The Witcher show dropped on Netflix and I watched it, so it’s time for an honest review. Overall, it’s a pretty good show with high production value and a few glaring structural… oddities.
The main thing that’s weird about this show is that it takes place across 3 totally different time periods, but that’s not mentioned or explained in any way, so about halfway through the season you just narrow your eyes and think “Wait a minute, how is this just happening now, when that happened before?” Because the show is full of all sorts of magic and sorcery, you might assume for a second that a wizard did it, but a wizard didn’t do it. Yennefer’s story starts in the far past, Geralt’s story starts in the relatively recent past, and Ciri’s story starts in the future, and there are sometimes decades between events that, with no indication otherwise from the show, seem to be cut together like they’re taking place concurrently.
I haven’t read the book or played the game, so maybe the structure is similar in those formats, but having just seen the show, it’s a somewhat jarring realization.
The second thing about the show that’s a little wacky is they’re obviously very, very confident about getting a second season, because the way this season ends is just so… unsatisfying. It’s sort of like a midseason finale. I’m not going to spoil it, but when you get there, you’ll probably see what I mean.
The fight choreography is really good, and so is the overall production value of the show. It’s full of CGI and make-up created monsters and demihumans that are all pulled off fairly well. It kind of reminds me, to compare it to something, of the Xena show that was on TV when I was a kid. They don’t shy away from the magic effects or the monsters to spare budget, or if they do, it’s not obvious that they do that.
Geralt as a character is kind of… well he kind of doesn’t exist. Between this show and The Mandalorian, stoic lone wolf bounty hunters with no personality seems to be the trend. Geralt’s are mostly “…” “*grunts*” and “fuck”. Which, I guess, sort of makes a character. I figured they did this because in the video game he’s you and you define what his personality is, but as a TV show it’s just kind of bland. That said, Henry Cavill does a great job for what he’s been given. The character of Geralt seems to exist moreso in his reputation than anything he actually does, and Cavill’s physicality and execution of fight choreography make others’ “reputation precedes him” reactions to Geralt believable.
The remaining characters are all decently interesting. The bard is well-executed as a comic relief character. Yennefer’s story is intriguing. Ciri’s story is a bit bland, but in the context of the three-way split plot, it works. To make an analogy, Geralt is the meat, Yennefer is the potatoes and Ciri is the vegetables, so together it creates a balanced meal.
I recommend this show to people who like fantasy, but I’ve got to say… that season finale kind of bummed me out. It really felt like there’d be 1-2 more episodes to kind of close the season off in a more organic way. I hope the showrunners didn’t take any cues from what The Walking Dead people did with their season finales, because people famously hated those.
That’s it for my review of The Witcher on Netflix. Click here for more movies & TV reviews and recommendations.