Review: The Witcher Season 1

Netflix’s latest series, The Witcher, landed on the streaming platform just before Christmas and has since become another success story with it being their 2nd most popular series of the year behind Stranger Things 3 (according to them anyway). It was a hotly anticipated adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s popular fantasy book series, with it already having been made into an immensely popular video game series. Given the property’s origins and fantasy roots it was inevitable that comparisons would be made to Game of Thrones, with many believing it will fill the void left behind by the cultural phenomenon. It would be incredibly unfair to make such comparisons, especially given that the show is in its infancy. This is not meant to be a replacement for GoT, and if you are expecting something similar to the HBO show, you might be caught off guard.

The show stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, one of a legendary race of mutated and skilled monster hunters known as ‘Witchers’. Geralt travels ‘The Continent’ killing monsters and pests in exchange for payment by the humans that inhabit the lands, despite the humans generally considering him and his dying race as beneath them. Geralt must contend with destiny which steers towards a path which he is reluctant to take. Other main characters include Ciri (Freya Allen), the princess of a fallen kingdom who is told to find Geralt, and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) a mage who battles against adversity to achieve the respect that she so greatly craves. The characters are among the shows greatest strengths. Cavill embodies the character of Geralt well, while also making it it’s own. He’s able to present both the gruff and fierce exterior as well as the caring and sympathetic side perfectly, and his comedic timing is pretty good too. The comic relief, Jaskier (Joey Batey), is an effective and welcome inclusion, however, I can see him being irritating to some. 

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Another one of the show’s strengths is one I can’t really discuss without delving deep into spoiler territory, but I will say that the show balances multiple stories lines very well, with each one getting the time and effort that it deserves. They come together very nicely and are interwoven expertly. The show certainly gets better with the more you watch. The introduction is a little overwhelming and difficult to get into, but once you acclimatise you’ll be fine. There’s also quite a lot of nudity, with episode 5 being the most guilty, but again if you’re alright with that then there’s no problem. The ending clearly sets up more seasons, as you would probably expect. Episodes 6 and 8 are the show’s best, even if they are a little messy, there are some great character moments and action. The Witcher has certainly had a good, solid start and it shows a great deal of promise for the future with a second season already confirmed by Netflix.

Image Credit: IMDb