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."