I don't hate the show, or resent it. I just don't really *care* anymore. Last week's "Mystery Spot" was the first episode since, possibly, "Bad Day at Black Rock" that I've really, truly enjoyed, as opposed to enjoying a moment here and a moment there and being generally unmoved by the episode as a whole.
So what's *wrong*? Believe me, I've been asking myself that.
Part of it (as I've discussed in past entries/comments) is that Sam and Dean's relationship has been explored in so much depth in the last two and a half seasons that it's losing its ability to really draw me in. I delight in the anticipation of never *quite* getting there -- reading the spaces in between what they say and do, to figure out what they really mean. SPN just doesn't really have that anymore. It's all out there in the open, and I'm not feeling that delicious sense of anticipation anymore. Not to mention that in some cases, the more I find out about a character, the less I actually *like* that character -- this has been happening with both Sam and Dean this season. What's actually under the hood is not nearly as interesting as the fun of speculating what *might* be down there.
Because we've had so *much* of the deep emotional stuff and the angst, I'm craving episodes that are just FUN -- fast and engrossing, giving me something to concentrate on other than the relationship between the boys, which is rapidly losing its sparkle. What I really want right now is a stronger supporting cast, and more storylines involving the characters *around* Sam and Dean. I loved the Roadhouse last season; I want to explore their world and the other people in it. I want to see them interact with more people than just each other.
And there's the area where the show is really letting me down. It's become so horribly, painfully predictable about killing off its supporting cast. I *knew* Hendrickson was going to die, in the same unpleasant way that I *knew* there was some sort of appalling tragedy in Bobby's past involving a dead woman -- because that's just how things are done on this show. (Y'know, I don't think there's a single show I watch that doesn't have *something* that makes me roll my eyes and think "Oh, show, you could do better at [race, gender, politics, alternate sexualities, whatever]." But I don't think there's a show I'm currently watching that bothers me as badly on that score as SPN does.) It's gotten to the point that, not only do I NOT have the supporting cast that I want, but I really don't want to get emotionally invested in anybody other than Sam and Dean (and, okay, Bobby; I just can't help myself). They're almost inevitably going to die, so why bother?
I'm also finding the whole demon war storyline kind of dull, which, on some level, really amuses me. Armageddon should not be boring! And yet, it is. Last season's mega-arc were a little too angsty and emo for me at times, but at least it was genuinely interesting. This season, not so much. That, I guess, could just be me -- I don't really go for the dark, post-apocalyptic, "everyone is your enemy, trust no one, we're all gonna die so we may as well be assholes" sort of thing.
Which is pretty much where this season seems to have gotten stuck.
Okay, I go for narrative shades of gray, truly I do. I don't want my heroes to wear white hats all the time. As a reader/viewer, I like to see good people getting stuck in nasty situations where it's impossible to get out without getting your hands dirty. I *like* the trope of a hero(ine) struggling to maintain his integrity and fight the good fight in the face of a dark and dirty world that wants to drag him down -- the trope that they seem to *want* to explore with Dean this season.
But the results, in this case, are just so dark and unpleasant that I occasionally want to scrub my eyeballs after watching an episode. This week, for example, Dean refusing to sacrifice the virgin, even in the face of a demonic army, was pretty cool, as was their "mass exorcism over the PA" plan. But, uh, in between those two scenes, what about all those people that they blew away? Innocent people with demons inside them? I really *miss* season one Dean, with his determination to protect everyone no matter what. I think this episode in particular (but the last few, as well) have really hammered home the point that they're in a war, and have to make sacrifices in order to win. I can recognize the validity of that, as both a narrative point of view and a real-world philosophy, but at the same time, I don't want to *watch* it, if that makes any sense. As a viewer, I don't want to see Sam and Dean grow darker and angrier and more callous, more like the demons they're fighting. I'll willingly put myself through the emotional cheese grater if I'm getting something really powerful *back* -- I don't shy away from reading or watching something unpleasant just because it's not happy fluffy candyland. But SPN is just not good enough to make it worth it. I don't feel like I'm going to achieve any deep insights into human nature or learn something interesting about the real world by watching it. It's just fun brain candy, and the point where it stops being fun is the point where I don't see much point in continuing to watch.
Despite all of the above, though, I'm not sure if any of this *really* explains my loss of interest in the show -- there might not be anything more to it than the show simply not doing it for me anymore. All I know is that I'm not really sure if I'm going to resume watching it when it comes back from hiatus. Maybe I just need to take a break.