Nerd Review: Netflix's The Witcher Series
As a gamer, of course, I'd heard of The Witcher a popular video game and I've even flipped through the pages of the novel series by Andrzej Sapkowski. This week we settled in and binged on the new Netflix series starring Henry Cavill as Geralt, The Witcher. If you loved Game of Thrones, this might help you fill that void. Or at least make you laugh. I did!
Set in a medieval world filled with monsters and half-naked women, the series follows Geralt of Rivia as he moves from town to town collecting coins after performing the required tasks. ( It IS a video game after all.) The plot deepens when Geralt meets the girl, then another one, and another one and has special feelings for them all. Even though every episode reminds us that Witchers have no feelings.
The Witcher is funny at times and even a bit predictable. But I love that, because it's comfortable and charming. It's not the most impressive writing, the dialog jumps from modern slang to historical back and forth. Yet it is entertaining and I love the humor.
Henry Cavill does a decent job, his accent choice for this character is a bit quirky and he groans more than talks.
Visually, the show is fantastic. The effects are realistic, and often downright gross. In fact, there are a few times I wanted to send Geralt back to the bath to scrub the nastiness off. Oddly, the big guy doesn't seem to mind bathtime but remains kind of dirty while soaking. Bathtime is not just for the show, but apparently it's a favorite part for fans of the game as well. You can't have Geralt without some tubby time!
The show can be a little confusing. If you haven't read the books, the names can also be hard to remember. But you get used to it by episode 4. The books were not released in chronological order, and the show follows along that same path. This does make it difficult at times to figure out where and when they are in the story. My husband says I needed to watch Geralt's armor closer so I'm not confused. All of them are black, tight fitted, and bulgy! So.. they look the same to me. Apparently, shoulder pads are the distinguishing features.
Geralt of Rivia, the monster-hunter for hire and Yennefer the mage, are the two main characters to embrace in the show. There are others that come and go, like the young girl Ciri played by Freya Allan who does an excellent job in her role.
I felt like the characters needed a bit more depth and explanation, but they do manage to sneak in backstories here and there. I personally wanted to know more about making a Witcher and what it means when his eyes go black. And what the heck is that potion he keeps chugging?
Without knowing the books, or having a good grasp on the game storyline, this did leave me a little thrown off from time to time. Some of the names are very complicated and hard to understand with certain accents, like Vilgefortz of Roggeveen.
What the story lacks in clarity, it makes up in annoying songs that won't leave your head. The soundtrack has some beautiful music and a theme song that hangs on long after it should.
Toss a coin to your witcher… In an interview with Men’s Health, Joey Batey who plays the comedic bard said that, “It’s the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard. It’s so catchy.” Batey elaborated that the song has stuck with him for months, compared to the scant week the rest of the world has had with it. Already the song is streaming with mass popularity on YouTube before Netflix has released it fro streaming on any streaming service.
If you love fantasy, this is a decent show to check out! You don't have to do the extra work to try to remember names or places if you don't want to. It's easy enough to just sit back and watch as it goes along.
Even if you are one of those people who reads all of the books and knows all of the story, it can be a little confusing. They leave a lot of parts unclear on purpose ( I hope it's on purpose and they will eventually clear up the whole evil eye thing. ) If you wanted to learn what all of that stuff is, check out Everything You Need To Know About The Witcher.
I love some of the monster stories and I enjoyed the different races portrayed in the show. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and to see characters on screen played out well is hard to find.
Henry Cavill's Geralt is a good fit. I have a love-hate thing with him in different roles, like Superman. But after reading that Cavill spent time playing the 100-hour video game The Witcher, not once but twice. I decided to like him a little bit more. Is he the best actor? No.. but he isn't the worst either. His face doesn't seem to move much, and perhaps that's on purpose for a character that is not supposed to have human feelings. Even though he does a lot of things based on his feelings of right and wrong.
Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer has a great transformation through this season. I really enjoy her performance and I think that she has done a great job. Again, I wish her script gave her a little more depth, but she's got to work with what she has.
Other notable characters include Jaskier, the trying to be funny bard. The princesses, lots of princesses. The confusing mages that don't age. And Geralt's sometimes white wig, that is also sometimes dark with white highlights, but seems to have a mind of it's own.
The first season is only 8 episodes long and already I'm ready for more. Netflix announced they will be renewing for Season 2, but haven't started filming yet. We may have to wait til 2021 for the answers to all of our questions about what happens next. So far fans are thrilled with what they've seen and demanded more. I'm sure we will see more of bathtime Geralt, not-so-scary monsters, and kickass women who save the big bad witcher. I for one, can't wait!
The Witcher is fun. It's not preachy or too somber. It's entertaining and with all of the real-life drama in the world, it's exactly what we need.