Sharp, funny and genre-bending, Wynonna Earp was one of the most interesting things on television in 2016. Unfortunately, you might have missed the tale of hard-drinking screw-up Wynonna Earp, who comes back to town just in time to slay some demons. Both literal and metaphorical.
The series premiered in April 2016 on SyFy and aired on Friday nights, not exactly prime real estate for television shows. Yet even from humble beginnings (and, let’s be honest, budgets) the little sci-fi Western developed a healthy and obsessive cult following. Known as Earpers, these fans have zero chill and know a great show when they see one.
The premise of Wynonna Earp is anything but simple, yet it’s also wholly original. Black sheep Wynonna Earp is from a line of Earps leading all the way back to great, great, great (add some more greats here) grandaddy Wyatt Earp. She comes back to her hometown of Purgatory for her uncle’s funeral just in time for her 27th birthday, which is the year when the Earp curse officially kicks in.
You see, every Earp since Wyatt has been cursed with putting down Revenants, demonic echos of the men Wyatt killed back in the Wild West. Wynonna is very much not a traditional gunslinging hero, but she has to step up to her newfound responsibility. Thankfully she has her brilliant little sister Waverly and help from some new friends along the way.
With Wynonna Earp poised to return to small screens for season 2 on Friday, June 9, now is the perfect time to join the Earper ranks and discover this little genre gem. The entire first season has been on Netflix since April, but we’ll forgive you for taking your time to catch up.
Here are a few reasons why you should pencil “binge watch Wynonna Earp” into your schedule in order to hop aboard the Earper train for season 2:
1. Melanie Scrofano’s Performance as Wynonna Earp
The main draw of Wynonna Earp is the titular character herself. Wynonna is a complicated woman with plenty of flaws. As a heroine, she’s certainly at the beginning of her journey. The fact that Wynonna is a mess who doesn’t know what she’s doing makes her a compelling character to follow as we dive into the mixed up world of Purgatory and the Ghost River Triangle. Unfortunately female-driven dramas are still a rarity on the small screen, and complex female characters like Wynonna are even harder to find.
The whole cast of Wynonna Earp is solid, but Melanie Scrofano still manages to be a scene-stealer. Scrofano has an innate chemistry and likability that shine through, even when Wynonna is on her worst behavior. Her Wynonna is a sarcastic smartass with layers of vulnerability right under the surface.
The show is a star vehicle for Scrofano, who proves to be a compelling and watchable actress on the rise. The show wouldn’t work without a Wynonna that audiences connect with, and Scrofano makes it look effortless.
2. The Earp Sister Relationship
The heart of the show is the relationship between sisters Wynonna and Waverly Earp. Both sisters have been through some real trauma in their lives, and when we meet up with them in the beginning of season 1 they’ve been estranged for quite some time. It doesn’t take long for the sisters to reunite, however, and their complicated and loving relationship is the backbone of the first season, if not the entire show.
Wynonna and Waverly are as different as two sisters can be, and yet both are powerful in their own unique ways. While Wynonna might have Wyatt Earp’s legendary gun Peacemaker and the ability to send Revenants back to hell, Waverly is the bubbly brains of the operation. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about Wyatt, the curse, the Revenants and the Earp legacy. Waverly shows that you don’t need to carry a big gun to be a threat.
Throughout the first season, the sisters’ relationship is explored and put to the test. Their relationship isn’t always sunshine and roses. Like all siblings, they fight and hold resentments. The Earp sisters clearly have a lot of baggage. But through it all their love and respect for one another shine through, making their bond the most powerful thing in Purgatory.
3. An Exciting Mythology That Could Go in Many Directions
I’ll be honest, the mythology of Wynonna Earp can sometimes make my brain hurt. For audiences looking for shows different from the usual doctor/lawyer/cop dynamic, however, the mythology of Wynonna Earp offers a fun sandbox to play in.
Wynonna is cursed to hunt down the Revernants, demons previously killed by Wyatt Earp, before they figure out a way to escape the Ghost River Triangle they’ve been doomed to roam. She has to do all of this while struggling with her own demons, including the fact that she accidentally shot and killed her own father while trying to save him from Revernants as a child. Whoops!
There are demons who jump out of mirrors, serial killer demons, the mystery of why Doc Holliday is back and more handsome than ever, a witch who drives a killer convertible, and Bobo Del Ray. That’s right, there’s a character on this show named Bobo Del Ray. Don’t worry, they almost always address him by his full name. He’s almost always wearing a fur coat, like a demonic Real Housewife.
If that mythology sounds intriguing, there are also plenty more layers to it, including an ultra secretive police force called the Black Badge Division, a magical skull and a creepy cult. Like an onion, the mythology of Wynonna Earp has plenty of layers, almost all of them intriguingly weird.
4. The Characters Feel Three Dimensional
Speaking of Doc Holliday and the Black Badge Division, all of the supporting characters on Wynonna Earp feel like real people, even when they’re historical figures with impressive mustaches. Doc, Agent Dolls, and Officer Nicole Haught are all complex and interesting characters. Perhaps the best element of the series overall is its characters, played to perfection by a great ensemble cast. Showrunner Emily Andras has populated the show with characters who are compulsively watchable.
I would watch Doc, Dolls, Nicole, Waverly and Wynonna whether they were hunting down demons or just chatting at a bar. Just like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wynonna‘s Scooby Gang is the true draw of the show and the reason the audience keeps coming back for more.
5. Badass Female Characters
It’s always great to see a show fronted by a compelling female character, but Wynonna Earp definitely doesn’t suffer from Smurfette Syndrome. Wynonna is just one of several strong, complicated and interesting women on the show.
She’s surrounded by women like her sister Waverly and Officer Nicole Haught. There are also women villains, including the Stone Witch. Wynonna isn’t interesting because she’s the only woman; instead, the show is made up of interesting, flawed and sometimes even deliciously evil female characters.
6. Fun Romances
From the moment a beer-soaked Waverly Earp caught the eye of Officer Nicole Haught, it was clear this show was going to feature some intriguing romances. In a time when LGBT women end up in a body bag more often than a happily ever after, Wynonna Earp‘s commitment to the “WayHaught” romance feels like a breath of fresh air.
Throughout the course of the first season, the audience watches Waverly and Nicole get closer and closer. Their relationship is a bright spot of positive representation in a television landscape that still somehow treats queer relationships and characters as disposable.
But of course there’s more romance than the WayHaught of it all! Wynonna herself has some complicated dynamics with both Doc Holliday and her supervising agent, the stoic and secretive Dolls. Far from being a typical love triangle, Wynonna’s layered relationships with both of these men in her life are interesting to watch, no matter what team you’re rooting for.
7. Humor and Action
Wynonna Earp is packed full of action, whether it’s nearly being eaten by a demonic cannibal, escaping a crazed serial killer or facing off against an angry witch. The series is a supernatural gunslinging tale, and this action is impressive on what must be a modest budget.
The series also has a great sense of humor. Not only is Wynonna herself always quipping, but all of the characters have a pretty well-developed sense of humor. Even Dolls. It’s rare to see a series balance genre elements, action and relationship drama, and still keep you laughing.
So what are you waiting for? There’s still plenty of time to binge the 13-episode first season on Netflix before season 2 premieres on Syfy. I’ll see you in Purgatory!
Wynonna Earp premieres Friday, June 9 at 10/9c on SyFy. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page!
(Images courtesy of SyFy)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV