Netflix's adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher fantasy series makes its debut today, and the critics have already issued their verdict on what many are anticipating as the next Game of Thrones.
Starring Henry Cavill as the iconic anti-hero Geralt, the series is largely made up of new stories and isn't directly based on the books or the popular video games (although some of the plot points mirror elements seen in both). Such is the weight behind the project that it has already been renewed for a second season – but is the first any good?
Yes, says The Verge:
The Witcher could’ve very easily turned out wrong. It’s not hard to misinterpret what it is that actually makes the series interesting, but the TV adaptation gets it. The Witcher is funny, intense, and uncomfortable, and it balances out those disparate emotions almost perfectly. Yes, it stars Henry Cavill in a bad white wig, but you’ll forget about all of that as soon as he starts talking.
GQ Magazine is in agreement:
I started The Witcher unsure. Being such a huge fan of the games, the pilot left me cautious as to whether this season could stick the landing on a tough adaptation. By the end of the fifth episode, it really finds its footing and its identity – camp, pulpy, not all that serious and decidedly not Thrones. Is it as good as the games? No, it isn’t, but few things are. Regardless, I still can’t wait to see what its final three episodes have in store.
Empire gave the series four out of five stars, saying:
Thanks to a trio of bestselling video games, many will already be familiar with The Witcher’s lore, providing a much-needed leg-up. It’s the uninitiated who may end up bailing early — likely somewhere between two girls being turned into eels and the appearance of a hedgehog knight. But to give up would be to deny yourself a real treat. As with Geralt’s swamp beast tussle, there are riches in store for those with perseverance, and The Witcher’s is a battle well worth seeing through to the end.
GamesRadar feels that the series' opener fails to capture the magic of Game of Thrones, but it's still worth a watch:
The opening episode of The Witcher, then, is a mixed bag. It reaches out to be called “the next Game of Thrones”, but falls short. Cavill’s Geralt fails to make a lasting impression, while the overarching questions being posed aren’t engaging just yet. However, with such bloody battles, and the promise of an epic journey, I’m certainly intrigued to see where this goes.
Variety seems to think that those who don't already have an investment in the Witcher series might struggle to see the appeal:
As a “Witcher” watcher but not a reader, I felt the universe at times both overly broad (in its resistance of the single hero) and a bit narrow. Unlike “Thrones,” it resists allegorical or metaphorical readings, at least at first, and is firmly about what it’s about — magic and myth. That itself is less a flaw than simply design, but it does suggest that the appeal of this series may be limited to those already under its spell.
The Guardian is slightly less enthusiastic, seemingly having lots of trouble with the haircuts:
My own pledge, made when The Witcher and I had to part company, is that I shall from hereon dedicate myself to becoming rich and powerful enough to commission my own epic swords’n’sorcerers fantasy in which everyone has a short back and sides. I can’t bear any longer the sight of actors strolling around in aesthetically displeasing stringy wigs, which are surely the height of impracticability for any warrior, supernatural or otherwise, and make everyone look like a sub-Fabio who managed a term at Lamda before dropping out in unspecified disgrace.
The Independent was even harder on the series:
Like Game of Thrones or Outlander, The Witcher is serving two masters – an audience transferring loyalties from other fantasy TV shows, and an audience already deeply committed to the Witcher lore. The latter group – as we are seeing from Star Wars fans – is a more vociferously critical caucus, and in pandering to them, The Witcher is a messy tangle of plotlines in a world underdeveloped to the point of obscurity. The experience is not unlike playing a video game, where deaths, diversions and reboots leave you constantly unsure of your exact position in the narrative. Sadly, for The Witcher, and House Netflix, their offering lacks even that modicum of fun.
It falls to Entertainment Weekly to deliver the most scathing review, however:
This is the first TV show I’ve ever seen that would actually be better with commercial breaks. The goofy syndicated fantasy of yesteryear had to have a brisk pace, building every 12 minutes to an act-breaking cliffhanger. The Witcher fully embraces the endless-movie layout of the worst Blank Check streaming TV. At the end of the series premiere, someone tells Allen’s Princess Ciri that Geralt is her destiny. In episode 5, people are still telling her that Geralt is her destiny. I assume they will meet in the season finale. Alas, my destiny is to never watch this borefest ever again.
