‘Wayward Sisters’, the backdoor pilot for a Supernatural spinoff by the same name, aired tonight in the US. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The #WaywardSisters hashtag was trending with just the East Coast watching, and it stayed high while the West Coast picked up. There’s a good reason for the excitement: the episode did everything it should have done and more.
Spinoffs are dangerous beasts. On one hand, they’re an amazing way to expand a fictional universe and keep a fandom alive. On the other, they’re notoriously difficult to get right. When done wrong they reek of desperation and make a show seem like it’s failing (even if it isn’t). Supernatural already had a major stinker with ‘Bloodlines’, but ‘Wayward Sisters’ feels like a whole new animal.
‘Bloodlines’ was an awkward mismash of everything fans hated most about Supernatural (ladies who were damselled despite being obviously cooler than the men rescuing them, unlikeable characters given way more screen time than they deserve, etc).
‘Wayward Sisters’ is a collection of things fans love, more or less gracefully arranged into 44 minutes of awesomeness. Let’s hit the highlights:
- Awesome intro: ‘Wayward Sisters’ opened with a really powerful collection of clips which served as both hype and a refresher of a few small plot points (Jody’s son makes me sad every time). It was backed by good, adrenaline-pumping music (though I’m hopeful for a different “theme song” in the full season). There’s also several deliberate call-backs to the first episode of Supernatural. (“Sam and Dean are on a hunting trip, and I haven’t heard from them in a few days.” Perfection.)
- The Wayward gang: This is a really solid group of characters played by talented actors. Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Kathryn Newton, and Katherine Ramdeen are fan favorites. In general any episode with their characters gets a nice ratings boost. Both Clark Backo and Yadira Guevara-Prip are newcomers, but they’ve already begun cornering their own fans.
- Emotional baggage: Jody’s overprotective, terrified of losing another child to things that go bump in the night. Claire has a death wish (or does she?). Patience suffers under her father’s expectations. Alex just wants to be normal. Kaia is plagued by horrifying nightmares. Donna – well, Murder Mom started out with some self-confidence issues but it does seem like a regular diet of mayhem is getting her back in her groove.
- Family of Choice: While themes of family and obligations run through Supernatural, other relationships resonate with fans, too. ‘Wayward Sisters’ very wisely uses this as one of their focal points. The characters aren’t related and don’t even like each other half the time, but their bonds run deep. Even Patience feels more connected to the gang than to her own family.
- Intense combat scenes: Don’t expect the show to take it easy on the characters. The fight scenes are right in line with those from Supernatural, and we get to see both brawls and coordinated tactics. The intro scene with Claire was a touch over the top- but not too bad, and still enjoyable.
- Style: Guns, leather, and improbably amazing hair even during combat – it’s great to see Supernatural style traditions being carried over.
- Weird new monsters: The blue-blooded masked creatures are all new, and weirdly coordinated. Then there’s the Dark Place giant… seriously, what is that big thing? (Highlight for MAJOR spoiler) And what does it have to do with evil!Kaia? Did Kaia have to die so that evil!Kaia could come through to Earth? Is she actually evil at all?
Were there a few hiccups? Yes, though all well within the leeway that should be granted to backdoor pilots. Some of the fight scenes bordered on the “rah rah look how cool girls can be” but didn’t tip over. There were a few things that were foreshadowed a little too much. For instance, some sharp-eyed people saw the big plot twist coming.
Otherwise, though, the episode seems to have been a resounding success. Hopefully the ratings were high enough to satisfy the PTB… but really, with a premiere this good if this doesn’t get picked up, there’s no justice in the world.
Have you seen the episode yet? Does it make you optimistic for a green light? Share your thoughts below!
**QUICK NOTE: While The Geekiary will be covering ‘Wayward Sisters” this is not a reversal of our Supernatural policy. **
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and game enthusiast. She can talk fandom in five languages, and her proudest nerd moment so far was presenting original research titled “Gender, Sex, and Werewolves” at an international anthropological conference. Her first game, None For Me, is due out from Calico Games early next year.
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