Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |
It’s hard not to root for Wynonna Earp, Syfy’s underdog supernatural series about the demon-fighting great granddaughter of the Old West lawman Wyatt Earp, which just wrapped its third season. The series has raised the stakes with each season finale, and this time it pulled out all the stops. The show pits its titular heroine against the demon that cursed her family and sets up a major reset of the entire premise for season four.
(There are spoilers for the first three seasons below, but it is generally mindful of major spoilers.)
“Wynonna Earp is not an easy show to describe in just one sentence,” showrunner Emily Andras admits. It has elements that made Buffy the Vampire Slayer a cult sensation in the 1990s, including whip-smart writing and a killer theme song (“Tell That Devil” by Jill Andrews). There is a wise-cracking, reluctant Chosen One, or Cursed One, in the case of the Earp heir. Instead of battling vampires, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano, The Listener) takes on “revenants,” the repeatedly reincarnated outlaws that Wyatt Earp killed. They won’t stay dead until the Earp heir offs them with Wyatt’s famous 16-inch barrel revolver, dubbed Peacemaker (not a historically accurate name for a possibly apocryphal piece of weapon, but don’t get hung up on that).
Buffy‘s vampires can’t enter a private home without an invitation, and Andras gave the Earp family their own safe space from revenants. The Earp homestead is built on a bedrock of ammonite, which acts as a powerful revenant repellant. Like Buffy, Wynonna becomes romantically entangled with a much older immortal being, Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon, Schitt’s Creek). There’s even an adorable lesbian couple in the Willow/Tara mold: Wynonna’s baby sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Avengers: Age of Ultron), falls for local deputy Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell, Girls’ Night Out)—a pairing dubbed “Way-Haught” by shippers.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss Wynonna Earp as just the Slayer stuck in the Weird Wild West. Wynonna Earp is every bit its own series, with its own rich mythical lore and lovable complicated characters, set against the stunning backdrop of Alberta, Canada, where the series is shot—a huge boon for a production on a tight budget.
“The landscape is worth a million dollars,” says Andras, who thinks of it almost as another character in the show. “You can point the camera in any direction, and you get prairie, you get the Rocky Mountains, or the foothills.”
Wynonna herself is the Anti-Buffy. She’s a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, promiscuous, bar-brawling free spirit with a chip on her shoulder. She never even had a shot at being Homecoming Queen in high school. It’s to Scrofano’s great credit as an actress that she brings out the insecure vulnerability behind that tough belligerent exterior.
Wynonna has always been the town pariah, scarred by the childhood murder of her older sister by revenants and by the fact that she accidentally shot her own father with Peacemaker during the attack. Nobody believed her story about demons: she was the crazy Earp sister gone wild, with a stint in a mental institution to bolster that perception. Small wonder she left her small home town after high school, returning a decade later for a family funeral, only to find out she’s now the Earp heir stuck in Purgatory until Peacemaker sends every last revenant back to hell.
“I hope I captured the tone of what it’s like to grow up in a small town and feeling like you can’t leave.”
“There’s something about growing up in a small town where everybody knows you,” says Andras of this aspect of the series. “It’s hard to reinvent yourself. I hope I captured the tone of what it’s like to grow up in a small town and feeling like you can’t leave. It can be beautiful, or it can be horrible