Wynonna Earp Review – Syfy Spins A Winning, But Furiously Goofy, Comic Ride

Syfy has been rolling the dice for the last couple of years on shows that aim to really turn up the sci-fi dial, and they’ve had a lot of luck. They took that to new levels last year with 12 Monkeys, and brought it home recently with The Magicians. Now they’re rounding out the schedule with something that isn’t quite as serious, but is just as wildly fun, Wynonna Earp, based on the IDW comics.

Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) returns home to Purgatory, and if you think being descended from Wyatt Earp is something you have trouble leaving in the past, you don’t know the half of it. Wynonna has a secret, though it’s only “sort of secret,” and it involves the men her ancestor killed, and the fact that they don’t want to stay dead.

The Earp family is cursed… or something, and we’re now dealing with a seriously paranormal brand of justice, and gun-slinging. Of course, when you have something like this going on, even when you start to get a feel for the weirdness in your life, there’s always something new crawling out of the woodwork.

After all, Wynonna thought she was just coming home for a funeral, but it isn’t long before there are whispers of “it happening again.” That is, when her antsy, excited sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkey), isn’t shouting about it.

Wynonna Earp Syfy
Photo by: Michelle Faye/Syfy/Wynonna Earp Productions

It takes some nudging, but Wynonna decides that she’s going to have to try to put this curse to rest. That’s not going to be easy already, but there’s more to deal with than just spooky, resurrected whatevers. The townsfolk aren’t exactly something you put in the pluses column, and there’s also a federal agent, Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), who seems to know too much about what’s going on, and then there’s Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) to deal with. Seriously, Doc Holliday.

The show leans decidedly toward the campier side of things, which makes a lot of sense, as showrunner Emily Andras comes by way of Lost Girl and Killjoys, but it’s a style of television camp that has managed some winners (like both of those shows). The pilot struggles slightly, and just because there is too much to do, but the show aims for characters that win out despite what’s going on around them, as opposed to being excuses to watch what’s going on around them. Think Eureka meets Haven meets Grimm… sort of.

It’s a show that you have to meet with the right frame of mind, and it’s lousy with cornball fight scenes, and over-the-top, paranormal pseudo-drama, but it’s put together with an eye toward a good time that doesn’t look down on its audience.

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Syfy/Wynonna Earp Productions
Photo by: Michelle Faye/Syfy/Wynonna Earp Productions

The question marks for the show are its ability to avoid spiraling out of control over time, and Scrofano’s ability to charm. The first is anyone’s guess, especially if it lasts long enough to run out of ideas, but it seems that Scrofano has the right mix of serious and self-effacing silliness (which again recalls Colin Ferguson’s Eureka role, which might have gone horribly wrong in someone else’s hands).

As opposed to some of the best things Syfy has on right now (or returning soon), Wynonna Earp really demands that you wonder at the “goodness” of the ridiculous, but iZombie is ridiculous too, and one of the best things on television. Though that’s a level of difficulty that is only now beginning to turn up with regularity, this one seems to have its sights set on embracing the quirky semi-nonsense and just running as fast as it can. As much as that is perhaps not the sort of thing a show wants to highlight on the poster, it’s the way to get something that oozes fun, and keeps people watching.

It’s certainly not without its faults, many of which show up in the form of classic establishment short cuts in the pilot, like glossing over the fact that Waverly was inches away from murdering someone, but the show makes it easy to, mostly, overlook them.

Besides, paranormal circumstances aside, the show puts the spotlight on a cool, complex heroine who isn’t going to lay down, but is real enough to have problems beyond figuring out how to shoot.

 



 

Demon outlaws? Magic guns? Spiked coffee? It’s just another day at the office for motorcycle riding, whisky-slinging, fast-talking Wynonna Earp.

After a troubled adolescence spent in and out of juvie, Wynonna reluctantly returns to her hometown of Purgatory in hopes of ending the Earp family curse once and for all. To bring the paranormal to justice, Wynonna and her gang of misfits must take on the resurrected souls of villains put into the ground by her legendary ancestor Wyatt Earp. Sounds simple, right?

Inspired by the hit IDW comic book series, WYNONNA EARP premieres on Syfy on Friday, April 1 at 10PM and stars Melanie Scrofano (“Gangland”), Tim Rozon (“Being Human”), Shamier Anderson (“Defiance”) & Dominique Provost-Chalkley (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”).

 

 


 

Show
7.5
Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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