Supernatural: Bloodlines is finally here. Set in Chicago, the potential spin-off features fledgling hunter Ennis (Lucien Laviscount), who discovers Chicago is run by five Mafioso monster families, including shape-shifters David (Nathaniel Buzolic) and Margo Hayden (Danielle Savre) and werewolves Julian (Sean Faris) and Violet Durant (Melissa Roxburgh).
But how will Bloodlines compare to Supernatural? Read on for seven things to expect from the anticipated pilot:
1. Ennis has a lot in common with the Winchesters: After his girlfriend dies in supernatural crossfire, a young man finds himself deeply embroiled in the world of hunters and monsters. That could be a description of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) or it could just as easily describe Ennis (who even has his fair share of daddy issues to boot). But unfortunately for Ennis, he lacks the training and experience the Winchesters had when we met them nine long years ago. “With Ennis, he’s got five silver bullets and Google,” Andrew Dabb, who wrote the pilot tells TVGuide.com. “So there’s going to be a learning curve for him, which we haven’t really seen with hunters before.”
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Knowing how hard a hunter’s life is, Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) do their best to dissuade Ennis from following their path and try to treat him like any other witness to a case. But unlike most people the Winchesters deal with, Ennis is dogged in his pursuit and proves he can do the job. “Sam and Dean would never advocate this life to anybody,” Dabb says. “It has to be something you really want, and by the end of the, pilot we’ll understand why he wants to and has to do this.”
2. There is some bromance in the works: While Bloodlines wants to set itself apart from its predecessor, it seems they don’t want to rock the boat too much. Knowing that Supernatural’s strength is the chemistry between Sam and Dean, the pilot will drop hints at it’s own budding male friendship between Ennis and David, who will work together to stop whatever killed Ennis’ girlfriend and David’s brother. “It’s not a monster and a cop team up to fight crime,” Dabb says. “There are times they’re very antagonistic and there are times when they’re working together. It is a relationship, but it’s not a straight-up best friends forever relationship straight off the bat.”
3. It’s much more Machiavellian: Supernatural is a show about family, butBloodlines is all about power. The peace currently reigning in Chicago is built on a precarious hierarchy within the monster community. The monsters live their lives by an abundance of (often medieval) rules that are meant to keep their existence secret and the balance intact. But when a David and Margo’s brother is killed, the entire order is threatened. Some of the younger monsters, including Margo and Julian, see this opportunity as an excuse to amp up the aggression and even potentially start a war. “They really chafe against the establishment, so we’ll see them making grabs for powers and things like that,” Dabb says. “And the easiest way to do that is with a gun or violence of some sort. So, people are going to be pushing for it in different ways and with different purposes.”
4. No vampires: Don’t expect to see too many nightwalkers in Bloodlines. The popular monster didn’t make the cut to be one of Chicago’s five ruling families. “Vampires on Supernatural have always been really down and dirty and are truckers or bikers or things like that,” Dabb says. “We wanted to keep them a little more close to the ground. Whereas some of these families are very middle class, and in the case with the werewolves very upper class.”
With vampires ruled out, the Bloodlines writers settled on werewolves, shape-shifters, ghouls, djinn and sirens to run Chicago’s monster underbelly, each bringing their own unique energy to the story. “Shape-shifters are, by their nature, con men a little bit. Werewolves are a little bit more aggressive and, in our world, a little bit more dapper,” Dabb explains, noting the lycanthropes even have their hand in Chicago’s corrupt government. As for the ghouls, they make up a more industrious breed of monster, even holding jobs in the human world. The djinn bring a distinctive visual and a family-oriented vibe, while sirens are “a chance to give us a more femme fatale type thing,” Dabb says.
5. Bloodlines hopes to fix Supernatural‘s woman problem: Though the pilot starts by fridging Ennis’ girlfriend, Bloodlines aims to avoid the same misogyny seen on Supernatural by setting up its female leads in direct opposition to the oppressive system. While David is off living as a human, Margo has found herself in charge and doesn’t plan on simply stepping aside when the prodigal son returns. “She’s very ambitious and she loves her family, but that doesn’t mean she won’t do what she needs to do to get ahead,” Dabb says.
The polar opposite of Margo, Violet was raised as a sheltered, passive princess who does her best to suppress her monster instincts. “The way the worlds are set up mirrors to an extent a wolfpack,” Dabb says. “There’s an alpha male in charge, and the females aren’t super highly regarded … So it’s her kind of bucking against those very, very old fashioned chains that people have put around her,” Dabb says.
The decision to feature complex, strong female characters was a deliberate decision by the Bloodlines writers, who are aware of Supernatural’s unfortunate track record. “That’s very important to us and that’s very important to me,” Dabb says. “I feel we have a real opportunity withBloodlines to play some more ensemble stuff… and really put the focus on female characters in a way we probably haven’t been able to do onSupernatural just because of the nature of the show.”
6. It won’t be too romance heavy: There were a lot of eye-rolls when it was revealed Bloodlines would feature a Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship between the David and Violet. But Dabb promises Bloodlineswon’t become just another supernatural romance show — though it will feature far more than its predecessor.”It’s certainly going to be there,” Dabb says. “When you’ve got six beautiful people on a show together things are going to happen.” As for David and Violet, the pair’s relationship will provide a fresh take on the forbidden love trope, picking up years after the couple had already broken up. “The question’s more like if Romeo and Juliet had broken up before they committed suicide and gotten back together three years later, what would it be like?” Dabb says. “It’s a little less fresh and they’re coming into it with a little more maturity.”
7. Don’t expect a lot of Supernatural mythology: Bloodlines will be almost entirely a stand-alone episode, with only glimpses at the effects the Mark of Cain has been having on Dean. However, don’t think you just skip the backdoor pilot and jump back into Supernatural next week without missing a beat. “A big shoe drops at the end of this episode, which kind of kicks off into our last three episodes,” Dabb teases. The pilot will also set-up its own separate mythology, which will carry through if Bloodlines is picked up to series.