Okay, Supernatural was devoid of a recurring or permanent female character in its first season. Most of the women who appeared were victims, though quite a few of them were sharp, smart and capable and not screaming damsels in distress. Some people could, and did, take issue with that.
The suits behind the show (or higher up) decided it would be a good idea to expand the Supernatural universe for the second season. I’d discuss how that expansion in and of itself does not make a whit of sense, but that’s a different gripe. My gripe is primarily the addition of two particular female, recurring (so far, sporadically) characters. I don’t argue the idea that women should be more than victims, or that the show could benefit from more females. However, let me give you a bio of them (and please keep in mind this is from my perspective; others might see them differenlty):
Ellen: Ellen is the older woman. She runs a bar that’s frequented by demon hunters. She apparently knew John Winchester, Sam and Dean’s dad. Now, John never mentioned Ellen or her demon hunters’ hang-out to his sons - we’re told she and John had a bit of a falling out. Ellen isn’t a hunter herself, but it’s hinted at that she keeps tabs on her patrons’ hunts and activities. And, only days after meeting her, Sam has already started treating her like a parental figure, someone to turn to when he needs questions answered. She’s a mommy substitute (or, probably more accurately, a daddy substitute). There’s no reason the Winchesters should trust her or give her the time of day, given everything we know about them. Yet they keep running back to Mama Ellen.
Jo: Jo is Ellen’s daughter. What we’ve seen of her isn’t encouraging. Initially, she brags about how all hunters want to get in her pants and she acts like she’s hot stuff. She comes on to Dean, who (for very good reasons) doesn’t respond. In finding a man who doesn’t want to bed her, Jo apparently sees him as a challenge. The next time we see her, she acts demure and shy and fetching around Dean. Who still doesn’t buy it, but damn if I don’t hear a shippy hammer o’ doom pounding off in the distance. Also, Jo has a wicked way with a video game shotgun and is panting to get herself on her very own hunt. She’s got skillz, and she wants to prove it. And she likes REO Speedwagon, which I suppose isn’t reason for condemnation…but then again.
So far, I believe it was better for Supernatural to remain without female representation, because what we’re getting is not impressive at all. Here’s hoping that if Ellen and Jo are permanent fixtures they start getting better characterization.