Supernatural: Bloodlines

"What is this, Godfather with fangs?"

The south side of Chicago is the baddest part of town. And if you go down there, you better just beware… of five families of Mafioso Monsters? Really?

I'm not sure that making Chicago a monster mob city works for me. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Monsters on Supernatural are disorganized, evil, messy badasses, not somewhat civilized supernatural factions maintaining an uneasy peace while ruling a city.

Which is... well, actually, it's the plot of The Originals. So it's not original, either.

I didn't dislike Ennis Ross (Lucien Laviscount, what a great name) as the newly minted hunter. But did they have to kill his girlfriend in the pilot to motivate him, which is exactly what they did to Sam in the Supernatural pilot (as Sam helpfully pointed out)? Ennis is also the son of a cop who is supposed to be dead, except he's not -- he's calling Ennis on the phone and telling him not to become a hunter. Shades of John Winchester.

I liked David Lassiter (Nathaniel Buzolic) a lot more. In fact, I liked him so much that I was thinking, wouldn't it be better if they resurrected Kol on The Originals and gave the character a personality transplant? David is a shapeshifter who doesn't have to follow previously established shapeshifter rules that had them shifting slowly, accompanied by a great deal of gory goop. Nope, it's presto chango, instant new face. Convenient, and a fun plot device. (Okay, I'm told that that was a skin walker, not a shifter. Whatever.)

David is our Romeo character (as Dean helpfully pointed out), in love with Violet the werewolf. When she didn't meet him at Union Station so that they could run away together (note the Titanic-like sad romantic music in the background), David ran away and passed as human for three years. I was worried that they were going to kill off Violet to provide motivation for David, but no. Instead, Violet went back to her evil brother Julian, and David returned to his own family, sort of undercover. I imagine Ennis will keep on hunting, and will eventually team up with an undercover David.

It appears that the heads of the families will be the bad guys. Violet's brother Julian treated her like crap. David's sister Margo just reeks of Joan Crawford-like evil diva. But not all of the monsters are evil, I suppose. What David's brother Sal did at Union Station wasn't what you'd call evil. It was what an overprotective older brother might do. (An overprotective older brother. That sounds familiar.)

The five families are made up of (I think) shapeshifters, werewolves, ghouls, djinn and… was it vampires? They believe in preserving their monster bloodlines, which is where the title came from. David and Juliet Violet would have polluted those bloodlines. (What if they'd had kids? Would they have had puppies that could turn into kittens? That might be cool.)

So they've been blurring the monster line on Supernatural for awhile, and the producers picked some of the more interesting Supernatural monsters. And the bad guy was even a human this time, because they're blurring the lines, etc. But I can't decide if going with the mafioso monsters was a smart decision.

And recreating the lightning in a bottle that is Winchester brother chemistry just isn't likely. Maybe they shouldn't try.



Bits:

-- The music was a bit too much. A little too teen show CW. I guess they can't go with the old rock music, which is too bad.

-- This week: Chicago, of course. Dean and Sam were agents Bonham (which has been used before) and … was it Perth? Anyone know? I haven't watched the episode a second time yet.

Quotes:

Julian: "And I want to eat Taylor Swift's heart, but we can’t always get what we want."

Sam: "We kill vampires. And werewolves and demons and… basically, we chase down evil and we cut its head off."
Ennis: "So you're what? Monster cops?"

Dean: "From what you told us, this thing sounds new. Or Freddy Krueger."

Dean: "This is full of blood and meat. A lot of meat. Actually, this one's labeled 'Susan'."

Ennis: "You're not Freddie Costa. So who are you?"
David: "My name is David Lassiter. I'm a shapeshifter."
Ennis: "You're a what?"
David: "We shift… our shape. It's kind of all there in the name."

Ennis: "He's a freaking transformer."
Dean: "And sometimes you gotta work with the bad guys to get to the worse guys."
David: "Dude. I'm right here."
Best line in the episode.

Dean: "You're with me, Romeo."
David: "Sounds good, Buffy."

So what did you all think? I need opinions! Comments! Do you think it has possibilities, or are they going in the wrong direction? If it goes to series next fall, will you give it a shot?

Billie
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found the ep confusing, boring and felt no empathy for any of the characters. There was far too little Sam and Dean. Thumbs down for me, Billie. Love, Robin

Emily Ecrivaine said...

Hmmm. I felt about this the way I felt about Torchwood...as a show it looks fine, but as a spin-off existing in the same universe as something else I am less than enthusiastic.

A big part of what drew me into Supernatural in the first place (and keeps me coming back nine seasons later) was the chemistry between Sam and Dean. I'm a shameless fangirl and so I tough it out through the endless fraternal bickering, just because I love the characters. I connected with them right away in the pilot (Dean more so than Sam) and that is what kept me watching.

