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Supernatural is an American drama/horror television series starring Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, brothers who hunt demons and other figures of the paranormal. The series, which is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, debuted on September 13, 2005, on The WB, and is now part of The CW's lineup. Created by Eric Kripke, it is produced by Warner Bros. Television, in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision. The score is composed in rotation by Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska. The current executive producers are Eric Kripke, McG, and Robert Singer; former executive producer Kim Manners died of lung cancer during production of the fourth season.
The fifth season began airing on September 10, 2009. Featuring 22 episodes, it concluded the series' main storyline. However, the CW officially renewed the show for a sixth season on February 16, 2010.
When it came time to name the two lead characters, Kripke decided on "Sal" and "Dean" as an homage to Jack Kerouac's road-trip novel On the Road. However, he felt that "Sal" was inappropriate for the main character, and changed the name to "Sam". It was originally intended for the brothers' last name to be "Harrison" as a nod to actor Harrison Ford, as Kripke wanted Dean to have the "devil-may-care swagger of Han Solo". However, there was a Sam Harrison living in Kansas, so the name had to be changed for legal reasons. Combining his interest in the Winchester Mystery House and his desire to give the series the feel of "a modern-day Western", Kripke settled on the surname of "Winchester". However, this also presented a problem. The first name of Sam and Dean's father was originally "Jack", and there was a Jack Winchester residing in Kansas, so Kripke was forced to change the character's name to "John".
“ "We say it’s a modern American Western - two gunslingers who ride into town, fight the bad guys, kiss the girl and ride out into the sunset again. And we were always talking from the very beginning that if you’re going to have cowboys, they need a trusty horse." ”
Growing up, Kripke connected to television shows that had signature cars, such as the The Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider. This prompted him to include one in Supernatural. He originally intended for the car to be a '65 Mustang, but his neighbor convinced him to change it to a '67 Impala, since "you can put a body in the trunk" and because "You want a car that, when people stop next to it at the lights, they lock their doors." Kripke has commented, "It’s a Rottweiler of a car, and I think it adds authenticity for fans of automobiles because of that, because it’s not a pretty ride. It’s an aggressive, muscular car, and I think that’s what people respond to, and why it fits so well into the tone of our show."
Kripke had previously pitched the series to Fox executive Peter Johnson, and when Johnson moved to Wonderland Sound and Vision as president of TV, he contacted Kripke. Johnson soon signed on as co-executive producer, as did Wonderland owner McG as executive producer, with the production company set to make the pilot episode. Before it could be filmed, however, script issues needed to be dealt with. Originally, the brothers were not raised by their father, but rather by their aunt and uncle. Thus, when Dean comes to Sam for assistance in the pilot episode, he has to convince him that the supernatural exists. However, Kripke realized that this made the backstory too complicated, and reworked it with Peter Johnson so that their father raised them to be hunters. The script went through many additional revisions. One of the original ideas was for Sam's girlfriend Jessica being revealed as a demon, which prompts him to join Dean on the road; however, Kripke felt it was more appropriate for Sam's motivation to be Jessica's death, so he had her killed in the same manner as Sam's mother, making them the "right bookends". Other revised concepts include Sam believing Dean to be a serial killer that murders their father, and their father dying in Jessica's place. Filming for the pilot episode was greenlit after director David Nutter, who previously had worked with Kripke on Tarzan, signed on. When the series was eventually picked up, the studio brought on Robert Singer as executive producer, as it wanted Kripke to work with someone with production experience. Co-executive producer John Shiban was also hired to help design the series mythology due to his previous work on The X-Files.
Kripke had the series planned out for three seasons, but later expanded it to five, and hopes to end it there on a high note.