Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 5 (Book)
Reviewed by Mr. Dark
Written by Nicholas Knight
Published by Titan Books
The fifth season of "Supernatural" was a big one. Creator Eric Kripke had always planned for a five-season arc with the fifth season ending the tale of the Winchester family's fight against evil. While the network has decided to push past that natural death and attempt (badly, in this writer's view) to continue the story, Kripke was allowed to tell his tale of apocalypse and bring the story to a close. Considering everything going on in Season 5, the companion should contain an equal amount of glory.
I'm here to say that it's good, but it isn't as solid as the companion to Season 4 (review here), unfortunately. A few issues pull it below that companion's excellence, I'm afraid.
We begin with a foreword by writer (and now showrunner) Sera Gamble, then a piece about the season in general discussing the apocalyptic events. This piece is especially interesting as we learn tidbits such as Neil Gaiman's influence on Kripke's plotting for the show and the depth of the conversations among the writers regarding fate, God, and the place of man in the universe.
We then get into the episodes, and the episode guide follows the format of the previous companion exactly. We get an overview of the plot, followed by some behind-the-scenes details and discussions with the creators and stars. Sidebars provide information about the music from the episodes and other trivia as well as some choice dialogue quotes. Between some episodes we get pieces going in detail on creatures or mythology from the show, such as Wraiths and Pagan Gods. This is the meat and potatoes of the book, and it's just as solid as before.
Where things dip a little is in the additional pieces following the episode guide. The book has several articles with the stars and guest stars, and honestly some of them feel a little superficial. As a fan of the show, I know there was some tension regarding Alona Tal's character, Jo ,and where she fit, either as a little sister type or a romantic interest for Dean, and that it eventually lead to them dropping her off the show entirely (and, of course, taking mom Ellen with her). No mention of this is made, and while I can appreciate wanting to keep discussions light, it's this kind of in-depth info fans want to hear about. That's just one example, but many of the pieces just felt a little light, more like press kit puff pieces than real discussions.
The other disappointment for me was the inclusion of another "Do You Believe" piece on the supernatural beliefs of the folks on the show and another "Supernatural Reaction" about the reaction to the season by fans and in the ratings. The same pieces ran in the Season 4 companion with different content, sure, but couldn't new articles with different concepts taken this space?
This edition also suffers from a few quality issues such as typos and a major editing glitch in the "Meet The Crew: Sound Production" article (a partially repeated paragraph). Combined with the superficial interviews and repetitive articles mentioned above, it just gives this edition of the companion a rushed feel that a little polish and extra work could have avoided.
Mind you, I'm not saying this is a bad book. The episode guide is the bulk of the book and the bulk of the reason one would purchase it, and that's solid as a rock. Like the Season 4 companion, this is an excellent purchase for fans of the show who want information and details you won't find on the DVD special features or commentaries. It just has to be said that, unlike the previous edition, this one isn't a solid slam dunk.
While the show regrettably forges ahead into a sixth season, the Season 5 Companion offers a solid if imperfect look at the true final season of the "Supernatural" mythos. If you enjoyed the boys and their ride right up to "Swan Song", it's worth your time and money.
3 1/2 out of 5
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