Why SYFY Should Reconsider When It Comes to Wynonna Earp

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY

Is this really the end for Wynonna Earp? That’s the question many Earpers were asking themselves after it was announced last Friday afternoon that the beloved supernatural western series would air its final six episodes of Season 4 in March. The press release also stated that those six episodes would conclude the series’ run on SYFY, its U.S. home, despite the fact that the network had previously renewed the series for Seasons 4 and 5.

“We are so grateful to Emily Andras and her incredible team who brilliantly brought light to real issues around identity and sexuality throughout the series four-season run. From the very beginning, this show deeply connected with our viewers – reaching new fans every season, filling up Comic-Con theaters, securing write-in award nominations, and even landing multiple fan-funded Times Square billboards,” Frances Berwick, Chairman, Entertainment Networks said.

So what gives? If a series is that special then why is its run being prematurely cut short? Why is SYFY pulling the plug on a show that has brought worldwide attention and acclaim to a network that, outside of genre fans, has little notoriety to the public at large? Perhaps it’s not too late for SYFY, Berwick, and NBC Universal head of scripted programming Lisa Katz to realize the error of their ways and bring Wynonna Earp for Season 5. 

After all, that is what SYFY promised when they renewed the series back in 2018. It’s also a promise the network seemed to acknowledge and stand by through previous tough times for the series. Scheduled to begin shooting Season 4 in early 2019, production never got off the ground due to IDW, the company that owns the rights to Wynonna Earp (comic and TV series), struggling to find funding. That’s when loyal fans took up the Fight For Wynonna, loudly speaking out about their love of the show on social media and through hundreds of billboards in Times Square. During this time, SYFY stood by Wynonna through it all. A source even told Vulture that the network “remains committed to the story and series, and expects IDW to deliver” on that order for a fifth season. If they expected others to stay committed to Season 5, then why are they now able to get out of their promise and just back out?

If the network needs more reasons to move forward with the planned Season 5 they should look no further than their own press release announcing its end. In it, SYFY touts Wynonna Earp for being female-driven, empowering, widely praised for its performances, having great character development and relatable topics, as well as the fact that Wynonna was just nominated for its fourth GLAAD award. While traditional ratings for the show have never been strong, Wynonna Earp does rank in the Top 10 social of all scripted series in 2020 and Top 10 of all ad-supported cable series as reported by Nielsen Social.

Why end a series that brings you that much positive attention after already agreeing to go for another year? SYFY, it just doesn’t make any sense, especially when all of the other pieces seem to be in place. Along with showrunner Andras, Wynonna Earp’s Canadian production company seems ready to go. “I have been honoured to tell Wynonna and her family’s story, and along with Seven24, Cineflix, and CTV Sci-Fi, are hopeful we can continue to share their inspiring tales in the future,” Andras said as part of the press release sent out by SYFY on Friday.

Perhaps Seven24, Cineflix, and Wynonna’s Canadian network CTV Sci-Fi all see the error of SYFY’s ways, especially when it comes to canceling a female-led and female-run series. Too many times in 2020, fans of beloved female-led series were left outraged and mourning over the cancelation of their show. At one point last October, Observer noted that “of Netflix’s 23 most recent cancellations, 17 of them feature a female lead, a person of color in the lead role, or are LGBTQ-centric.” It can’t be a great look for SYFY to continue with this trend in 2021, especially when one adds in the praise Wynonna Earp has garnered for its treatment of LGBTQ characters, even being called “a gamechanger for queer women on TV” by Out Magazine.

TV series can’t be expected to last forever, but it’s also clear that Wynonna Earp is special, especially for a network like SYFY. This is a fact that they seemed to at one point clearly acknowledge, changing their entire branding to “It’s a Fan Thing” in 2017. It’s a branding message the network has used time and again when it comes to the passionate Earper fanbase. Doesn’t that passionate fanbase deserve the same respect now? Don’t they deserve to see the stories of their favorite characters told through to the end by Andras and her team? To have the story end as Andras planned? Not to have the once secure rug of a promised Season 5 pulled out from under them? 

Once an Earp, always an Earper. What do you say, SYFY? There’s great power in changing your mind, acknowledging a mistake, and doing the right thing in the end. We’re fairly certain that Earpers wouldn’t hold it against you.

Wynonna Earp Season 4B premieres Friday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.