Supernatural was recently renewed for the thirteenth season, creating history by being one of the longest running fantasy/speculative shows on TV. That’s great news! No, really, I’m not being sarcastic. I’ve been following Supernatural for a long time. I love the characters, I love the plot and I love the whole family dynamic that makes the show so deep and relatable. But it’s high time the show changed its portrayal of both the supernatural and human elements of the show.
Let’s start with the characters. Even as a diehard Supernatural fan, I can’t ignore the fact that the show is damn racist. How many POCs do you see in it? Practically none. Now, some people would argue that there’s Rufus, and the two archangels and a list of other secondary characters. But that’s just what they are: secondary characters. And most of them turn out to be villains later on (Raphael? Uriel? The guy who played the father of the vampires are all black). Also there’s Cassie, a black woman who disappears after a single episode, even though it is implicitly stated in the episode (Route 666, Season 1) that she is Dean’s one true love. Need I say more?
Most of the main cast is cishet white men. They are straight on the show, plain and simple, no matter how much gay subtext the writers add to the show.
Then there are the women. They come, they stay and they die, sometimes pretty gruesomely, chaotically, and when there is no point. Until now only Amara and Crowley’s mother have escaped that fate, but who knows how long that’s going to last.
I was really happy when Kevin Tran, an Asian character, was introduced in the show as a major character, inclusive of the culture he was born into.
Then there was Charlie, the redheaded RPG playing the street-smart hacker and also an openly gay character who wasn’t cliché for a change. Key word: was. They were both written off the show.
I mean, why? Is it because these kind of characters don’t deserve the limelight as much as Sam and Dean just because they aren’t white cishet males? These are the characters I root for on TV. Don’t get me wrong. I love moose and not moose (I went to a convention just to see them live). But seriously, sometimes the way the show depicts the characters in a totally racist and sexist way gets on my nerves.
And let’s not even talk about the whitewashed appropriation that occurs when any of the supernatural characters come into question. Sometimes, it makes me want to tear my hair right off. The way the show presents it, Christianity is the only religion in America. Spoiler alert: it isn’t. Somehow, it also implies that the gods that belong to the other cultures are somehow insignificant. It just takes Sam and Dean a wooden stake to kill Pagan gods, and they do so in many episodes. Lucifer also kills all the Greek, Indian, Norse gods who have gathered in a meeting, easily with his angel blade. I’m not kidding. And somehow whatever culture they brought the myths from, the characters are almost always played by white characters. I can’t speak for anybody else, but when they showed Indian elements like vetala and others, I would have liked Indian actors to play those roles. And don’t even get me started on the jins and wraiths.
Did the writer even bother to check up on the true legends? Creative expression is allowed. I know that as a writer. Nobody should tell you what you can and can’t write about. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some time off to research the characters that’ll be viewed by millions of people all over the world.
I’m not going to talk about the recent episode of Thule and Hitler that stirred a lot of controversy because personally I liked it. But I have friends from other cultures who weren’t amused. Nevertheless, I’m not going to stop watching Supernatural. Frankly, I love it with all my heart, especially the finale episodes. But, I would love it if the writers became more inclusive and respectful to the depiction of primary and secondary characters. That’s all I want as a diehard fan.
A POC teenager
Written By: Tara Roy
Editor: Capree Knox