SEASONS 2, 4, 5, 6, & 13 (TIE) - ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 100%
The most critically lauded seasons of Supernatural are locked in a five-way tie at an amazing 100% each. Most of these seasons represent the years Eric Kripke, the show’s creator, was in charge. His last season with the show was Season 5, three out of the five seasons here represent his vision. And the first five seasons of the series constitute a tightly told, complete story arc, so it’s no wonder critics were especially happy with these seasons. After Season 5, Sera Gamble took over as showrunner and managed to knock Season 6 out of the park. Yet, even in Season 13, Supernatural pulled off a perfect critic score — quite a feat after so many seasons.
Season 2 explores what Azazel, the yellow-eyed demon, did to Sam and other children, and what that means for them as adults. Critics felt that the second season was an improvement over the first. The show began to find its voice and confidently started to build its genre mythology. Phil Pirrello at IGN Movies said, “Supernatural is a really good entry into genre television, with Season 2 providing a lot of the groundwork that allows the series to earn such a label." Viewers largely agreed. Season 2’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score currently sits at 95%.
Season 4 introduces Castiel, who brings Dean back from Hell. The season focuses on Sam and Dean’s quest to prevent Lilith from breaking the seals that would allow Lucifer to walk the Earth, and Sam’s embrace of his questionable powers with the encouragement of the demon Ruby. Critics felt the season benefited from the show's increasingly complex mythology and the actors’ full understanding of their characters. The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan wrote, “…the show executes what it sets out to do with quiet efficiency and well-earned confidence.” As with Season 2, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for Season 4 is 95%.
Season 5 was rumored to be the series’ last, as it ended the story that started in Season 1. The Winchesters work against the newly freed Lucifer’s plans to bring about the apocalypse. They also resist the attempts of Lucifer and the archangel Michael to use them as their vessels. Critics raved about the fifth season of Supernatural, They enjoyed the lead actor’s performances and were excited about what was in store next for the brothers. Of the season, Joe Julians of Digital Spy wrote, “There are almost too many highlights to mention...” Once again, the audience currently rates the season at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 6 saw Sam return from Hell but without his soul. He hunted monsters with the brothers’ resurrected maternal grandfather while Dean attempted to live a normal life with girlfriend Lisa and her son. When Dean learned Sam was alive, he had his soul restored. Critics felt this was another extremely strong season and generally thought the show maintained its spirit, even with the absence of Eric Kripke as showrunner. Zack Handlen of AC Club declared, “Sera Gamble keeps Sam and Dean's strong dynamic, but tweaks it enough to feel new, and there's a maturity here that helps make the lunge towards the reset button more palatable.” Audiences weren’t nearly as impressed with Season 6 as critics, the season’s current Rotten Tomatoes audience score is only 81%.
Season 13 sees Sam and Dean “raising” the Nephilim Jack while mourning the loss of their mother, Castiel and Crowley. The boys eventually discovered their mother was in an alternate dimension and created a portal to go there. They found a host of different versions of their deceased friends in this alterna-Earth, who they brought back with them to their Earth. In the process, both Lucifer and the Archangel Michael returned too. The inclusion of Jack and the alternate Earth in Season 13 left critics impressed with the show’s ability to still incorporate new elements and ideas. ScreenRant’s Kevin Yeoman noted, “For a show that's been around the block a dozen times, Supernatural still manages to entertain.” Meanwhile, audiences currently give the season a respectable 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Alexander Calvert. The Season 14 finale airs on Thursday, April 25.