Have you had chance to watch the series yet? Share your thoughts with a post below.
Ah I wish I had Netflix. I will watch regardless of reviews. Im interested in it.
Boob filled bore fest? Do people still watch the Kardashians?
so i can get the Witcher on my Wii U now. That's right Switchers my Wii U has Netflix, does yours? No! HA!
(Remembers all the games it has and starts crying in the corner and pulling out toe nails)
I have yet to the play the games or read any of the books so I won't have anything to compare it to directly. With that said I'm looking forward to it.
So it's probably not that bad at all. I'll watch it tonight.
9.7 on imdb currently. Which means the fans love it since they watch it day 1.
That’s a good sign!
Hands up everyone who clicked this article and expected to see boobs.
Not reading any of these reviews but nice job by damo gathering them all together.
Just finished Titans on DCU, next up is The Expanse on Prime, then Watchmen and that Golden Compass show on HBO, then NF for this. Oh maybe after CBS for Pickard.
I tend to only pay for 1 service at a time, 1 month at a time. 😁
Haven't played Witcher 3 yet despite owning it for a year or 2, maybe if I watch the show 1st the show will seem better and the game better still after that?
@damo (elements and plot points seem in both) should be seen in, unless you have semen on your mind this fine morning. Or maybe Seaman?
@YozenFroghurt As someone with maybe like 15 Wii U games and around 400 Switch games, can't say that I'd agree with that.
You didn’t actually answer if the series is full of boobs. Really need to know the answer to this. Whether I watch the show hinges on it.
"Boob-filled borefest". How is that even possible?
Netflix will probably cancel it after the next season because they can't be bothered to stick with a show. They'd rather pump out a bunch of poor content people can browse.
There used to be a time when you knew if it was a netflix original, you were assured good content.
@Taffy It's not well supported on Wii U, though. I use it on there sometimes instead of my laptop and maaaaan, if you leave it on for a while going through a series it decides to take about 2 minutes when you try to exit that show. Other times it has frozen completely on me or just screwed up the audio track somehow.
Why can't it be a boob filled Game of Thrones successor?
Watching the first episode now and it's ok so far. Me and first episodes sometimes don't get along very well no matter how good the series ends up being.
Where do you see a 9.7 on metacritic? 🤨 I see a 53 and a 6.1. Or did the score already dropped THAT much?
Viewer score 9.7. Currently based on 3188 ratings.
You shouldn't write 'metacritic' if you mean 'imdb'. 🤔
What is with the wig obsession.
I liked it.
Thought the tagline was talking about Game of Thrones
The independent sounds like that one senior relative who constantly asks you what is happening and about things the story hasn't gotten to yet. Hard pass on their impression.
According to someone who worked on The OA, it seems Netflix is more concerned with shows that have the potential of drawing in more subscribers, hence shows being cancelled after one or two seasons, despite them being good or not, if Netflix feels the show is unable to draw additionnal people to the service anymore.
Personnaly, I find this business strategy terrible. Because you know where that leads? People being fed up and eventually moving elsewhere when they get the chance. Since Disney+ was released, Netflix lost over a million subscribers. Apparently, people stop caring when you continually cancel good shows. Who knew, right?
Right now, I always get hesitant before starting any new series on Netflix because I don't want to invest many hours into something that won't ever get any closure because of the inevitable cancelation.
@MrBlacky you’re absolutely right. My bad. Thanks for pointing that out.
I’ve edited my original post.
Entertainment Weekly admitted they didn’t watch the first 5 episodes. They watched the first, made an excuse then skipped to the 5th episode.
Oh no, something has boobs in it, it must be terrible then.
