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Brothers in harms

WINCHESTERS! Supernatural, ITV2, 9.15pm

SupernaturalWe almost missed the return of our favourite hot-brothers-hunting-demons series (a list of the other series in this genre is available upon request*) because ITV seems to have been running the same generic "coming soon" trail for ages without really specifying what they mean by "soon". Unless they've replaced it with a more definite trail recently and we've just not seen it, in which case: sorry for unnecessarily besmirching your reputation, ITV. But we do watch your channel a lot, so if we didn't see it, lots of other people won't have, so just think about that, eh?

Anyway, Sam and Dean Winchester are back for a third (albeit somewhat brief, due to the US writers' strike) season, despite having solved their ultimate quest at the end of last season. To the surprise of everyone who thought this arc was going to go until the very end of the show, the dashing brothers Winchester managed to slay the Yellow-Eyed Demon that killed their mother (and also Sam's girlfriend, and also, indirectly, their father), but not before it managed to open the very literal gates of Hell and unleash all many of nasty-looking demons. So their work isn't quite over yet, because they've got to clean up the mess they made. Oh, and also, there's the slightly thorny issue of Dean only having a year to live, because Sam was a doofus and got stabbed in the back and died and Dean got teary in a manly sort of way and made a deal with a Crossroads Demon (who has nothing to do with Jane Asher, just so we're all on the same page), who agreed to revive Sam as long as Dean agrees to carp it in a year's time. Crappy deal, admittedly, but still probably better terms than most mortgages right now, so we can understand Dean's willingness to sign up.

Dean's dealing with his fate in very much the way you'd expect Dean would - by getting laid as often as possible. Disapproving Sammy is disapproving, obviously, and is secretly looking for some kind of loophole that will get Dean out of his deal with the Devil's lackey, because he doesn't want his big brother to die. Awww. Unfortunately, this first episode is not really up to the high standards this show set itself in season two - it's a bit plodding and obvious and a bit (dare we say it) Charmed. There's also the appearance of a stridently annoying girl with a magic knife at the end of the episode, who's obviously going to be very important this season. (Don't hate her too much, though; she gets significantly awesomer in a few episodes' time.) So ride this one out, because things improve significantly by around episode three, and episode five is fucking great. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the pretty.

*No it isn't.

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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