Supernatural has been at the invincible level for several years now. By invincible, we mean the show has no threat of being canceled ever. The show had been in danger of this fate up until Season 7, but after it was obvious it would never lose fans, it has continued without the cancellation fear for a long time. Season 14 will conclude in a couple months and you can be certain that Season 15 will be commissioned unless the main actors themselves don’t want to return.
The secret to Supernatural’s success has been simple as the show has maintained focus solely on the two leads. Unlike other shows, Supernatural has never attempted to create a permanent rift between Sam and Dean Winchester, and has avoided most of the tropes associated with teen fantasy shows – this is what has allowed the show to stay relevant as the initial teenage audience is now well into their late-20s and early-30s. Supernatural has also been masterful when it has come to weaving storylines.
The show’s pattern has been to create a new arc out of the old one rather than bringing a completely new plot inorganically. This has maintained fan interest and the show continues to thrive. After fourteen seasons, there have been many great and bad arcs that we still remember. These plotlines have generally been unanimously agreed upon, so we can be confident by pointing the ones that are good and the ones that aren’t all that great.
Here are 10 Storylines That Hurt The Show (And 15 That Saved It).
25 Saved: John Winchester's Disappearance
This is how it all started. The show began due to the disappearance of John Winchester, and his sons started their search for their father. This plot would take up all of the first season of the show, with every other episode consisting of fillers that would ultimately serve to bring the characterization to Sam and Dean.
The dynamic between John and both of his sons differed from one to the other and it was interesting how him being a single parent had shaped how Sam and Dean became in adulthood.
24 Hurt: Mary Winchester's Resurrection
From 2005 to 2016, we had the perfect image of Mary Winchester in our heads. She was supposed to be the greatest mother who had ever lived, and if she would ever return, the boys would feel like their family was complete.
This all turned out to be wrong as Mary’s resurrection has had no bearing to the plot. It’s a wonder why she was brought back at all seeing that she has no connection to Sam or Dean. In fact, Mary seems to not even like her sons much.
23 Saved: Dropping all love interests
In the first few seasons, the show went out of its way to present Sam and Dean with girls around their age as their love interests. In Seasons 1 and 2, this was an almost every episode recurrence that is now a thing of the long past.
Starting from the seventh season – and completely from the ninth – Sam and Dean have no longer had any love interests. These two aren’t even seen meeting women on a casual basis anymore either. The show now completely focuses on them being single, which is a great thing.
22 Hurt: Mary finding out identities of Dean and Sam in the past
In Season 4, Dean was sent to the past by angels and came upon a young version of his mother. That episode ended with his grandfather dying and Mary being none the wiser who Dean was.
In Season 5, Sam also was sent to the past with Dean, but this time Mary found out the identities of both of them. It got to ridiculous lengths where the whole plot of the show was about to be rewritten; we didn’t want Mary to know so much about the future. Fortunately, this was averted and Mary forgot everything.
21 Saved: Castiel aligning with Sam and Dean
Castiel showed signs of doubt throughout Season 4 as his friendship with Dean grew by every episode. By the finale, he turned on the angels and aligned completely with Dean and Sam. This was the turning point for Castiel as he was now fully part of the Supernatural family and was seen as the heroes’ closest ally.
Starting from here, Castiel grew to become the main character he is on the show now, and it would never have happened had he not taken the plunge and left the angels’ regime.
20 Hurt: Sam and Dean eliminating vessels instead of exorcizing them
The motto of the Winchesters had been to “Save people”, and they lived by this for the first three seasons. After Ruby’s knife was introduced, however, Sam and Dean threw away their golden rule in favor of outright eliminating demons.
They are fully aware there are innocent people being possessed, but the heroes don’t care about this anymore and are happy to finish off the poor soul along with the demons. After getting the angel blades, Sam and Dean no longer care about finishing off the vessels of angels either.
19 Saved: The Mark of Cain being the Darkness
When the Mark of Cain had first been introduced in Season 9, we didn’t think much of it other than it being the source of power for the First Blade. What was in store for us was the Mark being the main storyline all the way till the end of Season 11.
