farawayeyes4 (farawayeyes4) wrote,

How Blu-Ray Changed Supernatural For Me

First Appeared on The Winchester Family Business on January 12, 2014

When I first got into Supernatural, I was watching the show first on a 27” analog TV in the morning with a high level of sunlight glare. Then, I was watching the show on a 15” computer monitor. And finally, I was watching the show on a 19” analog TV. It's amazing how much I missed in my first watches---details, layers, and whole atmospheres were missed by me when I watched it on these screens. Oh sure, I saw enough to be sucked in and enthralled by the story---but I didn't know about some of the minutiae that I just couldn't see or hear. I was in the dark on a lot of them---until I got the show on Blu Ray.
To go with my Blu Ray player, I have a 40” LCD TV to enjoy this show on. In a simple statement, it has changed everything. I am seeing things, hearing things, being pulled deeper into the story than ever before, and finding new ways to appreciate this little show that could all due to the HD quality I'm viewing it in now. As real as the universe the Winchesters inhabit had felt before, now it became vivid and vibrant and concrete. Each episode I watched revealed a new layer and pulled me in even deeper---no matter how many times I'd seen that particular episode.

Oh no, it's not just because of the bigger screen. Sure, I like seeing the show on a bigger screen, but it's not just seeing Sam that much bigger that makes it better. It's not just seeing Jensen's freckles, up close and clear for the first time. It's not just seeing the special effects as they were intended (though that is a huge part of it). It's everything.

I feel like, as I watch the show in this manner, that I'm watching it for the first time all over again. It's the one thing I look forward to at the end of each day. I'm eager to see just what new nuance I'll notice---be it a sound or a visual thing I never noticed before. As I've watched it, I've found that the show is fresh and beautiful and filled with more layers than I ever could have imagined.

It started right away with the first sequence watching Azazel's attack on the Winchester home. On all the other TVs and methods I've watched the show, I never once noticed that the tree outside the house moves, like a creepy hand towards the window. Not once. My picture was either too small or too grainy. It didn't have the depth to show me that detail. From that moment, I knew that my investment in a Blu Ray player was a good one.

They say the devil is in the details, and I have to say that they are right. Details are all over this show. Most of these details we can all say we've seen or heard a hundred times or more (come on, we all watch and rewatch this show obsessively it seems). Yet, we seem to miss these things or let them coast over our subconscious without even realizing that it's happening.

The story world that Supernatural has created---from episode 1---is rich and detailed and nuanced in more ways than we can count. Sure, the story stays the same and the dialogue doesn't change---but dig deeper, watch with all the senses and you will find yourself sucked into their well developed world. It will most certainly make this world seem as real as the one we live in everyday.

So, let me show you the top 3 BluRay viewing moments of each season I've noticed that have enriched this show in ways I didn't even realize I had been missing!
The Pilot:

The entire Pilot. Seeing it on BluRay made it more powerful and gripping. It's here that we're introduced to Sam and Dean and their rich world. From the very first moment to the end credits, we're witness to the foundations of a world being built---and Blu Ray captures those details and shows them to us brilliantly.
The key moments for me in the viewing of this particular episode? The opening sequence first and foremost. The detail put into everything from that tree reaching towards the house to Mary on the ceiling is all the more horrific. In the crispness of this format, it's almost as if you can feel the heat. The sound quality is also much improved on Blu Ray, and the roaring of that fire is loud and harsh. Mary's horrific expression also sticks out all the more. It makes this moment all the more powerful.
Seeing the sequence with Constance facing her children in the house was mind blowing. I couldn't look away for sure. Here she is, finally confronted by the very thing she's avoided, and the moment they collide we see a brilliant flash. On the DVD format, it's cool, but it's as if a few layers have been stripped from it. On Blu Ray, it becomes vibrant.
But really, the littlest missed details are what really gets me here. Seeing the journal, seeing the hunter's wall John left behind and spotting little things here and there that I never had a chance to notice before, seeing the details at Welch's property when Sam questions him---the whole package from start to finish was like a brand new show in true BluRay format. If you haven't spent the money on this type of upgrade, I understand, but if you're thinking about it, do it. If for anything, just for the Pilot alone.

