Fans of The Witcher book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski have been waiting to see Henry Cavill take on the leading role of Geralt of Rivia for over a year. While the story has been adapted into comics, several extremely popular video games and even a previous television series, there hasn't been a live-action version of the tale with this much star power or money behind it. The show is now officially available to Netflix subscribers, and we've finally gotten reviews to let us know whether this fantasy story will have us hooked, or leave us wishing Amazon's Lord of the Rings show was already done.
Game of Thrones comparisons have been inevitable for The Witcher in the lead up to its debut, but it sounds like this show will be far more divisive than the HBO meg-hit was in its first few seasons. Let's start, though, with some positives, shall we? The Verge's Andrew Webster was pretty high on The Witcher, and after praising the show's ability to balance an epic, overarching story with monster-of-the-week precedural-style storytelling, Webster summed up why the show should work for fantasy fans, whether you know the books and / or video games or not:
Matthew Aguilar, from ComicBook, also enjoyed The Witcher, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and noting that viewers will be hooked on the performances, sense of humor and creative creature work they see as the series develops. There was a lot of source material to pull from when constructing The Witcher, so if you're worried about how the storytelling plays out, Aguilar says that the tonal shifts you'll notice actually work in the series' favor:
Unfortunately for The Witcher, at the time of this roundup, there were far more middling or negative reviews than glowing ones, and Ben Travers of IndieWire found himself torn while watching, saying that the show ends up being a bit more of a mishmash of elements than one would expect from something pulled from beloved source material. But, that very thing is what makes The Witcher work sometimes, and led Travers to rate the show as a solid B:
Daniel Fienberg, of The Hollywood Reporter, had similar feelings about the shifting tone of The Witcher, but he was not as appreciative of it, and ultimately felt that it led to show going back and forth between levels of enjoyability that ranged from a somewhat non-enthusiastic "occasionally" to the even more abysmal "depending on your patience." Either way, he feels that only current diehard Witcher fans will appreciate the show, because there's not much to praise it for:
As you can see, there will be a lot to take in if you choose to sit down for a viewing of The Witcher this weekend or over your holiday break, and Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly had so much trouble with the show after only a half hour that he felt the need to bring in colleague Kristen Baldwin for a reviewing assist. I'm sure that something like this has happened before in the history of reviewing television, but it's not at all common and did not bode well for the final verdict from the outlet, which gave it an F:
Well, we can all decide for ourselves whether or not The Witcher is our cup of fantasy-laden tea right now, as the series' full Season 1 is currently available, with Season 2 already having been greenlit for some time in the future. Be sure to check out what else you'll be able to watch in early 2020 with our winter / spring TV premiere guide!
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