Take the sarcastic, whiskey drinking female hero of Jessica Jones, the demon hunting siblings from Supernatural, add in the old west feeling of Westworld, stir – and you’ve got Wynonna Earp. Sounds pretty great, right? The show’s first season premiered on Syfy last April and quickly earned praise from both critics and fans alike for its strong characters and sharp scripts.
From showrunner Emily Andras (Killjoys and Lost Girl), Wynonna Earp is an action-packed fantasy drama about a woman, named Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) who just happens to be the great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp. On her 27th birthday she reluctantly returns to her hometown of Purgatory, where she is confronted by her family’s curse and her legacy. As the Earp heir, her job is to kill the Revenants – basically the zombiefied version of Wyatt’s past victims who are out to kill her and her family.
The first 13 episodes of season one are all coming to Netflix on April 1st. Season two is set to premiere on June 9th on Syfy. There has never been a better time to catch up! And if you need more convincing here are 15 Reasons to Watch Wynonna Earp.
15. It’s Based on a Comic Series
Wynonna Earp is based on the IDW comic book series created by writer Beau Smith in 1996 with art by Joyce Chin and Pat Lee. There was an additional series from 2003-2004 as well graphic novels published in 2011. Smith’s version of Wynonna is a bit older than she is portrayed in the show. She’s already an established special agent working for the Monster Squad (which later becomes the Black Badge Division).
Many of the show’s villains including Bobo Del Rey (Michael Eklund) and the revenants are taken straight from the comics, although Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) and Wavery Earp (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) are original characters.
After Syfy picked up Wynonna Earp a seven part limited comic was released that tied directly into the series. It acted as a sort of prequel, featuring Wynonna as she appears on TV: just a young woman first starting out on her job and unsure of her abilities.
If that isn’t enough, there is also the “Wynonna Earp Legends” series ,which features the show’s stars Scrofano and Rozon as co-writers on comics based on the characters they play. These new comics allow the actors to further explore their characters and the history surrounding them, while also giving new fans a chance to learn some of the older mythology not included in the show.
14. It’s “Frozen Meets Buffy”
When Andras pitched Wynonna Earp she jokingly said the premise of show was, “Frozen meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Boy, does it live up to that promise. The show follows Wynonna as she hunts down the Revenant (or Revenants) of the week, who each have their own special powers and reasons for wanting revenge. She is the only one who can stop them, using Wyatt’s old Colt, called Peacemaker, which sends the Revenants back down to Hell.
The storyline that runs throughout the whole season is about Wynonna and her younger sister, Waverly. Waverly has dedicated her life to researching the Earp curse, despite the fact that she is not the heir and therefore cannot wield Peacemaker or kill the Revenants. Although this sometimes put her at odds with Wynonna, the overarching theme of the series is the relationship between the two sisters, one who happens to have a kind of magic power, as they learn rely on the strength of the other, coming together as a family.
13. Mythology of the Old West
If you’re a fan of the Wild West, then there’s something on Wynonna Earp for you too. The show deals with the mythology of the legendary, real-life gunslinger, Wyatt Earp (played here by Ryan Northcott). Wyatt was a lawman who was known for his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where he was the only one to walk away without an injury. Also present at the O.K. Corral was Wyatt’s good friend John Henry “Doc” Holliday (who was actually a dentist).
In real life, Doc Holliday died after a battle with tuberculosis in 1887. However, the show finds him alive and well over 100 years after his supposed death. As in real life, Doc’s story is intertwined with the Earps and he is drawn into Wynonna’s battle against the Revenants. He also has his own agenda; a desire for revenge against the witch who cursed him with eternal life.
While the show does draw from some historic characters, there are obviously a few creative liberties taken. Still, if you are a fan of charming sharp-shooters from the 1880s who are still confused by cars, then you’ll love Doc Holliday (and his glorious mustache).
12. Stylized Visuals
Not many shows look like Wynonna Earp. It has a distinct visual style, which is helped a lot by the fact that it is filmed in many real locations in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The vast snowy landscapes paired with the small town feel give the show its character. And Purgatory is no ordinary town either. Like the name might suggest, both Revenants and people are literally trapped there, making the quaint buildings and winter wonderland menacing at times. Plus, the Canadian setting gives the old Western feeling of the show a fresh twist, since it isn’t exactly the American Midwest most viewers are used to seeing.
Andras has also promised that there is a lot more to Purgatory that viewers will get to see in the second season. The Ghost River Triangle is not just the area in town where all the Revenants are trapped (as seen in season one), but home to all kinds of supernatural creatures yet to be explored. There has also been talk of the characters venturing into more urban environments and seeing how they handle themselves in the city, as opposed to the Great Outdoors.
