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Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3 - I worship at the television altar — LiveJournal
Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3

My copy of Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3, by Nicholas Knight, arrived yesterday, and of course I ended up staying up way too late reading it cover to cover in one sitting. Just like the two that came before it, it's an amazing volume, chock full of information, anecdotes, photographs, glimpses behind the scenes, and insightful quotes from everyone involved in the production of this show we love so much. I can't imagine a fan who wouldn't find it a valuable addition to their collection.

If you haven't yet treated yourself to one of these companion books, I'll give you a quick rundown of what they contain. The publishers, Titan Books, follow a consistent framework for each season (in fact, it's the same one they've been using for their Smallville companion books for years). First, there's a foreword by someone connected with the show (for S3 it's Sera Gamble), then an overview of the season as a whole. Each episode of the season gets a chapter, containing the vital statistics (writer, director, and actors), a quick recap, a few pages of quotes and in-depth information about making the episode, a list of the music used that week, photos, and interesting bits of trivia. Interspersed between the episode chapters are closer looks at some of the monsters the boys encounter. Each of the main characters and some of the more important recurring characters also get chapters. There is a section of glossy color photos, and then the books finish with a few final chapters on anything from special effects to location shooting to merchandising tie-ins.

The sheer volume of information in these books is impressive. Of special note in the S3 edition are reflections on how last year's writers' strike impacted the show, both negatively and positively, the original plan for the season before it was unavoidably shortened to 16 episodes, and Eric Kripke's frank and thoughtful analysis of where the show went wrong. The last topic in particular makes for a fascinating read.

In short, go buy it, now! :) To whet your appetite, here are some of my favorite quotes from the S3 book:

1) Eric Kripke on Bela: "People watch the show for Sam and Dean, so a character who makes them feel like idiots is not a character that people are going to warm up to."

2) Eric Kripke on Dean's last year: "Dean was really immature about eating cheeseburgers and banging girls, then he admitted he was terrified but didn't feel he was worth saving, and finally he realized he was worth saving. He had to learn throughout the season that he's worth something in his own right, not just as John's son and Sam's protector, but as his own person who deserves his own life."

3) Lou Bollo (stunt coordinator) on the car stunt in the bar in The Magnificent Seven: "There was a funny incident with that. We had [a stunt driver] smash in there and everything had gone well, then we came to the point where Jim Beaver had to jump in and drive the car out because we had to see his face. So they're rolling for it and he was so energized he left Jensen behind. As the car pulls out, Dean's left stranded at the bar with all the demons! It was very funny."

4) Phil Sgriccia on the kiss between Dean and Lisa at the end of The Kids Are Alright: "That wasn't in the script. We added the kiss, and we didn't tell Jensen it was going to happen. The mischievous side of me wanted to see what Jensen would do. I always say, 'You turn on the camera and you get a little magic.' And what you see on the film is his first take when she kisses him... I talked to Cindy beforehand and said, 'I think you need to kiss him here,' and she goes, 'What?' And I said, 'Yeah, I think you need to kiss him. Not a slutty kiss, just a nice, tender kiss to say thanks for saving my son.' She was aghast at first and flustered a little bit, and I said, 'What, you don't want to?' And she said, 'Of course I want to kiss him!'"

5) Jensen Ackles on Bad Day At Black Rock: "We had one take where Sam says, 'You're Batman,' and I'm like, 'And you're my Robin,' but they didn't put that in..."

6) John Marcynuk (production designer) on the same episode: "One little touch I brought into that episode was every time good luck happens, there's a rabbit in the scene. The Vietnam vet has a patch with a rabbit on it and the lottery cards have magician's hats with rabbits coming out of them. There are other places in the episode that if you look, you can find them."

7) Jared Padalecki on his good luck superstitions: "Whenever I drive under a yellow light and whenever I'm getting on a plane, I kiss my finger and touch it to the roof of the car or the doorway of the plane. I don't know why. I think someone said it was good luck when I was growing up... I also like things being on an even number. If the volume is at 33, I'll turn it to 34 or 32, and if the air conditioning is on 65 degrees, I'd rather it be on 66 or 64. I don't know what all that means, but I consider it good luck."

8) Bob Singer on the difference between him and Eric Kripke: "Everybody likes to ask, 'What is your favorite scene in Supernatural?' I love the scene in Faith, where at the end of the show Dean says to the girl, 'I don't pray, but I'll pray for you,' whereas Eric's favorite moment was when the guy's sticking his hand down the garbage disposal. So you put the things we cherish together and you end up with a pretty complete show."

9) Eric Kripke on Sam killing Gordon in Fresh Blood: "Sam basically garroting Gordon with razor wire is one of the coolest deaths we've ever had. It's a good lesson in knowing if you come up with a cool idea that's effectively executed, the fact that it's illogical makes no difference to the viewer. We were like, 'Are we saying Sam is super-powered strong to be able to cut through someone's spinal cord? How can he pull so hard to pop off Gordon's head and not pop off his own hands with the razor wire?' Excellent questions, but no one cares, because you want Gordon's head to pop off!"

10) Jeremy Carver (writer) on A Very Supernatural Christmas: "Truth be told, the flashbacks were not in the original draft. We had to add some page count, and it was actually Ben Edlund who came up with doing flashbacks, which added this whole new dimension to the episode."

11) Lee Anne Elaschuk (graphic designer) on the same episode: "As a layer of his Bad Santa personality, we did a bulletin board for him, where he tacked up all of his Christmas cards and artwork from the kids that sat on his lap. And some autographs from stars of the adult video industry. He'd also had some trips to Mexico, so we Photoshopped scenes of Santa doing tequila shooters in the bar and having a good time. I love that bulletin board so much... and I don't think it was in the episode, but the actor saw it and that helped him to pull into his character."

12) Jared Padalecki on Sam Winchester: "I think Sam was originally too pensive, too hesitant. When I started the show I was twenty-one, so it's not like I didn't think about things, but I was more from the cuff. Sam in season three is more like that - he's like, 'Well, okay, let's kill him.' Action first as opposed to really thinking it out. So whereas from an acting standpoint maybe I'll be forced into the position to think more, the character has been forced into the position to think less, to just trust his instincts. So in that way Sam's become a little bit more like me, even though I've probably made the other switch. Other than that, I think he's fleshed out more. Sam's an emotional guy, I'm an emotional guy. Ultimately, I think he's become more like me."

13) Jensen Ackles on Dean Winchester: "In season one, we were more similar because I was relying on my instincts to interpret the story. Whereas now I go back and I watch and I see what's working and what isn't and then it becomes, 'Oh, well, Dean wouldn't do that, so don't do that.' Or, 'Dean would do this or do that.' I'd say we've separated more, but we still share a lot of similarities. The more the story continues, the more of a character Dean becomes."

14) Jim Beaver on Bobby Singer: "I think he's really smart, but he also knows what he doesn't know."

15) Jim Beaver on working with Jared and Jensen: "There's something in our real-life relationships that is reflected onscreen. We work really well together and I have a lot of respect for them - and I get a kick out of their antics. There's a constant lightheartedness on the set, and Jared and Jensen really lead that... It's a sweet gig."

16) Chris Cooper (property master) on Jared and Jensen: "And then to have a couple of actors that actually have some incredible physical prowess, as well as hand-eye coordination, where they make it look like they are the Winchesters, they are hunters, they are the guys saving us from evil. You couldn't ask for more from a couple of actors. There's not a single negative thing to be said about either of those fellas."

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31 comments or Leave a comment
katysam From: katysam Date: March 4th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the companion books. I haven't got the Season 3 one yet but it's on my list. The behind the scenes snippets are wonderful. Knowing everyone who is involved with the show loves the show makes me love it just that little bit more. :)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's obvious from the quotes how committed everyone is to making the best show possible. The team behind Supernatural is truly an amazing group of people, who clearly think of each other as family in many ways.

I just love the variety of information contained in these books. No matter what fascinates you most about the show, there's something that will interest you here.
rogsi From: rogsi Date: March 4th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
My mom literally JUST gave me my copy (a belated b-day gift) and now I can't wait to delve into it. The companion books are always a fun read.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
You have a thoughtful mom, that's a great gift. Enjoy!
mekastic From: mekastic Date: March 4th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the summary! Really informative and well done. I so love this show. :-)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! I just wanted to let people know what to expect if they haven't picked these up before, and some of the goodies to be found this time around if they have.

It's interesting how similar they are to the Smallville books. They really do stick to a formula, but it's a great one that I happen to like.
raputathebuta From: raputathebuta Date: March 4th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't gotten my copy yet, but thanks for the review!

Also? Jared: I also like things being on an even number. If the volume is at 33, I'll turn it to 34 or 32, and if the air conditioning is on 65 degrees, I'd rather it be on 66 or 64. I don't know what all that means, but I consider it good luck."

Jared & I are soooo totally soulmates!!!!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, too!! I'm a complete freak about even numbers!

I ordered this book months ago, and I remember it being postponed at least once. Yay for it finally getting here!

Hey, I never said congratulations on your win the other night (Red Wings over Sharkie-poos, 4-1, right?). Well played!
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I especially like reading about how the stories change over the course of the production process, and how we end up with what we see on our TV screens. The collaborative creative process is so fascinating to me. In Supernatural I think we have that rare instance where everyone involved with the show shares a clear vision of what it should be, and each person adds his or her unique gifts to make that vision a reality. And we are the lucky beneficiaries.
frelling_tralk From: frelling_tralk Date: March 4th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for those extracts! I'm not sure what's going on with the season 3 companion for me as I pre-ordered ages ago, and now amazon.co.uk are emailing me to say it's no longer available, but they'll keep trying :/ SV season 7 companion has been out for ages now, so I'm not sure what the hold up is *sighs*
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I pre-ordered mine from Amazon, too, way back at the beginning of August (7 months ago!), and I know the delivery date was pushed back at least once. I suspect yours will show up within the next week or two. Or maybe right away, isn't Titan a UK company?

