In Canada: Mondays, 9pm, CHCH
In the UK: Not yet acquired
Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.
As we discovered back when Marvel’s Jessica Jones first aired, there’s an almost automatic tendency to compare pretty much any supernatural show that
- Is about a young heroine…
- Who fights some kind of supernatural enemy of some kind…
- While dealing with relationship issues, particularly a single foxy man…
- While dealing with family issues, sisters and girlfriends…
…to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I think that’s partly because there isn’t a large enough ‘dictionary’ of comparisons yet. Maybe soon people will be able to think of sufficient shows with female leads that Buffy won’t simply be the first one everyone can name.
All the same, watching Wynonna Earp, CHCH’s co-prod with the US Syfy channel that adapts the comic of the same name, I’m beginning to wonder if Buffy in some way almost created a Joseph Campbell-style template for ‘the heroine’s journey’ that through some form of morphic resonance has slowly become almost the only way for people to think about shows of this kind.
Okay, Wynonna Earp is from the same producer as Lost Girl, so maybe it’s just personal taste at work – that wasn’t exactly a million miles from the Buffy template and reading back over my original review of that piece of fantasy tatt that I’d largely forgotten, pretty much all the criticisms I had are the same.
But here’s the summary of Beau Smith’s comic from which it was adapted:
Wynonna is a present-day descendant of the famous lawman Wyatt Earp, and she’s the top special agent for a special unit known within the US Marshals known as The Monster Squad. She battles such supernatural threats as Bobo Del Rey and his redneck, trailer-trash vampires that are pushing a new killer designer drug called “Hemo”, and the Egyptian Mafia’s mummy hitman, Raduk, Eater Of The Dead, who’s out to do in all the other crime bosses. In her subsequent adventures she finished some outstanding Earp family business while dealing with Hillbilly Gremlins, and Zombie Mailmen alongside her fellow Marshalls.
And here’s the plot of the TV series, which oddly enough for a Western about a famous American lawman, is set in Alberta, Canada:
Wynonna Earp is a modern supernatural western that takes place among the foothills and badlands of Alberta. Our lead Wynonna was raised on an Alberta ranch but is indeed the great great granddaughter of famous lawman Wyatt Earp. When Wynonna returns to her hometown of Purgatory, Alberta on her 27th birthday, she learns that that she is heir to not only Wyatt’s near mythic abilities but also to a family curse that she had been taught to believe was only a myth. Unfortunately for Wynonna, the Earp Curse is real. Each generation since Wyatt’s death, the heir must battle Wyatt’s legendary old West enemies: demons who rise from hell, again and again. But with the help of a mysterious but familiar figure from the past and an agent from a covert joint task force, Wynonna is determined to end the curse once and for all.
See what I mean? They’ve actually done a lot of tinkering with the plot of the comic to make it Buffy… on a Canadian farm. Okay, it’s not identical, because while Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano from The Listener) can do all kinds of acrobatic gymnastics and martial arts like Buffy, she can only kill the demons using Earp’s gun, which is a straight lift from Supernatural.
But she’s snarky and feisty and objects to being a slayer; she’s got an annoying little sister (England’s own Dominique Provost-Chalkley); there’s a hot bloke of questionable loyalties for her to fight with/alongside (Shamier Anderson); there’s a Big Bad to fight (Tim Rozon from Schitt’s Creek); there’s various guys she was with at high school to taunt; and more.
It’s Buffy… on a Canadian farm. Except not even that good. The fight scenes are appalling – possibly the worst I’ve ever seen, and they couldn’t make the wirework more obvious if they’d covered the wires in little flags with Sarah-Michelle Gellar’s face on them. The acting is another order of awful beyond awful, particularly from Scrofano. The mythology is so derivative and uninvolving, it makes Demons look like Eraserhead. It’s sexy, sexy times are more embarrassing than Hex‘s.
I know it’s supposed to be a bit of comic book fun, but only the villains seem to know this. Everyone else seems to think they’re dealing with Tolstoy… and they’re all reciting it as fluently as they would with Tolstoy in the original Russian.
Shoot the lot of them, I say.