The animated Supernatural crossover with Scooby-Doo was a rollicking success, so naturally, we’ve got some ideas about what other shows that the Winchesters could walk into next.
Supernatural returns to real life – well, as real as it gets – tonight, with the upcoming episode “The Thing” taking us back into the season 13 narrative. Last week’s crossover event “ScoobyNatural” very much existed in a bubble, as the bulk of it was written, recorded and produced long before this year’s arc was planned, and I’m pretty eager to get back to the actual story.
However, it cannot be denied that the Winchesters’ Scooby-Doo jaunt was a huge win, exceeding the expectations of audience, cast and showrunners alike. Yes, it was extremely fun, but Supernatural fans take their show very seriously – fun is rarely enough. You need more a bit of a bite, and “ScoobyNatural” shockingly delivered.
Entirely unique and cleverly executed, the episode held surprising depths, proving that even at its most playful, the most absurdly meta Supernatural adventures can be taken seriously instead of feeling like a gimmick.
So in the wake of this wild victory, we’ve got crossovers on the brain. Namely, can we have more of them, please? What might a new perspective or format have to offer? What more might we glean?
In the past, when asked at conventions which shows the cast would most like to cross over with, the actors have always repeated a few staple answers – The Vampire Diaries, while it was airing, for one, and also The Walking Dead, which Supernatural lampshaded last season in homage to the original John Winchester, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
The standards are usually something in the same genre – some involving some sort of monster – and, like, sure. That’s logical and stuff. There are some extremely obvious leaps similar universes or similar tones, like Wynnona Earp, Preacher, or even The X Files, as well as older series like Buffy and Charmed, but we’re thinking outside of the box here and rustling up six current examples which may sound far-fetched, but could actually work as brilliantly as Scooby-Doo did.
Of course, it goes without saying that this concept is total and utter fantasy – few, if any, of these would work out logistically, due to competing networks and producers. In reality, a crossover has to be mutually beneficial behind-the-scenes, and Scooby Doo and Supernatural are both properties of Warner Bros Television, so the rights and ownership was all inside the WB family. This list is just an indulgent dream of a world in which those kind of limitations don’t exist, where everything’s up for grabs in the public domain. In that free and giving universe, how plausible do you find these ideas, on a scale of 1 – 10?
This brand-new Freeform series premiered just last week, and it’s received fairly favorable reviews so far. The premise? Killer mermaids, basically. But it’s deeper and less gimmicky than one would expect from that basic description.
Siren shows promise, and while Supernatural has featured an actual siren (on dry land) it has never done any real sea mythology – don’t tell me about the ghost ship, and don’t tell me about the Zanna who appeared as a mermaid, I’m talking real merpeople, kelpies, selkies and so-on.
Siren is also an example of a small-town community that discovers that the paranormal actually exists – it’s just there’s only one type of “monster” that they know about. It makes for a very natural Supernatural crossover – the idea that these are some of the many civilians in Sam and Dean’s world who previously didn’t know ANYTHING inhuman existed and ultimately remain in the dark about what else is out there.
So far, Siren’s mermaids seem more biology and evolution-based than straight up mythical – it’s closer to an aliens-on-earth trope than a monsters-on-earth trope, but as I mentioned, it’s only just begun, so there may be more to the story of where they came from.
Either way, I kind of see a reverse ‘ScoobyNatural’ going on for this crossover – picture Sam and Dean rolling into Bristol Cove, chasing a case based off some sensationalized news stories, and never actually discovering the truth about the mermaids, as the town protects its secrets.
Siren is also – like Supernatural – filmed in the Vancouver area, so it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away production-wise, and for once, the Supernatural crew wouldn’t have to try and disguise the fact that they’re filming in the Pacific Northwest – Siren’s coastal Washington setting makes the most of the landscape that Supernatural usually needs to hide.
Siren releases new episodes each Thursday on Freeform
Going undercover as a wide variety of investigatory or law enforcement roles is second nature to Sam and Dean. Any police procedural would work for this idea, honestly – the Winchesters regularly work with local law enforcement to solve murders and so on, more often than not keeping the monstrous truth of the case under wraps and never blowing their own cover.
