There aren't many shows like Wynonna Earp out there, but while you wait for the first six episodes of Season 4 to debut later this month on Syfy, you should check out Netflix's new supernatural show Warrior Nun, which has a similarly wild premise.
Created by Simon Barry (Continuum) and based on a comic book character created by Ben Dunn, Warrior Nun follows Ava (Alba Baptista), a 19-year-old orphan and former quadriplegic who suddenly finds herself with a new lease on life — and the use of her arms and legs — after an angel's halo embedded in her body brings her back to life in the midst of a battle between factions of heaven and hell. Imbued with powers that only the Halo-Bearer can possess, like phasing through solid matter and a unique ability to heal from nearly any wound, Ava and her desire to experience life for the first time butts up against the pesky baggage of destiny that the divine artifact brings with it, including working for the Order of the Cruciform Sword (OCS), an elite and secret order of warrior nuns who are trained to track down and kill demons on Earth. You can think of them as ninjas in habits, essentially, which is freaking awesome.
The series spends the first half of its 10-episode season in set-up mode, but it quickly becomes a thoroughly entertaining show in addition to engaging with deeper questions of faith, science, and free will. And just when you think you know where it's going, the show turns a corner and surprises you. Here are the ways Warrior Nun, which is now streaming on Netflix, is similar to the exceptionally weird Wynonna Earp and why you should watch it.
1. Both shows follow confident women who know what they want
Like Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), Ava has destiny thrust upon her. Unlike Wynonna, who was born an Earp and knew she was destined to track down and send revenants to hell, Ava does not possess any foresight into her destiny. In the series premiere, she wakes up in a morgue after having the halo embedded in her back in an attempt to protect it during an attack on the monastery. She appears to be a victim of nothing more than circumstance — she died while in an orphanage in Spain and her body was taken to the local parish where the warrior nuns live — and thus she understandably rebels against the forces trying to control her and force her to join their cause. But despite taking different paths toward their destiny, Wynonna and Ava share similar attributes in that they are both confident and competent heroines with agency who refuse to cede their power and rarely make moves they don't want to make. They resist those who try to put them in boxes and control them, and neither will do something before they're ready.
2. Neither show takes things too seriously, though
While Wynonna Earp features more laugh-out-loud jokes per minute than Warrior Nun, the latter series still injects humor throughout its storyline and finds plenty of things to joke about, most often via Ava and her position as an outsider and usually at the expense of the Catholic Church as an institution and its antiquated, patriarchal practices. The fact that Ava doesn't take the Church or its traditions too seriously adds a much-needed lightness to the show and brings the OCS further into modern day.
3. Wynonna and Ava are proof that being a hero involves more than destiny
On paper, Wynonna isn't particularly noteworthy; she has no superpowers or special skills. She's just a flawed human being trying to do her job and make a difference in the world, so she is a hero not because she is the Earp heir but because of the inner strength she possesses. And even though it takes a bit of time, Ava eventually follows suit, embracing a destiny she never saw coming and a life and family she never could have predicted to become a warrior in her own right. Although she follows the path of a more traditional heroine than Wynonna, Ava is still a woman who's been thrust into an unpredictable situation and who rarely has any of the answers, and yet she still tries, eventually jumping headfirst into her new life and revealing her strength, which ultimately makes her more of a hero than the powers bestowed upon her via the halo in her back ever could.
4. Both shows subvert viewers' expectations in surprising ways
Some of the best genre shows are the result of their ability to play with viewers' expectations and subvert common tropes (see also: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the spiritual predecessor whose success made both Wynonna Earp and Warrior Nun possible in the first place). Wynonna Earp does this through an unconventional heroine who makes mistakes and isn't afraid to be vulnerable (having Wynonna spend a season pregnant while Scrofano was pregnant in real life helped as well, with the added bonus of catapulting the character and the show to the forefront of TV discourse.)
Warrior Nun, meanwhile, plays with expectations in a number of ways but most notably through its ability to rewrite the roles nuns, clergy, and the Catholic Church have traditionally played in real life and thus pop culture. You don't need to have been raised in a religious household to know nuns don't traditionally go around swinging swords or dominating entire security teams in close hand-to-hand combat. They're pious. They're buttoned up. They take vows and dedicate their lives in service to others. Warrior nuns use these preconceived notions to undermine their opponents, but in doing so they also force us to reassess what it is we think we know as well.
The show also forces us to reexamine the ways in which religion and science can coexist together and not be at odds with one another through the work of scientist and tech guru Jillian Salvius (Thekla Reuten), who has her own reasons for tracking down the Halo-Bearer that may not be what they seem.
5. Both shows feature memorable supporting characters
Wynonna is successful at what she does because of the support system she has around her, and Ava benefits from having her own set of friends, but it takes her some time to find them and none are immortal gunslingers from the Wild West. Shotgun Mary (Toya Turner) makes an instant impression, though, as she plays by her own set of rules and prefers the weapons that give her her nickname instead of those the other warriors use. Meanwhile, Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young), who is a patient and extremely knowledgeable sister, is the first person to accept Ava and welcome her into the Order, thus forming an instant bond that deepens as the show progresses. Even Sister Lilith (Lorena Andrea), who was next in line to be the Halo-Bearer and spends the early part of the series attempting to track Ava and take what she views as rightfully hers, eventually proves to be more than initially meets the eye. Without these powerful women, and several others in various roles in the series, Ava could not go on this journey, and she definitely wouldn't be the warrior she becomes.
6. Perhaps most importantly, both shows are freaking fun
Wynonna Earp is, and I say this with love and admiration, often batsh-- crazy, and Warrior Nun, while having a somewhat saner grip on reality, remains another totally fun series that hands out its own delightful surprises across its 10 episodes. While no one has licked a potato (yet) and there doesn't appear to be a man-lizard hybrid, you haven't lived until you've seen Ava beat a possessed man with several different cuts of raw meat and then stab the wraith demon that escapes from the body.
Warrior Nun Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Wynonna Earp Season 4 premieres Sunday, July 26 at 10/9c on Syfy.