This episode really made me realize I'm reacting the same way I did to SGUI actually hit the mute button a couple of times, just like I did in the six episodes of SGU that I watched. Southern Comfort is now the third episode in a row where there has just been too much melodrama from characters I can't even like. The non-stop verbal attacks and sob stories from Amelia, the vicious fighting between Sam and Dean, the characters being portrayed in unfavorable lightthese are very reminiscent of SGU. And Garth was like Eli, the sole ray of comedic relief and likability. For a while there, I was really liking the episode, I was giddy with relief that it felt like old-school Supernatural, but it didn't continue in the Garth-inspired vein. Every time the focus went soft and I could feel a flashback coming on I was like "No! No! Please don't take my show away from me!"
For those who didn't follow the Stargate franchise, the first two series, SG-1 and Atlantis, featured beloved characters and as much comedy as drama. But in the third series, the characters were deliberately written as unsympathetic and they fought and argued and emoted all the time and there was over-the-top drama and next to no comedy. Half the fans loved it, and half the fans hated itand stopped watching. The ratings plummeted, it was granted a second season in spite of that, and then it was canceled.
In the after-show discussion last night, I heard several show-long fans talking about walking away from Supernatural, people like me who have been with it since the pilot. Some are saying they'll give it to the end of the season, some are saying they can't stand it for more than a few more episodes, some are saying they'll go down with the ship even if they don't like where it's going.
It's a lot harder to quit Supernatural than Stargate Universe. SGU was a new series with new characters the fans were not attached to, whereas even if fans can't stand the way Sam and Dean are written now, they are still very attached to the characters. And Carver is lucky he inherited the most loyal fanbase out there. Fans will not want to give up all their fandom bonds and activities, and they will remain devoted to Jensen and Jared and Misha and the rest no matter what. Nonetheless, devoted fans are now seriously talking about leaving, even though it breaks their heart. I'm one of them.
At least with SGU, the people behind it were the same as those who had created SG-1 and Atlantis, it was their creation to do with as they wish, and SGU was a brand-new series, so it was justifiable to start in a new direction, they weren't changing course mid-series. But in the case of Supernatural, Jeremy Carver accepted to be the showrunner of an on-going series created by Eric Kripke. And thus he has a responsibility to the audience to keep giving them what they signed up for, what they have been supporting the show for these 7 long years, rather than to remake the series to fit his own tastes regardless of how the loyal fans who made season 8 possible will feel about a completely different tone.
I think Carver is deliberately writing the characters so unsympathetically, just as they did on SGU. In this episode, for example, they wrote how pissed off and hurt Dean was at Sam for leaving him to die, they can hardly be surprised a lot of the fans are pissed off and hurt as well. The thing is, Mr. Carver, they're not your characters to assassinate. Kripke created them, and he gave them to the world and we adopted them. They're our characters. You're just borrowing them, so kindly return them to the state in which you found them.