I have always been a nerd. I used to love obsessing over several fandoms with friends and attending midnight premiers, till I grew older and fandoms became a thing of the past. Of course, I have enjoyed fantasy/sci-fi shows since adulthood, but they have always felt heavy. No amount of funny memes can hide the reality that Game of Thrones was a serious and sometimes disturbing fantasy. Despite enjoying Thrones and shows like it, over the years I forgot that sometimes the draw of supernatural shows can be the fun and joy they bring. Then in the middle of the pandemic when I desperately needed more joy I found the hilarious show Wynonna Earp on Netflix. The show is based on the comic of the same name, about Wynonna the descendant of Wyatt Earp who is tasked with killing all the revenants (resurrected criminals Wyatt Earp killed) who have come back to her home town of Purgatory to take over. In order to do this, Wynonna becomes part of a demon fighting team that includes Dolls her government agent boss, Doc Holliday, and Wynonna’s genius little sister Waverly. Together they work to break the Earp curse and kill all the revenants in Purgatory, and they have a lot of fun while doing it. The thing that makes Wynonna Earp so much fun is despite the darker premise the show does not take itself too seriously. After all, the showrunner herself refers to the show as "our little shit show." The show has a charm to it that if given the chance will speak to the heart of any nerd or lover of fantasy/sci-fi, especially those who loved the nuance in their fantasy/sci-fi just as much as the mythos. I am not the only one that found Wynonna Earp later in the game either. The show certainly grew over time from a cult classic to garnering mainstream coverage by the fourth season. This of course left fans of the show feeling bittersweet that the attention seemed to be too little too late (Syfy announced season 4 would be the last about halfway through the season).
Part of the reason many were slow to fall in love with the show is the fact that it genuinely gets better as it goes. I can admit the first episode of Wynonna Earp is not its strongest. Between trying to explain a curse, family history, supernatural elements, and multiple murders all at once, I can see why the episode may feel overwhelming to some. Yet, once past the first episode the show slowly begins to build, displaying how captivating the show really is. The show is constantly taking all the tropes known to Western and Sci-Fi genres and flipping them around. The hero of this Western is a woman, and not just any woman but a messy, irresponsible, and funny woman (Melanie Scrofano is impeccable). The bad guys aren’t always bad and the good guys often mess up. It also challenges the Western love story by putting a LGBTQ+ relationship at the center. While Wynonna certainly has her fair shares of love stories, the most consistent relationship on the show is between Waverly and Sherriff Nicole Haught (played by Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Kat Barrell). This is also one of the show’s most appealing facets, the genuine chemistry between its core characters. Waverly and Nicole’s relationship (or WayHaught according to their ship name) has been a beacon for positive LGBTQ+ representation, even gaining the attention of GLAAD and others. In addition, Wynonna and Waverly’s genuine sister story arc is one of the cornerstones of the show as they navigate their cursed family line and reconnected sisterhood all with fast paced witty dialogue and a heavy dose of sarcasm. To top it off, the cast seems to enjoy being a part of the show just as much as viewers enjoy watching it. The cast has been known to engage with fans on social media, live tweet episodes, frequent cons, and even visit fan run podcasts.
The fans of the show, or “Earpers,” reciprocated the cast’s devotion to the show by creating a fandom that could compete with the best of them. Earpers have seen the show through droughts between seasons, cancellations, and even a pandemic. After the show was cancelled the first time, Earpers campaigned renting out ad space in Times Square, paying for ads to be placed on busses in LA and running a successful online trend till the show was renewed for its long awaited fourth season. While the show’s series finale seemed to be one huge thank you to the fans that would signal the show’s final curtain call, I have learned never to underestimate Earpers. I would not be surprised if one day a fifth season, spinoff, or movie were to happen. Till then, you can find all four seasons of Wynonna Earp now on Netflix. If you want to further enjoy or understand the show, you can listen to the podcast Wynaught for hilarious recaps of each episode between a Earper and newbie. Or the podcast Tales of the Black Badge for interviews with the cast and past deep dives on episodes. You can also read the episode recaps with the showrunner Emily Andras she did with TV Junkie to help understand each episode a bit more. If you are looking for a fun show give Wynonna Earp a shot, but fair warning, you may be calling yourself an Earper before long.
Autumn Andersen is an editor for Penumbra Online and grad student at CSU Stanislaus. She enjoys reading, writing, and talking about her favorite shows.