Monday, February 3, 2020

The Witcher

Review.

Netflix doesn't get it right all the time. In fact, there's lots of rubbish, and Netflix added their fair share to it.

Still, sometimes there's just something that's worth binging. Take, for example, The Witcher.



The books

The 'medieval fantasy' TV show is based on the books by Anderzej Zapkowski. I have not read them yet, but plan to do so soon.


The game

Yes. The books came first. But I wonder what made The Witcher such a popular concept... To be honest, I read a lot, yet I had not even heard of The Witcher nor Anderzej Zapkowski.

I think this is a case where the game made all the difference, especially part III, The Witcher - Wild Hunt.

I missed the opportunity to grab a heavily discounted copy for the PS4 (too late) but I just picked up the GOTY edition on GOG for 15 euro, so I'll be fine.


The show

Ah yes, the show. It does differ from game and books, or so many websites claim. I'll add my own two cents to that discussion once I've visited books and game(s). For now, I can only talk about the Netflix show.

And I like it.

It does have its flaws. The editing is a little confusing, as all time jumps / back flashes are not immediately recognizable. Also, the very first monster you see is too smooth, too CGI-ish. There are more effects which are not up to 'movie' standards, but they're still good enough.

It tries a little to hard to be culturally and politically correct, swapping out characters, but the final casting didn't bother me too much. Then again, I didn't read the books or play the came yet, so it might have bothered me more otherwise.

At first glance I didn't like Henry Cavil as the titular person. He's a little too smooth, there's too much 'Superman' in there. Fortunately he seems to get into the role, bit by bit, and even manages to inject a certain kind of humor. Didn't expect that.

In some ways this show is a throw back to the old days, episodic, messy, heroes versus villains, sometimes simplistic. (Remember Merlin? Add some gore and you're halfway.)

And yet... and yet... it has something.


This ain't Kansas.

Nor is it Game of Thrones. Obviously, some parts of Game of Thrones have inspired the television adaptation of The Witcher. But seeing how GOT more or less fizzled out in the last two seasons it is hard to consider that the 'definite reference'.

In some ways The Witcher is a throwback. A bit of a GOT / Merlin crossbreed. And it's fair to say the show-runners are perfectly aware of this, and even manage to squeeze in the self conscious joke.


Give it a fair chance

So give The Witcher a chance. If you watch it keep one thing in mind: the timeline is confusing, and it only starts making sense after seeing most (if not all) of the episodes of season 1.

So yeah, unfortunately it will take all of season 1 to properly decide if you like it or not.

Sorry.

(I'll do a re-review once I've worked my way through part of the game and the books.)

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