The Scarecrow in “Scarecrow”:
“Scarecrow” will always be a special episode in my heart. It was my first episode ever. I first saw it on that 27” TV with high sun glare. But when I sat down and watched this episode on Blu Ray in all its glory, I was riveted.

This monster is one of the creepiest the show has ever done---and I think it's all in the detail work here. If you thought scarecrows were those cutesy things sold in retail stores at harvest time, this episode on Blu Ray especially will change your mind. He's sinister, the tattoo is crystal clear and creepy, and the way the face is all leathery and gross makes you want to hide behind your hands and stare at the same time. And when it moans or groans, chills. It's a simple monster, but it's simplicity makes it all the more terrifying in many ways.


When I got to see this episode on my 19” analog, it was cool, but a lot of the chase sequences were just too dark. I couldn't make out the monster beyond the noises he made. I spent a lot of time trying to spot him, rather than watching the action. On Blu Ray, though, these chases made my heart race. I jumped a couple times---even after I saw it so many times!

If that doesn't prove how awesome this show is on Blu Ray, I don't know what will!

The details in the Bender's home:
This episode is deliciously creepy for so many reasons. The fact that they're not hunting anything supernatural adds to that fact. The monsters are human ones. The setting has always been dark and creepy, but I never really knew just how creepy until I saw it in Blu Ray quality. I noticed little touches, details, darker aspects of this episode that I never noticed before. The teeth jar has always been there in the scene, big and creepy, but everything around it has been on my periphery until now. There's wicked saws and gruesome pictures of their “hunts.” As we watch Dean approach the patriarch of this twisted family, there's nothing said---the setting does all the talking here. The only sound is that cheerful sounding tune on the phonograph, contrasting darkly with the grime, grit, and horror of the physical surroundings.
The whole setting here adds to the disgusting story being told, making it real and vibrant and frightening---and none of these objects are even moving at the time I notice them. It's gritty and grotesque---and yet there's a beauty to what they've done here that I can't look away from. The set designers really went to town to making this episode as creepy as they could---without having to rely too much on extreme special effects---and it isn't until high quality Blu Ray that you get to see just how many of these details are there. The Bender house is a house no one would want to visit---and while we don't have smellovision, the visual details they've inserted into its fabric make it almost smell the way it looks---like death.

Tessa's True Form:
I love “In My Time of Dying.” It's probably one of my all time favorite episodes. The introduction of Tessa is done so beautifully---but it's her true form that looks kick ass on Blu Ray. In the analog and DVD versions, her true form has always looked like a wispy and white ghost form. It's been undefined---nothing super special. It was cool, but I didn't take too much notice of it. It looked too much like white smoke to get my attention.

The Blu Ray picks up on the little things added into Tessa's true form brilliantly. There's more than just white smoke in that form. There's what looks like a pale woman in a strange white ruffled dress. There's an almost serene look on her face, as if she's benevolent. When Dean grabs her, she seems solid in his spectral hands, and yet we can see her begin to dissipate, too.
Tessa's true form is exquisite, really. Even though she's transparent, she dominates any scene she appears, and our eyes are drawn to her.

The Clown in Everybody Loves a Clown:

I'm not gonna lie. I hate clowns. Hate. Them. And Supernatural has not helped that hatred to be honest.

The clown in this episode has always been creepy to me---and not just because I have an aversion to clowns. He has that happy facade with the makeup, and yet he's sinister in the way he carries himself. It's just one of those things that makes my skin crawl every time I see this episode.
When I saw it on Blu Ray, though, it became even creepier. The clown was all the more dark. On the regular DVD or TNT feed, I never saw the creepy floaty eyes when he is exposed for the monster. I kinda guessed they were there and kinda saw shadows of them, but on the Blu Ray I saw them clearly and they freaked me out. Here they were, just there, surrounded by a murky man-like shadow. It was proof to me that this show really knows how to deal in creep and fear. Sure, it's a simple thing, but no one wants to just see eyes peering from you out of the steam, right?

The opening of the Devil's Gate in Wyoming:
Holy crap. No really. Holy crap.

This whole sequence has always been awesome and cool, but I had no idea just how cool until I saw it in crystal clear Blu Ray. There's so much to see and hear in this sequence that it's hard to pick just one or two things.
The way the pentagram starts to shift and everything clicks after Jake's shoved the Colt into the keyhole is chilling. It just seems more foreboding somehow.

