Dear thecwtv and thecwspn,
By now, you’ve hopefully heard of Wayward Daughters: a fan-supported concept for a spinoff from Supernatural, ideally starring adults Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), and the teenage girls in Jody’s care, Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen). It’s a concept with a lot of traction in the predominantly female Supernatural fanbase, not only because it capitalises on a compelling setup that’s already established in canon, but because it perfectly embodies one of the most prominent themes of Supernatural - the idea that, to quote Bobby Singer, ‘Family don’t end with blood’ - and applies it to a complex group of women, each of whom has her own unique history with the world of angels, demons and hunting.
With Supernatural now approaching its eleventh season, we’re at an optimal point for The CW to consider new spinoff concepts, and given how poorly the backdoor pilot for Supernatural: Bloodlines was received, it should carry some weight that Wayward Daughters already has support within the fandom. Just as importantly, however, it’s also an excellent fit with The CW as a network, both in terms of your target audience and existing lineup. Given the success of shows like iZombie, The 100 and The Vampire Diaries, it’s clear there’s an eager audience for female-driven fantasy programming. Not only would Wayward Daughters capitalise on the existing Supernatural fanbase, but it would arguably increase Supernatural’s own audience in much the same way that the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who attracted established fans of the franchise while simultaneously serving as an entry point for newcomers.
Just as importantly, it would also contribute to the continuation of the #SPNfamily, not only in terms of constituting a powerful, positive engagement with Supernatural’s fans, but by securing the legacy of a beloved, popular show. After ten years on the air together, the cast and crew of Supernatural have become close enough to embark on a multitude of different projects in partnership with one another, many of which relate directly to Supernatural itself, and which have arguably lead to increased fan engagement. Kevin’s Continued Winchester Gospels, created by Osric Chau, is one example of this; as, indeed, is the affectionate Supernatural parody recently produced by the hillywoodshow - in which almost every key Supernatural actor participated to some degree - as well as the forthcoming Kings of Con series, produced by Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr, which was successfully crowdfunded to 280% of its initial goals.
Not only does this demonstrate the Supernatural family’s capacity to support its members in both fannish and professional endeavours, but it also proves that the fanbase is not only willing to adapt to new modes of storytelling, but is keen to endorse their creation. The level of respectful, positive engagement between the actors and writers of Supernatural and the fanbase is, if not unprecedented, then certainly remarkable, and is therefore materially relevant to the concept of Wayward Daughters.
Throughout its decade on air, the criticism most consistently levelled at Supernatural has concerned the show’s treatment of women: not because it has ever lacked for compelling female characters, but because the slash-and-burn nature of the early seasons in particular, coupled with the tight narrative focus on the Winchester brothers, has frequently left their full potential unexplored. A female-centric spinoff would not only help to redress this historic imbalance, but would perfectly compliment the original show without compromising fan investment in the franchise.
Similarly, and to address the specific network fear that a successful TV show in any genre can’t be headlined by a woman in her forties, which was at one time raised as a concern about Kim Rhodes, the recent critical success of shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Happy Valley and The Killing - starring, respectively, Viola Davis, Sarah Lancashire and Sofie
Gråbøl - would seem to suggest otherwise; as, for that matter, does Gillian Anderson’s recent casting in the forthcoming X-Files Revival. The related fear that a show aimed primarily at a younger audience might suffer for having an “older” woman in such a prominent role is further mitigated in the case of Wayward Daughters by the presence of multiple younger cast members in positions of equal prominence. One need only look at other successful shows with similar multi-age dynamics among its female cast members - such as the role of Abbie Griffin (Paige Turco) in The 100 - to see that this need not be a barrier.
As of Season 10 of Supernatural, Sheriff Jody Mills is introducing Sheriff Donna Hanscum to the world of hunting while fostering two very different teenage girls, both of whom have been orphaned by a combination of monsters and magic. In addition to this quartet, the Supernatural universe boasts a number of other female characters - such as Krissy Chambers (Madison McLaughlin), Josephine Barnes (Megan Danso), Linda Tran (Lauren Tom) and werewolf Kate (Brit Sheridan) - who could easily fit within the framework of Wayward Daughters, either as season regulars or cameo appearances, in a way that both serves as homage to the original show without requiring new viewers to have watched it.
Whether as a one-off webseries or as an ongoing show in its own right, it’s clear that Wayward Daughters has enormous potential as a concept, and I sincerely hope that both The CW and the creators of Supernatural consider making it a reality.