11. No Lingering On Love Triangles
With a female lead and two male deuteragonists, Wynonna Earp could easily venture into love triangle territory. However, the show does a good job of showing Wynonna’s relationships with both Doc Holliday and Agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson) in a way that makes sense for three adults (who just happen to spend their spare time hunting demons). These are all characters with big egos and personalities. They don’t necessarily get along, but they need each other and much of the show’s funny moments come from their interactions- especially between the two men.
Of course there is some jealousy, which is natural. But overall the focus of the show is not about which suitor Wynonna will choose. There is much more at stake than Wynonna’s love life. She is a character who doesn’t need (or want) men fighting over her. Doc and Dolls are both right for Wynonna in different ways, but both are also hiding secrets in their pasts which complicate things.
10. Rocking Soundtrack
Right from the opening credits you can already tell Wynonna Earp is going to rock. The show begins with splashy credit sequence set to Jill Scott’s “Tell that Devil” which captures its girl-powered-supernatural-element-fighting nature. It’s a distinctly contemporary song that still manages to fit in with the overall Western feeling.
The whole first season features an eclectic mix of new and old folk, rock, and indie music from familiar bands such as Civil Twilight and lesser-known singers like Jeen. There is also a score from Robert Carli and Peter Chapman that adds suspense and atmosphere to the show’s more tense moments.
Like the Calgary location, the music is just another element that helps establish the tone for the show. There really is nothing like Wynonna Earp on TV. The music is part of this immersive experience that brings the viewer into the world of Purgatory. Plus, the tunes used are darn catchy and great to listen to long after the show ends.
9. Fighting (Literal) Demons
The demons on Wynonna Earp are both literal and figurative. While Wynonna does have to fight actual demons in the form of the 77 people killed by Wyatt, she and the other characters are also facing demons of a different kind. They are all damaged in some way and many are running from their pasts.
Wynonna is dealing with the fact that she was never meant to be the Earp heir. That title belonged to her older sister Willa, who was trained for the role at a young age. However, when both Willa and their father Ward are killed, it falls on Wynonna to take up the family business. Wynonna has been stuck with a legacy that was never meant to belong to her. She is facing the pressure of not only killing the real monsters, but also the doubt that she has about her place in the Earp family.
So while there’s (almost) always someone to shoot with Peacemaker, many of the threats the characters face are of their own making. Wynonna is an interesting heroine because she is afraid to embrace her destiny. She is fighting forces from both inside herself and out. And she is not the only one. Doc, Doll, and Waverly all have their own inner demons to face in order to grow throughout the season (and to stop the real Revenants from killing them all).
8. Old-School Action & Adventure
Wynonna Earp is essentially a Western with a twist. The show has all of the classic elements that make Westerns so much fun to watch: a small town, an outside threat, a lone hero who fights on their own terms, and lots of leather and cowboy hats. Wynonna is basically a cowboy, complete with her own code for revenge that doesn’t always exist inside of the law. There is a sense of adventure that goes along with this cowboy spirit. There’s always some new mystery to uncover or a new (potentially haunted) part of Purgatory to explore. The show is a fun escape into a world that is both familiar and new.
Another great part of any Western is the action. Wynonna Earp has action scenes that can rival any superhero show currently on TV. There are shoot-outs and gunfights and bar brawls, even a secret underground fight club. The fight scenes are enjoyable to watch, especially when Wynonna gets a verbal jab in alongside a real one. There’s a lively energy to the show that keeps things exciting.
7. Compelling Villains
When your show’s Big Bad is named Bobo Del Rey he’d better be terrifying if you want viewers to take him seriously as a villain. Luckily, Michael Eklund is wonderful as Bobo, combining just the right amounts of charm, evilness, and cunning. He’s terrifying because you don’t know just what he’ll do next. Eklund makes Bobo an interesting villain to follow throughout the entire season by always keeping the viewer guessing about his allegiances. The costume department also has to be praised here for the fur jacket that helps give Bobo his swagger. He is a compelling character who demands attention anytime he is on screen.
While most of the Revenants are merely villains of the week, they are all interesting in their own ways. They each have their own history and powers – everything from the ability to move through mirrors to hypnotic sexual attraction (really). There is also the deliciously evil Constance Clootie (Rayisa Kondracki), who has connections to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Bobo. It is always great to see a female villain, especially one who has power over some of Purgatory’s most nefarious characters.
Shipping is always dangerous on shows. Wanting two characters to be together does not always go the way the fans plan, especially if the writers have other ideas. However, the WayHaught ship has completely taken over Wynonna Earp in the best way possible. “WayHaught” is comprised of Waverly Earp and Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). The two women have won over fans with their charming and honest relationship, especially in regards to Waverly’s journey to discover her sexuality. The two actresses do a wonderful job portraying this storyline in a way that feels authentic and nuanced.
