Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 7
By Nicholas Knight
Published by Titan Books
While there are some Supernatural fans just as divided on season 7 as they were season 6, it was overall a very enjoyable season. The story had a direction again, the Leviathans were a worthy foe and the season overall had one of the most emotional moments in the entire show's run. Now as the show is in the middle of its eighth season, Titan Books has released a companion for the seventh season, written by Nicholas Knight.
Several genre shows tend to have books like this, more than any other style of TV show. You're much less likely to see any kind of guide for Modern Family. But I've owned several from The X-Files, Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seems as though horror and sci-fi fans tend to obsess over their shows to the point that someone might as well release a book with lots of extra information. Sometimes they're unofficial, and this one is from the studio itself.
While I have no experience with the previous volumes of this series, Knight seems to really love the show. That would seem obvious considering he has written companions for every other season prior to now. The tone of the book read very much like a fanboy, which is not an insult. It just reads like a fan of the show writing an informative book for other fans of the show: By the fans, for the fans. He gets to speak to people who worked on the show and get insider information while writing about it for others to read. It sounds like a pretty great job to have.
There is so much information in this book it's hard to even find the time to put together a list. Think of it as an encyclopedia. To give an example, let's look at the section on what is the best episode of the season, Death's Door.
The section opens with a title, then the important information (guest cast, writer, director). Then it gives a brief plot synopsis before diving into the good stuff. You have photos from the episode, a "did you know" fact on the side of the page. In this case, it's a fact from a prior season in which Jim Beaver admits to breaking the antenna of a phone he was supposed to throw down. There's no word on if it came out of his salary.
From there, the book provides you with quotes from writer Ben Blacker, Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer) and Jared Padelecki (Sam Winchester). There's another "Did you know" style fact. The entire section runs for about four pages total but there's plenty of insightful commentary and nuggets of information. Every episode section runs like this.
But that's not all you get from this book. There's a foreword by Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin (who wrote episodes like There Will Be Blood and Season 7, Time For A Wedding), a summary of season 7, a look at the various monsters over the season (including the Kitsune, Amazons and Shojos), a look at the characters (which include everyone from the Winchesters to Garth and Kevin Tran), a section asking various cast and crew members very specific questions ("Do you believe in the supernatural?", "What's your greatest fear"), and interviews with the first assistant directors and writers' assistant. This is in addition to a second of full color photos toward the end of the book which show off props and special fx tests, in addition to screenshots of the program. To sum it up, there's a lot of material for a book with only 156 pages.
The only real downside to this is that even for Supernatural fans, there's very little reason to pick this book up again once you've finished. It's not a fault of this particular book, but of all books of its kind. The only reason one would need to re-read this would be to remember a bit of trivia they had forgotten. It's much like the commentary or making-of feature on a DVD in that respect. There are very few making-of documentaries I'm willing to revisit, regardless of how good or entertaining they were.
This book remains, however, a very informative and brisk read that fans of the show are sure to love. Think of it as what it is, a companion to read through as you watch season 7. It answers everything you ever wanted to know about the season, even things you didn't know you wanted to know. If you enjoyed this season and want to learn more about it, or just love the show and would like to get thoughts on the creative process, pick this one up and give it a read.