Toss a coin (or a Netflix Subscription)
Movies adapted from video games have always had a tendency to misunderstand the appeal of the source material and horribly botch most of its qualities (with very few notable exceptions). Thankfully that’s not a curse that seems to plague Netflix TV shows. Coming off of both the critical success of Castlevania and the critical embarrassment of Death Note, fans of The Witcher series of games were right to be both excited and wary.
Thankfully, Netflix’s The Witcher manages to meet, and in some cases surpass, fans’ expectations. First off, Henry Cavill’s performance as Geralt of Rivia (the series’ main character) captures his uncanny charisma, quiet personality, and imposing presence in a way that makes up for most of the reason I watched the series. Cavill has been a fan of the series for a while and it shows in every intonation and movement he makes.
Despite hearing great things from those around me, I had not played or seen a single The Witcher game before watching the series. All I knew was that the story followed a mercenary monster hunter in a dark fantasy setting, and it’s all that’s really needed to get into the show. Though it has many winks and nods to the games or books that I later noticed, The Witcher never expects you to have any prior knowledge.
The show has engaging performances, mostly impressive special effects, and undeniably visceral action scenes, but if there is a problem to point out it’s the storytelling. The Witcher has a captivating story that kept me hooked, but it’s told in three separate timelines that slowly come together over the course of its 8 episodes, something that is never clearly explained.
Thankfully the second season promises to stay streamlined in a joined timeline, so hopefully it’ll only get better from here.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 08 on January 29th, 2020