Television actors getting the opportunity to direct their shows isn’t a new thing—Syfy is very good about letting its Stargate and Eureka tribes take turns—but it’s commendable that the CW seems well ahead of the game in giving its (considerably) young stable of actors opportunities to helm their shows. One Tree Hill has been particularly impressive. A whopping six of its actors: Paul Johansson, Bethany Joy Galeotti, James Lafferty, Moira Kelly, Sophia Bush, and Chad Michael Murray have each taken turns in the chair–all except Murray more than once; Johansson has directed 12 times in the series’ seven-year run. He’s now working on a little feature film called Atlas Shrugged.
Tom Welling and Allison Mack have stepped behind the camera on Smallville a handful of times over the show’s decade-long run. And now, Supernatural has joined the team. Series co-star Jensen Ackles, who had the benefit of working under the late, great Kim Manners and the show’s well-pedigreed directors, took his maiden voyage as a director on last Friday’s episode, “Weekend at Bobby’s,” which centered on Bobby’s attempts to recapture his soul. Jim Beaver, who plays Bobby, Mark Sheppard, who plays demon Crowley, and series showrunner, Sera Gamble, have had nothing but praise for his efforts.
To anyone who’s watched the behind-the-scenes featurettes on the DVDs, directing was a logical and organic evolution of Ackles’ role on the show—he is often a presence behind the camera, watching the monitors to see how the show comes together. I hope he gets back in the chair as often as he wants. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Ackles moved over to a behind-the-scenes career when Supernatural ends (hopefully after season 10). Kudos to the CW for supporting its actors as they spread their wings a bit—it’s a very smart way to keep them in the fold.