Wynonna Earp: Saving Purgatory and Canadian Media
Canadian TV is…something. For anyone that knows me personally, I have many issues with Canadian media. If I had any advice for the Canadian media industry it would be: let it go. Let go of past. Let go of Anne of Green Gables. We get it. A ginger kid lives in P.E.I and there are potatoes. I have never read the books, or seen a full episode of any of the 84 adaptations, but I know this show like the back of my hand because for some reason this is what Canada’s TV industry focuses on.
I understand that Canadian history is important. I’m reminded every time a Heritage Minutes advertisement comes on while I’m watching Degrassi. But there comes a time when we as a Canadian society can say, enough.
All of this ranting actually does have a point, and that is to talk about the one show I think is paving the way for new Canadian media. Wynonna Earp. You may be saying “but Em, the show is based on Wyatt Earp’s heir, and Wyatt Earp was American. Also it’s based on the comic book by the same name, written by Beau Smith, an American. Furthermore it’s on Syfy which is an American network.” And to all this I say, true.
Wynonna Earp is like that person who was born in the States, but grew up in Canada and really doesn’t bother with their birth country anymore. They enjoy maple syrup, understand that Canada Goose jackets are way overpriced, and know that Harvey’s makes really good poutine.
Now if you’ve never seen Wynonna Earp, or do not know what the hell I’m talking about, here’s a little breakdown of the show. Wynonna Earp is about a descendent of Wyatt Earp named Sally Jones. Kidding, her name is obviously Wynonna Earp. She’s the Earp heir and is tasked with killing and sending revenants, who are Wyatt Earp’s victims that have come back to take over the small town of Purgatory (yup Purgatory), back to hell. However at first Wynonna is reluctant to take on this daunting task, she eventually gives in and becomes the hero we need but do not deserve.
Wynonna Earp is one of the most well developed characters I’ve seen portrayed on television. She’s brash and blunt and selfish and jaded. But she’s confident, and caring, and loyal to a fault. She’s the character we always see men playing, the asshole with a heart of gold. Except this time it’s a woman and she’s not labeled a cold-hearted bitch, because that’s the furthest thing from what Wynonna Earp is.
The show Wynonna Earp has such a Canadian air about it that when I watch it, I feel like I’m part of something. Shot in Alberta (how much more Canadian can you get?), filled with a Canadian cast (side-eyeing Dominique Provost-Chalkley but it’s cool cause England counts as Canada right?), there’s just something so Canadian about it. Maybe it’s the dry humour Melanie Scrofano brings to the character of Wynonna Earp, or the charming innocence Kat Barrell brings to the screen as Officer Nicole Haught (if none of my writing has convinced you to watch this show yet, the mere fact a character’s name is Officer Haught should do it). I cannot put my finger on the maple leafness of this show, but goddamn I am so happy it exists.
Wynonna Earp is showing the Canadian media industry that it’s ok to let go of what we’re used to. It’s ok to step out of our comfort zone and take a risk. This show is paving the road for new Canadian talent to emerge and be showcased to an audience that is craving new. So thank you Emily Andras, showrunner of the an amazingly quirky, Canadian show and the whole Wynonna Earp team for showing Canadian media that change is good and definitely needed.