Supernatural Best Episode Each Season

Supernatural Day: Celebrating the Best Episode From Each Season

Eleven years ago today, Supernatural premiered on The WB with the first of its 241-and-counting episodes. Since then, the show has taught us three things: It will go on forever, nothing can keep a Winchester down, and when picking the series’ top installments from each season, one is guaranteed a lot of Sophie’s Choice moments.

In honor of Supernatural Day, which celebrates more than a decade of our heroes saving people and hunting things, TVLine has done the near-impossible and selected the single best episode from each of the show’s 11 seasons. It wasn’t easy, but like Dean and Sam always do, we did what was necessary.

There were some very tough decisions — “Changing Channels” or “Swan Song” as Season 5’s finest offering? — as well as some no-brainers. There were also a couple of surprise upsets in our list. (Sorry, “Baby” and “The Monster at the End of This Book.”)

Plus: Which freshman outing marked a Supernatural turning point, nabbing itself a spot? Which two premieres bested their competition? And is there anything better than “The French Mistake”?

Click through the gallery below (or right here) for those answers and our picks, then hit the comments with your faves. And remember, Supernatural returns on its new night, Thursday, Oct. 13, at 9/8c on The CW.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Demented Daisy says:

    I’ll give you In My Time of Dying, Mystery Spot, Lazarus Rising, and Fan Fiction. But Home? I wouldn’t even put that in my top 5 of season 1. As entertaining as Changing Channels was, we learned so much about the Winchesters in Dark Side of the Moon. Hugely important, too, since they found Joshua in the garden and discovered that God wouldn’t help them. Same with season 6 — Appointment in Samarra (Sam gets his soul back!) was so much better than The French Mistake. I’ll have to give Safe House the win for season 11.

    But mileage varies, of course.

    • tigersmurfette says:

      yes! dark side of the moon is probably my choice for best episode ever. the garden, the difference between dean and sam’s heaven, the return of colin ford the best young sam, ash, pam, joshua…so much goodness.

    • KS says:

      ‘Baby’ might actually be the best episode ever. Totally crazy to leave it off this list.

  2. Arthur says:

    “In one of the show’s most iconic scenes — and one of TV’s best character entrances”

    Totally agreed. Cas’s entrance in Lazarus Rising still gives me chills, eight years later. Perfect introduction to an amazing character!

  3. Tom says:

    Certainly these are some of the most “creative” episodes. But I don’t think anything in my mind would top Swan Song in Season 5, or even the two part season 2 finale.

    The “original” 5 seasons were always top notch on the finales.

    Can’t wait for the show to return. Hope it goes on for as long as they can keep it as creative as it is.

  4. Ronda Tamm says:

    Baby was better than Just my Imagination in the last season..

  5. Joey says:

    You just HAD to make me start crying by listing Death’s Door, didn’t you?

  6. Deion says:

    Just because Supernatural pulls off meta very well, it doesn’t mean that every one of those episodes is a stand out. Changing Channels over Swan Song? The culmination of 5 seasons and an ep that would have easily served as a satisfying series finale? Nope.

  7. Rob Horine says:

    Season 9’s “Do you believe in miracles” last scene where Dean wakes up with black eyes is the defining moment in that season. It still sends a chill down my spine when I see it.

  8. Stacey says:

    Good choices, I really enjoyed Swan Song and Defending Your Life too. Not the best choice for Season 1 though, I would take Dead in the Water, Dead Man’s Blood, or Devil’s Trap over Home.

  9. Ninamags says:

    Good choices! Many of those episodes really did give us that much more info about the Winchesters and their painful, lonely upbringing.

    I didn’t even know Supernatural Day was a thing! Fantastic!!!

  10. Jen says:

    Some of these I agree with – In My Time of Dying, Mystery Spot, Lazarus Rising, The French Mistake, Fan Fiction… but the rest? Home over Devil’s Trap? Baby not getting best of season 11? I think it goes to show that the early seasons are easier to spot the best episodes while the latter ones are much more divisive in general.

  11. Carrie says:

    Good list. It’s not easy to narrow it down to just one episode per season. There have been so many great ones.

  12. MoA says:

    Great list! My only quibble would be Season 8. Sacrifice has one of the (if not the) greatest brother moment.