It was revealed in Season 10 that the Mark of Cain had actually been the Darkness all along. This was a good justification for so long that we continued perusing the Mark of Cain storyline and it was a great way to introduce the Darkness into the show.
18 Hurt: All of Season 10 focusing on the Mark of Cain corrupting Dean
When we didn’t know that the Mark of Cain was supposed to be housing the Darkness, this storyline really started getting on everyone’s nerves. Basically, the last couple episodes of Season 9 were turned into all of Season 10 as the whole plot had Sam and Castiel trying to stop Dean from being a demon once more.
It overstayed its welcome as the story dragged along the whole season and most episodes had Cas and Sam commenting how “Dean was getting worse”, and nothing else happening.
17 Saved: Kevin Tran becoming a prophet
By Season 7, the fandom wasn’t very kind to new additions to the cast unless they were called Bobby, Castiel or Crowley. Kevin Tran was introduced as the young and assuming prophet, only to remain through all of Season 8 and the first half of Season 9.
Him becoming a prophet also spelled the end of the lackluster Leviathan angle and ushered in Season 8’s storyline, which was vastly superior. Kevin would also be the first character introduction, who was a normal human, to be embraced by the fans.
16 Hurt: Crowley leaving
Due to real-life tensions between the actor and the showrunners, Crowley was given the exit at the end of Season 12. This was done in a very unceremonious fashion as Crowley randomly took out an angel blade and sacrificed himself.
Since his demise, the show has lacked an edge that only Crowley could bring. There’s no longer that wild card the show once had who would do something completely unconventional. Crowley also had a sense of style that no other character could offer.
15 Saved: Castiel becoming a villain
After Season 5, Castiel needed a big reason to stay relevant on the show. This was initially done with having the Civil War storyline take place in heaven; however, that story was rather boring.
Near the end of Season 6, though, things got a little more interesting as Castiel became more and more malicious by every episode and by the end of the season, he was revealed as the real antagonist of Season 6. This kept Castiel fresh, and we were all the happier when he became a good guy again in Season 7.
14 Saved: Crowley becoming a good guy
Speaking of someone becoming a good guy, Crowley’s turn into the better was more surprising than Castiel’s. He had been the main antagonist of Season 6 and Season 8, while serving as a supporting antagonist in Seasons 5 and 7. Starting from Season 9, Crowley began a very slow ascent toward becoming a protagonist.
This turn was completed by Season 12, where Crowley was never an antagonist even for an episode, and he gave his life to help the heroes defeat Lucifer.
13 Hurt: The Leviathan story phased out completely
Looking back now, the Leviathan angle was a failure. The show attempted to move away from the angels and demons storyline that had dominated Supernatural since Season 4 by integrating monsters as the main villains, but this didn’t work out.
The Leviathans ended up becoming far easier antagonists than angels or demons and just about anyone could defeat them by the end of Season 7. Still, there was potential for more, but this was ignored as Season 8 didn’t feature these beasts at all, and they were completely phased out.
12 Saved: The Darkness storyline
After the humdrum happenings of Season 10, we needed a lively season to bring the interest back into Supernatural. Our prayers were answered as Season 11 was a thrill ride from start to finish.
We were given the most powerful entities ever seen on the show with God, Lucifer and the Darkness joining the fray. The fact that the Darkness was literally unbeatable made for superb odds for the heroes to overcome and the show tapped into its creativity around this time. The stakes have never gone higher than they were in Season 11.
11 Saved: Lucifer made a main character
All of Season 4 was devoted to the fear of what might happen should Lucifer be released from his cage, which made fans dread his arrival. As we found out, Lucifer was the funniest character the show could ever have had.
He’s thoroughly the most entertaining character whenever he’s on the show and, starting from Season 11, he was made a permanent fixture on the show. Whenever Lucifer is on, we know it’s going to be an awesome episode. He never disappoints and commands in all his appearances.
10 Hurt: Eve storyline
From the middle of Season 6, the hype began for the arrival of the mother of all monsters, and it was played off like it would be a complete game changer. As it happened, Eve wasn’t much of anything at all and she was written off in a very easy fashion by Dean.
By the end of the season, Eve was a long-forgotten villain who has only once been mentioned in passing since. The overall storyline of Season 6 had nothing to do with Eve either.
