How does one define a “cult show”? It is a question that most in the film and television industry would love to know and continually exploit. There is no established formula to follow and there are no guides available to peruse through. Examples of past cult hits on television include “Twin Peaks”, “Star Trek” and “Babylon 5. Cult films include “Blade Runner”, “Showgirls” and “El Topo”. The latest entry in this eclectic list is the television series, “Supernatural” broadcast on CW affiliates across the country.
Supernatural does indeed contain elements of what most people believe to be components of cult appeal. The show has an ongoing mythic storyline with monstrous archetypes such as vampires, werewolves, demons, angels and yes, fairies! If you wish to continue to dissect the cult aspects you can also add the two attractive lead actors who brilliantly essay their roles as the Winchester brothers(Sam and Dean). So, with these example can we establish a formula for cult success? The answer is not within these pieces of the puzzle, but it lies with the fans such as the dedicated group on Facebook known as “Supernatural 411” who rally and embrace a show that gains momentum through word of mouth and its modern day representation of it, the computer!
Valentine’s Day weekend in Los Angeles, Califonia treated fans of Supernatural to a gift that most will never forget. Creation Entertainment packaged their finest convention dedicated to this ever increasingly popular show and showered its fans with a wonderfully sincere Valentine’s card in the form of the fine acting talent that can be found on the CW television show who were in full force for this convention. The convention took place over the span of three days beginning on February 11th through the 13th. The convention was held within the spacious Los Angeles Airport Marriot Hotel which was also a convenient venue because of its close proximity to the famous LAX airport.
The convention had a startling amount of moments that soon will not be forgotten by the faithful Supernatural devotees. The always impressive and remarkably kind bodyguard and actor,Clif Kosterman delighted and sometimes shocked the impressive amount of fans with his tales of protecting actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from overzealous fans. That is to be expected when actors achieve the kind of devotion Ackles and Padalecki justifiably receive, but also to protect them from themselves! Ackles and Padalecki apparently don’t shy away from potentially explosive situations and Kosterman is always there to difuse a situation which may cause legal problems for the two lead actors!
The always lively and engaging, Richard Speight, Jr. was paired with the strikingly beautiful and toned actress, Traci Dinwiddie. It was apparently the first time these two Supernatural veterans were together on stage as as team. It was one of the highlghts of the convention. The two actors were quick to pick up on each other’s verbal and visual cues that enabled the two of them to create an irreverant and hilarious stand-up routine with the topic being their mutual experience on the show. Past conventions have demonstrated that Speight enjoys weaving in and out of the audience for the sole purpose of engaging as many of them as he can in his panel. It is a wonderfully affectionate method of demonstrating to the fans how much importance the cast and creators give to them and their efforts to keep this show afloat. Traci Dinwiddie also demonstrated her amazing musical talent with the bongo drums backed by a group she supports. She candidly also spoke of her campaign to be cast as the new Wonder Woman in the upcoming television. Sadly enough, at press time, the part went to Adrianne Palicki. There can be no doubt that Traci Dinwiddie’s acting and musical talent will continue to keep her in demand in the present and the future.
Actor Mark Sheppard is one of those classic character actors that people immediately recognize but fail to remember his name. Sheppard is the immensely talented and incredibly likable actors that genuinely has a great time with fans, especially the fans of Supernatural. His role on the series as the would be king of hell, Crowley had proven to be one of the most popular and memorable characters to have graced the series. Sheppard continually reduced the crowd to howls of laughter with his quick and very dry British sense of humor. His responses to sometimes perplexing fan questions were incredible to hear and very much worth the price of admission just to hear this very busy actor respond. His discussion with the packed convention floor ranged from his roles on “Battlestar Galactica”(he implored everyone to see it) and “Leverage”(he always looks forward to working on this show). A crowd pleasing moment also occured when actor Jim Beaver(Bobby) stepped on to the stage to give Mark Sheppard a big hug and harass him about his role. This type of activity contributed to the ongoing feeling that this would be Creation Entertainment’s finest Supernatural convention.
It was the next guest who confirmed this notion who upon placing his feet on to the stage, it was evident that actor Misha Collins would live up and go beyond his notorious reputation that he gained from being on the show. Misha Collins has the role of the powerful and naive angel, Castiel on the show. His character was first introduced in 2008 and Collins has seen his role and popularity expand to the point that he has over 100,000 “Twitter” followers. It can be argued that a fair amount of fans attended this convention in order to see Collins in person. Much to the delight of all, Collins demonstrated his beguiling and very eccentric wit when addressing the fans. It was obvious that Collins thrives in a pressure induced environment because he was plainly relishing every befuddled look that crossed many fans as well as lustful glances from this fan base that appears to be predominately female by all indications. Collins gladly responded to every question and even attempted to wear a Castiel inspired trenchcoat that was handed to him by a female fan who dressed to appear as a female Castiel! Misha Collins’ skillful and expert ease that he demonstrated in front of the crowd also underscored his past interest in becoming a public servant by running for office as that was one of his interests before becoming an actor. It would have been fascinating to see this actor as a candidate for office. It might be a loss to the world of politics, but it is definitely a huge win for the world of acting and more specifically, Supernatural. In fact it is obvious from his public appearance that the producers of Supernatural have only begun to properly utilize this actor’s incredible thespian skills.
Although it is the opinion of this examiner that Misha Collins stole the convention, most came to see the Winchester brothers themselves, Jensen Ackles(Dean) and Jared Padalecki(Sam). They did not disappoint! The room erupted with screams and cheers when the two immensely popular actors walked on the stage on Sunday afternoon. Every word that Ackles and Padalecki uttered were listened to with rapt attention mingled with several sighs and barely contained manic energy. The most fascinating tidbit arrived when it was announced that both actors are doing voice work for a Japanese anime style version of Supernatural. The two actors also hinted(like they did in San Francisco) that there is a good chance that the show will be renewed for a seventh year!
Iis to their credit that the fans are incredibly well behaved and respectful at the Creation Entertainment conventions. It seems to be uniquely isolated to their venues. Indeed many other conventions I have covered are quite chaotic compared to the energetic yet wonderfully civilized conventions thrown by this organization. It is a fascinating mystery that a possible future interview with the owners of the successful traveling convention show might address.
Ackles and Padalecki thanked fans for their support several times throughout their appearance proving that they are truly genuinely decent individuals that realize their success is due to the rabid attention the fans give to this show. Their enthusiasm for their fans never waned and several times Jared Padalecki embraced many of the younger fans who genuinely moved Padalecki with their respect and love for the actor. Jensen Ackles further won the audience with story of his respect for women and the female actor who needed to be filmed semi-nude in a scene for the series. He realized that she would have the barest amount of clothing so he had ordered all non essential crew members to clear the area so the scene could be filmed without making the actress feel uncomfortable. It is these kinds of tales that endear these two very talented actors to the fans and it may help uncover the mystery of why this show is the latest in the long and celebrated history of cult film and television. It was truly a weekend that will be carried within the collective memory of fans for several years to come and indeed you may just overhear about the time in Los Angeles where Jared and Jensen said. . . . . !