Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Occasional Media Consumption: Wynnona Earp

Since my partner is out of town, that often means that I have real trouble sleeping. I've been doing OK up until last night, but I didn't get a wink of sleep so I binge-watched Season 1 of a show called Wynona Earp on Netflix. Because why not? Woman lead, gunslinging, silly premise, and a good soundtrack will usually get me to watch at least the pilot, so I figured what the hell, I'm not sleeping anyway...

The premise is re-donk-ulous: Wyatt Earp, just before he died, was cursed and that meant the progeny of the Earp bloodline were doomed to kill (or try and kill) the 77 men whose souls would be resurrected again and again until the heir could return them all to Hell without dying themselves. Oh, and also there's a secret agency tasked with protecting the general public against the supernatural. Oh, and also there's a spell that means that the Earp line (and the "remnants" with whom they battle) can't leave a specific part of the West, Oh, and also, Doc Holliday is immortal. You wouldn't be too far off pitching it as "Buffy meets Longmire with a touch of Justified".

The show itself is good; it's not great, but it knows what it is and does a great job staying in its lane while also playing with the standards of the genre(s). It's a Canadian show shot on a shoestring budget starring a bunch of people you've never heard of (unless you watch a LOT of Canadian TV; I mean, I've watched the entire run of The Pinkertons and I haven't heard of 75% of these people). The scripts are funny and tight without being overwound, and the actors do a great job with the material, and the occasional fight scene (as opposed to the at-least-once-an-episode "shooting someone" scene, which is different) is well shot and well choreographed (which is more than I could say for, for instance, Arrow Season 4). I'm always vaguely amused when a Canadian show tries to pretend they're in the US West somewhere; it's the little giveaways (like the tiny Canadian flags on the shoulder patches of the winter coats).

It also has great secondary characters, including possibly the most amazingly hilarious shipping couple I've ever encountered: Waverly Earp (the youngest of three Earp women) and Sherriff's Deputy Nicole Haught, AKA WayHaught. And they are: the actors have fantastic chemistry together. Also, spoilers: neither lesbian dies (so far, anyway). The florid speech patterns of Doc as a man out of time are hilarious if entirely inappropriate, and the actor manages to at least deliver the lines with a straight face, which is enough for me.

Wynnona herself is a hero in the mold that's recently become popular via AKA Jessica Jones: the woman who is played straight up as a the complicated hero that men are almost always and women are so infrequently allowed to be. She's mean and petty and grumpy and angry and sometimes wrong and drinks too much and tends to be trigger-happy (see the previously mentioned Justified Rayland Givens for a classic example) and generally just gets to be messy and adult and real in a way that makes her rather endearing.

I was glad to hear it'd been picked up for another season: it's a fun and easy to watch and I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes gunslinging and demon-slaying in equal parts. Definitely a fun way to pass a sleepless night.