The Winchesters: Should On-The-Fence Supernatural Fans Tune In After Jensen Ackles' Latest Dean Sighting?

Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of The Winchesters Season 1, called “Hang on to Your Life,” and the full run of Supernatural.

The world of Supernatural returned to the small screen in 2022 with new content for the first time since the original series ended in 2020, with The Winchesters telling the story of how Sam and Dean’s parents met back in the ‘70s. Given that John and Mary are still years away from marrying and having kids at this point, it seemed unlikely that Sam or Dean would appear any time soon, even with Jensen Ackles narrating. Then, viewers got a surprise scene of Dean in the pilot, and another glimpse of him in the winter premiere right after Ackles celebrated Dean’s birthday. Now, I’m wondering if Supernatural fans who were on the fence about the spinoff should officially dive in. 

Dean of course was the first Winchester brother to die in the series finale of Supernatural, as he finally was killed for good on a hunt in the present while Sam went on to live a long enough life that a flash-forward (with questionable wig) was required. Even with time travel shenanigans that took the brothers back to younger versions of their parents over the course of the series, and even with Jensen Ackles on board the spinoff as an executive producer and narrator, it didn’t seem possible that Dean would appear… until the end of the pilot of The Winchesters, which revealed Dean jotting in a journal before driving off in the Impala.

There were no details about why he was writing, and the narration even promised that there would be some surprises, but Dean was back and it didn’t appear to be a flashback. Then, in The Winchesters’ return in the 2023 TV premiere schedule, Jensen Ackles appeared yet again. This time, Dean appeared in a photo that was taken in the ‘70s, which John and Mary saw but had no idea that they were looking at the adult version of the son who wasn’t even born yet. There was no explanation for how and why Dean could somehow be back, but it was a pretty solid hook for any Supernatural fans to start tuning in. 

Especially if those Supernatural fans are anything like me and didn’t actually start watching The Winchesters when it premiered in the fall! In fact, I initially saw that Jensen Ackles made his surprise appearance in the pilot after it was trending on social media, so I’m not throwing any stones about not watching. When it came to the adventures of Sam and Dean, I laughed at the musical episode in Season 10, despaired at “Despair,” used my Netflix subscription to rewatch the introduction of Death more than once, and had a grand old time on the red carpet for the 300th episode. When it came to the adventures of John and Mary, however… well, I didn’t make The Winchesters a priority.

But I’m honestly tempted to give it a try now that it seems The Winchesters is actually going to spin a mystery involving Dean instead of just throwing him in for fun from time to time while John and Mary get closer after sharing their first kiss in the fall finale. My curiosity is officially piqued, and based on the bad news that The Winchesters got back in November, the show could undoubtedly use as many viewers as possible. 

It’s not altogether surprising that throngs of Supernatural fans didn’t flock to The Winchesters right off the bat, as it is the first of three potential spinoffs to premiere as a solo series, after the first didn’t get beyond a backdoor pilot and the much-hyped Wayward Sisters didn’t get off the ground. The new show also launched without the benefit of a backdoor pilot to guarantee that Supernatural fans would at least tune in to one episode, with almost two full years between the end of the parent series and debut of the spinoff. 

With those two years coming off of a divisive finale that wasted no time in killing off Dean, there was certainly no guarantee that fans of the original would tune in for the origin story of John and Mary. If you’re interested in checking it out with the possibility of more Supernatural cameos, take a look at the (sadly Dean-free) promo for the next episode:

Catch new episodes of The Winchesters on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. The show stars Meg Donnelly as Mary Campbell and Drake Rodger as John Winchester, and Jensen Ackles isn’t the only Supernatural alum to reprise his role for the spinoff. Gil McKinney was back as Henry Winchester, and actor/director Richard Speight returned returned as Loki. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).