WiC Watches: The Witcher

The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes
The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes /
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Image: The Witcher/Netflix

So is The Witcher good?

The Witcher is a big, lovable, gorgeous, occasionally moving mess of a show. There’s no doubt that it’s made with conviction and passion — a porcupine man walked into a banquet and nobody laughed; the people behind this show clearly believe in what they’re doing. But I don’t know if their ability quite matches their ambition…yet. Long-form television isn’t a sprint.

Still, in this season, there was always something getting in the way of my investing in the story, even if it did a lot of things well. For example, the casting on the show is great, particularly for the four leads (I’m including Jaskier; try and stop me). But too often, the script gave them groaners. If the show doesn’t want to veer into camp — something that’s always a danger when you’re dealing with elves and wizards and whatnot — Hissrich and company should stop with the jarring anachronisms, choose their words more carefully, and trust their actors to sell emotion without dialogue.

And then there are those timelines. The good news is that, now that our main characters have caught up with each other, we should be able to go forward through Blood of Elves more or less chronologically. But c’mon, who’s bright idea was it to tell these stories like this, and are they fired yet? The show put the cart before the horse, showed us emotional moments before we were able to understand them, and needlessly confused the audience.

The jury’s still out on why the show did it this way. Personally, I still blame Game of Thrones. I think Hissrich felt she needed to turn Sapkowski’s collection of short stories into a continuous narrative with multiple threads running at the same time, and if she had to twist the narrative into nonsensical shapes to do it, so be it. I think that was the wrong approach to the source material, which Hissrich and her team should trust more. If a standalone episode is what you need to tell a story right, then have a standalone episode.

Speaking of Game of Thrones comparisons, the show needs to tone down the gratuitous nudity — not all the nudity, just the gratuitous nudity, the nudity that has no narrative purpose other than to trot some naughty parts in front of the camera — always a woman’s, by the way. It’s weird, show. And if you still want to be gratuitous, at least be equitable when it comes to gender.

But that song? Gold.

I enjoyed watching The Witcher. Yes, I know I complained a lot, but you have to understand: griping is fun. The show is already renewed for a second season, and I’ll be watching when it drops. Will you?

Season Grade: B-

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