O Valley of Plenty
Before Netflix released The Witcher, a Netflix exclusive series, I wasn’t expecting much. The entertainment industry has tried to create shows countless times based largely on a video game series, and they usually fail. The World of Warcraft movie is a perfect example of a movie not being able to capture a video game’s magic, failing to deliver what fans expected. Movies like this are popular: Warcraft grossed a $440 million in box office and Tomb Raider $275 million. But they’re also almost always bad; I watched a movie for the game Doom on Netflix the other day, and it was absolutely terrible. I expected The Witcher to be like the rest of these movies and shows, and I’ve never been more wrong.
I watched The Witcher with great vigor, actively looking forward to watching the next episode, becoming really invested in the plot. The casting of Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher, was perfect. He feels made for this character, because he really does seem like a Witcher, a mutant who hunts monsters, as the show explains. The show takes place on a vast continent with warring kingdoms, and The Witcher is trying to move through the kingdoms fighting all sorts of crazy monsters, while not getting in too much trouble with people.
There’s a witch character as well, played by Anya Chalotra, delivering a performance with a wide range of emotions and excellent character development that help you feel for her. No fantasy show is complete without music of some kind, in this case a bard, played by Joey Batey, sings a very catchy song that you won’t be able to get out of your head (trust me). The bard also provides some good comic relief that pairs nicely with The Witcher’s very brooding demeanor.
The show is a lot at first. There are kingdoms, kings, queens, princesses, it’s all very confusing initially, but quickly The Witcher goes on to explain how they’re all related. Even if you’ve never read the book or played the games, you’ll understand what is going on.
The Witcher is incredibly popular. Mere days after its release, Netflix already claimed The Witcher to be one of its most successful shows ever. People really were looking for another fantasy show to geek out over after the ending of Game of Thrones. And they do have some elements in common: Anti-dwarf racism, fantasy dragons, lots of sex, and just a little incest because you can’t have fantasy without incest.
With this show, Netflix had a guaranteed success on their hands. The Witcher 3 was a very popular video game that featured you playing as The Witcher going around and hunting monsters, just like in the TV show. The game sold millions of copies to people who also happened to have a Netflix account, so naturally they wanted to watch a show based on their favorite video game. From there, these people tell their friends about this great show they’re watching, and soon Netflix has a massive hit on their hands.
I can think of very few problems I had with The Witcher. They do time jumps with no real prompting, so occasionally you need to piece a few things together yourself, which occasionally took away from my enjoyment of the show. However, with great battles, character development, and monsters, I can forgive a jumbled timeline and say this was one of my favorite TV shows I’ve watched in a while. It has great actors, a great fantasy world, and, most importantly, anti-dwarf racism.