Supernatural is one of the longest-running shows in primetime nowadays, and it's not going anywhere any time soon. The series is currently in Season 12, and it's already been renewed for Season 13. Supernatural has survived the network change from The WB to The CW, major cast changes, all kinds of scheduling switcheroos, and a literal Apocalypse. Showrunner Andrew Dabb spoke with CinemaBlend about all things Supernatural, and he said this about how long the show can possibly last:
People come back for the characters. You could ask your average Supernatural fan to explain the mythology of a season and they're gonna explain it in terms of the characters they respond to. Sam, Dean, Cas, Crowley, whoever they're into in whatever combination. I think that's the important thing. So as long as we can keep these characters vibrant and developing, and move toward more serialized storytelling that TV in general has done and that we have done, allows that. I think we can keep going for a while. I think what's going to stop us ultimately is at what point do Jared and Jensen decide they've played the roles for too long, or at what point do we get to a point where we feel like we're repeating ourselves, or we feel like we can't take some of the bigger swings - whether they work or not - that we've taken in the past. So for me to give an end date, I couldn't do it. I think we're all really hopeful of getting to Episode 300. We think that would be a really awesome milestone. Could it go beyond that? Creatively, yes, I think it could. But just because something could doesn't mean it should.
For any show other than Supernatural, Episode 300 might feel like an impossibly lofty goal. Many series are lucky to make it to 100 episodes, and 200 episodes is a huge cause for celebration. When it comes to Supernatural, however, hitting the 300 episode milestone isn't out of the realm of possibility. The show has reinvented itself so many times over the twelve seasons so far that it's difficult to imagine what plot could be so twisty that Supernatural couldn't find a way out of it. Andrew Dabb's exclusive explanation to CinemaBlend of why Supernatural can last well into 300 episodes proves that as long as the Winchester boys can continue saving people and hunting things, there will still be stories to tell.
That said, Supernatural is one show that couldn't survive the departure of one of the lead actors. We could conceivably lose Crowley and Rowena and even Castiel without viewers giving up on the show, but both Winchester boys are essential to everything that Supernatural has become over the past twelve years. If Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles chose to leave their role, Supernatural would almost certainly have to end. Any version of Supernatural that doesn't feature both Sam and Dean eating takeout in crappy motel rooms before heading out in the Impala to hunt monsters just might not feel right.
Andrew Dabb's point about fans caring more about the characters than the mythology goes a long way to explain how Supernatural is still finding new avenues to explore even after all these years. We can suspend our disbelief for all the angels and demons and monsters the show can dream up as long as the characters' journeys remain compelling. Now we can only hope that the production team, Jared Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles are willing to continue their work on Supernatural until at least Episode 300.
Supernatural has aired 252 episodes at this point, and eleven episodes are left in Season 12, so the show would need to be renewed through Season 14 in order to hit that magic number of 300 episodes. Given everything that the show has survived so far, I'm inclined to believe that Supernatural could pull it off. I know I'm still waiting for the flashback episode about the Fountain of Youth that explains how some of the characters barely look like they've aged a day since they first debuted.