SSN: How did you discover Supernatural?
Mary: I’ve been aboard since the pilot first aired. As a rule, I LOATHE horror (not into gory stuff, mindless violence, and people doing the dumbest possible thing just to keep the story going), but “brothers road-tripping through American urban legends searching for their father and what killed their mother” sounded interesting, particularly with Jensen Ackles playing one of them. I’d never seen Jared before Supernatural, but Jensen caught my eye back when the Pollo Loco episode of Dark Angel first aired. I’d never have thought I’d mourn the death of a psycho serial killer, but his Ben was amazing and heartbreaking. I didn’t regularly watch everything he did after that – Dawson’s Creek skewed too young for me, for example – but I always checked it out because he’d impressed me and I wanted to see what he was doing. So I checked out Supernatural, and the rest is history.
SSN: What is your favorite Supernatural episode and why?
Mary: I can’t pick a single favorite; there are too many extraordinary ones! But Faith on its first broadcast was the one that converted me from a purely casual viewer into a Supernatural evangelist, and it will always hold a place on my top episodes list. I’d missed some episodes before that (including Home, which might have accomplished the conversion otherwise), but high-concept Faith made me realize there were layers to these characters and to the storytelling that I simply hadn’t perceived or given enough credit. For the first and only time in my life I hunted down copyright-violating bootleg recordings on YouTube so I could rewatch the episodes from the beginning with different eyes and catch the ones I’d missed. Ever since then, I found a whole new appreciation for the writers and actors. (I’d always noted and loved the production quality!)
SSN: What is your least favorite Supernatural episode and why?
Mary: There are episodes I don’t like because they’re lazy and hamfisted storytelling – most of the pagan god ones fall into that category, including Hammer of the Gods, for example – and I won’t even count Bloodlines because, as a back door pilot, I don’t consider it a real Supernatural episode. But if I had to pick just one episode as my absolute least favorite right now, it would be Taxi Driver. Mind you, there are things about it that were brilliant – the VFX were amazing, and what Jensen and Ty Olsson did with Dean and Benny was poetry totally beyond anything written on the page. But the story and script made me want to throw things. Eugenie and Brad are my absolute least favorite writers because they consistently make characters and monsters conveniently able to do whatever they need to make their story resolve as they choose, no matter what violence that may do to logic or anything that came before in earlier episodes of the show.
I found Taxi Driver particularly egregious and unforgivable not simply because it changed everything we’d known about reaper lore since Faith, but because it made a complete mockery of the entirety of season six. The whole point of season six had been the extreme difficulty of finding and accessing Purgatory, something neither angels nor demons knew how to do – and Taxi Driver made it a simple matter of having a “rogue reaper,” a type of agent well known to both angels and demons, just casually open a door. And the reaper was further using Purgatory simply as an easy back door right into Hell, not to mention a door directly into the cell block where Bobby’s soul was wrongfully confined. I’m still angry about all that because it discounted all the sacrifice our characters had to make to get Sam’s soul out of Hell and to deal with Castiel seeking and opening Purgatory. Some things I just can’t forgive. And don’t get me started on Eugenie’s and Brad’s witches — their Man’s Best Friend With Benefits has NO redeeming features, as far as I’m concerned, and Shut Up Dr Phil pissed me off almost as much. (A witch’s casual spell worked on Leviathan, when Leviathan had been imprisoned in Purgatory since before humans – and witches – were even created? And the brothers simply walked away from witches who casually destroyed multiple people and were clearly likely to do it again? No.)
SSN: Who is your favorite villain?
Mary: I especially love Crowley, and greatly appreciated Ruby and Meg. Most of Supernatural’s monsters are straightforward: they want power, food, revenge, survival, or reward, and they aren’t particularly subtle about pursuing their goal. These three, however, have all had more scope, and that makes them far more interesting to me: Ruby, because she had to play a long-term deceptive role while figuring out how to persuade Sam to do what she wanted; Meg, because her goals changed over time and so did her relationship with the brothers and with Castiel; and Crowley most of all because although his goals have always been power and survival, he’s been a chameleon in adapting to circumstances and he’s been tremendously creative in seeking to achieve his ends. Also funny!
SSN: How do you promote Supernatural?
Mary: I started blogging at the beginning of season 2, doing a mix of reviews, meta, con reports, and discussions of production elements. For a few years, my reviews appeared on supernatural.tv as well as my LiveJournal; then I joined TheWinchesterFamilyBusiness.com in February 2011. I’m not reviewing every episode any more – ran out of time and don’t enjoy having to parse every word to avoid fannish lashback against any perceived slights – but I still write occasional articles, including analytical meta under my Supernatural University title. I’ve also written occasional fanfic. And I tweet, although I won’t live-tweet during a new episode: I have to concentrate on watching the show and find tweeting a distraction.
SSN: Do you prefer one of the brothers to the other? If so, which one?
Mary: I’m bi-bro: I love both Dean and Sam.
SSN: If you could be in ANY Supernatural episode, which would you choose and why?
Mary: I’d be in LARP and the Real Girl because I’d love to interact with Dean and Sam not just on a case, but also when they throw themselves wholeheartedly into play mode and just have fun — that rarest of rare experiences for both brothers together! Also, I enjoy wearing and wielding a sword and daggers.
SSN: What one character would you love to see back on Supernatural?
Mary: Dang: there are many I’d love to see back! I’m delighted to know I’ll get to see Jody Mills again – I love strong, mature women, and Kim Rhodes brings so much to the table in Jody. (So does Lauren Tom to Linda Tran). On the male side, I’d enjoy seeing Benny square off against the Alpha Vamp, and because I love Jim Beaver, I’d enjoy seeing a Bobby story, perhaps in flashback (maybe with bonus Rufus!).
SSN: How do you want the show to end?
Mary: I know the guys have talked about the brothers having to die, but I’d rather see one last variation on “We’ll always have work to do,” with the brothers tossing weapons in the Impala’s trunk in the MOL garage, finally content to know their purpose in life is saving people even though they can’t save them all. I’m a romantic and love the thought of the Winchesters being out there somewhere, so shoot me.
SSN: What other TV shows do you watch religiously?
Mary: Supernatural is my only religious experience (*wink*), but I currently regularly watch and enjoy Arrow, Blue Bloods, Bones, Castle, Defiance, Grimm, Haven, Justified, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon a Time, Orphan Black, Person of Interest, Sleepy Hollow, Switched at Birth, and The Walking Dead. I’m a science fiction junkie from way back (original Trekkie, me!), so I’ll sample almost anything sci-fi or fantasy, and I skew toward drama. I prefer my comedy to be embedded in drama, and don’t find sitcoms funny. I prefer watching and rooting for essentially good guys, especially humanly flawed ones.
SSN: Where can we find you on the Internet?
Mary: I’m on Twitter as @Bardicvoice, on LJ at bardicvoice.livejournal.com (that’s mostly historical these days), and have my voiceover business at bardicvoicestudio.com. I’m on TheWinchesterFamilyBusiness.com too. I have a Tumblr I don’t use except to be able to view others’ posts (I’m verbal, not visual, and don’t like the Tumblr format; makes no sense to me; hell, I’m old), and while I’m on Facebook as myself — Mary Dominiak — I loathe Facebook and don’t use it much. I’m on LinkedIn mostly for business and to stay connected to past work colleagues.