Just wrapped up The Witcher season 1. Here is my brief, non spoiler, review.
Fear not the Acting
My biggest fear from all the trailers was that the acting was going to be brutally bad. I am very pleased to say that couldn’t be more further from the truth. Everyone stepped up and delivered the best performance they could. I had no gripes throughout the season with any of it. Cavill probably delivered his best performance out of everything I’ve seen him in. The rest of the supporting cast was great, especially Yennefer (Anya Chalotra).
Does Netflix have its Game of Thrones with The Witcher?
Getting right to it, many early reviews were saying the action in this show made Game of Thrones look like childs play and I will 100% disagree. You cant really compare the two shows, to be honest. Most of GOT actions sequences were grand and pit big armies against each other. Witcher’s action was mainly 1 on 1 or in small groups. BUT, when there was action, it was top notch, especially the swordplay. I still think GOT holds the crown for TV action, but I have a hunch Witcher will ramp it up come season 2. The big exception to this, was the finale, which was pretty fucking epic. Still not GOT level, but it was focused and fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, this show was still a big budget affair – outstanding costume design, great set pieces and extremely believable CGI.
A tale of too many Timelines
My biggest problem with the first 7 episodes, was the two (technically 3) timelines. It made the story very disjointed at times and allowed for almost zero character development on screen – everything happened off screen during the time jumps. Most of the Geralt’s story involved “side missions” that didn’t do much for his character aside from allow him to fuck shit up. Same goes for most of the characters. I can appreciate why they did the past and present but it just didn’t work out too well for me – it detracted from the story and weakened the characters overall. It also allowed the introduction of characters that the cast knew, but the audience was left to figure out who they were on their own. BUT, now that the storylines have all caught up to each other, this is less likely to be a problem going forward (hopefully).
Because of the above, the story did suffer some, mostly with the writing, but I never felt it detracted from the overall picture being painted.
While the The Witcher is not yet Netflix’s Game of Thrones, its an encouraging look at what Netflix can do when they actually give a crap about the quality of a show, rather than just pumping a show out for content’s sake. A solid performance from all involved, coupled with great action, makes for a compelling fantasy show.
For a freshman season, it was enjoyable. I’ll give it a 7.5/10.