A crossover with NCIS could be an easy case-of-the-week involving naval officers and the paranormal in some way. Firstly, potential for uniforms. Secondly, NCIS, like Supernatural, is a behemoth. But most importantly, you could lend a bit of depth to this, and actually make it an important and plausible story, because if you remember your history, you’ll know that John Winchester, the boys’ father, was a Marine, and served in the Vietnam War before – or possibly during – his marriage.
The jurisdiction of the NCIS, of course, involves both the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, so there’s room here for a John-centric episode featuring Matt Cohen, including flashbacks to his service and his life before he even met Mary Campbell or learned about the existence of monsters and demons. Perhaps some sort of cold-case-being-reopened situation would work – John’s name coming up in a current investigation, and upon hearing about it, the boys spy some trace of the supernatural in the details, and go undercover to clear his name.
Alternately, there’s potential for a current call-in-a-favor type episode, thanks to the established canon in season 2’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” In that episode, the boys go undercover in a prison at the request of warden Deacon Kaylor, an old Marine buddy of John’s – someone John must have kept in touch with after Mary’s death and told the truth to, because Deacon knew that the Winchesters were hunters.
Deacon was a fantastic example of expanding the guys’ history by showing us someone they had a pre-existing off-screen relationship with for the first time, and although he’s no longer in the military, there’s a chance that some of his cohorts are, and he could still hear things through the grapevine about a random NCIS case that sound suspicious enough to contact Sam and Dean about. If not Deacon himself, it would be easy to “pull a Deacon” with a brand-new character, another Marine buddy who would bring the guys together with the NCIS team.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS
Like NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy competes with Supernatural in terms of longevity – both commenced in 2005 and both rank among the top ten longest-running scripted series currently airing on American prime time, with Grey’s already in its 14th season just pipping Supernatural’s 13.
A crossover between the two shows would be a testament to their sheer tenacity as they headed down parallel paths as character-driven dramas, and the cleverest way to do it, in my opinion, would be to have very little in-your-face meta involved – get subversive and just play it as a straight, serious drama episode that changes perspective from the Winchesters to the doctors.
The case would, of course, need to take place at Grey Sloan, a monster-of-the-week type thing where some nasty beast – think the shtriga in season 1 – or something involving reapers – think “Appointment in Samarra” – is causing unsolvable deaths that leave the medical staff reeling. They’d never discover the supernatural exists, so their universe remains unchanged, and we’d see scene by scene play out from the point of view of the hunters and the perspective of the civilians.
Of course, if you wanted to go lighter and more spoofy, there’s room to play with the fact that Dean’s favorite television show – no, not Scooby Doo, his other favorite show, Dr. Sexy, M.D. – is an outright send-up of Grey’s Anatomy, obvious in both the character’s nicknames (Dr. Sexy vs McDreamy) and the hospital setting (Seattle Mercy, based on Grey Sloan’s former name Seattle Grace).
A more comedic, Dr. Sexy-esque version of a this crossover could be a story where one of the Winchesters is injured badly enough on a case to need hospital treatment while on the road – nothing life threatening, but maybe a broken leg – and we see the hunt that lead to the accident in flashbacks that the hospital staff are never a part of. In reverse, we see the Winchesters as background patients, part of the daily rounds for the Grey’s characters.
Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy have competed for viewers in the 8pm Thursday timeslot for many years, so I suggest solving this problem by making the crossover episode legitimately valuable to the canon of both shows, and just air the same episode – or differently balanced cuts of the same episode – on the different networks on the same night.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC
Neil Gaiman’s epic road novel American Gods was one of Supernatural creator Eric Kripke’s primary influences when developing Supernatural, and flavors of the book’s atmosphere, themes and mythology pepper the series, particularly in the first few seasons, alongside ideas and characters drawn from Sandman and Good Omens – two more Gaiman creations.
