A hybrid beast of intellectual property. A TV show based on a series of books, on which some really quite good games have already been produced. The Witcherdome! Three sets of fandoms will enter! None will ever leave because they will all fight forever! Especially because Henry Cavill has played the game! Suddenly he is just like us except with an estimated net worth of $14-$20 million dollars depending on which search engine result you want to assume is close to correct!
This is where I know and love the character of Geralt from.
And I genuinely wasn’t that bothered about watching the TV series because I knew in advance it wasn’t going to be the same experience because it’s two different things. Look, it’s that easy to accept, alright?
So with all that unconscious bias made clear, what I think of it?
I’m afraid that I only really enjoyed one third of the show, which was the third of the show that was actually about the witcher.
I was initially pleased to see Yennefer getting a solid foothold in the show but then became a little dismayed at the perpetual playing of the ‘victim’ card. Compare and contrast Yennefer’s story arc with the no-nonsense Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road, for example. Furiosa is also a victim and has been since a child, but her character did something else to become a real female hero whereas Yennefer doesn’t mature as she supposedly ages.
The uneven narrative of magic didn’t help her. Her whole thing is supposedly that she portals well and yet when she’s in a desperate hurry to get to the top of a mountain? She walks. When 70 plus mages are in a hurry to get somewhere to defend it? They take a boat, and then walk. There’s a scene near the beginning where she illusions up a crowd of people, then a scene in the middle where Geralt meets her in the middle of a basement orgy. Are the orgy goers an illusion? Actually, no, she’s enchanted all the staff of the mansion to have sex with each other – I bet she didn’t check ahead that they would all like a cup of tea – and after that consent outrage it’s a bit hard to see her character as anything much other than a horrible goose. Do not get me started on the concept of chaos draining other things. A mechanic they often forgot.
So that’s two thirds of the show. The last third is set in the future, except you kind of have to figure that out as you go, mostly from establishing shots of Cintra either burning or not burning. Except in the last two episodes, where the timelines are hastily stitched together in something like a hurry so that all three main characters can share the same timeline at the end. I don’t quite know why since still only 2 out of 3 main characters are actually doing anything together at that point. I don’t think I count Geralt-confusingly-having-delirious-visions as being actually present. Perhaps it was in the book or something. Oh, and this third is mostly Ciri-Runs-Away. Also known as, world exposition.
Even if I discount all of my pre-existing knowledge of the setting universe, it’s just not the best. It’s a Henry Cavill away from being much, much worse. I could stand to see a lot more of him as the witcher. And a wee bit less of the others.