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How Blu-Ray Changed Supernatural For Me Part 2
ChuckWriting
farawayeyes4
First Appeared on The Winchester Family Business on January 12, 2014

Castiel's Grand Entrance:


Castiel's first appearance on the show is something to behold. The giant black wings, the steely stare, the overwhelming presence he presents in that first moment Dean sees him for the first time is always gripping. On my smaller, lower quality screen views, I was always taken aback by his first appearance---but seeing it on the big screen in that clear picture with its exquisite detail, I'm just bowled over.

What's really neat when it's viewed on Blu Ray is how all the symbols painted on the interior of that barn stand out. I noticed them before, of course, but now I found my eyes drawn to them. They're dark and everywhere! Some I recognize----others are completely foreign. It's one of those background details you subconsciously know is there, and yet gloss over. It's there, helping to emphasize the scene, but not prominent. Blu Ray makes that change.


Castiel had all the power in that introduction---and as we watch Dean desperately try to find something that will work on the angel, we see him with stony expression pull the demon killing blade free. It's a simple gesture, and yet it's frightening. The Blu Ray version makes this more so in its crystal clear clarity, allowing the lightening used in the scene to shine.


The wings in this version are somehow that more majestic, darker, blacker. It's amazing how shadows can be used to such a powerful effect. We are certain we're meeting an otherworldly being here, and that he is dangerous. There's a beauty in this scene, too. He's majestic and captivating.

This is one of the most frightening entrances of any character the show has ever done, and when it's presented in Blu Ray quality it becomes all the more terrifying and beautiful. See him enter that barn is enthralling, provocative, and powerful.

The exorcism of Samhain/Killing of Alistair:


Season 4 brought Sam's powers to full fruition. With them, he could do so much to demons. He could hurt them, he could exorcise them, and he could kill them. All of this was done simply by the power of his mind, calling on that blood Azazel had put inside him all those years ago---along with a bit of help from Ruby's, of course.

We see two big moments of their use: the exorcism of Samhain and the killing of Alistair. Blu Ray takes these two moments and makes them all the more concrete and frightening. In “It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” Sam finds himself cornered by Samhain. He's sworn to his brother to not use his psychic powers, but here he will have little choice.


This was really neat the first time I saw it, but on Blu Ray I really had the chance to appreciate all the little touches the VFX crews added to it. It's more than that, though. We also see the scenery pop out, adding to the atmosphere of this moment. The stained glass, the grey stone, the statuary all emerges to make this moment all the more powerful.

The smoke that Sam expels from Samhain makes quite a stunning display as it crashes into the floor. It swirls and seethes as it flickers orange before draining away, as the demon once again descends back into Hell. What's really cool, though, is it looks like it's slithering its way back up Don, trying to repossess him, all before dissipating. It's a neat effect, and Blu Ray makes it pop more than ever before.


The next time we see Sam use his powers in such a massive display is when he comes to kill Alistair. This time, it is effortless, and he easily pins the demon torturer against the wall. What Blu Ray does with this moment is make it that much cooler to see. Alistair lights up from inside, and we can really appreciate how they lit up his ribs, his face, and his whole body through the process.

It's amazing how this went from cool on standard DVD to mesmerizing on Blu Ray.

The symbol work on the house in “Death Takes A Holiday”:


Oh sure, we get a few glimpses of these, but when I saw them on Blu Ray, I found myself pausing to really look at them. They glow and are so intricate. I wanted to trace them almost with a finger. For something we see only a brief glimpse of, they most certainly put a lot of detail into them, and that boggles my mind. Each symbol is different, like a snowflake, and as I looked at them closely, I found how unique each one was. There's a beauty in that---the crew worked really hard on these to make them really set this scene and to make the story all the more real. On Blu Ray, they really come to life and become all the more special.

The End”:


In a word, the whole episode. No really. This one is just stunning on Blu Ray. That first moment we see Dean wake up on that mattress spring and walk out into the desolate street, it hits hard. My eyes darted all over the screen, trying to spy new details, see how much more gruesome this scenery really was.


But really seeing Baby broke my heart the most. In this high definition format, there's no way you don't see all the injustices done to her after the Croatoan virus swept the planet. It's a sad sight, and we take it in with Dean before he comes across himself from the future.


Again, Blu Ray doesn't just add emphasis on all the visual effects, no. The acting in this episode really gets the chance to shine even more in this format. Jensen Ackles really gets a chance to give us two versions of Dean here, and we get to really appreciate that acting job all the more.

