One of the brightest spots in last year’s bleak TV landscape was Wynonna Earp, Syfy’s adaptation of Beau Smith’s comic book about the gunslinging great-great-(great?)-grandaughter of Wyatt Earp. The show is helmed by former Lost Girl showrunner Emily Andras, who knows a thing or two about women smooching on the teevee, and who has gone further than any showrunner in history to assure fans the two queer women on her show will be treated with the respect they (and we!) deserve. Seeing the Bury Your Gays pandemic in the months before the show first aired, she even took the unprecedented route of promising that her queer characters would definitely both stay alive all the way through the season finale, and she continues to prove that she understands why kickass feminist heroines are more important than ever in today’s political landscape.
If you had asked me a few months ago, I’d have been sure that every TV-loving queer already knew about and watched Wynonna Earp. But I, a TV-loving queer, didn’t find out about Humans until the second season was already over, and I don’t want that to ever happen to you — especially because Wynonna Earp‘s first season lands on Netflix this very weekend, so you have plenty of time to binge it before the second season kicks off on Friday, June 9.
While Wynonna Earp is broadly about the descendants of Wyatt Earp and the demon-fighting gun they were destined to wield, leaving the sisters Earp and the title heroine to solve mysteries and get into mystical mayhem week after week, the show at its core is about the people of Purgatory. (Purgatory is the fictional town the Earp girls live and fight demons in, not heaven’s hellish waiting room.) It’s about lost souls figuring out who they are, it’s about falling in love, it’s about what makes a family.
Here’s who makes up that family, and the reasons you need to watch (or rewatch) season one and get hyped for season two.
1. Wynonna Earp
This quick-witted, donut-loving, gorgeous as hell, reluctantly gunslinging badass will snark her way into your heart within the first ten minutes of the first episode. She’s my favorite type of character: tough as nails on the outside but soft and squishy at the heart of her. Even though they’ve been apart for a few years, she loves her sister more than anything in this life, and their relationship is hands-down the best thing about this first season. When the show starts, they had been apart for a few years, so they have to figure out what their relationship looks like now that they’re both adults … and there are demons trying to kill them at every turn.
2. Waverly Earp
Don’t be fooled by this pocket-sized sweetheart, she’s fierce as fuck and knows her way around a shotgun. She can also tend bar, sing, speak Latin, and keep skulls (long story). When we first meet Waverly she’s working at the bar she lives above, dating a boy she’s known for ages, secretly learning all she can in a way to expand her tiny world. When her sister comes back to town with a curse and a mission, she’s quick to get involved, and she goes through a journey of self-discovery all her own: Where does she fit into the legend of Wyatt Earp? Where does she fit into the Earp family at all? What is this strange feeling she got when she met the new girl in town, Officer Nicole Haught? Waverly breaks out of her shiny bubble slowly but surely as the season goes on, and it’s a damn delight to watch.
3. Nicole Haught
Nicole swaggers into the bar where Waverly works and right into all of our hearts. Though she immediately had eyes for Waverly, Nicole went on a journey of her own, and developed her own complicated coworker/friendship dynamic with Wynonna. She’s smart and strong, and she knows what she likes (and what she likes is Waverly Earp). Plus, once you’re done watching season one, you can read journal entries from Nicole’s point of view that take place over the course of the season to get even more insight into what was going through the mind of everyone’s favorite redhead.
4. Dudes that don’t suck
It’s hard to write about men on feminist TV shows right now while wrapped up in the extreme frustration of Supergirl being invaded by Mon-El and his nonsense. One of my least favorite things is when a female-driven shows have the most badass women who are surrounded the worst men in the universe (looking at you, Pretty Little Liars). Luckily Wynonna Earp‘s men are complex, interesting characters, and even if/when they’re vying for Wynonna’s affections, they’re not totally insufferable. In fact, they’re fascinating. Doc Holliday (yes THE Doc Holliday) has a backstory that’s intertwined with the Earp family and a moustache you can see from space. Xavior Dolls of the Black Badge Division has a really fun dynamic with Wynonna where he somehow manages to keep a straight face while she slings jokes at him. Plus he comes with his own bag of mysterious secrets yet to be revealed.
