Why did I wait so long to start watching Supernatural?

Does anybody else watch this? I’m just finishing Season 2 and man this show is addictive. For those unfamiliar, this CW show is the story of the Winchester brothers–Dean, the party hardy  man’s man older brother and Sam, the sensitive boy-next-door type with a dark destiny he’s trying to escape. When Sam was a baby, the boys’ mother was murdered by a demon, sending their father into a dark career as a hunter of all things supernatural. Dean followed in the family business out of obligation to his father’s wishes, whereas Sam tried to live a normal life… until his girlfriend was murdered the same way his mother was, driving him to join his brother in the life of a hunter.Together they travel the country in a ‘67 Impala fighting for the safety of the rest of us using their brains, brawn and a journal of information left to them by their father.

While I love both brothers, Dean (played with wise-cracking aplomb by Jensen Ackles) is easily my favorite. This might be because, despite lacking any religious faith (though the character believes in magic and other phenomena, he’s a self-declared atheist), he embodies Heathen virtues. Dean is the best example of a modern Viking I’ve seen in television. Dean’s primary virtue is his loyalty to his family and extended family followed quickly by his courage. He follows his father’s wishes and legacy to pursue the demon that killed his mother and still threatens his brother. He never contemplated a future outside of this destiny. He regularly risks everything to protect those closest to him and never gives up on family, even when it seems like all is lost.

Like any good Viking, Dean is a man’s man. This can sometimes be an annoying character trait, but Ackles pulls it off quite likeably, primarily through a great sense of comic timing. Dean will show his deep love of his brother through saving him in some deeply dangerous and heroic fashion then stop his brother from thanking him with lines like, “No chick flick moments.” There’s a forced stoicism to Dean that you can tell isn’t natural to him, but he feels it’s necessary to carry so he can get the job done. On the other hand, when they’re not on the job he lives like tomorrow may not arrive, drinking and womanizing his way through whatever town they’re in. Like the Viking heroes of old, he doesn’t expect to die of old age, so he’s living it up now.

Dean uses disguise and deceit to further his missions, particularly when seeking information about his foes. (Like any good hero–I would hope at least some Vikings did this, although no stories one way or another are coming to mind–he does his research instead of going into a dangerous situation half-cocked and underprepared.) He’s adept at playing all kinds of roles, and slips into different names and characters with ease. He has no compunction about playing fast and loose with the truth if it’s for the greater good or for the good of his family. He’s even lied to his brother in order to keep him safe. This characteristic is seen in Odin and his Viking followers who have no problems putting on a disguise or taking on a new name to aid in a quest or put one over on their enemies.

And, of course, when it finally comes down to a fight, Dean is a badass, kicking ass, taking names…and getting back up to fight again whenever he goes down. He’s not a bruiser, but he’s well versed in weaponry, cunning in a fight and knows how to team up with his brother to get the edge on their opponents.

Have you seen the show? What do you think of Dean as a modern Viking? Are there any other awesome shows out there I should be watching with Viking-style leads?