Amazon is weird sometimes. I also pre-ordered S5 of LOST months ago, as soon as they listed it, but of course it won't come out for ages still, because they're just broadcasting S5 on TV right now. Just the other day I got an email asking me if I wanted them to keep trying to locate it, or should they cancel? *rolls eyes* I always just click approve or yes and send it back.
trystan830 From: trystan830 Date: March 4th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! those are awesome!!!!

(oh, and i had a really fangirly moment at the author's name. seriously. Nick Knight? writing about Dean and Sam? *sdkjfhaldjfhe*)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if that's the author's real name?

Some of those quotes are pure gold, aren't they? And there are lots more I didn't include. I especially like Jensen's quotes all through the book. He talks about how he appreciates the show on different levels, as an actor, from the technical side (blocking, camera angles, lighting, etc.), and as a fan. His intelligence, sensitivity, and sense of humor all shine through. And he says nice things about so many people, especially Jared. *loves Jensen*
starry_dawn From: starry_dawn Date: March 4th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG, T! Jared likes even numbers too! \o/ I KNEW there was a reason I loved him!
stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: March 5th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee, I'm the same. Odd numbers are just...ODD! lmao
jaimsie From: jaimsie Date: March 4th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have honestly never thought to pick one up, didn't know what to expect. Thanks for the cliff notes version.

In reference to #5 see icon.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
It's my pleasure! They don't always have these in the bookstores, so I think it's good to know what to expect if people are thinking about ordering it.

Now, see? You and Jensen have the same sense of humor! Hmmm, maybe it's a Texas thing. ;)
stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: March 5th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, a review of SPN! Sort of. lmao

You know, I liked Bela a lot. I admit, at first I didn't, but she grew on me and I was very sorry to see her go. She was one of the few people who could really turn Sam & Dean's world upside down. They weren't used to someone sneaky like them.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I liked Bela, too, right from the start. I liked how she was so unrelentingly and unrepentantly BAD. And she was funny, too. I get why her story had run its course by the end of the season, and that it was time for her to go, but I miss her.

Of course, I liked and miss Jo, too, so clearly I'm crazy. :)
zofia27 From: zofia27 Date: March 5th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the write-up! I haven't gotten my copy yet but it sounds like it'll be a great read!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it is a good one. I especially like reading what Kripke has to say. He's a smart, funny guy who always has a fascinating perspective to share, and he's so open when he talks about the show. I really respect that.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: March 5th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the Kripke! He makes me laugh. I really think I would have liked Bela if she hadn't always beat the boys.

I love that everyone's so positive about the show and everyone who works on it. I can't wait to read Kripke's take on the season.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 5th, 2009 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
He shares some really interesting insights, and gives you a good sense of how hard it must be to balance the elements of what you want to say creatively, the constraints of the budget, and the demands of the network. And he's very upfront about what he didn't think worked and why. He takes the blame for most of that himself, and then turns around and heaps praise on others for the things he did like. He's so self-deprecating, it's easy to think of him as a little bit of a goofball with a sophomoric sense of humor, but he really is the guardian of everything we love about this show. *gushes*

It fascinates me that Jared thinks Sam is more and more like him, while Jensen sees Dean as less and less like him. And in each case when they say that, they're expressing how much more comfortable they are with their character than they were in the beginning. It's like Jared is happy when he can embrace Sam, and integrate himself with who Sam is, and feel every nuance of his performance, while Jensen is more comfortable with a degree of professional detachment, carefully crafting a performance that is considered and consistent. It's like he can bring that amazing emotional intensity to Dean because he has complete confidence in the character he's built from the ground up, while Jared acts more instinctively, jumping in and emoting all over the place. I know I'm not expressing myself very well, but it seems like they come at acting so differently, and yet they're both so incredibly good! It blows my mind.
From: koosh2012 Date: March 18th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Tariel,
I just wanted to say thanks for your review because it convinced me that maybe the companion books were worth checking out (been afraid they'd be um, er, uh... you know, cheezy or something *sheepish grin*). All three arrived this morning (please note that it's Amazon's free shipping on $25+ orders and not OCD that compels me - REALLY!), and I'm tickled pink! Just been skimming randomly so far, but I'm pleased: concise enough to avoid annoying me, but detailed enough to keep my attention. I also like the "just right" size: not too big, not too little (yeah, this a personal aesthetic quirk about me that is just downright inexplicable - when I give away books it's as much about how much the size and texture irritates me as it is about the likelihood of it being useful sometime down the road - go figger!).
But enough about me, huh? You rock! Thanks a million.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 2nd, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
KOOSHIE!! I've missed you! Thanks so much for stopping by!

I'm so glad you're enjoying the companion books, and that my little post helped you decide on ordering them! After that first fast and furious read, I like just randomly flipping through them and rereading parts here and there, and I also use them for a reference tool. I totally get that size thing, too. Another thing that bugs me is when there is a series of books, and they're not all the same size! That drives me crazy.
31 comments or Leave a comment