We see this best when Future!Dean has Dean tied and is preparing for a scouting mission. I've always been fond of this whole episode, but I found that I wanted to rewatch parts of it---like this one. I really found myself focusing in on one or the other in one of the watches, and then putting them together again in another watch. There's just the slightest gesture or the vocal tones. Sure, they've always been there, but I found myself mesmerized when I saw it on Blu Ray. I think, again, it goes back to that scenery behind them, making it all the more real and desolate, too.

I had no problem spotting the differences between the two characters by any means.


But the real showstopper is that garden scene where Dean confronts Lucifer---possessing Sam. This is perhaps one of my all time favorite moments in the series, and I watched with baited breath on Blu Ray. Somehow, that white suit seemed brighter, more pristine and ironic---after all, the Devil in something so pure just seems wrong. The garden seemed greener, the rose redder.


Dean's agony and desperation was also stronger for me. I found I could see Dean's eyes all the better---and appreciate for the first time how Ackles used just his eyes or a lip quiver or some other minute gesture to tell this story.

And Lucifer was all the more captivating. Blu Ray took what Jared Padalecki did with this scene and amped it up 100 fold. I could hear a bit more condescension in his voice. I picked up on Lucifer's hurt, too, and once again, all on Padalecki's performance, I found myself feeling sympathy for the Devil---until he delivered the delicious line, “I win, so I win.”

If you buy a Blu Ray player and the show on Blu Ray for any reason, let it be this episode.

The Ghost Children of “The Real Ghostbusters”:


When I saw this episode on Blu Ray, what really struck me was how super creepy these ghost children were. What amazed me, though, was how much they contrasted with the actress playing Gore. You could tell they were the real deal and that she wasn't just by looking at them. The VFX and make up crews really went the extra mile here, and I didn't really get a chance to appreciate that until I saw it on Blu Ray. It's a subtle difference, like they're two shades of the same thing.


And of course, who can forget the little boy revealing the huge hole in his scalp. That was one of those signature gore moments for Supernatural, and Blu Ray made it both tragic and gruesome.

Famine Devouring Demons:


Famine was one of the creepiest Horsemen in my book. And when he's denied that human soul and decides to suck up the demons in the room instead? Or when he takes in the demons Sam refuses? Wow. Instant creepy.


Blu Ray makes this whole scene amazing to watch. As Famine waves his hand, beckoning the demons to expel from their hosts and come to him, we see the black columns swirl and writhe on the floor and then get sucked up. Normally, when black smoke enters a body, we see the demonic possession take effect, but here we see Famine satisfied---for now.

I found this scene, on Blu Ray, to be all the more creepy and captivating. If anything, mostly because I could clearly see all the touches they added into that demonic smoke as it resisted and yet ended up a snack for a Horseman none the less. It seemed to float before slinking its way towards Famine, leaving behind a destroyed host. If anything, Blu Ray shows just how dark this show can be!

Crowley's Prison:


“Caged Heat” was my first “live” episode. It was cool to finally be caught up and see the show new. I remember how cool this prison looked on my 19” analog. It was bigger than the 15” monitor, and the feed wasn't too bad.

Now that I've seen it on Blu Ray, wow did I ever miss a lot of detail! That prison is one messy, evil looking place. I have no idea what Crowley all did in that place, but there seemed to be filth and blood and gruesome everywhere.

I found my eyes looking all over the place, almost like one would at a train wreck, cataloging all the different gross I could find on the walls, the floor, the character's faces, everywhere.


But what was really cool was Soulless Sam and his bloody Devil's Trap. I still don't know how he manged that one so quickly, but on Blu Ray it was cool. Cool enough that I had to pause it to take a closer look.

Frontierland:


This episode is just kick ass no matter what format you watch it in---but view it on Blu Ray and everything that makes it great suddenly becomes a 100 times cooler. The great sepia tones used in this episode, the costume work---the beautiful craftsmanship put into Samuel Colt's journal---all of it is that much better in this high definition view.


From that great burning map title card to the last moment, this episode becomes wicked awesome.


Some of my favorite parts? When Finch burns his victims, once again the VFX crew's skills shine. The burning has so many moving parts in it as the judge goes from horrified to charcoal. It's as if we can see human flesh become ash instantly here. The same can be said for Finch, himself. Once the Colt bullet hits him, we see the flames burst from inside him, and on Blu Ray this effect becomes spectacular. It's astounding how something so horrific can be so riveting. Afterward, all that is left is a heap of ash.


