11 Ways that Wynonna Earp is Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Wynonna Earp - Season 1

“Wynonna Earp” has burst out on the SyFy scene and made quite an impact on Friday nights. Adapted from the comic, of the same name, Earp dispatches demons but  does not slay vampires,. However,  there are a number of similarities  between Buffy the cheerleader and Wynonna the “crazy chick with a gun” in terms of plot and characters.

Not to disparage the new heroine on the scene but there are a lot of “coincidental” themes and character arcs going on here. (Mike’s Film Talk loves the show, incidentally.) We took a moment to note a few.

Buffy Summers

1 – BOTH BUFFY AND WYNONNA ARE RELUCTANT HEROES:

In Buffy, the cheerleader was the “Chosen One” and was not overly keen to be the slayer of the vampire.  Giles: “In every generation there is a…”  Buffy: “To hunt the vampires; to stop the spread of their evil,  blah, blah blah…”

In Wynonna Earp, Wynonna is, by default, the eldest Earp heir and therefore must kill the revenants who are part of the Earp family curse. Wynonna, who inadvertently killed her own father, has difficulty getting into the swing of sending the demons back to Hell.

2 – BOTH WOMEN ARE NOT CONVENTIONAL PROTAGONISTS:

In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Buffy Summers is a fashion conscious and pop culture referencing sort of former “Valley Girl” whose conflicting interests were Homecoming, dating, fitting in and not being the chosen one. Her weapon of choice to dispatch the vampires who infested Sunnydale was a stake.

Wynonna is, at best, a down-home biker chick type who loves to drink, mess around and is consumed with guilt for accidentally killing Pops when she was a child (which explains the above character traits nicely thank you).  Earp’s weapon of choice is Wyatt Earp’s Buntline Special “Peacemaker.”

3 – BUFFY AND WYNONNA ARE BOTH QUIPPY AND CAN BE CUTE:

Buffy: :We haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Buffy, and you’re history!” (Never Kill a Boy on the First Date)

Wynonna:  “I want them to tremble with fear before me.”  Dolls: ” You got powdered sugar on your nose.”  (Leavin’ on Your Mind)

4 – EARP AND SUMMERS HAVE SIMILAR TASTE IN BOYFRIENDS:

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Summers fell hard for the vampire with a soul Angel. The 300 year old was a bit long in the tooth for the slayer but each one felt a connection. When they finally had sex everything thing went dramatically pear shaped and Buffy ended  up “exiling” Angel to Hell.

David Boreanaz as Angel
David Boreanaz as Angel

In Wynonna Earp, our hero’s boyfriend is Doc Holliday, at a mere 130 years old, there is still  a huge age gap but Wynonna is attracted to the old west icon. The two have sex, at least twice, and similar to the Angel/Buffy storyline, the two put some distance between each other after the act when  Wynonna gives Doc the Stone Witch’s pink caddy.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

5 – BtVS AND WE HAVE A YOUNGER FEMALE CHARACTER WHO STARTS STRAIGHT BUT THEN “TURNS” GAY: 

In Buffy, it is the adorably geeky Willow who has a long love affair with Seth Green‘s character Oz (who happens to be a werewolf) and after they break up, the Wiccan wannabe meets Tara. This other witch in training and Willow are inseparable until season six.

In “Wynonna Earp” it is little sis Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) who makes the switch. At the start of the season, Waverly is with a local yokel who has no idea how special the youngest Earp is. She leaves this cretin and meets Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) who is  instantly smitten with Waverly. It is not long before these two are an item. 

6 – BOTH HEROINES HAVE AN OLDER MALE MENTOR:

In Buffy it was Giles (Anthony Head) *Billed as Anthony Stewart Head due to SAG issues* who was the almost father-figure who attempted to keep her safe and train her in the arts of vampire slaying. Giles had a magical background and a mysterious past that comes back to haunt him (Halloween).

In Wynonna Earp it is the mysterious Dolls (interesting how both men’s names end in s…) a Deputy US Marshall, Dolls in in charge of the “black badge” division and must take injections on a regular basis. Each time he “inoculates” himself, the man’s eyes go yellow and the pupils change shape. He is Earp’s “Giles” and we have yet to learn his secret.

7 – SUNNYDALE AND PURGATORY ARE OVERRUN WITH EVIL: 

Sunnydale is sitting over a Hellmouth (Welcome to the Hellmouth) and due to its location the small Southern California town is a cornucopia of demons and evil activity.

Purgatory is in the Ghost River Triangle the natural boundaries that keep all the revenants (demons) that are part of the Earp curse trapped. In terms of numbers, the Earp villains are fewer in number; 77.

8 – BOTH HEROINES HAVE ANOTHER HERO TURN UP UNEXPECTEDLY:

In the Buffy-verse this happens twice but initially when Buffy dies at the end of season one (Xander revives her with CPR) a new slayer is activated; Kendra (What’s My Line?: Part 1) *Later, when Kendra dies, Faith is activated.*

In “Wynonna Earp,”  she is the “heir” who has the power to wield Peacemaker and send the revenants back to hell.  The real  heir should have been the eldest Earp sibling Willa who was kidnapped by revenants and killed on the night that Wynonna accidentally shot her father.

After hunting down Bobo Del Ray’s enemy Lou, Wynonna learns that Willa is not dead after all and can use Peacemaker as easily as she can. (She Wouldn’t be Gone)

9 – IN BOTH VERSES WITCHCRAFT IS A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE STORYLINE:

Evil Willow in Season Six

It is erstwhile geeky girl Willow (Alyson Hannigan) who “wields the wand” in the Buffy-verse and, by season six, becomes a major power in the verse. There are a number of other “Wiccan’s” in Sunnydale who have varying degrees of power.

In Wynonna Earp, there is the Stone Witch. She is the object of Doc Holliday’s wrath and there are others who have magical powers; The Blacksmith and various revenants.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

10 – BOTH HEROINES HAVE A YOUNGER SISTER WHO WANTS TO BE THE HERO:

Granted, in Buffy’s case, the sibling was not real. Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg)  was created by Monks as the key required by “mad as a hatter God” Glory (Claire Kramer) to destroy the world. Dawn, was made from a part of Buffy and was to be protected from Glory at all costs. “Little sis” however, ended up wanting to be a slayer just like Buffy and often begged to be included in the slaying. 

Wynonna’s little sister Waverly, clearly wants to be the heir but must content herself with doing the research (more shades of Willow here as that was Rosenberg’s forte as well) but, like Dawn, “Waves” has a surprising depth and a lot of intestinal fortitude for someone who cannot send demons back to Hell.

11 – IT IS A CONSPIRACY:

In both shows there are influential people who transpire to see that evil wins. In Sunnyvale it is the Mayor, and his lapdog Principal Snyder (Armin Shimerman) who work diligently to keep the populace clueless and want to open the Hellmouth to create havoc on earth. 

In Purgatory there is at least one judge, a mole in the black badge division and a slew of important politicos who Bobo Del Ray (Michael Eklund) has in his pocket. All these people want to help the revenants escape the triangle and bring Hell to earth.

In Conclusion:

So there you have it. 11 ways that Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) are so much alike it hurts.  The latest female heroine is not a carbon copy of the high school slayer by any means. For one thing Earp is a more “redneck” version of a strong female protagonist and (more importantly) she ain’t no teenager. 

If you are a fan of both shows, let us know if you have noted any similarities that we might have missed.  Buffy finished in 2003 and Wynonna Earp is just starting over on the SyFy channel on Friday nights. Tune in and see what you think. Is Wynonna a “down and dirty” version of Buffy?

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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