Before we start. I need to confess something; I’m a Witcher virgin. I didn’t have the foggiest clue what I was getting into. I’m sad to say my friends have been trying to convince me to play the games and I never found the time to do so. So this review won’t be comparing the Netflix series to the video games or the books. However, I plan to remedy my lack of Witcher knowledge ASAP.
One of the biggest hangups in The Witcher was the timeline confusion. I mention this in the “story” section because it seems like it has to be a decision made for a very specific purpose. It’s like watching three documentaries, filmed in different decades but the host is always the same age. While it’s nice that the story has a feeling of unpredictability it still causes the viewer to scratch their heads while trying to figure out how the puzzle pieces go together. There are time jumps very early on in the show, but unlike most cinematic time jumps there’s no message to the audience that these stories aren’t happening simultaneously. Although you get used to it, it’s still upsetting at first that you’re completely unaware that there was such a huge time difference between scenes.
The bright side to all of this is since 40 years is chump change in the life of a Witcher, Henry Cavil gets to look just as amazing from the first episode to the last.
Apart from the time jumps the story really is fantastic. There was just enough information given about this strange new world to have a nice base for future seasons while still leaving enough mystery to be entertaining, except for the very end. It leaves a little to be desired. The ending felt rushed even though the audience and some characters are left with huge questions. However this could have been a calculated move to entice the audience for season 2.
The casting of this series was masterful. The characters were well written and developed. Even though there are a handful of characters that we only see for one episode each was still a believably dynamic being. A few standouts go to Henry Cavill’s Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, Jaskier his jovial bard sidekick played by Joey Batey, and Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer, the most conflicted, determined, badass, sorcery slinging mage I’ve seen in a hot minute. These three characters alone would have been enough to carry the show but thankfully they didn’t have to because all actors cast and characters written were done so well. The lone wolf in this would have been the stereotypical knight in episode 6 who is quite flat but that lends itself to wonderful comedic moments.
From the first frame to the last we get epic scenes. The lighting in Brokilon forest feels magical on its own. There’s constantly dynamic lighting coming from flames of candles or campfires and it’s beautiful to watch it dance across the actors in the scenes, really making the elements feel cohesive. The shots do what all great cinematography aims for, each frame is a work of art and makes every second watching feel like you’re walking through a fantasy art gallery. Add that to some amazing fight scenes and you’ve got a winner!
It’s not hard to believe the music delivers just as much as all the other elements of the show. It nails it purpose to deepen the emotions of the scene but then goes above and beyond by being great standalone music. It makes the story feel even more wild and unpredictable. Unlike stereotypical fantasy music, The Witcher soundtrack incorporated newer distortion techniques to make ancient instruments sound like something new. And let’s not forget, “Toss a coin to your Witcher”. That’s some of the catchiest material to come out of a show since “Soft Kitty”. The only thing I wanted from the music was more of it!
Will. Watch. Again. This series is going into the regular rotation, with the likes of Harry Potter and Friends. While the visuals and audio of the series worked together seamlessly, they’re also fantastic on their own. The Witcher gives something that ticks off major cinematic cravings. So whatever you feel like watching, The Witcher can deliver in some form or fashion. Western like lone cowboy, check. Tumultuous romance, check. Soundtrack to put on repeat, check. And the list goes on. The only thing I would say that could hurt its rewatchability is that it’s a pretty dark show. This isn’t something I want to leave on while I fall asleep. No on needs a Striga infiltrating their dreams!
Netflix did the damn thing, y’all! It’s the total package. The confusing time jumps and the somewhat lackluster ending still don’t take away from the overall picture. We’re eager to hear more about Season 2 release dates and any hints of what will be covered storywise.
So, are you going to watch The Witcher? If you have already, what are your thoughts?
P.s. If this gif of Jaskier at his Jaskier-iest isn’t enough to make you watch the series then I don’t know what will!