Outside of being based on comic books, there wouldn't seem to be a ton of common ground between Syfy's Wynonna Earp, currently in its second season, and its forthcoming Superman prequel series Krypton -- but in fact, there's an argument to be made that the success of Earp proves Syfy is in the right place for Krypton.
On the one hand, it might seem obvious: a network that's trying to rebrand and re-embrace the science fiction elements of their roots versus the more general "pop culture" flavor they've had in recent years seems like a pretty obvious spot to find a home for a superhero-adjacent sci-fi show about life on a distant planet.
On the other...well, Syfy is really best known for Sharknado at this point; it's sometimes difficult to imagine the network spending a lot of money on a serialized show that's meant to be taken at face value.
After re-watching Wynonna Earp's first season in preparation for the recent launch of season 2, though, we noticed a handful of things which, if they can carry them over to Krypton, the show seems destined for success.
Like what? Read on...!
Wynonna Earp is a show where Syfy brings together a bunch of actors you probably haven't heard of, or don't recognize, and gives them a lot of interesting work to do.
The actors, in turn, knock the material out of the park, giving Syfy a tremendous return on their investment and speaking really well of the casting directors who helped put it all together.
The combination of great characters and perfectly-cast actors doing good work has helped the show to connect with their audience emotionally -- and the fact that so much of the show centers on the relationships (romantic and otherwise) between Wynonna and the people in her orbit makes it work even more.
Special mention goes out to Dominique Provost-Chalkley, who turned the "troublemaking little sister" seen in the pilot into one of the most interesting characters on TV -- in no small part because of her great chemistry with Katherine Barrell, who plays Officer Haught, Waverly Earp's girlfriend in a development that takes everyone (including Wave) by surprise.
Launching an expensive and effects-heavy show more or less without much in the way of brand name recognition or name actors actually kind of ties into our next point...
The show is unafraid of being a bit campy, they're unafraid of gore and language, and they're unafraid of being a show that takes a position.
Wynonna Earp is an unquestionably feminist show at a time when being one is a "controversial" and potentially divisive move -- something that simply doesn't seem to concern the folks making the show.
The gore and language on this show is, in a typical episode, more or less common for a particularly violent Syfy (or other cable network) show...but there have been a few instances, especially the season 1 episode where Wynonna faces off the a demented surgeon and his mentor "Jack," that the gore has been off the hook completely.
Somebody from Syfy, at some point, had to look at dailies from Wynonna Earp and say "yep, that's a show we want on our air," and the fact that they did speaks highly of the network, which has often been accused of playing it safe or being cheap.
Wynonna is neither, and it's kind of surprising to see it got a greenlight -- let alone a second season after the fan-favorite first season failed to set the internet on fire the way it maybe should have.
The show is very effective at working within the constraints of a Syfy budget -- something that can't always be said of their series.
The effects on this show are about on par with The CW or other lower-budget networks that nevertheless understand the importance of making something that doesn't dive too far into camp -- something that Wynonna has mastered.
It also occasionally genuinely impresses; the aforementioned "surgery" sequence was as realistic as it was gruesome, and while it sometimes has misfires, they're generally masked pretty well.
The Revenants -- souls Wynonna hunts, and who are sent to Hell in a literal fire pit on the floor after she kills them -- are often criticized; their deaths are among the least "believable" special effects.
The series manages this by building in a stylistic way those deaths are done, so that even if they are imperfect they're consistent.
One of the defining elements of the first few episodes of Wynonna Earp -- and something that ultimately would recur throughout the series, even after it got toned down a bit -- was the sense that a lot of the mythology that shaped the show happened generations before Wynonna herself ever came into the picture.
In that way, once can look at Wynonna Earp and see in Wyatt Earp what Superman will be to Seg-El in some ways; while obviously the characters on Krypton won't be looking back at Kal-El, the reality is, Superman will likely loom over Krypton in the same way Batman looms over Gotham, at least until (like Gotham) the writers find a way to engage the audience that isn't contingent on future generations but instead on the characters right there on screen.
Doc Holliday was a gamble for Wynonna, as he had the possibility of making the show too much about Wyatt Earp and the established mythos of the Old West. The El and Zod families will likely serve similar purposes, teasing but never quite reaching the mythology of the known characters bearing their names.
It's in that way that the Krypton writers could look to another show on their own network to see an example of how it's done right.
And, fortunately for all involved, there's a definite sense (especially in the Willa-centric episodes in season 1) that part of the Earp legacy is going to have to live on after Wynonna, so there's even a sense of the character being part of something biggerthan themselves.
Based on the IDW Comic, Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) follows Wyatt Earp's great granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures. With her unique abilities, and a posse of dysfunctional allies, she's the only thing that can bring the paranormal to justice. After years away, Wynonna Earp has traveled back to her home town of Purgatory to reluctantly take on the role destined for Wyatt Earp's heir: Demon protector. Her enemy: Revenants, the resurrected (and twisted) souls of the criminals Wyatt Earp once took down. Using only her wits and her wit, Wynonna, along with sister Waverely (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), associate Agent Dolls (Shamier Anderson) and Wyatt's cursed-with-immortality-best-friend Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon), must try to stop the Revenants from taking over the town - and escaping into the world.
The cast also features Katherine Barrell as Nicole Haught, a local cop and Waverly's girlfriend, as well as newcomers Varun Saranga as Jeremy Chetri and Tamara Duarte as Rosita.
Wynonna Earp is produced in Calgary by SEVEN24 Films, and distributed by IDW Entertainment. Emily Andras (Lost Girl, Killjoys) developed the series for television and serves as Executive Producer and showrunner. SEVEN24’s Jordy Randall and Tom Cox, IDW’s Ted Adams and David Ozer, Banditos Yanquis’ Todd Berger, and Circle of Confusion’s Rick Jacobs also serve as Executive Producers.
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Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, KRYPTON follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe, “The Halcyon”) — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos. Based on DC characters, KRYPTON is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (“Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “The Dark Knight” trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner. Damian Kindler (“Sleepy Hollow”) will serve as executive producer and showrunner.
In addition to Cuffe, KRYPTON stars Georgina Campbell (“Broadchurch”), Elliot Cowan (“Da Vinci’s Demons”), Ann Ogbomo (“World War Z”), Rasmus Hardiker (“Your Highness”), Wallis Day (“Will”), Aaron Pierre (“Tennison”) with Ian McElhinney (“Game of Thrones”).
The pilot teleplay was written by Goyer and Kindler, from a story by Ian Goldberg (“Once Upon a Time,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) & Goyer, with Colm McCarthy (“She Who Brings Gifts,” “Peaky Blinders”) serving as director and co-executive producer. KRYPTON is based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, published by DC.
More Krypton News: First Official Photo From SYFY's Krypton Series Released / SYFY Orders Krypton To Series, Hints At Release Date / SYFY's Krypton Series Will Include Notable DC Comics Characters / First Trailer For Syfy Superman Prequel Series Krypton Debuts Online