Season two of the hotly-anticipated ‘Wynonna Earp’ is about to christen our screens, and for fans or people who are on the edge of giving it a chance, here’s a quick, spoiler-free run-down as to why you should binge the first season.
Briefly, the storyline behind ‘Wynonna Earp‘ is this:
Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), our titular character, is the female descendant of legendary frontier lawman Wyatt Earp. After Wyatt’s conquests are resurrected, practically, in the form of demons (yup. Or—as they call them—’Revenants’) it is Wynonna’s destiny to kick their ass.
Cursed as a family, Wynonna’s joined by little sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and later, Willa (Natalie Krill). Notably, additions include mysterious Agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson). And, we couldn’t believe this either, an immortal version of Southern gentleman and infamous gunslinger Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon). Moustache an’ all.
There really isn’t a single character who is quite like another. In this mish-mash of personalities, everyone gets their opportunity to shine. It has to be credited to ballsy Emily Andras (‘Lost Girl‘) and comic-book writer Beau Smith Ranch for tackling something so head-on.
We’ve reviewed ‘Wynonna Earp’ consistently here at TV After Dark, and we love it for our own reasons. It’s probably got the highest attrition rate of one-liners…ever. But most of all, amongst its riptide pace, rollicking fun, sheer joy, LGBTQ representation and excellent acting…it has heart. Not just from its executive producers and creators, but from its actors and its dedicated fanbase, the Earpers.
We won’t subject you to a measly ‘top ten list’…but here’s a run-down of why you should parachute off this plane and give it a chance.
Don’t forget to catch our livetweets on Twitter, our reviews here, and a new feature–with you Earpers: weekly roundtables post-episode!
We’ll start with part of why it skyrocketed to fame: LGBTQ representation is not unfamiliar to esteemed creator Emily Andras, and she nails it perfectly with ‘WayHaught’.
In the age of portmanteaus, WayHaught is the relationship between Waverly Earp and dreamy Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). It isn’t just stuck in there so the show can wave a hand in the air and shout a frenzied “hey, we’re totally representing chicks loving chicks here!”
It’s changed people’s lives. Provost-Chalkley has talked repeatedly at conventions about a particular fan interaction that culminated in the revelation of the fan coming out to her parents, because of Waverly.
Katherine Barrell’s dreamboat Nicole has set the benchmark for all girlfriends out there. And we actually feel pretty sorry for them, because you can be hot, but you ain’t never gonna be Haught.
Amongst many interviews, Emily Andras had this lovely piece to say of ‘WayHaught’:
Andras: “I did talk to Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell a lot about the passionate LGBT community and how important it is that they see themselves represented on television as people, not as tropes. And the one thing I talk about a lot is I really want to make the relationship about the relationship. Not every lesbian or gay or whatever relationship is the same in the same way not every straight relationship is the same. That’s one thing I really learned from Lost Girl. Conflict should come from whom the characters are, not the fact that they’re gay or straight or other.”
Andras is no stranger to writing same-sex relationships, and we’re no stranger to seeing them depicted on television. But amidst the year of increasingly demoralising statistics regarding the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope, ‘Wynonna Earp’ struck at an important time.
Legions of fans were downtrodden, particularly after the death of Alycia Debnam-Carey’s Commander Lexa (‘The 100‘). But the thing is: Waverly and Nicole aren’t stepping into the shoes worn previously by ‘Clexa’. They are building a world of their own, and they’re proud of it. Why the heck not? The chemistry is palpable between Provost-Chalkley and Barrell, and some of their best acting is wrenched from the swoon-worthy heartache of ‘WayHaught’.
They’re sexy, cute, flirtatious and loving. They are 100% normal in a town that’s 0% normal. Given that the fact that this show is set in a fictional town called Purgatory, isn’t it nice that the main relationship is between two women…and that’s not some huge problem?
This world is rife with homophobia and demoralisation of minorities. If ‘Wynonna Earp’ can save lives through television and its depiction of an LGBTQ relationship, then why shouldn’t it? Who’s to say those millions of fans can’t latch onto it? In this day and age, Waverly and Nicole shouldn’t have to be leaders in a world stormed by tropes and misrepresentation. But if we had to nominate a couple to step up to the almighty task…we’d look straight to them.
‘Wynonna Earp’ dares where most shows would balk. And that’s why, beyond superficiality, ‘Wynonna Earp’ matters.
The revelation of the year: Melanie Scrofano heading up ‘Wynonna Earp’ and its #toofemale cast.
The Twitter debacle of the year surely had to go to Sarah Shahi’s cancelled Nancy Drew pilot. CBS, being CBS, pulled out because the show simply was ‘too female’. It was poorly worded PR, that was for sure. But it represented a clear problem behind-the-scenes of television. It doesn’t want to be ‘too female’.
Amongst the talent scattered across the cast like the stars glitter in the sky shone Melanie Scrofano. Quite like Tatiana Maslany is core to ‘Orphan Black‘, Scrofano, who plays our eponymous heroine, is essential. Without Scrofano perfecting every single scene, the show would just fall flat.
We won’t lie: the show ran into problems. It was all rationally considered and discussed in our season and episodic reviews. But one thing that remained inspiringly consistent was Scrofano’s depiction of Wynonna.
Haunted by her past, using sarcasm as a front and fending off the pesky future with a doughnut and a quip, Scrofano was a blast to watch. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to twizzle Peacemaker in your hands whilst strutting around in tight-fitting leather pants and snarking all day.
However, beyond the trap of ‘snarky female who just butts in sarcastically all the time’, Scrofano masterfully layered Wynonna. She who guarded her heart the hardest had perhaps the biggest heart of all.
Her actions, though on paper perhaps the worst, were fuelled by emotion and impossible circumstance. We could list every line Wynonna utters and every bad thing she’s ever done, and you’d be horrified by the write-up. But if you actually watch why Wynonna does what she does, and if you watch Scrofano and her posture, her eyes, and the quiver in her tone as she does it—you’d think differently.
Scrofano’s performance as Wynonna is so easy to glance over because we’re constantly craning our necks to find the stardust behind the dazzling star. But Scrofano is the rock-hard foundation of the show.
Without her dedication, her chemistry with others and her understanding of this character, we would not have a Wynonna we love.
Wait for it…the plot intensifies.
We can’t really say we have no criticisms for the first four episodes of ‘Wynonna Earp’ and its second season. To be frank, it’s the usual. But again, if you want blistering fun and you want to lose your mind for a whole hour, then tune in to Syfy. Seriously. Even if it’s just the once: do it. Do it, and you won’t regret it—even if you never tune in again.
It’s hard to pick up the lightning-bolt pace the season one finale left us off at. Actually, it’s near impossible. But we’ll be damned if premiere-writer Emily Andras doesn’t knock it out of the park. The premiere is possibly the best penned episode of the block of press screeners.
Nevertheless, ‘Wynonna Earp’ and its relentless pace had to slow down for season two’s episodes. If you revved your engine at max-levels and gassed down a freeway in first-gear, you’d explode. Probably. That’s what ‘Wynonna Earp’ is cleverly avoiding.
It’s still blisteringly fun. None of the quirkiness, weirdness and oddities of ‘Wynonna Earp’ are lost in its opening four episodes. In fact, it’s probably amplified, and it’s awesome. We see running jokes brought back, and we see the beginning of some nicely segued serialisation.
We’d criticised ‘Wynonna Earp’ for being a little procedural. In other words, it was a bit like CSI but with demons and more middle-fingers stuck in the air. Whilst ‘Wynonna Earp’ hasn’t quite edged past that yet, we’re beginning to see story arcs and relationships blossom. ‘Wynonna Earp’, we think, isn’t something we’ll sit down for twelve episodes and think: “oh, that was good”.
RELATED l Our Season One Verdict on ‘Wynonna Earp’
It’ll get us theorising and stirring the pot. Fans will have contrasting theories. There’ll be healthy, fun debate within the fanbase. Talented artists will be inspired to create art, write fiction or make videos.
The second season of ‘Wynonna Earp’ is like slowly unravelling the wrapper to your favourite, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate. You can smell it. The tremble is growing in your fingers as you tease the wrapper. The plastic falls to the floor in slow-motion and you pop it in your mouth.
Your eyes close as the initial taste slams into you, and then nostalgia floods your system as you remember why you love this chocolate so much. The bite you take is heavenly: the praline inside overwhelms you as your sensory buds overload.
Did that paragraph feel like it was just over PG-13?
The fanbase is perhaps one of the most passionate fanbases we’ve seen sprout in a long, long time.
We’re not just talking the Titanic of a ship that is ‘WayHaught’. It’s the self-proclaimed ‘Earpers’ in general. If we had to put them in a house at Hogwarts, we’d put them in all of them. The Earpers are international. But from country to country, here’s one thing they share: passion. From the many videos and fan meet-ups we’ve seen on YouTube or on Twitter, it’s blaringly obvious. As much as the show must’ve sprouted from a true place of love from Emily Andras & co, the feedback from the fans matches it like a ‘Pitch Perfect’ riff-off.
Do you have a meet-up story or video or picture you want sharing? Give us a tweet at @TVAfterDark!
Here’s the thing. The Earpers are kind of everything. They’re masterful in their fanart; they are meaningful, gorgeous fan-fiction writers, and they have produced a range of some of the most heart-wrenching to some of the funniest fan-videos on YouTube.
The best part of watching ‘Wynonna Earp’ rise from the ashes is the constant recognition the fans get from their beloved actors and actresses. This isn’t just a fanbase that’s excluded from their actors: they interact with them. And it’s lovely to see—both their reaction, and the actors’ shocked awe at the sheer talent of the Earpers.
Coming soon, there’ll be an Earper convention in the UK (with confirmed stars of the show as guests) and likely a bigger, louder audience at San Diego Comic Con. Here and at our sister-site Hello Nerdeek, we’ll be making sure we cover every crook and nanny for you dedicated Earpers. So we tip our Stetsons to you, grand Earpers.
To paraphrase Waverly: “we get it! You’re an Earper, not a unicorn!”
Essentially, ‘Wynonna Earp’ is a self-deprecating, endlessly funny, carefully representative, unassuming, Western with a dollop of demons-slash-Revenants wrapped in a mysterious conspiracy bow. How can that not tempt you?
C’mon. At least give it a go, won’t you?
As much as we’ll credit Emily Andras’ incredible writing team, the direction has often been beautiful. Notably, credit must also go to Ron Murphy and Brett Sullivan amongst others. One of the main things we latched onto, though, was that as much one-liners as there were in the show, there was amazing music. This didn’t just include the often epic music-score. This included the alluring, hip-swishing rock as Wynonna struts into a police precinct, or head-bashingly fun music as she gets into one of her scrappy fights. Robert Carli and Peter Chapman heading up the series music department gets some serious thumbs-up here…
Syfy are switching it up a gear. With shows like ‘Dark Matter’, ‘The Magicians‘ and ‘Killjoys‘ tearing apart all traditional notions of television-making and replacing it with the new, modern and widely-loved, it’s building an empire of deliciously good television.
Our lips are sealed when it comes to the second season of ‘Wynonna Earp’. We don’t want to spoil the fans, and we have an inkling that the fans want to be as stunned as we were. The up-side of getting early access to the show is that…we get early access. The down-side is that we have to suppress our squeals and screams for weeks and weeks and weeks. But we squeal anyway.
What did you wish for post-season one? Emily Andras & co will deliver it to you and more.
Let’s just say this: if you thought ‘Wynonna Earp’ season one was good, then ‘Wynonna Earp’ season two knocks down the freakin’ door. We’re talking Fort Knox levels of heavy. So get binging, get squealing, and remember to join us as we live-tweet our squeaks over on @TVAfterDark!
Catch the season premiere of ‘Wynonna Earp’ on June 9, Friday 10/9c on Syfy.
WYNONNA EARP doesn't just walk into its second season: it struts, kicks down several doors whilst unexplained explosions go BOOM in the background.
‘Wynonna Earp’ has proven that raw, jagged, emotive, heart-wrenching, grin-inducing, face-palming cheesy imperfection is the new perfection. We’re eagerly covering all bases here at TVAfterDark with weekly reviews, live-tweets via our Twitter account and roundtables that are open to every single Earper who’s got an opinion they want to spit for the episode! Email us and we’ll jam you in as we build the foundations of our roundtable family!