9 Saved: Jack Kline being born
In Season 12, the story shifted midway to focus on the impending birth of Lucifer’s child. At that time, it was a possibility of dread, but now we’re all glad Jack ended up being born.
He’s the sweetest person we’ve seen on the show, and thirteen seasons in, we had no clue we wanted to see Sam, Castiel and Dean become fathers. Jack has brought all three together and made them a true family. Like Kevin before him, Jack was an innocent character we want to protect, and here’s hoping he doesn’t go away.
8 Saved: Dean selling his soul to save Sam
We were very aware that Dean loved Sam more than anything in the universe, but it took this act to validate this for us. In Season 2, Dean had scoffed at a person who had sold his soul for his wife, only to do the same himself in the season finale.
After losing Sam, a distraught Dean had nothing else to live for and traded in his soul for a trip to Hell in just a year. This storyline would then lead into the Apocalypse angle in Season 4.
7 Hurt: Sam not becoming evil
In the beginning of Season 2, John Winchester had imparted knowledge that Sam was supposed to become evil later on; however, this never happened and Azazel’s warning that the resurrected Sam wasn’t the same was a downright lie as Season 3 Sam was the kindest one we’ve seen thus far.
We did see Sam kind of bad in Season 4, but it was only with good intentions. The true evil Sam came in Season 6 when he was without a soul, but that wasn’t what John had been referring to.
6 Saved: Rowena revealed as Crowley's mother
Crowley had called himself a “son of a witch” in Season 8 when mocking Dean, but we had no clue the show would follow through with this in Season 10. We’re glad this development did happen as Rowena has been an awesome character.
Not only that, but her dynamic with Crowley was always a pleasure to watch. They did seem like a mother-son duo and were very much alike. While the relationship was antagonistic at first, it was fun to see the two becoming close by the time Season 12 ended.
5 Saved: The Word of God tablets
The Leviathan arc had zapped the interest away from the show for a lot of people, so it was a joy to watch Season 8 being much more lively. The reason for this was the angle introduced about the Word of God tablets, which had ramifications for both angels and demons.
The tablets were first introduced neat the end of the Leviathan arc and ushered in a new style of writing for the show. It greatly revitalized the story and we wouldn’t mind if it was revisited soon.
4 Hurt: Dick Roman disappearing in Purgatory
While the Leviathans fell flat, their leader was surely charismatic. Dick Roman was another example of wasted potential as the Leviathan leader was never given a true moment to shine.
We only saw him in bits and pieces, but he did charm us whenever he was on. Had the show focused more on Dick’s plans rather than the random Leviathans, we might have had more interest in Season 7 altogether. Alas, Dick was never shown when Dean and Castiel were in Purgatory, and he seems to be permanently gone.
3 Saved: Sam and Dean becoming Men of Letters
By Season 8, it got very old that Dean and Sam never had any permanent headquarters of their own. Bobby’s house had filled this purpose at first but it had been done away with in Season 7.
When the Men of Letters angle was introduced, it gave Sam and Dean a lot more opportunities to delve in to supernatural lore. Since then, the two have made the Men of Letters bunker their own, and many storylines have stemmed from this development. We hope this location never gets destroyed.
2 Saved: Sam and Castiel becoming close friends
Dean and Cas are the ultimate bromance, but Sam and Castiel needed to become close too in order for them all to feel like a family. Up until Season 8, these two had only a few moments, but since Season 9 they have been much closer.
Now, Sam and Castiel have a bond of their own, and have traded hugs on several occasions. They don’t need Dean to act as a buffer in between them anymore either as Sam and Cas have had many solo episodes devoted together.
1 Hurt: Bobby Singer passing away
If there’s one thing we’d like to change in Supernatural, it would be to bring back the original Bobby Singer. The show has at least brought back the actor to play the Alternate Bobby, but we’re still sad the original version has been written out.
In order to make Dick Roman look like a threat, the show had him eliminate Bobby. But since the Leviathan story ended, fans have been hoping Bobby could find a way back to the living. Here’s hoping that does happen; the Alternate Bobby kind of sucks.
What are some of your favorite storylines from Supernatural? Let us know in the comments!