First look Netflix UK TV review: Wynonna Earp Season 1
Ivan Radford | On 02, Sep 2017
Can you say Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The creators of this Canadian adaptation of Beau Smith’s comic book clearly can. Wynonna Earp follows the titular descendent of the legendary gunslinger, Wyatt, who returns to her hometown of Purgatory, where the outlaws her granddad bumped off are coming back to life.
Zombies, historical fantasy, Westerns and Canada? It’s hard not to enjoy a show that throws them all into the mix, as Wynonna shoots around town on a motorbike, wielding Earp’s gun, Peacemaker, and dispatching the “revenants” back to hell. The mythology of the story isn’t entirely clear – the bad guys spend a lot of time chatting about how they’re going to take over the world/find freedom/kill that pesky, meddling Earp girl, but despite there apparently being a large number of them already on this side of the grave, they don’t do much attacking. Wynonna, meanwhile, needs an amulet to protect the home of her and her sister, Waverly (Provost-Chalkley), from supernatural trespassers and can only execute them proper if she’s using grandaddy’s magic pistol. Just how strong is she without these objects? And what exactly is the curse on her family? And how does government Agent Xavier (Shamier Anderson) fit into this?
What we need, perhaps, is a Giles-like figure to explain things to us. What we get, though, is still intriguing on its own terms, from a damsel-in-distress-subverting opening, which introducers our kick-ass leading lady, to the kind of cheesy special effects that endear rather than amaze (Doctor Who fans will feel right at home).
Melanie Scrofano is charmingly sarcastic in the lead, while she and Dominique Provost-Chalkley have an entertaining sisterly chemistry that sets this apart from your typical genre show. There’s even an untrustworthy man with a moustache. And, of course, lots of hats. What’s not to like?
In a crowded TV landscape, where shows such as iZombie are already bringing new blood to the undead and Preacher is nailing theologically-minded Westerns, though, “like” isn’t necessarily good enough. Will Wynonna ever be able to move out of Buffy’s shadow? It’s hard to say (although its renewal for a third season suggests someone has confidence in the series’ potential). What is certain, though, is that you want it to. And that’s half the battle.
Wynonna Earp: Season 1 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.