Bloodlines Puts 'Relationship-Oriented' Spin on Supernatural, Leaves Winchesters Disadvantaged

Supernatural Spin-Off SpoilersDean and Sam may have decades of experience as hunters under their belt, but they’ll have to learn the ropes all over again in Tuesday’s debut of the potential spin-off Supernatural: Bloodlines (The CW, 9/8c).

When the brothers arrive in Chicago, they’ll discover that five Mafia-esque monster families rule the metropolis, leaving hunters — like newly minted creature killer Ennis (played by EpisodesLucien Laviscount) — without the upper hand and unable to use their usual tricks.

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But that’s not the only difference between Bloodlines and its mothership series. Below, writer Andrew Dabb discusses the offshoot’s relationship-driven storytelling, more “human” monsters and complicated romantic entanglements.

Dabb also reveals whether the Winchesters will be paying a return visit to the Windy City.

TVLINE | Let’s start with Bloodlines‘ origins: Did you pitch the idea? Was it something that started in the writers room? Or did it come from the network?
We always knew, from both the network and the studio, that there was a real interest in doing a Supernatural spin-off. But for us, internally, a) It’s been so good for so long, and b) It’s going into Season 10 – and we all very much hope it’s going to go beyond Season 10. You don’t want to do another show that’s just about hunters because then you’re competing with Supernatural. So it really was a conversation between myself, [series creator] Eric Kripke and [executive producers] Bob Singer and Jeremy Carver about what can we do to make it in the world of Supernatural, but not an exact clone of Supernatural.

Sam and Dean roll into town in wherever, Missouri, and flash a badge and say they’re agents and no one really bats an eye. But if you did that in the city, more than once with different aliases, people are going to notice. So hunters have to function differently in the city. Then we thought, “How would monsters function in the city?” We got the idea that if you’re in a city with 3 million people and you’re a monster, you don’t really need to leave. You can kill a lot of people and no one would really notice. So if you stay, you’re starting a family [and] then it could grow from there and that led us to talk about the mob and five families.

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TVLINE | It sounds like monsters have the advantage in the city versus hunters in rural Americana.
We’ve got some monster families that have been there since the city was founded. Some of them are part of the city not only as the criminal side, but the legit side. They’re big donors. They’re involved in politics [and] higher echelon. So a hunter is at a disadvantage when he starts out in Chicago. We’ll see that a little bit with Sam and Dean, and we’ll see that very much with Ennis if the show goes forward. … The truth of the matter is, monsters are afraid of hunters. Our monster mob families have really tried to keep a low profile. Any hunter that manages to stumble in and figure out what’s going on, they have a lot of incentive to get rid of that person because it creates real problems for them. It is something where the scales are tipped a little more in the monsters’ favor, but that just makes the hunters more heroic for standing up to them.

TVLINE | Your monsters are ruling Chicago. Vampires control New Orleans on The Originals. You need to team up and just take over the world and The CW.
I feel there’s too much angst. That would be the real problem. There’s too much staring into mirrors and shedding single tears to really take over the world. But that’s something we want to have fun with in Bloodlines — building it out more. In the pilot, there’s a reference to how things are in New York. The idea is that there’s this other world we haven’t explored on Supernatural proper that we could really have some fun with.

TVLINE | You have werewolves and shapeshifters. What are the other monster families ruling Chicago?
We’ll meet, in the pilot, Djinn. And Ghouls are the fourth family and then our fifth family, which is actually an all-female family, is sirens.

TVLINE | You chose not to include vampires. Is there a reason for that? Are there just too many vampires on the network already?
I think vampires will play into the show. We looked at how vampires are handled in Supernatural proper. Outside of our Alpha vampire, vampires on our show are always truckers or drunks or bikers. They’re really down and dirty and blue collar. When we see them in Bloodlines, they will be the same. So we will have them, but we’re going to explore them in a different way that makes it a little more gritty.

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Supernatural Spin-Off SpoilersTVLINE | How are Sam and Dean introduced to this world?
Sam and Dean come into Chicago very much the same way they come into any case, which is there’s a death that draws them in. The deeper they get, [the more] they realize this is bigger than they had anticipated. Ultimately, they realize, “Holy crap, this is an entire city run by monsters.”

