Love/Hate: The Witcher on Netflix Edition (Warning: This Article Contains Spoilers)
Somewhere in the midst of this years smash hits in entertainment – be it hurtling through space with a small green alien baby or the latest season of battling unknowable horrors during the 80s as a band of children – you may have somehow missed the release of Netflix’s new series, The Witcher. We don’t often touch on TV series here at COGconnected but being that it is connected to one of the most iconic RPG games to come out this decade, it is well worth talking about now. Video games rarely get a decent treatment in film, yet somehow basing this latest series on the books – of which the games follow faithfully – has made quite a difference this time around. The show is quite simply phenomenal for fans of The Witcher, be it in video game or novel format. There are of course those who will make asinine comparisons and complaints but they tend to fall more on ignorance of the base material than any criticism of the actual product. Despite our feelings for the show, no production is without fault and so here are the 5 things we liked – and hated – about The Witcher Netflix Series.
We are going to do things a little differently with this format and get all the bad stuff out of the way first because honestly, despite being bad traits, they are quite underwhelming compared to all the good the show has done, so let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
THE HATE LIST
5. Half Explained Content
There will usually be moments in a show left unexplained for further exploration at a later time, however, in the case of The Witcher there are some aspects that feel as if they expect you to already be familiar with the source material. Most notable of this is Geralt’s bag of potions and tinctures. These are vital pieces of a Witcher’s arsenal and have a wide array of functions. We see that he takes them and uses them when needed, but nothing is actually explained about them. To the viewer who knows nothing of the lore this may seem like some sort of be-all-to-end-all godly potion that can do anything the user wants rather than a plethora of small potions the Witcher’s themselves concoct. Considering the show will give me entire backstories on the various creatures and politics, it wouldn’t hurt to mention something in passing to Jaskier about his bag.
4. Those Cheesy CGI Moments
The Witcher is beautiful. The costume design is amazing, and the practical effects are great. So when the CGI moments hit they are so jarring it actually pulls you out of the moment because it stands out in a bad way. When the assassin’s beast was attacking Yennefer and her escort it looked awful in most scenes. That gold dragon? While beautiful, it was off-putting, and the fact it spoke without moving its mouth made it seem even more fake somehow. Some scenes such as Yennefer’s fire looked beautiful, but other times it made the show lose its feel of a high quality production and more like an afternoon television show.
3. THAT Scene to End the Season
So yes, it had to happen that Geralt and Ciri would finally meet. I enjoyed the scene, it was nice to finally see them together, and as a fan of the books and the games I look forward to seeing how it all develops, HOWEVER, that is where you decide to end the season? It feels less like an epic cliffhanger or catchy moment to cling to and more like an elbow to the ribs as if to say “see what we did there? Yeah.” I do love that we finally saw them together and you know this relationship is going to make Geralt grow so much as a character but it just ended too soon and on a note that could have been so much more potent to draw new audience members in for season 2.
2. Triss Merigold Seemed… Off.
Okay, the casting of Triss has been more than a bit hotly debated because of her *ahem* appearance, however, this is NOT the point I’m trying to make. Geralt, Yennefer, Ciri, Jaskier, so many of the cast were BRILLIANTLY signed on. These people embodied the characters in an absolutely perfect way, doing both their video game and novelization counterparts justice. Triss, however… well she sort of fell flat. It wasn’t that her acting wasn’t believable, but her character didn’t quite match the level of authenticity we were expecting. Granted she only appeared in a few episodes but she felt almost ignored, as if they didn’t want another strong personality in the mix. Maybe this was intentional until season two and I hope that is the case because I love Triss as a character, but what we got instead felt like a stand in.
1. Where are Yennefer’s Consequences?
One of the most important lessons we learn throughout The Witcher is that actions have consequences. Tissaia was most vocal through every action Yennefer took about the consequences for the things she had done and yet… what actually happened? What punishment did she receive? She defied the council and forced herself to be made beautiful – a rite only given to those who ascended – she then forced her way to the side of the king whom she was not meant to be with, also a direct violation of the council. Despite these sorcerers being all powerful, Yennefer continued through the show to defy their wishes, rules, and commands to her own ends and despite the constant behest of Tissaia warning her about repercussions, what exactly has she been punished with? True she lost her choice to have a child, but she was warned about that as a consequence of her beauty. Yennefer has yet to face any punishment for all of her transgressions and I doubt she ever will given the state of the brotherhood by the end of the season.
With the bad stuff out of the way, let’s look at the 5 things we loved about the show.
Head over to PAGE 2…