. Ever since his introduction in the fourth season of the show, Castiel has been a vital character.
From his wide-eyed confusion at the world to his own question for redemption, Castiel truly shows what it means to be human, even though he’s an angel. Even though some choices he made, like attempting to become God, were baffling, the Winchesters and the audience just can’t quit him.
Supernatural just wouldn't be the same without Castiel - he's as much a part of the show now as Sam or Dean.
Who's your favorite new character on Supernatural? Let us know in the comments!