What Supernatural draws most from American Gods is a sense of place, of the heart of America, the mundane static and freedom of the road, and the power of belief in the unknown. American Gods has itself made it to screen – after a stellar first series on Starz in 2017, a few issues with showrunner handover delayed season 2, but it’s about to commence filming very soon, and will likely air in 2019.
American Gods isn’t a typically episodic show – it’s following a stricter, more focused narrative and is more like a very long movie or an extremely extended miniseries with an end goal in sight – but there’s a commonality between what Shadow goes through and what the Winchesters experience – long-time Supernatural EP Ben Edlund even shared his views with us regarding Sam and Dean’s journey being akin to them becoming demigods: “I’m sure Gilgamesh and Enkidu were probably normal guys for a while but shit just kept happening, and then they got heartened by the forces of myth to the point where they transcended the definition of human. How many times do you have to go to hell before that happens?”
This honestly isn’t a super realistic individual episode idea I’m pitching here, more of an astral-plane-level blending in terms of lessons and themes that could be incorporated into Supernatural from American Gods, or vice versa.
There are a couple of points where the worlds of American Gods and Supernatural do meet very closely – one being the episode “Hammer of the Gods,” penned by current showrunner Andrew Dabb, in which they encounter a conference of gods from many mythologies who are trying to prevent the Judeo-Christian apocalypse that the Winchesters are key players, and another being the concept of tulpas – beings that become created in reality due to people’s belief in them.
Combining these two ideas – that the gods they encounter are all in fact very ancient tulpas – is basically the premise of American Gods, and there’s even a particularly incredible fanfiction exploration (I won’t link it here in case the author doesn’t want it publicized in an article, but hit me up on Twitter and I’ll send you a personal rec link, it’s unshippy and unsexy – safe for all) of the idea of Sam and Dean becoming American Gods-like gods themselves, the legends of hunters in the distant future.
The boys’ home in Lebanon, Kansas, is also a factor that has yet to be explored in Supernatural and has a deep, mythological power in American Gods – Lebanon is the geographic center of the United States, and in Gaiman’s novel it has significance as a neutral zone, with a energy that acts like a reverse magnet – they call it the opposite of sacred, a place where gods are dis-empowered and can only walk if they are forced to, where even humans do not want to linger either.
The characters in American Gods use Lebanon as the location for a parlay, but Supernatural has never explored any such significance – it’s just a place. Crossover or no, an episode devoted to Lebanon in Sam and Dean’s world, what their lives are like there as locals, and why the Men of Letters chose it for their bunker – perhaps it’s a dead zone for monsters too – is something I’m craving. American Gods hasn’t yet aired the episode that will feature Lebanon – it’s in the book’s final act – but when it’s time, do us a solid and just stick Jared and Jensen in the background as extras, will you?
American Gods season 1 is available on Amazon Prime
‘Jane the Virgin’
Okay, hear me out. This is a wildcard, but I know how it’s gonna go. Zanna episode. Sully contacts Sam, very concerned that two of the children that his team of Zanna look after – Anna and Ellie – are in mortal peril, living in an environment – the Marbella – that is clearly cursed or haunted, because of all the disasters and mysterious deaths. So as a favor to Sully, Sam agrees to come check it out, and he, Dean and Cas travel to Miami.
We get a beach episode, guys. We get Dean in a flamingo print shirt pulling a “Hollywood Babylon” reduc, stalking the sets of his beloved telenovelas (yep, that’s a thing that Supernatural has canonized) and getting taken for a spa day with Rogelio. We get Sam working undercover in the hotel as a deep-V-sailor-bartender, a fitness instructor, his rippling pecs intimidating Raf in the gym, or a male nanny or child psychologist, talking adorably with the little girls. We get Cas having some sort of existential experience involving an affirmation of faith in a God he knows is a careless dick, for Alba’s sake or Jane’s.