These new characters and settings just don't feel like they belong in the same universe, so my brain was working overtime to compensate for that and so I couldn't really connect with the characters like I should have. You're right...they're not going to recreate the 'lightning in a bottle' that is Sam and Dean Winchester.

I think this new spin-off could be okay. It could even be really good. But I think that will only happen if it separates itself from the parent show enough that we don't have to fight against universe discrepancies. It needs to become its own show, not just 'The Supernatural Spin-off'. This is what Torchwood did and it really was for the best.

sunbunny said...

This wasn't good. They've changed the Supernatural 'verse rules so much to make the premise fit, I don't even know why they're making it spin off instead of a new series. The idea behind it is tired and unoriginal. Sam and Dean were shoehorned into the episode in a really unnatural way. Just a bad episode. In its defense, have there ever ben any decent backdoor pilots? I can't think of any.

Anonymous said...

Dean had some great one-liners, but that was about the highlight of the episode for me. It is the first time a Supernatural episode absolutely did not hold my attention.

I didn't dislike the spinoff characters, but more felt like they were pale replications of the early Winchesters/Montster. Made me really miss the early seasons.

Logan Cox said...

I'm actually really torn over this.

On the one hand it's Supernatural, so the episode was at least decent and had plenty of oddly affecting moments (especially the defeat of the vigilante). Even with all the new characters and what felt like four separate stories running at the same time. And I like the possible dynamic of Drake, I mean, Ennis and David the shapeshifter.

On the other hand, it got really cliche: the unnecessary five-second voiceover and the phoned-in revelations for both characters. Felt like a mish-mash of new CW shows I don't keep up with, like The Originals, Secret Circle and Green Arrow.

The Godfather element mixed with the hunter plotline is fun but really silly. Don't think it will be able to hold a candle to the Winchesters story, unless Sam and Dean are at least going to have relevance in this slightly more pristine-CWy universe. They got it so right in those first five seasons.

Anonymous said...

This back door pilot needs to have the door slammed in its face. From the lame use of Bloodlines as the title to all the overused plotlines and generic characters, it needs to be put to merciful death and maybe reborn as something more fresh and intriging.

ChrisB said...

OK -- I'll be the voice of dissent. I liked this. Was it an episode of Supernatural? No, but I kind of liked seeing the brothers Winchester through the eyes of a third party and not as the heroes of the story.

As backdoor pilots go, this wasn't the worst I've seen. I loved the character of David Lassiter and I'm always a sucker for doomed romance, so there is that. There is still a lot to be worked out, but I am willing to give it a shot. I agree with Emily -- it needs to distance itself from its parent show and quickly.

Don't forget -- Supernatural and all the other CW shows had their share of growing pains as well. Remember "Bugs?"

Paul Kelly said...

The good points: David and Violet.

The bad points: Horrible, clichéd dialogue; didn't feel like the Supernatural-verse; ripped off Originals premise; uninteresting central character.

The kicker for me was that every time Sam and Dean appeared it felt jarring. The tone/look of SN is just completely different and Sam and Dean looked woefully out of place. Which makes me appreciate the makers of SN all the more for creating a show with its own inimitable flavour and feel.

Maybe too many things were happening at once and a little character development would work wonders. Perhaps if the show focused more on Violet and David, and ditched the supernatural families at war cliché, I'd like it more. But since this pretty much seems to be the premise of the show, I doubt that's going to happen.

Might watch if it became a series, but don't feel overly excited about doing so.

TDS-Matt said...

Likely the worst pilot I've ever sat through.

TheShadowKnows said...

I actually referred to this episode as "Originals North" while it was on.

I didn't see much of anything that interested me, although I'm guessing we would watch it if it went to series (we made it all the way through Dracula, and we're still watching Revolution).

carolej126 said...

I've got absolutely no interest in watching a series based on this SPN episode. I didn't find it compelling at all, and every time Sam and Dean appeared, it felt jarring, as if they didn't belong in their own show. And, re-using ideas from early SPN episodes just seemed lazy.

LaureMack said...

I didn't hate it. I think it definitely has possibilities, but am inclined to agree that it probably won't be able to stand up with SPN. It should be watched as its own series and not a spin off. The thing is... none of the parts of this show are original. Romeo and Juilet. Mob City. Missing father of monster-hunting-son. We've seen all these tropes before, so in my opinion, it's up to the writers. Can they make this interesting and keep us on our toes?

Time will tell.
I look forward to more David Lassiter though!

Sooze said...

