Review: Official Supernatural sites

by Paula R. Stiles

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The show Supernatural has several official sites sponsored by different companies or devoted to different aspects of the show. The first is because Supernatural is aired by the CW, but is produced by Warner Bros., not the network. There are also different places where the show has an official presence, though not as many as for some other shows (no show page on Twitter, for example). Here they all are:

Official CW site

http://www.cwtv.com/shows/supernatural

This is part of the overall CW site for all of the network’s shows. It has both the benefits and drawbacks of such sites. The page for the show has a preview for the next episode and provides: Show Info (a synopsis of the show’s premise), Cast (brief bios of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, with one photo each), Episodes (episode synopses with director and writer info), Photos (763 so far, up through 5.02), Lounge (the site’s discussion board, which is okay, but there are better), Video (of episodes and behind-the-scenes info like cons and interviews), Music (links to where you can buy music featured in the show), Downloads (a screensaver, wallpapers and icons), and Store (links to buying the DVD, Magazine and other show-related products).

The main two problems with the page are that it takes forever to load up for not that many features if you have an old machine (especially a Mac) and the features aren’t necessarily kept up to date. For example, there is only one music link for season four, even though the season had a lot more classic rock in it than that. You also have to download a specific plugin to view the videos and the entire site is busy with ads and other crap for other shows that your average Supernatural fan isn’t likely to care about. For example, why is the heavily-promoted “O Death” song download on the Episodes page and not the front page with the main trailer? And the Lounge seems dominated by a lot of repetitive and longwinded, ranty threads, with the format making it difficult to navigate to the ones you like.

Bottom line: the official site doesn’t have any material that you won’t be able to find on other, much easier-to-navigate sites.

Official Warner Bros. Site

http://supernatural.warnerbros.com/

This site has a unique layout in that it starts with a brief trailer for the Pilot and then moves to an interactive image of the inside of the Impala. You can move your mouse over, or click on, various objects to get into files and whatnot. The show has music and spooky sound effects that are embedded well enough into the page that they don’t drag down your computer (as sound files often do). Moving the mouse over the tape recorder and radio brings up snippets of dialogue from the Pilot. Hovering over the wheel/automatic shift/brake pedal makes the car go VROOM. Hovering over the rear-view mirror shows you the Woman in White in the backseat.

Clicking on the book in the back takes you to a partial version of John Winchester’s Journal (not exactly the same as the published version by Alex Irvine). Clicking on the notebook next to it takes you to definitions for various terms used in season-two episodes. Click on the newspaper clipping and get an article about Roy LeGrange (the faith healer in “Faith”). Clicking on the key in the back and then the glove compartment takes you to a box of fake IDs (after a subliminal flash of Dean shot in “Home”). One of the nice things about the fake IDs is that they show that Sam and Dean are not immune to the universal Driver’s License Ugly-fying Curse. Clicking on the lockbox behind the book just makes the box blink.

Clicking on the side door takes you to the trunk. If you click on the “Confidential” folder, you get a flashlight view of the Crazy Doc’s secret papers from “Asylum”. Clicking on Sam’s laptop takes you to a list of six links (Four and Six no longer work) and the Hunter logs (though only Jo’s was apparently written). That is, it used to take you to Jo’s Blog. Now, it takes you into the laptop, but the password is no longer automatically put in for the blogs. It also used to be that you could get in via Disk 6 of the season one DVD, but that no longer functions, either. Though the easter eggs (clicking on Stills Gallery and then Dean’s glowing eyes gets you to two never-used main title sequences and clicking on “A Day in the Life” and then the house light gets you to a Thank You to the Fans from Eric Kripke) still work.

Clicking on the trunk lock will prompt it to ask you for a code to unlock it. Put in 11-2-83, the date of Sam’s nursery fire. This will take you to the secret underside of the trunk (the Weapons Box), where all the neat tools of the brothers’ trade can be found. In the upper right-hand corner, you can click on an old newspaper clipping about the Rolling Stones concert.

Okay, so this is all pretty cool; what’s the catch? Well, this site hasn’t been updated past season two. In fact, aside from the definitions pages, nothing postdates season one. And, as you can see from the fate of the Hunters’ Blogs, some things have been discontinued. It’s a shame, but it looks as though Warner Bros. is slowly dismantling this site.

Official Season 4 DVD site

http://www.warnervideo.com/supernatural4/

The reason why they are gearing down the old site is probably because they’ve made a new one for the DVDs – specifically, season four. It’s not as fun as the old site, but it has its perks. This includes the season four DVD trailer, a Video section (three short scenes from each season), About (a synopsis of the DVD and its features), Gallery (some nice pics, both famous and obscure, from each season), and Downloads (wallpapers and moving-gif icons). The site also has a link to the Supernatural Prop Sweepstakes and a lot of moving background graphics, but these aren’t too hard on an older machine. Overall, it’s a nice site, albeit still a bit basic and focused mostly on the season four DVD.

Official Facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/Supernatural

This is basically the official CW site in Facebook form. That makes it much easier to use without all of the hassle. Get on Facebook and become a fan.

Hell Hound’s Lair

http://www.hellhoundslair.com/

The Hell Hounds (Ed and Harry) first appeared in season one’s “Hell House”. These are the guys who later became the Ghostfacers. As with the old WB site for the show, this has been superseded by the newer Ghostfacers site. However, it does have one feature not transferred over: it’s only feature, really. The page encourages you to submit your own stories of the supernatural. Read the disclaimer before you do so, as it will tell you that submitting your story will give you a name credit but the site will own the rights to your tale thereafter. This hasn’t dissuaded people from posting (or the site admins from collecting) a nice little collection of various ghost stories and urban legends. Check ’em out for a nice, spooky read.

Ghostfacers

http://www.ghostfacers.com/

The Ghostfacers site is a mockup of the one they had on the show (as is Hell Hound’s Lair). It includes: HQ (a page about the group), Meet the Facers (bios of the different characters in the Ghostfacers, not including Corbett), Blog (all of the site’s features in blog format), Pics, Watch and Learn (if you’ve seen “It’s a Terrible Life”, you know what to expect, but there are more videos than just that one), and Music (the theme song, with lyrics included, natch).

This is a pretty funny site, not too complicated, but with enough content to keep you interested for a wee while. Don’t forget to click the “Join the Movement” link at the bottom of the page and…you know…join.

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About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesReview: Official Supernatural sites