TVLINE | Generally speaking, Sam and Dean are against monsters. What’s their reaction when they find themselves in this turf war?
Sam and Dean are against monsters, although in recent seasons, we’ve really tried to soften that a little bit. They’ve met a bunch of monsters who are fairly sympathetic. That’s what they’re looking at here because they’re meeting monsters who are bad guys, definitely. But they’re also meeting monsters who are sympathetic and want the best and aren’t looking to kill people. It’s very important for us — because all but two of our characters are monsters on this show — to present monsters who may not be human, but they’ve got humanity. You understand where they’re coming from. They are people. Sam and Dean are drawn into this world, and they’re kind of shocked by it. They had no idea it could go this far. But at the same time, their philosophy is not, “Burn it all down,” because that’s not really where they are now.

TVLINE | Looking at the promo photos, I was really struck by how many characters there are. Would you say that makes Bloodlines a more relationship-driven show than Supernatural, which, despite having a serialized mythology, is very a monster-of-the-week show?
Yeah, Bloodlines was always conceived as an ensemble show. It’s going to be a more serialized show. It’s going to be a more relationship-oriented show. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to have fun kills and action and people getting their heads chopped off, because this is Supernatural and that’s what we do. But yes, it’s not going to be a case-of-the-week show. Supernatural does that so well and has done it so well for so long, I’m not sure you want to cannibalize that.

Supernatural Spin-Off SpoilersTVLINE | Another difference: there’s a dash of romance. Can you talk about the relationship between David  (The Originals’ Nathaniel Bozulic) and Violet (Melissa Roxburgh)?
We’ve got six incredibly great actors. You get them all together, things are going to happen. But the core relationship to begin with is the David and Violet relationship. We would like to think it’s a little bit of a twist on the standard Romeo and Juliet thing. She’s a werewolf, he’s a shapeshifter. But the idea is they had a relationship three years ago. It ended in a very bad way, so when they get together again three years later in our pilot, it’s not like people fawning in love. It’s not young puppy love. It’s much more, “You burned me, I burned you. We still like each other, but can we get back into this?”

TVLINE | If Bloodlines goes to series, what kind of lasting impact will Sam and Dean’s presence in Chicago have?
Sam and Dean being here is really what starts Ennis, our hunter character, off and gets our monster families revved up. Sam and Dean being here is the first domino to fall that makes the series possible. It’s incredibly important. They’ve got their own show to go to, and it’s a great show. But should Bloodlines go forward, we’d love to have them back if things worked out scheduling-wise and if we could find a story that’s cool and doesn’t feel like a repeat of the planted pilot.

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  1. This sounds a lot like The Originals to me …

    • rarefied says:

      The Originals was originally going to take place in Chicago, but they changed their minds. I have a suspicion they just handed the plot idea over to the SPN people.

      • Lyn Shand says:

        Ridiculous. The Originals have always had a New Orleans storyline, ever since they first appeared in the Vampire Diaries.

  2. Ala says:

    Hey,people c’mon boycot this ****** spin-off!,Supernatural has a wonderful universe.Can be explaned for better things.

  3. This gets dumber & dumber the more I read it.

  4. Linda says:

    If there was all this ‘supernatural’ stuff going on in Chicago, why wouldn’t they have heard about it or why John never wrote about it in the journal before.

  5. Elle says:

    My question is how are they going to see if this is a hit or not? I expect this episode to do quite well in the rating so will that determine it or not?

  6. David F. says:

    The final scene of the series should be Sam & Dean returning to Chicago with reinforcements and killing all of the monsters.

  7. alistaircrane says:

    Looking forward to it! Supernatural is my favourite show and I want to see the universe expand. I am glad it’s focusing on monsters and not those damn angels!

  8. alistaircrane says:

    So if I’m reading this correctly, will Andrew Dabb be the showrunner of Bloodlines? I would hate to lose him from SPN because he’s one of the best writers!

  9. Nate says:

    Can’t wait

  10. JJ says:

    I’m already not a fan.

    SPN/Bloodlines writers have twisted SPN mythology & the SPN world to set up / suit the spinoff. Dabb admits it – he says they have “softened” SPN so that we see monsters are people too!

    Yeah, SPN has presented to us early on that it is not always black & white (see Lenore), however, I feel like it has been thrown in our faces as of late – I just don’t like that SPN was molded to fit the spin-off. It should have been the other way around

  11. alistaircrane says:

    I was interested in the part where Eric Kripke was involved in the conversations about the spinoff. I am glad to hear he still has a behind-the-scenes role, however minimal it may be. Is it wrong I want Revolution cancelled so he’ll return to SPN?