But there’s more to this than just plot – the thing that pulls it all together is actually the style. Jane the Virgin is a show that incorporates magical realism – the world itself is normal, but the storytelling includes fantasy sequences, a narrator, and fourth-wall-breaking text on screen moments. It’s also extremely and overtly progressive, utilizing those stylistic choices to hammer home the show’s worldview and add commentary about a lot of social issues.
Supernatural shares a home with Jane – they’re both CW shows produced by Warner Bros – so we can extrapolate that the network itself is willing to put its name to these views, and while Supernatural’s morality and social commentary is much more normalized, it’s still an extremely liberal property with extremely progressive writers.
You’d build it up earlier in the Jane season – Petra and Raf struggling with whether to indulge Anna and Ellie’s imaginary friends – but until the Supernatural boys appear and let the audience know it’s all actually real, it’d be a totally plausible in-universe plot for the Solano family.
After the crossover, none of the Jane characters would ever know that the imaginary friend story was true, leaving their world pure. Obviously, it turns out that there’s no real monster or curse – the Marbella is just a magnet for very human-based horror and drama – and, much like “Just My Imagination,” the Zanna are the only supernatural element of the episode.
A Supernatural/Jane crossover would utilize the format of Jane the Virgin to show us a really different angle on our guys and how they express themselves – we’d see their text messages on screen, Word-of-God commentary describing them, pointed lampshading of the liberal viewpoints, and narration that shouts warnings, gives foreshadowing and most importantly, tells us what they’re thinking or hiding when they’re saying something aloud.
Show don’t tell is something that’s certainly subtextually canon for any dialogue and acting, but in this circumstance, it’s a chance for the writers to circumnavigate the inevitable fan debate for just one week and actually textually prove what they want us to know the characters are feeling but not saying. Imagine the possibilities.
Jane the Virgin airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW
#1 – ‘Timeless’
Despite moving on to new projects, Supernatural creator Eric Kripke is still a constant champion of his unkillable teenage baby – he was even given a preview of ‘ScoobyNatural’ before the PaleyFest premiere.
His latest endeavor, Timeless, is a sci-fi show which follows a team travelling back to historical events in pursuit of a villainous organization attempting to change American history for their own means. Timeless is currently in its 2nd season, a victory after initially being cancelled by NBC and then, in a fairly unprecedented move, reinstated within a matter of days after a huge outpouring from the fandom, known as ‘Clockblockers’.
If there’s anyone in the world that Supernatural HQ has an open door policy for, it’s got to be Eric Kripke. He’s already packed Timeless full of SPN easter eggs, and featured Misha Collins and Jim Beaver as guest stars, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you do an iMDb collaboration search between the two shows, there are over 150 common listings, including cast, directors, stunts, visual effects and camera operators. The point is, there’s a lot of common ground here, so if Timeless gets renewed – something Kripke has recently outlined the delicacy of – it would be awesome to bring the family back together and introduce the show to its older sibling.
Given that Timeless is sci-fi based and Supernatural is fantasy-based, you’d need to do a story utilizing time travel – no big deal, not unprecedented, there’s a million ways Supernatural can pull that off – that puts one or both of the brothers at the same historical event as the Lifeboat team. There are countless options as to when, where and why, but it would be cool to do something that involves a famous unsolved mystery that both teams need to rectify in some way, each hiding the secret – that they’re from the future – from one another.
I’m musing about something to do with Nikola Tesla out at Wardenclyffe, maybe – he had strong beliefs about the spirit world and he also developed a lot to of technology worth stealing – but if we’re bringing Kripke back, the real first priority is to do something in Timeless’s Bay Area setting that could somehow shoehorn in the Winchester Mystery House, which, for obvious reasons, was #1 on the list of Supernatural episode ideas he made back in the day.
Maybe the setting could be during the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906, which caused extensive damage to the mansion, and also killed over 3000 people. One of these people could have potentially gone on to change history for better or worse, requiring the Timeless folk to either save that person or make sure they died. Maybe it could involve Sam’s past at Stanford, or Jiya’s Golden Gate Bridge flashbacks. I don’t know, Kripke will figure it out, just make it happen – Sony’s cutting deals left and right these days.
Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC