5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Syfy’s Supernatural, Feminist Western, Wynonna Earp
Female-led. Supernatural. Western. Does that sound like a mashup of unexpectedly incredible things to you? Well hop aboard, because that’s exactly what you get with Wynonna Earp!
If you’re not already watching this paranormal, feminist western, let me just tell you: you really should be. It tells the story of Wynonna Earp, the great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp, who returns home to Purgatory (yes, that’s the town’s real name) to take up the mantle of the Earp heir and try her hand at destroying the family curse. The curse? Oh, only sending all the Revenants—resurrected outlaws Wyatt once killed—back to Hell … if they don’t kill her first.
Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons you should be watching this amazing show right now:
1. All the Girl Power
I hate that trope—you know the one—where the main protagonists are a group of men with just one single, obligatory woman. Just … no. And while there are plenty of fellas on this show (some of them good and some of them very, very bad), it’s really all about the ladies—and these ladies get to be unapologetically themselves. Wynonna, our leading lady, is sassy, violent, and vulgar while still having a soft heart. Her partner in crime is her book-smart but oh-so-plucky little sister, Waverly, who’s spent every moment, while Wynonna was running from her destiny, learning everything she could about the Earp family curse.
There’s also Gus, who raised the girls after the death of their father and oldest sister, as well as Constance Clootie, a woman with powers who is definitely up to no good, and Purgatory newbie Officer Nicole Haught, who doesn’t have a clue what is going on in this crazy town but definitely wants to get to the bottom of it. Several other female characters are introduced throughout the course of the first and second season, some of whom help the gang on their mission, and some of whom have more sinister motives.
It’s really wonderful to see a show with so many distinct and interesting female characters who get to be heroes and villains and everything in between. And the awesome ladies are growing their numbers, since it was announced that Megan Follows (best known for her roles in Anne of Green Gables and Reign) will be joining the cast for season three in a role I won’t disclose here, because spoilers (but for those who want them: spoilers).
I really hope the show will continue to prioritize female characters (and definitely some more women of color)—especially since I’m still holding out hope Wynonna can find herself at least one female friend.
2. A Sisterly Relationship That’s Actually Prioritized
What? Shocking, I know—a sister relationship that isn’t sidelined whenever it’s convenient? But on Wynonna Earp, that’s what you get. The relationship between Wynonna and Waverly—while often complicated and constantly evolving—is always at the heart of the show. It’s what really drives things. Their choices to trust each other (or not), their choices to listen to each other (or not), and their choices to be honest with each other (or not), are often the crux for larger conflict and development. They love each other unconditionally, but they’re each envious of the role the other gets to play, and that creates a really interesting and complex dynamic.
As a younger sister with a close relationship with my older sister, I really love seeing a nuanced sisterly relationship depicted on screen. It’s not something we get to see very often, but for Wynonna and Waverly, there’s nothing more important than family. It’s not always an easy or simple relationship, but at the end of the day, they’re always going to be there to have each other’s backs—whether that means protecting the homestead or trying to reclaim the bar from a gang of drunk Revenants.
3. Pregnant Women Can Be Action Heroes, Too!
On most shows, when the lead actress is pregnant, insane lengths are gone to in order to conceal it—especially if that show is an action show and that lead actress is supposed to be a badass demon hunter. Not so on Wynonna Earp.
Instead of hiding lead actress Melanie Scrofano’s real-life pregnancy during season two, the pregnancy was written into the storyline, giving us something I have honestly never seen before on television: a pregnant woman kicking butt and taking names.
Why does that matter? Because women are incredible. We are capable of incredible things, but pregnant women, in particular, are usually depicted as fragile and delicate. But Wynonna was a badass before she was pregnant, she was a badass during her pregnancy, and she’s going to continue being a badass post-pregnancy, too. I loved not only that Scrofano and showrunner extraordinaire Emily Andras made the choice to embrace the pregnancy, but also that Wynonna insists throughout the season that people not treat her any different or expect her to just sit around, twiddling her thumbs and not hunting demons while she waits for the baby.
That’s a really cool thing, and it’s something I’ve definitely never seen on television—or in movies—before.
4. It Features Multiple (MULTIPLE) Queer Characters
Yep, you read that right. There’s more than just one—or two!—queer characters on this show. Season one gives us two wlw, one of whom is just starting to realize she might not be straight and the other who definitely has a thing for her. Then, season two brings us the clever, dorky, and all-too-lovable Jeremy, who has a major—and not so secret—crush on Doc Holiday. Totally understandable, really.
And that’s only the main characters, too.
Plus the show features one of the best coming out lines of our time:
I also love the awareness that this kind of representation is important and needs to be handled carefully. Way back at the end of season one, knowing a potentially traumatic scene was coming up, Andras guaranteed that both Waverly and Nicole would survive the season—even in spite of one specific scene involving a gunshot (bulletproof vests—they’re important). This was in the aftermath of another prominent lesbian character being shot and killed onscreen (and as part of the greater legacy of the Bury Your Gays trope). I really respect a creator recognizing the very legitimate concerns of a marginalized community and going out of her way to be a good ally to fans who are a part of that community.
In fact, the queer characters survive a number of improbably dangerous situations, including being shot, kidnapped, poisoned, and blown up (kind of). Now here’s hoping season three brings a love interest for Jeremy and even more awesome queer characters!
5. It’s Just So Dang Funny
One of the best aspects of this show is the incredibly witty dialogue. Wynonna, in particular, has a razor sharp wit she uses indiscriminately to flirt and/or sass the bad guys. She’s always got a comeback or some kind of snappy response. They want her to hand over Peacemaker, the Revenant-slaying Earp family gun?
Or when she’s punching a bad guy …
And it’s not just Wynonna. The dialogue across the board is top-shelf, whether Waverly’s charm is lightening the mood, Doc is being sarcastic as usual, or Jeremy is just his adorkable self. It’s the perfect mix of drama, violence, and punchy one-liners.
Convinced yet? It’s basically a western Buffy meets a feminist Supernatural (without all the roadtrips)—and I mean both in the best ways possible. Season Three comes out later this year, and you can catch up on season one on Netflix and some of season two on Syfy.com. And if it wasn’t clear already, I definitely think you should.
Rachel Brittain is a writer and contributor for Book Riot. She is a proud feminist, geek girl with a deep and abiding love for Star Wars and Harry Potter (even when she’s criticizing them). You can find more of her writing about books and pop culture—as well as her fiction—on her website, rachelbrittain.com. For more, follow her on Twitter @rachelsbrittain.
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