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Here's What Pop Culture Looked Like When Supernatural First Premiered

From Brokeback to Brangelina, a look back as the series nears the end of its 15-year run.
  • Supernatural's 2005 pop culture contemporaries are either dinosaurs or running for president.
    Supernatural's 2005 pop culture contemporaries are either dinosaurs or running for president.

    Tonight marks the beginning of the end for demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester on The CW's Supernatural, as the first of the show's final seven episodes airs on The CW. Over 15 seasons, Supernatural has become the poster show for longevity, utterly refusing to succumb to old age and roughly doubling the runs of its contemporaries — shows that premiered, as Supernatural did — on The WB.

    Supernatural debuted September 13, 2005. Stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles were pivoting off successful runs on other WB shows — Padalecki on Gilmore Girls and Ackles on Dawson's Creek — while their father, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was in the midst of his run playing dads and/or love interests who died (Grey's Anatomy; Weeds). No one could have predicted then that the show would span two networks and three presidential administrations.

    The way time moves these days, it's often difficult to remember what we talking about 15 days ago, much less 15 years ago. To give a sense of just how long Supernatural has been a presence on TV, we thought take a look at what the pop cultural landscape looked like in the autumn of 2005, back when the brothers Winchester first bursted into our lives.

    In TV…

    Even though Supernatural would make its mark as a Thursday night show, it premiered on the WB Tuesday night, as the lead-out program for Gilmore Girls. While the adventures of a pair of classic-rock-blasting demon hunters would seem to be an odd fit with the adventures of a chatty mom-and-daughter pair in a quirky small town, the rationale was clearly to have the Jared Padalecki stans follow him from Stars Hollow to his new show. That night was the premiere of Gilmore Girls' sixth season, which fans may recall tracked the immediate aftermath of Lorelai proposing to Luke and Rory getting arrested for stealing a boat.

    Supernatural's time-slot competition that season included a pair of also-new shows, the Jason Lee comedy My Name Is Earl on NBC and Commander in Chief on ABC. Also premiering that night, in the 8:00 PM timeslot, was FOX's Bones, which put up a good fight, but couldn't outlast Supernatural, finally ending in 2017.

    That same week, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg were added to the cast of Saturday Night Live. Also at SNL, with Tina Fey out on maternity leave, Hortatio Sanz temporarily took her place opposite Amy Poehler on "Weekend Update."

    The cover of Entertainment Weekly touted the returning third season of FX's Nip/Tuck, which at the time was the only Ryan Murphy show on television. (Also getting cover space that week for EW: the TV-to-film adaptation Serenity, and the soon-to-be Oscar-winning performance of Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener.)

    In just five days would be the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards, where Lost would win its only Outstanding Drama Series award, Everybody Loves Raymond took Outstanding Comedy for its final season, The Daily Show won its third of an eventual ten consecutive Emmys for Variety Talk Show, and future college admissions fraudster Felicity Huffman won Outstanding Actress in a Drama for Desperate Housewives in what at the time was a huge upset over her favored co-star Teri Hatcher.

    Nine days later, NBC would premiere the 4th season of their reality show The Apprentice. This was the season where the show fell out of the Nielsen top 10 and began a general decline that would eventually lead Donald Trump to run for President in 2016 in order to up his profile and increase his bargaining position for a new season with NBC.

    In Film…

    September tends to be a quiet month for feature films. The #1 movie at the box office that week would be the religious-horror courtroom drama The Exorcism of Emily Rose, starring Laura Linney.

    That night, the Toronto International Film Festival saw the international premiere of Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and, in the role that would win her an Oscar in five months time, Reese Witherspoon.

    Just three days earlier, Brokeback Mountain had won the Golden Lion prize for the best film at the Venice Film Festival, the first of many awards it would win before a last minute upset at the Oscars (where it lost to Crash).

    And that very week, filming began on the new Meryl Streep/Anne Hathaway film The Devil Wears Prada.

    In Music…

    The Billboard charts that week saw the final run of dominance for Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," which enjoyed its 14th week at #1. It was Carey's 16th number-one single, and her first in five years. The next week, the #1 spot on Billboard would be taken over by Kanye West's "Gold Digger."

    The number one album in America that week was Hillary Duff's Most Wanted. Duff would also fall the next week to Kanye West and his album Late Registration.

    Albums released on September 13, 2005 included The Fray's debut album How to Save a Life, which would become synonymous with the young interns at Seattle Grace Hospital on Grey's Anatomy, and PCD, the debut album from the Pussycat Dolls.

    On the Rolling Stone cover that month were The White Stripes, who were promoting their new album Get Behind Me, Satan. (Also touted on that Rolling Stone cover was "Dane Cook: Comedy's Marketing Master.")

    In Celebrity…

    The Vanity Fair cover in September 2005 was Jennifer Aniston, with the headline "Jen Finally Talks!" What she was finally talking about was the breakup of her marriage to Brad Pitt, who earlier that year had left her for his Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie.

    In Politics…

    The Senate Judiciary Committee, including Delaware Senator Joe Biden, continued to hold their hearings on the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    Then-Senator Hillary Clinton called for an investigation into colossal failures of the George W. Bush administration to effectively respond to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the kind of massive failure of government to respond to a public catastrophe that surely would never be repeated on an incalculably larger scale fifteen years later.

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    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Supernatural, The CW, The WB, Gilmore Girls, Jared Padalecki, Jennifer Aniston, Jensen Ackles, Kanye West, Mariah Carey