Once the door is open, we see that brief and fiery glimpse of Hell. Much like the visual effects of both Mary and Jessica on the ceiling in the Pilot, here, we see it in a richer color, more real, and all the more tangible. I'm impressed with what the VFX team did here, and on the Blu Ray format I can truly appreciate how cool this moment is.
Seeing the rails break as the demons bust out of Hell is awesome. The sounds of the gates groaning open and fighting to remain so is eerie. The way the sky lights up and goes dark at the same time as the demons surge out in their columns of black smoke is amazing. Who needs this in 3D when they've done such a fantastic job with the visuals already? I felt myself leaning closer to see the beauty yet shying away all at once as if the demons were coming to get me!

Demon!Dean VS. Dean In “Dream A Little Dream:
Blu Ray doesn't just enhance the scenery and details---nor does it only make the VFX effects pop. It can also take a stellar acting moment and make it even more brilliant. The scene where we see Dean confronted by his worst nightmare about going to Hell is one prime example of this.

On DVD or on broadcast TV, this scene has always packed a major punch. It's gut wrenching, and it's really in how Jensen Ackles presents both sides of Dean in this scene. One of them is broken utterly by this confrontation, and we can see it in just how Ackles carries himself, while the other is triumphant and cruel, even if he's sitting.
What Blu Ray does so well here is enhance the lighting used. It also makes those demonic eyes on Demon!Dean look all the more wicked, as if they're pulling Dean and us into them. They're big, black bottomless pits, full of despair. We get to really appreciate that in this format more than ever before. This makes this moment more heartbreaking and all the more difficult. It was certainly one I sat up for---and rewound just to see again.

The demonic assault of “Jus In Bello”:
This demonic attack is perhaps one of the most frightening. The Winchesters, held by Henricksen, have no choice but to make a stand here. Overtime, the black smoke columns on Supernatural have become bigger and darker. That's the case with this scene.

It sounds like thunder or galloping horses, and as it rushes over the building, we see it swallow the place whole. Even though I'm watching it on my TV, I can almost feel the noise these demon clouds make vibrate me. That's one of the cool things about Blu Ray. It may enhance the visual to the extreme, but it also notches that sound up, too.
What's amazing, too, is there's so many lighting effects that go by so quickly. Purples light up inside, making these black columns seem more than alive. They writhe and swirl and rush over the building with all their force, and we watch with everyone trapped inside to see them try to penetrate their defenses.
What really makes this scene so killer, though, is how fast they disappear, leaving soft light to peek through the blinds. That's until we see the people standing outside, possessed as a demonic army.
As that demonic army enters, that's when things get really cool. Blu Ray amps up the use of Sam's Latin exorcism recording, and makes it even more cool. It's as if his words are imbued with greater power by virtue of the speaker, and Blu Ray makes them sound all the more authortative.

Dean's Death in “No Rest for the Wicked”:
When I first watched the series, I was certain that they weren't going to send Dean to Hell. I figured they'd find a way to save him, so when I saw that hellhound rip Dean apart I was stunned. Even on standard DVD this is a painful and emotional scene. But what Blu Ray does for it is give it a bit more oomph.
For me, Blu Ray makes me feel like I'm there, in the scene, and this one I felt as if I was there, standing alongside Sam as he had to watch his brother being torn to shreds. When we saw Sam die in “All Hell Break's Loose,” it was slow and quiet. Sam merely collapsed into a heap in his brother's arms. Here, we're seeing Dean's chest shredded to ribbons and the agony of that is excruciating.
At the same time, when we see Lilith use her blast on Sam, it gets all the more intense, all the more bright. It makes my heart race a bit more on Blu Ray, even if I know her attempt will fail. What's coolest for me, here, though is how the white eyes stand out all the more on Blu Ray, behind that white blast from her palm.
The effects they put into that, as we see this invisible being kill Dean, are stunning. Blu Ray also amped up the powerful aftermath as we watch Dean suspended in Hell. That frame where we're shown a close up on Dean's eye before we see him scream for his brother gets darker and more emotional on Blu Ray.
Tags: blu ray, part 1, winchester family business articles
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