A Supernatural Community
Tuesday 9:00 PM on The CW (Returning Oct. 7, 2014)
So, Supernatural's long-rumored spin-off series finally has a name and a pilot order. Supernatural: Tribes. In addition to perhaps the worst title in recent memory, the series description—hunters and "tribes" of supernatural monsters fight it out in Chicago—sounds nothing at all like the long-running CW (olim WB) cult staple, includes (at least as far as I can tell) none of the original series' cast, and shows few signs of connection beyond existing in the same fictional world. While I'd like to hold off judgment until it actually airs, it nevertheless doesn't sound very promising.

That said, I have long believed Supernatural to boast a world and a mythology that would sustain further stories beyond those in the immediate orbit of the Winchester brothers. Instead of Tribes, I'd like to see Supernatural embrace the mini-series format, similar to the model of American Horror Story. Each series (about 12 episodes) would be a finite narrative connected to the already established Winchester story.


1. The Men of Letters



There's great pseudo-archaeological potential here as Sam and Dean continue to work out of the "batcave," the Men of Letters' stronghold in Kansas filled to the brim with occult objects and trophies. We saw briefly their extinction at the hands of Abaddon and caught a few glimpses in the underwhelming Oz-themed episode this season, but additional stories about the acquisition of these items and their competitiveness with the hunters could make for excellent television.


2. Samuel Colt



In a 2008 interview, then showrunner Eric Kripke mentions that the writers would sometimes procrastinate by imagining a series featuring Colt and a band of hunters in the American West. This is a good idea. The Colt revolver and the railroad devil's trap have always been some of the show's most interesting mysteries. Supernatural has always been half-western already, so tonally this should fit right in.


3. John Winchester



This is a bit of a cheat, since he's part of the family, but he spent Sam and Dean's childhood hunting around the country, compiling his journal, having love affairs with hunters and others, and generally living a life his sons continue to discover piecemeal. Overall this suits the strategy writers have taken for John Winchester, but a series of his own could humanize a character who has spent most of nine seasons as an inscrutable (and often disappointing) shadow over Sam and Dean.


4. Cain



We just met him, and we probably haven't seen the last of him, but Cain made an impression. Unsurprisingly, Supernatural played up the parallels between Cain and Dean, the two older brothers whose brothers are threatened by Lucifer. Cain's story about killing his brother to save him certainly echoes John's warnings to Dean before dying. It's played mostly to elaborate their differences, and as such it makes it promising as a foil for Supernatural's excellent first five seasons.


5. Another Sam and Dean



If I have a gripe about Supernatural, it's that it's habitually short on good female characters. There are some exceptions. Ellen and Jo were excellent additions and interesting hunters in their own right, likewise Sheriff Jody Mills; Bela Talbot was a smart, morally compromised wildcard; Charlie Bradbury is a great character and a fine complement to Dean but has been used with only moderate success; and even Meg got very fun and interesting at the end. But I've always been curious about how their story might be different if they were sisters, not a temporary gender switch with cheap body-swap jokes but an alternate world Sam and Dean in which they were both always women.


Now, if only I could find a way to bring back Chuck!
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