Supernatural American TV Series Semiotic Analysis
Supernatural themed television series are currently a major source of both modern religious plausibility and inspiration. Individuals normally reinforce and pick up new religious understandings from this fiction (Davidsen 522). New religious movements are also known to have emerged based on supernatural fiction. Thus they draw their inspiration solely from the fiction. Such religions could better be referred as fiction-based religions (Davidsen 522). The Supernatural TV series on the Winchester brothers is perhaps the most popular currently, and soon a faith could emerge based on it. This paper seeks to carry out a well-researched Semiotic analysis on the show. It will be necessary to provide some basic information about the show before examining the language use. Apart from the primary research source, I will use a scripted talk from the television series for illustrations.The Supernatural American mystery drama debuted in the year 2005 on WB (Kripke). Currently, it is part of the CW’s lineup. It is more than twelve years since the drama series premiered and I think it is still the most relevant. The mega television show traces the lives of two brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. The Winchesters investigate paranormal matters and strange occurrences. The two have learned how to cope with the most dangerous creatures (spirits, demons, vampires, rogue angels, shapeshifters, and monsters) (Kripke). This has not been a hard task for them considering the fact that they are professional hunters. Growing up, they had the knowledge that evil existed and had to be eliminated. Their father Winchester had started the evil hunt in the country following the killing of her wife in 1983 by a yellow-eyed demon (Kripke). The Winchesters accepted hunting as their fate when their father died to the same demon. The two only befriend Bobby, a close family friend. They stay away from all other relationships fearing that they could put an innocent soul at risk (Kripke).
Usually, dialogues in television series pursue identified filmic conventions to reveal the reality through imitations. The word ‘realistic’ is usually used to refer to texts structured in this manner. For a text to be realistic, it has to adhere to the exact code of the culture of a given society at a specific time. It should also be plausible and authentic. The language used in the supernatural television series suits the context of the mystical world. The codes and terminologies used occur within the scope of demonology and paranormal issues. The protagonists use a typical everyday conversation, phrases, words, and slangs. This, however, comes in different forms and shapes. Words and phrase in the text are given meanings different from those of standard language. Thus, the level of creativity in the case of language selection is very high.
Represented talks in television series, usually have a narrative of function. Such functions are to create and strengthen social identities, a sense of cohesion and establish the required atmosphere. Linguistic aspects that are relevant in fulfilling these purposes are slangs and specific terminologies. This helps the viewer to closely bond with the characters and feel like a portion of the identified cultural subgroup (hunters in this case).
The protagonists in the television show use specialized terminology attributed to paranormal circumstances. The language possesses the linguistic features of myths, legends, demonology, hunting experiences, and spirits. This differs from the normal standard language. For instance, the protagonists use hunting equipment quite different from the normal ones. Such includes palo santo, holy water and salt (IMBd). In this case and many other instances, the word meaning shifts. In South America, palo santo is a tree whereas in the show it is used to ward off spirits and demons (Davidsen 530). The holy water is utilized as a weapon to exorcise demons from a human being. The salt is used to sooth the ghosts and avert the demons.
Supernatural uses some terms which are unfamiliar in the Standard English language. For example, the language regarding the demonology is composed of neologisms such as Crossroads Demons, Rakshasa, Grim Reaper, Shapeshifters, Hellhounds and Shtriga (Kripke). In all the episodes, the protagonists’ battle with different types of beings, and for that reason, the audience is constantly challenged with these technical terms.
In Supernatural, the Crossroads Demon is used to refer to a fictional character which makes deals with despairing people at a crossroad by satisfying their desire in exchange for their souls. This theme is also explored in the ‘blues’ music genre. Robert Johnson is the most famous for utilizing this. Johnson gave out his soul in exchange for the ability to play a guitar exceptionally, like no other musician, according to Bluesman Son House (IMBd).
In science fiction, folklore and fantasy, a shapeshifter refers to a human being or an animal with the ability to change appearance. This is usually achieved by transforming into something else or someone else. The shapes shifters in the Supernatural are a special breed that can change into a dead or a living person. Additionally, they possess laser eyes which can only be seen through a camera shot.
Most of the dialogues in Supernatural are basically between Sam and Dean, the main characters. Their phrases are characterized by many stylistic devices and the use of slangs. The most evident devices are neologisms, ellipsis, allusions, and compounds. All these are aimed to achieve a presumed meaning and purpose. The pauses created by ellipsis serves in correcting the utterances made by the speakers.
The compounds acquired majorly through blending make the conversations more authentic and outstanding. For instance, Dean uses “fugly” as a short version of “fucking ugly” (Kripke). The new word stems out from the beginning of fucking and the end of ugly. It is quite interesting how the duo plays with words to come up with n buzzwords. Dean through conversion changes “douchebag” (noun) to “douchebaggery” (adjective) (Kripke). Dean also combines some nouns and adjectives perhaps to create some sense of hyperbole. “…the touchy-feely-self-help-yoga crap (Kripke).”
The Supernatural fantasy show even after being on the air for more than a decade now does not seem to end any soon. The show that started with only two brothers fighting supernatural beings has grown over time to take the shape of an epic action fully packed with tales of demons, monsters, and angels. It has unbelievably attracted an astoundingly large and devoted audience making it a community. There is a secret behind the show which draws and moves the fans. Seeing the Winchesters in their long-suffering makes their own troubles tiny, and the desire to see the bitter end keeps the fans watching. The show is also a based on our daily life experiences. The brothers and their angel friend have to choose between their families and their passions. There is much likelihood that the show will stay in the industry longer than any other show. The Supernatural Family is already tightly bonded, and the participants are more than ready to stick with the show.