    • Peter J says:

      I’d be surprised if he comes back even if Revolution is canceled. He only wanted to be there for 5 seasons and he did little to stop the show from going off the rails in season 6. That was the last season he had any active role.

  12. Raina says:

    Can’t wait for see the pilot episode tomorrow! Love the idea, really like the cast. Hope they have decent chemistry, fingers crossed!

  13. kevin says:

    This sounds pretty much like the originals, and to an extent both this and the originals are just supernatural versions of game of thrones.

  14. Carrie says:

    SN is my favorite show, so I’m pretty excited about the spinoff. I hope it gets picked up and I hope it’ll be worthy.

  15. David says:

    Why not do a spinoff called “Men Of Letters” with Krissy Chambers (Madison McLaughlin) and some other ‘tweens. Perfect for CW. And she’s kind of a badass.

    • Lisa London says:

      That’s already a better idea. It seems that they’ve thrown into in Bloodlines everything that made SPN so good and a non traditional teen-romance CW show. Not particularly looking forward to it.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Because a Men of Letters spinoff would be lame and boring, just like the Men of Letters themselves.

  16. Scotty says:

    Once again they dumb down the Winchesters to accommodate secondary characters. Someone should slap these writers.

  17. Dana says:

    Still not convinced Bloodlines will be any good. Trailer and pictures don’t look good but lame.

    Essentially what the interview says is, Dabb, Singer & friends have dumped down Supernatural to a Gossip Girl bimbo cast meets/ pretends to be monsters.

    So not cool. If this Bloodlines thingy backfires, Supernatural has to bear the burnt.

  18. CBWBDK1 says:

    It looks so terrible! The lead is terrible! If it gets picked up, It will be cancelled after one season.

  19. Scotty says:

    I’m still not convinced. I want to be because I love Kripke but I feel this will dilute the quality of Supernatural. Though, in all fairness, that’s been happening since season 6. Dabb takes a bit of a shot at The Vampire Diairies and The Original saying his vamps are more gritty, which is totally fair and true, but if his other monsters are as glossy as TVD and The Originals then he doesn’t have much leg to stand on.

    • Peter J says:

      I don’t think he was taking a shot at them. He was explaining why there aren’t a lot of vampires on the show.

  20. Maryann says:

    This new show sounds really intriguing! Although a lot of commenters here don’t seem to like the idea, I really hope it goes forward. It seems to be quite different from Supernatural, which is a good thing. It is looking at a different audience from Supernatural, if people will just sample it. It sounds a lot like Kindred, which had several (seven?) different vampire bloodlines that ran a big city’s criminal mobs and underground. After this article, I am really looking forward to the new show, and I hope it will be given a chance on the fall schedule.

  21. Tom says:

    I wish they would just focus efforts on improving Superatural. There are things that need to be fixed there. Spin offs suck.

    • JJ says:

      Agreed, Tom.

      SPN’s quality has been failing for awhile now, but I think it is especially obvious this season. I can’t deal with the pacing & the snails pace the Mark of Cain / brothers storyline has been moving at.

      It’s like random MOW/secondary character episodes & then they are trying to squeeze all the arcs (too many, so all underdeveloped – and ugh angels) into the last three episodes. It’s ridiculous.

      • alistaircrane says:

        Personally, we need to get back to basics in Season 10 and beyond. No more angels. No more Mark of Cain. Put that to rest and focus on the Monster of the Week episodes. Maybe have the overall arc be about Sam and Dean locating the missing souls of their parents, or perhaps finally have them close the Gates of Hell and then deal with the fall-out.

        • h-hains says:

          That sounds awful. Monster of the Week episodes are boring, the business with their parents was done four seasons ago, and the whole closing the Gates of Hell plot was one of the worst storylines in the history of the show. No thank you.

          • Some show that I used to know... says:

            See, that’s your opinion. I – and many others I know both IRL and on tumblr – would agree with @alistaircrane’s view.
            The angel storyline has been going on for YEARS, and it’s about time they kill it.
            The Gates of Hell story-line is unfinished and needs to be done.
            But that’s what you get for incompetence in the writer’s room.

  22. Tresea says:

    Regardless of whether it is good or bad (and to me, it sounds very bad) how is it related in any way to Supernatural? Sure it’s got monsters, but those are from lore, not specific to SPN. No one from the old cast is brought over, the characters are too young, it’s set in an urban environment as opposed to on the road, and it deals with “romantic entanglements.” How in God’s name is this a spin off of Supernatural? At least The Originals had three actors from TVD. This sounds too much like the CW had a script lying around and just slapped the label of Supernatural on it and is trying to sell it riding the coattails of the old, successful series.

