Creator: Lauren Schmidt
Starring: Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra, Joey Batey
IMDB Rating: 8.6/10
The Witcher follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, who struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than monsters and beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a special gift, the three must learn to navigate independently the increasingly volatile Continent.
As one of the most anticipates shows of the year, a lot of expectations were on The Witcher. Initial reviews for this show have been mixed, and while some of the criticism is fair, the Witcher does succeeded in establishing a compelling world with fascinating conflicts that play on the ideas of destiny.
Admittedly, the first episode was rough, but it provides a base for the season, and was the narrative develops, the actions of the first episodes become clearer. It has to be said that this show was made for bingeing as the complex and sometimes muddling narrative structure is a lot to take in. This might turn people away, and maybe they could have done a better job at establish these varying timelines. However, once everything pieces together, you will marvel at how the showrunners went about exploring the ripple effect of past choices on the present timeline. It’s another way of exposing the consequences of the actions of Geralt, Queen Calanthe, Yennefer, and others as it set in motion a chain of events that brings about the downfall and destruction of kingdoms.
As our titular characters, Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Ciri of Cintra, take centre stage, and while this first season makes a case for establishing their individual arcs, it also places a strong emphasis on their connection to one another, an element that is bound to be a focal point in the second season. Out of the three, Ciri’s arc would appear to be the weak link. That may be in part of the lack of clarity on the abilities that make her such a valuable asset to all sides. Nevertheless, our titular characters are supported by a slew of entertaining supporting characters, and one of the most entertaining dynamics was the odd-couple friendship between the stoic Geralt and charmingly irritating bard, Jaskier. This reluctant friendship offers some levity to the shows darker aspects, providing an addictive soundtrack and brilliant banter between the most unlikely companions.
The biggest criticism is the romance. Fans of the books and the game are already familiar with the relationship between characters. However, for those of us who have no prior knowledge of the series, it takes more than two episodes to establish a relationship. The chemistry between Geralt and Yennefer sizzled, but more could have been done to develop the relationship at a natural pace instead of diving headfirst into it.
With its violence, sex, and nudity, many will be eager to compare The Witcher to Game of Thrones, but what distinguishes the Witcher is how it embraces the magic of the world and normalises its use in politics and conflict, as demonstrated in the finale. Hopefully, the next season will continue to explore the mechanisms of magic in this universe.
The Witcher is not without its faults, but it has definitely made its mark. There are multiple compelling storylines, brilliant action sequences, and an intriguing world with plenty of avenues to explore. The Witcher is a franchise that will draw viewers in with its promise of an epic fantasy adventure, and make them stay with its compelling character arcs and potential to be a driving force for a new wave of fantasy franchises.
Best Episodes: Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials | Before a Fall | Much More
What did you think of the Witcher?
What was your favourite episode?