  13. Anna says:

    For season 9, dog Dean afternoon without a doubt !!

  14. JZ says:

    S1. Scarecrow-just good old fashioned creepiness
    S2. Tie: Heart and All Hell Breaks Lose 1-all the feels from both
    S3. Mystery Spot
    S4. Monster Movie
    S5. Changing Channels
    S6. Weekend at Bobby’s-great to see Bobby showcased
    S7: The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons tattoo
    S8: As Time Goes By
    S9: Dog Dean Afternoon
    S10: Fan Fiction, honorable mention Hibbing 911
    S11: Baby

  15. tigersmurfette says:

    i wanna know the runners up, lol. or do a list with the worst episode of each season. bugs would be on that list, lol.

  16. Ross says:

    Are you freakin kidding?! “Don’t call me Shurley” was waaay better than “Imaginary Friends”.

  17. I’m a writer and a HUGE fan of paranormal and supernatural stories, movies, and shows… Not to mention my love for real life unexplained phenomena. But for some unknown reason, I continuously let this series, Supernatural slip by without watching it for the past 11 Seasons.

    And just a few weeks ago, my wife and I were looking through Netflix for something to watch and came across Supernatural. Needless to say, all it took was the pilot episode. Before we knew it, we had crammed ALL 10 seasons from Netflix and the 11th season from Youtube into less than two weeks time.

    It was instant love for the characters, story lines, and yes, the actors!! lol…

    But, as they always say, “better late than never.” So, we are finally caught up and waiting patiently for season 12 to begin.

    Happy #SupernaturalDay and thank you so much for the amazing entertainment!!

    p.s. My wife and I agree – Dean ruined Sam’s future with false hope, broken promises, and disappointments, whether Sam will admit it or not..!

  18. kayell says:

    Great list. Agree with most, some I respectfully disagree with, but can understand why you chose what you chose. One choice on this list that compleyely boggles my mind though is season 11.
    I got to give y’all credit for owning up to not choosing ‘Baby,’ BUT HOW CAN YOU NOT CHOOSE ‘BABY’!?
    ‘Just My Imagination’ was a hilarious episode, no doubt about it, but ‘Baby’ was as funny and it had so much heart too. You can’t omit a top 10 episode of the whole series for a comedic episode.

    • Kris says:

      Baby was unique, but also a little myopic and by-the-numbers– and it had a lot of comedy in it as well. There’s two or three S11 eps I’d rate above it, including Red Meat.

  19. Ella says:

    Don’t agree with a lot of these but that’s why choice and opinion are subjective. I will say this – Castiel’s entrance to this day still gives me goosebumps. Not just excellent cinematography but due to the knowledge of the epic bromance that it would become. I also feel that, as fantastic as “Changing Channels’ was, the show’s 100th episode was the best of that particular season.

  20. Ann says:

    This is an impossible thing to do, but all of these episodes are good choices. However, my all time favorite episode, just because I enjoy it so much, is “Weekend at Bobby’s”. Love the showcase of the hunter’s life from Bobby’s perspective, plus Rufus and my favorite line of all time. “Woodchipper. That pretty much trumps everything.”

  21. Jamie says:

    Lolz whoever wrote this piece seems to be a huge fan of the meta and the family-centric episodes. And as much as I love the meta (The French Mistake is just too too good), Changing Channels shouldn’t have beat Swan Song.

  22. Liza says:

    I never could have picked only 1 episode per season…nope, at least 3 or 4. Jensen and Jared’s new campaign hoodie celebrating 12 years is awesome. Only 9 more days. I can’t wait

  23. Priya says:

    I agree with most of your choices. But how can you leave out BABY? Even ‘Don’t call me Shurley’ or ‘Safe House’ would have been a much better choice. I agree ‘As Time Goes By’ was a very important episode but what about ‘Sacrifice’?. That was the THE best season finale after ‘Swan Song’. The last scene with the angels falling was the best effects the show has produced and the heart to heart between Sam and Dean was so heartbreaking.

  24. ld says:

    2.20 ♥
    11.17 ♥

  25. Kris says:

    This list is a little too heavy on the comedy episodes. I prefer the ones with more heart to them– and of the “heart” ones you did pick, I disagree with many.

  26. Sylls says:

    It’s really impossible choosing only 11 episodes !!