  23. sls says:

    When Supernatural first aired I tried to watch it. I thought it was well done and interesting but it didn’t pull me in because there was a lack of a romantic/relationship component (at least initially as I recall). I love all things paranormal/supernatural but wasn’t looking to start watching something that felt like a “supernatural procedural”.

    Over the years I have even tried to start watching it a few times but just found I couldn’t get into it enough to give it DVR space. So to hear that the spinoff will be more relationship focused makes me really happy. I’m excited to give it a try again.

    I can see why this new turn probably won’t be enjoyable for all the fans of the original show but it may bring in new fans. Time will tell if this ends up a fail or a success.

    • h-hains says:

      Supernatural is very procedural in its first season. That drastically changes in the second and later seasons. It becomes highly emotional and relationship based especially in seasons 3,4 and 5. Give it another try, grind your teeth through the first season if you can and watch the finale. If you could stop watching after the last episode of season 1 the show isn’t for you. But by what you described about the things you like I highly doubt it.

      • sls says:

        Interesting. Thanks. I will have to give it another try. I know if I try to pick up bloodlines now I will miss out on so much backstory. I’m sure Bloodlines will allow for new viewers to pick it up but still, I would rather have the whole backstory. Thanks!

        • MaryAnn says:

          After seeing the backdoor pilot, I seriously doubt that there will be any relevant backstory brought over from Supernatural, except from this one episode. I liked it more than Supernatural (I have tried to get into Supernatural several times over the years and only managed a few episodes each time) and am really excited and hopeful about the possibility that Bloodlines will be on the fall schedule. I do agree with those, however, who feel Bloodlines does not resemble Supernatural enough to be a backdoor pilot; the pilot should have been totally stand-alone.

          • sls says:

            I haven’t watched it yet. I’m hoping to enjoy it. Hopefully it will get picked up.

  24. Cameron says:

    I’m watching this right now all I can say is..NO and bad, bad reeaaly bad..

    • po says:

      How could he still be considere a good writer if he wrote this dreck

    • po says:

      Watched it, it was awful not SPN, more importantly not acted to the level of a high school drama production. I watch tvd and originals, their stories are whirlwind and sometimes have gaping plot holes, but they do have some fine acting and moments of brilliance. Nina Dobrev is excellent but please kill Cami in the Originals no talent, no purpose

  25. Asashii says:

    Its called Vampire the Mascaraed and let me know when White Wolf is doing making that happen, other than that I cant watch Underworld the soap opera, epic pass!!!!

  26. Lin says:

    I’ve just watched this spin off episode…I found it to be the most boring and disappointing SPN episode to date. What a let down. This is a ridiculous notion that contradicts SPN. They could have branched out with so many better and relevant ideas here…but the whole mob/monster storyline is terrible, unoriginal and…words fail me.

    • Melinda says:

      agreed. at first i thought, ‘ugh, another filler episode’ and then realized it was something quite worse. as a longtime fan, there was nothing SN about that episode, it didn’t feel organic at all, and i don’t care what happens to any of those introduced characters. giving bobby his own show would have been a trainwreck yet better than what this spin off is feeling like. the writers shouldn’t have thrown the quirky redhead into OZ. everyone loved her. she should have gotten the spinoff. but there’s been too much fairy stuff on other networks to spin that direction, so they shot themselves in the foot on that one. i’m so disappointed.

      • I thought for sure Felicia Day running around Oz would be THE spin off; long before I even heard there was going to be one. This though. I want to scrub this garbage from my mind and the SN series. I somehow missed this episode on my bi-weekly SN viewing spree. Then I over heard some friends praising CW for not picking up Bloodlines as a spin off. I really wish I hadn’t investigated, but I do have a soft spot for shifters and David popped up in a trailer on Youtube. Had I known that trailer was the extent of Sam and Dean’s presence in their own show . . .. Not to mention this episode/ spin off Pretty much ruined all the monsters in SN for me.

        Oh look, they’re so quaint and human now and their universe is like every other ungodly boring and overdone mob/ Romeo and Juliet tween show out there.


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  28. nena says:

    i would rather watch a show starring with young sam and dean where you can have a better understanding with how life was in the past

  29. nena says:

    yeah i agree it was a little to much like the originals ill be more than happy with a spinoff with young sam and dean