The Witcher (2019) Season 1 Review



The Witcher has the odd pacing issue and for an outsider like me it’s frankly bizarre at times but Henry Cavill is well cast as the brooding Geralt of Rivia and he’s believable in the action scenes which are entertainingly bloody. The real star of the show is Anya Chalotra as Yennefer whose transforming from deformed girl to a stunning and powerful mage makes the show worth watching. It will be an acquired taste so you have been warned.

Plot: The witcher Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world in which people often prove more wicked than beasts.

Review: I’ve never played The Witcher videogames nor have I read the books so I am judging this new Netflix series starring Henry Cavill purely on its own merits.

You could tell from the trailers that The Witcher was very much trying to bring in the Game of Thrones crowd as it looked similarly gritty however, The Witcher is suitably different and a really rather strange show that I’m not quite sure how I feel about yet.

Henry Cavill has been accused of being wooden in the past which I suppose is valid but the character of Geralt of Rivia is one of his best as it doesn’t require him to emote in any way. He just says “Hm” a lot while killing monsters and being broody. This works entirely to his advantage and he certainly looks the part with his large build as he roams the lands slaying monsters for coins. He is generally an outcast feared and despised by most of the people he comes across but when he meets a mage called Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) his world will change; she is arguably the show’s real protagonist as she has more to do than Geralt and it’s really her who propels the story alongside Ciri (Freya Allan) who has been sent to find Geralt after her kingdom is attacked.

I’m not going to go into any more story details as frankly I don’t have a bloody clue what was going on a lot of the time but I never was the sharpest tool in the box. The pacing can be a bit off in parts making The Witcher a little boring but perhaps if you’ve read the books or played the games, you’ll enjoy it more. The fact that there are different timelines which isn’t made clear until later on makes it hard to follow too. Despite that, I still found it spellbinding and I couldn’t stop thinking about it which guarantees I’ll have to tune in for season 2.

For the most part the visuals are stunning with some natural scenery giving it an epic feel; when it kicks into gear in the second half it’s massively entertaining and episode 6 may be my favourite as it felt like a true fantasy adventure story.

The music score was unique and stands out from other fantasy tales like GoT or LOTR; it has female voices and choirs which become transcendent during the battle scenes.

There is no shortage of bloodshed and the fight scenes are wonderfully brutal but thankfully the deviance is (mostly) kept to a minimum… although at one point some chick wanted to marry a hedgehog or something so… yeah, there’s that.

As you may have guessed from the trailers the series generally shows how man is the real monster and that how we are treated by others determines who we become with some destiny thrown in for good measure.

Overall, The Witcher will appeal to fantasy fans and its strange story is at times captivating; the pacing could have been better for the first few episodes and I hope in season 2 Geralt has a little more to do and judging by the finale I think that will certainly be the case. It’s on Netflix now so if you are missing GoT this may keep your interest.