By Dave B.
In Netflix’s The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher: a mutant created by magic whose life is dedicated to killing monsters for money. Shunned by humans who believe that Witchers are emotionless abominations, Geralt finds his fate intertwined with those of Yennerfer, an ambitious sorceress who craves power to salve the wounds of her painful past, and Cirilla, a young princess from the kingdom of Centra who is on the run from the forces of the Nilfgaardian Empire who seek to use her incredible untapped powers for themselves.
So, I’ve never read any of The Witcher books nor played any of the games. I came into this series completely ignorant of this fantasy world and the rules that it works under. And the biggest “flaw” in the show is that it expects its audience to use their brains to figure out what is going on. It doesn’t hold your hand explaining things. On general principle, I love that. In actual application, it would be nice if the showrunner decided to offer just a bit more insight into several concepts that are central to the show’s plot. Despite the lack of handholding as far as politics, the rules governing magic, and the history of the world, it’s fairly easy to catch on to what is happening in the show and extremely easy to immerse oneself in the frequent action that takes place throughout the season’s eight, hour-long episodes.
And I’m extremely glad that the show’s intricate plot is followable (for those that pay attention) because The Witcher is now undoubtedly my favorite fantasy show/movie ever. There are a few reasons for this. For starters, most of the episodes center around a self-contained quest which tangentially ties into the larger story. Frankly, I find that to be a lot of fun. Even better, the show plays with time in a way that is extremely compelling to me. This is one of the few things that I’ve watched this year that actually completely surprised me and I’ll always give bonus points for that. Perhaps most importantly, The Witcher feels as if it’s always moving. That isn’t to say that the larger story doesn’t occasionally get lost along the way or that the show’s pacing is always perfect, but The Witcher didn’t bore me for a single instant. It basically fulfilled my wish of wondering how great the Lord of the Rings movies would have been without all of the boring Frodo/hobbit/food crap.
I love Season One of The Witcher and I don’t give a damn that plenty of professional critics have issues with it. It has gorgeous settings, brilliant cinematography, characters that I really like and care about, and a ton of action, excitement, romance, magic, and intrigue. It’s a must-watch for any fan of the fantasy genre and it’s the only show I’ve seen this year that I would eagerly watch again. I can’t guarantee that everyone who watches The Witcher will love it, but I think that if you’re ready to do some intellectual lifting, there’s a pretty good chance that you will.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.