5. Even the villains
One sign of a good show is when you love to hate the villains — you’re obviously still rooting for your heroes, but you hope maybe they don’t succeed in defeating them JUST yet so you can see what the baddie will get up to next. And this show has no shortage of really good bad guys.
6. Emily Andras
Showrunner Emily Andras is a very good reason to watch this show. I have never seen a showrunner who cares about her show or its fans more than Emily Andras. She wants to tell a good story, and she cares about the people who love it. We joke that she’s our hero because she promises gay content and she delivers — but I don’t want to minimize the importance of this.
Plenty of other shows have pat themselves on the back for months for queer content that took up maybe a third of one episode (looking at you, Once Upon A Time), but Emily doesn’t put in a queer storyline to check off a box on a “diversity” list. She put in a meaningful storyline about a growing relationship between someone who knows who she is and someone still figuring it out, and they just both happen to be women. It’s such a subtle difference in approach, but it’s noticeable. Just because she’s casual about the way she talks about it on Twitter, doesn’t mean she just waves her magic wand and queer content appears. She still has to fight for it. And she does. She fights for us. And it shows in every word Waverly and Nicole exchange, in every scene they share. And in every promise of Pussy Willows.
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) March 9, 2017
7. The Earpers
One of the most fun things about watching this show is that Emily is on the ground with us, the fans, and she has her amazing cast right by her side. They’re tweeting with us and teasing us and meeting us at cons. There’s a special kind of joy in watching someone talk about their work like they genuinely enjoy it, and a special kind of bond you can feel with them when you have this shared love of the show, even though we’re coming at it from different sides. Also between New York Comic Con and Clexacon, every single Earper I’ve met has been kind and funny and fun to talk to. I’m definitely biased, but I think we’re a pretty amazeballs group of weirdos. We are notorious for having no chill, as displayed by the fact that we’re doing an organized rewatch of the show between its Netflix release and its season two premiere.
— Wynonna Earp Fans (@WynonnaFans) March 31, 2017
Wynonna Earp is smart and fun and silly and complex and feminist, and above all, so unique. And if you told me there would be characters I related to in a witty supernatural horror western, I would have laughed in your face, but if you scroll on down to my Autostraddle author bio, you’ll see I did just that.
Now that you’re convinced, go watch all of season one on Netflix and come back here, so we can talk about Season 2.
Season one spoilers below!
Back? Great, hello. Let’s talk about what we know about the new season of Wynonna Earp, airing on SyFy on Friday nights starting on June 9th here in the US. (And will be airing on Space in Canada this year!)
Here are some things we know so far, besides the existence of a magical place called Pussy Willows.
8. Rainbow Bright
Wynonna Earp is not going to be one of those shows who gets their queer relationship out of the way to hook us then forget about us entirely. In fact, according to Emily, quite the opposite.
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) January 31, 2017
Oh and now that the newbs are gone can we talk about how amazing it is that Emily Andras gave a queer woman a bulletproof vest months before the rash of senseless fictional queer deaths in 2016? I’m telling you, she gets it.
9. New Girl in Town
Tamara Duarte was cast as a new character, Rosita, who will surely shake things up. Tamara was at Clexacon with Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell (which is both exciting and nerve wracking if you have an overactive imagination like I do) and Dom told us we’d love her, so who are we to doubt THE Waverly Earp. Fun queer fact: Tamara played Charlie Lima on Degrassi: The Next Generation; she dated Fiona in the eleventh season.
10. Answers to Questions…Hopefully
There’s a lot left open-ended when the first season ends. What even IS Dolls? Where is he now? What will Bobo and Willa do next? Is Waverly an Earp? What happened to Waverly when she touched the goo? Do chicks dig scars?
Luckily, we won’t have to wait too long to find out! I’ll be providing your Wynonna Earp recaps right here on Autostraddle dot com, where we can talk about all of our feelings from soup to (do)nuts.