It should also be noted that fans going into this show featuring a romance between two women should not be afraid of the “Bury Your Gays” trope that has plagued television. Many shows have been criticized for killing off their lesbian and gay characters, especially to further the storylines of straight protagonists. When Andras saw how much WayHaught meant to viewers, she made it a point to promise that both Waverly and Nicole would make it through the first season alive. It is such a welcome change to see a show that cares so much about its fans and has a commitment to telling diverse stories.
5. Stellar Writing
Wynonna Earp might be a Western with lots of action, but at it also has a big heart. This is down to Andras and her team of writers. They have managed to make characters who not only seem realistic, but who are also people that you really care about. This is especially true of the show’s female characters. Andras and just understands how to write believable, well-rounded female characters. It makes sense when you realize that five of the seven writers who worked on the show’s first season are women.
The writing of Wynonna Earp is whip-smart and often times laugh-out-loud funny. And the great one liners aren’t just reserved for Wynonna, but doled out in a way that gives everyone a chance to shine. The interactions between the characters are some of the best parts of the series. The chemistry between the actors is palpable. It is evident the they really love what they do and it is just another one of the many things that makes Wynonna Earp so special.
4. Engaging Season-Long Mystery
Wynonna Earp is a show full of mysteries. It manages to keep viewers guessing with its surprising twists week after week, but does so a way that does not feel gimmicky or like stunt writing. The whole season is based around a number of mysteries that keep changing as old questions are answered and new ones appear. Many of the characters have shadowy backstories that were only hinted at in the first season and that fans hope to see explained more in season two.
The Black Badge Division is one of the show’s biggest secrets. What do they want with the Earps and Purgatory? What is Dolls up to (and what happened in his past)? Can Doc Holliday be trusted (and why hasn’t he aged)? These questions and many others are what keep fans come back for more. The mysteries of the series aren’t so complex that you spend the whole time trying to figure out what’s going on, but rather tiny hints are dropped that connect to a larger puzzle. It helps keep viewers on their toes, especially at the end of the first season, which had fans immediately ready to see season two.
3. Positive Representation
Throughout her career, Andras has made a point to feature diverse casts and LGBT inclusive stories on her shows. Wynonna Earp is no different. Like Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) from Supergirl, Wynonna Earp features a storyline about a character who is discovering her sexuality later in life. When we first meet Waverly, she is dating good old country boy Chip (Sean Fetaz) until a certain police officer catches her eye and ignites new feelings in her. It is realistic to see a character learning something new about herself later in life and to show the diverse spectrum of sexuality. Both Wynonna Earp and Supergirl handle their characters coming out in ways that are honest and refreshing.
Wynonna Earp also features a black lead with Anderson as Agent Dolls and will add Portugese Canadian actress Tamara Duarte as a character named Rosita in the upcoming season. These are small steps, but they go a long way to creating more diversity in programming and helping fans see themselves represented in media.
2. Sisterly Bonds
The main love story on Wynonna Earp isn’t between Wynonna and any of the male characters or even WayHaught. It’s the bond between Wynonna and Waverly that is the most important. The connection between the two sisters is genuine and also not without its complications. In some ways they both want what the other has. Wynonna just wishes she could have a normal life. Waverly wants to be the chosen one. They need each other, not only to break the curse, but as a reminder of why they are important in their own ways.
The relationship between the two women has not always been the easiest. Wynonna was always closer to Willa and left while Waverly was still growing up. There is a lot of hurt and resentment there, but they love each other in the way that only sisters can. Their relationship gives the show its emotional core and provides some of the strongest moments of the season.
1. Strong Female Characters
It might be cliche, but it has to be said: the number one reason to watch Wynonna Earp is for the strong female characters. Wynonna is a wonderful, sarcastic, damaged character who also happens to be a hero. Much of the credit for Wynonna has to go to Scrofano and the way she plays Winona with an edge, but a vulnerability as well. She is tough, but not so hard that she pushes her sister away. Throughout the season she is able to grow and learn that she is worthy of being a hero – not always the easiest lesson.
And Wynonna isn’t the only great female character. It’s shocking because so many shows limit themselves to just one, but all the women on Wynonna Earp are important. They each show, in different ways, what it means to be strong. Waverly’s strength comes from her big heart and openness. Provost-Chalkley does an amazing job of bringing to life a character who continues to care about people, despite the pain in her past.
Officer Haught and Gus (Natascha Girgis) are characters who have easily been turned into stereotypes, but instead they too are fleshed out and have distinct personality traits that make them seem like so many real women. These complex characters are what make this show really stand out.
Wynonna Earp season 1 comes to Netflix on April 1st. Season 2 premieres Friday, June 9th on Syfy @ 10 pm.