I actually feel a little better now after reading all this...I had NO IDEA when I watched this episode that I was watching a "pilot" for another show...I was so disappointed in the episode and could not for the life of me understand why these new characters were being introduced (badly). Now it makes sense and although I am sorry for the cruddy Supernatural Ep, I am glad it was a one-off.

Sarah said...

Wait... they make a psinn-off for this?

Why not the Ozz universe with Dorothy and Charlie?

I'd prefer that one...

This one also made me feel as if it's going to be too clichéd (clicheed?) unless it's going to have major characters die like supernatural? but then it would still not be original...

Gina X. Grant said...

Sarah's suggestion of a show set in the Oz universe would be awesome. Tell everyone! Maybe we'll get it. The SPN showrunners do give good fanservice. In the meantime, we got Bloodlines. I went in knowing it was a cross-over pilot so I was almost ready for a show with a different feel, which is what we got. As a dedicated SPN fan, I would really have preferred an hour with Sam and Dean, but that's not what we were getting but it was better than nothing. I don't watch The Originals so the plot felt original (ha!) the me. I liked the idea that in one spot, monsters being organized. One overarching theme of SPN has always been family. Now here's 5 families. Chicago has always been an organized crime town so it was the obvious place to set it. It was a tough row for the writers to hoe--they needed to capture the best elements of SPN, but at the same time, differentiate it. Just having it stay in one location would probably have been enough. I thought the opening was incredibly cliched--SPOILER!!!! just as he's about to propose to the only woman he's ever loved, she dies in his arms. Inciting incident, blah-blah. Normally, I'm willing to cut a pilot/first few eps some slack because they're finding their way. Even the first few eps of long-term faves like Buffy and SPN weren't as good as later eps once they'd found themselves.
I doubt this is going to get picked up for more than a few episodes unless it gets its act together fast. Guess we'll see. Thank you for your reviews, Billie. I always read them.

Henrik Bennetter said...

My goodness what a gigantic pile of stinking crap! Overacting, overmusicing and, god no, the age old trope of revenge? Over a killed girlfriend.
I really, really, regret sitting through this whole episode and it kind of felt like Jared and Jensen did too.

ChrisB said...

You will all be pleased to learn that The CW did not send Bloodlines to series.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks for the update, Chris. I'm not surprised. TV Line had a poll up that said a third of the readers liked it, a third would give it a couple of episodes and a third hated it. But the response here at Doux was almost entirely negative.

Let's hope that they move Nathan Buzolic over to The Originals, because I like him now.

Juliette said...

Ironically, I thought The Originals actually had a good back-door pilot, but I haven't got around to watching the series yet.

Agreed that this just didn't feel like Supernatural. I expected Eric Northman to be sitting on a throne in the corner of that club, with Willy the Snitch tending bar. I wouldn't mind another episode featuring David and Hunter-dude (forgotten his name) though - maybe set somewhere outside of Chicago - to tie up some loose ends. I liked both of them.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to second every negative review on this one. It felt like the television bean counters had a hand in it: Mafia? It's been done to death. Monsters? Done to death. Wait! How about Mafia Monsters? Yeah, yeah... that's fresh and new.

It was just awful.

(The idea for the new Oz show? well, it's been done, but Charlie is such an appealing character, that it has some potential, I guess.)

Thank Goodness it wasn't picked up.

I think that the chemistry of the cast, along with some wonderfully talented writers is why this show has made it this long. And as a viewer, I hate it when successful shows use their viewers to test drive other vehicles. Let the process be organic, please!

Anonymous said...

Oops. I don't think that my last comment translated. I meant thank Goodness that the Mafia Monsters weren't picked up -- not Charlie in Oz. Sorry!

Patrick said...

I'm glad this didn't get picked up, as a backdoor pilot it was pretty weak. It *might* have been ok if it had existed outside the Supernatural-verse we already know, but one line from the end pretty much killed its chance at long-term viability. That was when Sam mentioned calling in a bunch of pro hunters to deal with the Monster Mafia. Once that happens, the entire premise I assume the show woul've been based on falls apart. The only way around it is to pretend that either a) Sam decides it's not worth the time to call in hunters to deal with a major city's underworld controlled by monsters or b) the hunters for some reason don't show. But back in LogicLand, Sam calls in for reinforcements, and the Magnificent Seventy show up and clean out Chicago in a way that would make even Elliot Ness proud in the last three or four episodes of the season, including a special two-part finale that looks like a Buffy episode directed by Quentin Tarantino.

The other big problem with the episode was that the new characters they introduced really weren't all that interesting, mostly because the actors weren't all that interesting. The kid playing Ennis was especially dull. They needed more compelling folks to headline the show, Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan these weren't. :)