2021 | TV-MA | 7h 56m
With an incredibly developed universe and a tone that can rival Game of Thrones, the Witcher is an absolute delight to watch through. Geralt, the protagonist of the tale, may no longer retain his human appearance, but he does retain a very human soul. He might brood and disgruntle, as his profession makes him face off with the worst of humanity, but his ability to make meaningful connections with the same characters is a joy to see. The world of Witcher has its fair share of blood and gore, but it also has humor and comic relief to alleviate the darkness. Geralt, as it turns out, is a socially awkward goof and his interactions with other people evoke empathy and love for the character.
The series is inspired by both the books and the Projekt Red games, so there are plenty of references and easter eggs to be found. The Witcher mixes humor well with plenty of serious topics such as destiny, morality, bigotry, and ethics. It takes time to put all the love and care into developing enduring relationships between the characters, and these relationships populate the world of the Witcher throughout. In fact, the character relationships make it all the more worthwhile to watch.
Season 1 starts off at a pretty early point in the Witcher universe, and the pieces have only just begun moving. We follow the stories of three characters and the series climaxes when all their paths cross. In the initial episodes it may be difficult to sit through, as nothing seems to happen for the longest time as you jump from one narrative to another. However, this approach to storytelling makes sense with the current format of the show, which almost tempts you to watch it in one sitting.
Henry Cavill is great as the white wolf. It may take some time for you to register him as anything other than Superman, but he absolutely knocks the role out of the park. From the raspy voice to his broody demeanor, Henry captures the soul of Geralt through and through. As it turns out, being a big fan of the source material does help you play the character better. This is a Geralt who still hasn’t realized the importance of his existence in the Witcher universe and is still a bit naïve in that sense. He is joined on screen by Joey Batey as Jaskier, who manages to balance out his stoic energy with his hearty mannerisms. The Witcher and the bard make for a very entertaining duo to travel around the continent with. This gives the audience more than enough time to get acquainted with the world politics and the kind of species that inhabit the continent.
Princess Cirilla is another character whose life we follow. Removed from a cozy upbringing due to an invasion by Nilfgaard, she must find her way to Geralt, who is her destiny. The series has this confusing plot device that ties the fate of the two together. Understanding it isn’t as important, and has no bearing on your watch experience. I found Freya Allen to be quite convincing in her role as Ciri, as she captures the predicament of her character brilliantly. Anya Chalotra plays Ms. Lilac and Gooseberries, Yennefer. She’s my favorite of the lot and Anya does her character justice. She has to work her way up the ladder, from being a hunchback who’s neglected and eventually sold off by her parents, to becoming one of the most powerful witches on the continent. Her character arc is fueled by revenge and a sense of redemption, and quickly became one of my favorite character arcs in The Witcher.
There’s also rich underlying lore that the series does not explore, and I agree with the decision. Not everything should be revealed all at once, as the mystery that surrounds the world makes for an all the more enjoyable experience. If you’re familiar with the books or the games at all, you know a lot is going on and the format of the show makes it difficult to explore all of that.
Season 2 of The Witcher is a nice change of pace from the first one, as it feels like the story’s become more contained and linear. The second season establishes Ciri as the central character, focusing on how she’s coming to terms with the destruction of her homeland and being chased by the Nilfgaardians. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of Geralt in action as well. This season also redeemed Triss’ character for me who I felt was a bit lukewarm in Season 1.
The second season makes you feel for the monsters that inhabit the continent. It takes but one episode for you to feel a world of empathy for these poor accursed creatures. Geralt and Ciri’s relationship is also explored as a growing father-daughter dynamic. If you’re left wondering why someone as meek as Ciri is so pivotal for the world of The Witcher, this season touches plenty on that as well. The producers seem to have figured out what works for the show, and a lot of the padding from the first season was removed, making the second season feel like a much more engrossing experience.
Ultimately, The Witcher makes for an enthralling viewing experience. The special effects are impressive, and so are the fight sequences. The most enjoyable part about the Witcher is its fantastic cast of characters, and if like me, someone other than Geralt ended up stealing the show for you, it speaks to the quality of The Witcher’s casting. By the end of season 2, you may want to grab the books and the games to satiate your curiosity about the world of The Witcher.
Rating the Show:
Seater Score: 4/5