I'm also awed by Samuel Colt's cabin. Sure, on the surface it seems rather simple and plain, but there's these little touches that make it special. The oil lamps give it a great atmosphere, and I found my eyes drawn to them. The stack of books scattered throughout also caught my attention. It made this cabin real---concrete. I find when I watch the show on Blu Ray I pay close attention to the little details that I don't notice, and this cabin was one that grasped me.

There's so much visually to love in this episode, and Blu Ray really makes it better all around.

Inside Sam's Grapefruit:


This whole sequence has always been one of my favorites, but when I watched it on Blu Ray, it wasn't the pretty that got me. It wasn't the visuals that I found myself drawn to. Oh no. Blu Ray took the audio of this episode and magnified it a hundredfold.

I had always missed Sam hearing Soulless Sam's gun click when he first shoves Robin to the ground to avoid the shot. I had to rewind it just to hear it again because it was so cool. But what really got me was the effect they gave guns in this sequence. Sure, we all pick up on Soulless Sam and his echoing taunt of “Come out, come out wherever you are,” but what floors me is that every time someone cocked a gun here, they echoed, too.


It added to that whole sensory that we were in Sam's head, not the real world, and boy did this ever enhance my enjoyment of this sequence all the more. Blu Ray really had added another layer here for me, making it a 100 times better.

Stone Number One”:


This gem from “Hello, Cruel World,” is only magnified by Blu Ray. I don't know what it is, but somehow the angst is prettier in high definition. And the acting? Wow. When this scene originally aired, I was floored, but watching it on Blu Ray made it all the more emotional.

I also loved how the high def made Lucifer's fade look way cooler, as if he were really a hologram. There was a rainbow of colors in that I hadn't seen before.


But really, it was all about Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles hitting it out of the park for me here. I could see the desperation glimmer all the more in Dean's eyes, the fear in Sam's, and that wound that Sam shoves his thumb into is just gruesome. Blu Ray really nailed two key components for me here: enhancing the stellar acting of this scene AND making a special effect look way cooler without making it encroach too much on the story taking place.

"Plucky's Pennywhistle Magical Menagerie”:


This makes the list, certainly, as a whole episode, but what really struck me was how bright the “pizza chain for kids” really was on Blu Ray. On my CW feed and even on DVD, Pluckys was always bright and brash, but there was this dingy layer, the colors were muted somewhat. On Blu Ray, not any more!


This episode has a lot of color in it---from the rainbow slinky and the rainbow shooting out of the unicorn's ass to the actual pizza place itself. That's what really grabbed my eye. The bright colors of Plucky's were almost blinding, and more than ever before their brightness totally contrasted with the sad story going on around it.

The clowns are also brightly colored in this episode, and while I've already talked about clowns on this show, these are way more creepy outwardly. The clown in “Everybody Loves a Clown” is a lot more muted than these creeps. On Blu Ray, these clowns stuck out with the bright green hair and their make up made them even worse.


Best part of all the enhanced color that I saw in this episode? The glitter bomb those clowns become right all over Sam. It was way more glittery, way more colorful---I could even see some of the glitter's individual colors that made up the rainbow. It was really a stunning view, seeing how Blu Ray took the color in this episode and made it truly a character within the story.

Richard Roman Enterprises:


When I was in Vancouver, I took the Russ Bus and had the honor of visiting the location used for Richard Roman Enterprises. When I watched this episode on Blu Ray, this building really caught my eye. I don't know if it's because I was there, but this building looked awesome.

The elevators, the little catwalk area, the lobby, all of it was sleek and shiny. Somehow, seeing how pretty that was made the whole building all the more sinister. It screams that it's a facade, hiding something dark and cruel. I found myself looking all over at setting and realizing truly how much of it is a character just as much as Charlie or Sam and Dean. If anything was going to fit Dick Roman's character, it'd be this building.


And of course, when Bobby freezes those doors, the effect on Blu Ray was wicked awesome. The glass just started to crackle and then it shatters brilliantly.

The Hellhound in “Trial and Error”:


In season 8, we finally got to see a hellhound. Until then, they had been invisible forces of terror, only evidenced by the terrifying growling and vicious havoc they wreaked on the surroundings and victims. In many ways, viewers were allowed, then, to visualize the beasts of Hell as they chose---but what we're given here is awesome.

