The first season of The Witcher was released on Netflix this past Friday and the reviews are now in. It’s fair to say the results are not great according to the reviewers.
Rotten Tomatoes scores the series at a 58% approval rating with a 5.37/10 average rating.
Meta critic is down from that at 53/100. This puts it squarely in the underperforming bracket occupied by recent strugglers like Reprisal, The Moodys, Jack Ryan Season 2, Mad About You, Dollface and Nancy Drew.
However the reviews don’t outright dismiss it. The scores are low but the verbatim tells a different story. Something strange is happening with this one:
“The Witcher straddles the line between fresh and rotten. The first few episodes are tough going. If you can hang on, the pieces start to click into place.” – Hannah Lodge, The Beat
“Will you like The Witcher if you’re a curious neophyte? Maybe, but you have to be patient with it, and if that’s not your job, the outsized amusements may not be worth the convoluted build-up.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The bats–t energy driving a slew of increasingly odd choices makes for a pretty entertaining spectacle.” – Ben Travers, indieWire
“So yeah, this is some high-school level Dungeons & Dragons role play with a multi-million-dollar budget.” – Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly
“All that said, if you are willing to sit through those trudging opening episodes, punctuated by a cool fight here or an intriguing character scene there, The Witcher slowly but surely finds itself a fantastical slice of bloody, schlocky fun.” – James Whitbrook, io9.com
So it sounds like the first half of this first season is tough going as it builds the world but then things get significantly better. It also sounds like fans of the book or the video games will get a lot more out of it, while newcomers will struggle at first. So a little like Game Of Thrones then?
If you are a newcomer then here at The Last Movie Outpost we have created a guide and introduction just for you.
However, even though the first season of The Witcher is just 48 hours old, a second season is confirmed despite these reviews. This is because it snagged a much valued early renewal deal from the streamer.
For certain big budget, established series this can be standard practice as the stars become more in-demand and scheduling conflicts are resolved through providing early certainty. It’s rare on the streamers though.
According to The Wrap, while Netflix weren’t sure this would take off, they were convinced:
“…enough story is there to work with and have confidence in their creative team’s direction…”
Rumors are that the first season of the show doesn’t even cover the entire first book so there is a LOT of material to work with.
What do you guys think? Faithful adaption? Worth the investment? Impenetrable mess?