@YozenFroghurt Ya lost me at lumping all indie games together. Some are short, some are lengthy. Some are simple, some are complex. Some are boring, some are excellent. As much, if not more, variance and variety there as you get from the major publishers.
I think if I was to make a list of my top 50 Switch games, only two come to mind that are also on Wii U (one of which launched same day on both, the other is better played on 3DS than Wii U anyway).
You can really tell that most people aren't even that familiar with the games and even less so with the books and just go in expecting another GoT. The books have loads of campy, funny elements and things taken directly from other fairytails. And for those who complain on comparing it to the games, give me a break. Remember the boy that cries wolf? In the 2nd add-on you are literally in a fairy tale knocking the three little piglets house down... Comparing it snobbishly to GoT is like comparing apples and bananas. They both are great, yet different fantasy tales!
You had me at Boob-filled...
"Boob-filled borefest" ah nintendolife, stay sensitive
@linq it's nintendolife, you get used to it
They can't follow the game story line as that would be too short. Otherwise they wouldn't make this in place off Game thrones ending. Not that they own but they are bringing in this when the viewers want this type of movies.
@Friendly the 9.7 means nothing. Right now that's all for hard fans of the series. They would vote a 9-10 even if it was the worst thing ever.
@carlos82 Making something boobfilled a borefest is also a thing of art... very ugly and bad art...
@wratih9 they're like visual novels with 2 waifus.
Just finished the game days ago along with most of the side quests/contracts/treasures. I've watched first 2 episodes, so far so good with me being fresh with the Witcher world at the moment. See if that sticks I suppose.
@Dirty0814 I disagree. The die hard fans would be very vocal if it would be far from the source material.
Pokémon, Sonic and Star Wars 'die hard fans' say hello.
The 9.7 shows that the series is very recognisable by the fans. Which is a good thing in my opinion.
Do they have the Santa Claus's baby ghost episode in the series?
Liberals bashing on liberals
Almost makes me want to watch!
I had VERY low expectations. But love the books and games and played and read them gleefully. But with political agendas and politics buying out companies to push garbage I knew it would be a joke from the get go. I'll borrow a friend's Netflix account and see how awful or decent it truly is. (Because there is no good review. I was truly hopeful for one decent review)
@Haywired Believe it or not, the Senran Kagura series managed to achieve that feat ages ago.
@Jaalsky wtf politics has to do with this?
Don’t answer that, i don’t want to hear it, since it’s probably far’fetched anyway
Well...don't they all?
There’s no such thing as a BOOB FILLED borefest
I've read ALL the books and played the three games. Aside from some of the characters being different races or having different color hair, this is an accurate depiction of that universe and a well made and fun show. I'm really enjoying it through 6 episodes this far. It is a faithful retelling of the events in the last wish and sword of destiny books. I am actually extremely satisfied with Henry Cavill, whom I didn't like at all as Superman, as Geralt. This is a damn good program, watch for yourself, don't read the silly GOT comparisons and ugly incorrect reviews. The Witcher was actually published first anyway. Merry Christmas all!
Basically as it’s not The same as game of thrones it’s been panned by critics. Pathetic, how these people even get these jobs to judge shows interests me. We all have such different tastes how can you really take these reviews to mean anything. The difference between the critic and user scores really shows how out of touch these pretentious Numpty’s are.
i know that boobs aren't very popular round these parts but i like them so i'll watch.
Watched Mo's for the first episode last night. It was pretty boring and we couldn't work out wyf the story was actually about. Suddenly there was a war between two kingdoms and the Witcher kept speaking with the same girl in the forest. Going to re-watch it, but I was bored pretty quickly so it doesn't bode well.
First episode was so horrible, I kept looking to see how much time was left only to be dismayed over and over again to fond that there was still more. Drab. Lifeless. Humorless. The lack of dry humor was especially disappointing when one considers that to be a major charm of the series. Doug Cockle also sounds so much better as Geralt. At least so far in episode one, Caville's Geralt is completely monotone and flat. No charisma whatsoever. I doubt I can stomach and more of it.
Lol: Now I am interested!
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