Reviewed by Steve McGowan
Wynonna Earp is my favorite new SyFy series. I say that like I have a lot of favorite series on SyFy, but it really is just this and Battlestar Galactica. Wynonna Earp is a show about the great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp who inherits his magic gun which is used to hunt demons, so as one can expect, there’s a huge helping of cheese to be found here. Cheesy as it maybe, it does have its charm. Besides, I kept watching Battlestar Galactica long after it jumped the shark so I’m not too picky with my choices of entertainment, as long as it’s fun. And Wynonna Earp sure is fun.
The pilot episode introduces us to Wynonna Earp, a jaded, wise-cracking and perpetually peripatetic vagrant who returns to her hometown for her uncle’s funeral. We see that there a lot of demonic rednecks about, 77 “revenants”who returned from the dead and somehow stuck in this tiny town out in the boonies, which is incidentally called Purgatory (yeah it’s not subtle show). Purgatory isn’t exactly a charming place; it’s in the middle of nowhere and the residents are shown as stupid and annoying, and that’s not even counting the revenants. Wynonna’s family in Purgatory consists of her long-suffering aunt Gus, and her adorable younger sister Waverly. Her uncle was killed by the revenants to lure Wynonna back to Purgatory. Why? Because the Earps have a curse; each time an Earp heir turns 27, the 77 revenants return and the heir has to kill them all. Nothing and no one can kill the undead demons except the heir of Wyatt Earp, who inherits his gun Peacemaker as a family heirloom. Peacemaker is the only thing that can dispatch the revenants to hell; they were formerly bandits killed by Wyatt Earp back in the day. If you can accept this premise, you’re in for a good time.
Also introduced in the pilot is Agent Xavier Dolls, a tough, no-nonsense agent of a secret division of the US Marshalls that hunt monsters. Agent Dolls recruits Wynonna into his unit, called the Black Badge Division, and by the end of the pilot she’s forced to give up her vagabond life and killall the monsters. Also wandering into town is Doc Holliday, the original Doc Holliday, who isn’t dead – he was just stuck in a well for all this time (yup, the premise really stretches itself). He hasn’t even aged, thanks to a curse that’s befallen him, because everybody’s cursed in this town, as if being stuck in a remote town that’s full of idiots and/or killer zombie bandits isn’t a curse enough. Doc Holliday is on a mission of vengeance, and we haven’t quite found out what or who he’s after just yet. We’re only two episodes in, but there’s enough mystery and monsters and intrigue to keep me watching. Our hero Wynonna is portrayed as equal parts badass and goofball, which should be charming, but it doesn’t quite mesh (yet). I am generally not bothered by terrible acting (I’m more offended by inconsistent storytelling), but often I find the performances lacking. However I did watch all of seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I tell myself it always gets better, so I am going to forgive the show’s shortcomings and I am on Team Earp.
Wynonna Earp airs Friday nights on SyFy.