A family member introduced me to Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher (season 1) and I found it quite enjoyable. I’ve been aware of the novels, and the video game adaptations, so I knew a bit but not much about the story.
I kept getting the feeling that I was missing something, as if there was a layer to the story that I was missing. If I had read the novels I am sure I would have gotten more out of the season, but the series still worked for me.
Geralt, the Witcher, played by Henry Cavill – last seen sporting a fabulous mustache and reloading his biceps – is not the protagonist in the first season. He is obviously the hero and slays many evil beasts and humans, and a fair bit of soldiers following orders, but his counterpart Yennefer, played by Anya Chalotra, is the one that gets the most character development in the season. Cavill does well in his role but apart from the inherent humour, he mostly does an impression of Tom Hardy’s grunts. So, while Yennefer gets all the character development, Geralt is basically being driven from one challenge to another, trying to avoid the destiny he accidentally has created for himself. It still works, but I sense there is more potential to the character.
Lars Mikkelsen is, by the way, a master at displaying arrogant disdain and therefore a joy to behold in the scenes he is in.
One story device that I think does not work is the Doppler, a shapeshifter, which, if a world knew such existed would change everyone’s, especially those in power, behaviour to counter them. This feels like a minor issue, but as that story-line impacted the major characters and isn’t even resolved yet, it does bother me.
One story technique that I found they used well was having the separate story-lines mix up the time-line, so we as the viewer are kept in the dark as too what has happened and is yet to happen. Of course, the time-lines and the story-lines congregate at the season end which also manage to up the stakes for a grand finale, which unfortunately petered out due to the necessity of setting up the next season.
This was something Westworld’s first season managed to do well but failed subsequently, so I am curious how they will construct a second season. But I’ll certainly give it a chance.