With a 58% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and headlines like, “Netflix’s The Witcher is nakedly terrible,” “The Witcher’s failings show what makes the The Mandalorian so strong”, your first instinct might be to steer clear of the fantasy show that joined Netflix’s lineup on December 20th.
But I’m here to tell you the critics are so, so wrong.
As of the writing of this post, it is a mere two days after the series based on the books and video games of the same name launched, and my husband and I have already binged all eight episodes. I went into the show with basically zero context. I have neither read nor played the aforementioned books and games, and did no research before settling in to watch. But one of the first fantastic things I’d like to point out about the show is that you don’t need that background to enjoy it.
The setting and plot is explained clearly, the characters are well thought out, and the action is delectable. We get epic mage fights and gory and well-choreographed fights between men and women alike. These episodic adventures are neatly packed into 1-hour time slots while also progressing the overarching narrative.
And you don’t have to just take my word for it. Simply searching for “the witcher” on twitter will net you dozens upon dozens of tweets in support of the show from viewers who have all devoured it just as quickly as I did (don’t worry, season 2 has already been confirmed).
It also doesn’t hurt that Henry Cavill is a beefcake (I’m not afraid to say it) who successfully brought a lot of enjoyable dry wit and brooding to the character Geralt of Rivia.
In a post Game of Thrones world, it was incredibly refreshing to watch The Witcher. The potential is still immense and medieval fantasy was not conflated with “historical accuracy” for once (I am a huge fan of the “Lioness of Cintra” Queen Calanthe, and the cast away princess Renfri).
I think I can solidly give this show an 8/10, knocking off just a couple points for a scene or two that made me unnecessarily comfortable, and some heavy-handed reinforcing of “magic” and “destiny.” But The Witcher was certainly a bloody, rollicking good time, and I personally cannot wait to see where the show takes us next. If you like brutal high fantasy, sassy bards, and, honestly, RPG video games, this show is definitely for you. I also have to give kudos to the fascinating structure of the timeline in the show, but, unfortunately, I have to leave it at that in an attempt to avoid spoilers. So give it a watch!
Now, pardon me while I go binge-play all three games since they’re on sale for less than $15 on steam right now.
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