They're shadowy and transparent---and monstrous. The first thing I noticed when I watched this on Blu Ray were the eerie red glowing eyes. I then traced the shadowy shape and realized just how cool this creature was. On the CW live air feed, I found it to be super grainy. It was cool, but I had a hard time seeing it. Now that I could see it crystal clear, I marveled at its awesomeness.


We really get to see this beast show its glory best when it's attacking Sam. The horrible fangs gnashing in his face are frightening! And the details that went into it are just amazing. There's a definition to that head, and the snout is square. Those eyes are like red coals, too.

Of all the cool things that season 8 gave us, seeing this hellhound certainly tops the list for me---and it was one thing I knew I couldn't wait to see on Blu Ray!

All the uses of fire in season 8:


Fire reigned supreme in season 8. There were so many brilliant uses of it. The episode, “Everybody Hates Hitler,” used it the most. We saw it at the beginning, as the Nazi headquarters is burned to the ground around the Golem. The small flame used in the Thule spell quickly engulfs the whole room, burning the Nazi flags to ash and making a spectacular wall of fire in the final shot we see of the Golem standing in front of it.


To make fire more horrifying and tragic, we see them then use fire to burn Aaron's grandfather. The fire starts in his face, and we see all the skill of the VFX team put to use to make this as horrible as possible. And as he becomes a figure of flame, we're stunned by how hot that fire looks.


The other great example of fire in season 8 has to be when Sam sets Abaddon on fire. He casts a vat of holy oil into her face and flicks a lit match, setting the demon ablaze. Even though we know that she's a Knight of Hell and evil, we can't help but recoil from the sight of her body flailing in agony as it burns and the smoke streams out of her body.


On my CW feed, this was cool and all, but I didn't really get the chance to appreciate it until I had seen it on Blu Ray. These sequences with fire felt hot, and I could almost see the fire leaping through the screen into my room to engulf me. I'm always amazed by what Blu Ray can do with something like these effects. The fires were a living thing, almost like another character in this format. It's truly a testament to how awesome these effects really were.

The Fall of the Angels:


I remember watching the angels fall at the end of season 8, and while I was floored by the cliffhanger, the first thing I said after I calmed down was, “I can't wait to see that on Blu Ray!” Let's face it, my CW feed isn't that great (who's is?), and I knew I was missing some of the coolness of this moment.

I was right.


As soon as I saw it on Blu Ray, I found myself gasping all over again. The details that went into the angels falling like brilliant meteors is something to behold.


The close ups on the angel we see plummeting through the sky is stunning. On Blu Ray, I could see his wings tearing away violently with so much more clarity. The figure looked brighter and more real. And as the camera panned away to show us the other multitude of angels crashing to earth, each bright streak was that more striking. I really found myself appreciating this sequence a hundred times more for having seen it in this high definition format.

The Littlest Details:


I know. I've already said as much, but let me elaborate here. Details. Details. DETAILS. Oh my God the details. Littlest reflections---like Sam staring into the passenger door or Dean into the window as he searches for the “ghost” of Castiel. The amount of work the crew puts into the settings each week---from the most mundane beer bottle to the motel decor---is astounding. I'm blown away. They are meticulous in their craftsmanship when they make the lore books, the ink scrawling in its beauty. The dinginess added to motel rooms to make them look worn and tired and cheap makes the gritty reality Sam and Dean exist in a tangible factor. We see all these minute things that make up their world in this format in a way no other version can. It's like watching the show through a microscope---one can endlessly find new things for the eye to catch, a new sliver of imagery the crew added in to make the story that much deeper.


BluRay affords us the ability to feel like we're ensnared in the Winchester World without having to face the pain and death and fear that comes with it. So many of these details were carefully composed by the crew---and if one really wanted to, they could look at BluRay screencaps to see things they never realized were even there before. Charlie's portrait comes to mind for me. I noticed it in the episode first airing, of course, but when I saw it in the Blu Ray version, I gasped. It's amazingly done. In “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” I've never noticed the soft dusting of snow on Baby at the end until I saw it in Blu Ray. For whatever reason, the grainy analog TV just didn't project that beautiful detail.

These are my moments that I've picked up on Blu Ray. Those of you who've watched the show in this format, what are some of your moments? What struck you? What hadn't you noticed before? How did it change how you saw an episode or moment? What was your favorite?

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