Fans of fantasy rejoice! After the abomination known as Game of Thrones Season 8, Netflix has come through with a new fantasy that will restore your faith in the genre. Its mixture of horror and fantasy elements gives it uniqueness that nearly separates it into a genre of its own.
The show follows a mutant monster hunter, Geralt (Henry Cavill), as he ventures the continent searching for a purpose in a life of slaying demons and monsters.
Based around the popular book series by Andrzej Sapkowski and the video game series developed by CD Projekt Red, Netflix’s adaptation to the tales of magic, mutants, betrayal, and sacrifice surely come together very nicely.
Upon my first time watching it I was left confused, so to make it easier on new fantasy watchers I’ll make it a little simpler for you. The show focuses its plot around three base characters that act as a center point for nearly every scene in the show: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. Only one of them follows a linear plot; the other two characters are seen through their pasts that give their role in the present story a deeper meaning.
The monster fights are truly epic but difficult to describe without giving away any spoilers. One of them is in the opening scene, which is hardly a fight, but it opens in a dark swamp which makes quite an eerie setting; surely not a place where I would go looking for a giant demon spider-looking thing. Seriously, this demon the Witcher fights makes the giant spiders in other fantasy adaptations look like puppies you’d want to snuggle with; or spiders you could snuggle with . . . if, you like spiders.
The process of training witches and warlocks, known as mages in this world, which Yennefer goes through is nothing short of rugged. Their magic originates from something these mystical people carry within themselves called ‘chaos’ which results in all sorts of deformities, injuries, and if you push it too hard, you’re dead! Let’s just say the mage training is no stroll through Hogwarts and of that I am certain.
Between all of the dark forests, monsters, mutants, and witches, the viewer gets a small amount of comedic relief through Jaskier. The bard accompanies Geralt on many of his travels; solely for the purpose of singing songs of his endeavors at first, but traveling together soon hatches into sort of a friendship, at least Jaskier would consider it that way, where the banter between the two is nothing short of hilarious.
Geralt is portrayed as a rogue hero searching for a place in the world. The closest character I could compare him to is Han Solo and that is an extremely blown out of proportion comparison; because you can’t really compare any character to Han Solo. There has been mixed reviews among fans of the books and video games. Fans of the video game think Henry Cavill as Geralt is brilliant, like he was born to play it. But there’s just something missing; he plays Geralt’s mannerisms well but just feels dull and is difficult to read personality-wise. They cover this up though giving Witchers a reason for being emotionless; but then it’s hard to grasp the concept of someone emotionless having love interests.
Another aspect of the show that is executed poorly is the storyline of Princess Ciri. In the premiere episode, she is presented as a key element of the overarching plot rather than a primary character like Geralt or Yennefer. But it’s clear from the start that her and Geralt are bound by destiny in some sort of way. Ciri is of great interest to the Nilfgaardian Empire, the force of darkness that is rolling over this fantasy realm, and they attack her home kingdom of Cintra. The queen tells her to search out Geralt, who is being told that he can’t outrun destiny forever. But from here on Ciri is basically told to go hide and Geralt is on a misguided trek to find her.
These aspects are drowned out by the other great qualities of the series. It hits all the marks of becoming the next great fantasy series. Season 2 is set to air around Christmas 2020. So the next time you load up Netflix, toss a coin to your Witcher and enjoy the fantasy thrill ride.
IMDb gave the show an average rating of 8.6 while Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a 66% fresh rating, but their audience ratings sat at 92%