Netflix's The Witcher

So, last Friday finally saw the release of Netflix's The Witcher series.

I found it to be quite enjoyable and I'm happy that Netflix already green lit the second season.

Going to watch the first episode tonight. Curious to see what Henry Cavill brings to the character. I like the guy, he seems like he gives a shit and he can do good work when given good material.

I watched the 1st episode and I'll say it's pretty good, even better if the girl screams less in the future. Like my own life, the episode features illusions of naked women.

Be warned. Time doesn't flow like normal in the show. It takes some time to get used to it.

This cements in my mind that Yennefer is a horrible person and needs to killed to save humanity. So should all sourcerers

Also, the deal connecting Geralt and Yennefer comes off way more creepy.

Cavill does a good job as Geralt. There's still the normal dissonance with his character. He deliberately stays out of fights sometimes and other times starts the fight with little consistency. The Striga has the person who curses brutally slaughtered but the incest king doesn't even get a talking to. And, of course, leaves a vulnerable teenager under the guidance of a incestuous rapist. Genius Geralt

Look, I like it. 8/10. I also need to stop here as I keep picking at it

The bouncing around in time thing is proper annoying since no one seems to age in between. Decent show though. Cavill is massive.

So I haven't started watching yet, but apparently Cavill is killing it as Geralt. I'll admit I was highly skeptical initially, but after reading the IMDB trivia it sounds like he not only earned the role but was made for it.

Baffle2:
The bouncing around in time thing is proper annoying since no one seems to age in between. Decent show though. Cavill is massive.

Well, Geralt and Yennefer aren't meant to age. Dandelion is the worst. It's been decades and he still looks like a teenager

Geralt is supposed to be around 100 during the witcher 3 so yeah he's not gonna age in a manner of a few decades up or down lol.

I plan on marathoning the series so I haven't started it yet but good to hear it's shaping up well.

hanselthecaretaker:
So I haven?t started watching yet, but apparently Cavill is killing it as Geralt. I?ll admit I was highly skeptical initially, but after reading the IMDB trivia it sounds like he not only earned the role but was made for it.

Yeh, Cavill put a lot of effort into portraying Geralt and it shows. Aside from physical prep, he apparently also replayed and reread the books and games multiple times in preparation for the role (Cavill is an avid pc gamer and self-admitted nerd). It's pretty evident in his speech and mannerisms, they're very much modeled after those of Game Geralt.

trunkage:
Well, Geralt and Yennefer aren't meant to age.

I know, that's why it's so annoying that they don't just pop a bit of 'Ten years earlier...' text up. The people all look so samey I've no idea what era I'm in.

trunkage:

This cements in my mind that Yennefer is a horrible person and needs to killed to save humanity. So should all sourcerers

I never understood Yenefer in the game, her entire deal seems to be that she's an awful person but hey sex is cool!

I forgot to add - I like Dandelion in this depiction. I've always hated him but I think they pull off how useful he is. Hopefully later they will add the politically savvy Dandelion without ruining him

Valley of Plenty is a catchy song

I'm 5 episodes in, and I can't say that I like it or that I dislike it. It's OK, I guess. But it's definitely not a GoT killer or anything of the sort. It's mediocre. But the saddest thing is that I can see all the aspects which could be improved and it's not very difficult to see how they could be improved. Which basically means that the show is cheap, since a lot of its faults could have been averted with a higher budget.

One of my main gripes is with the visuals. Everything looks so polished and sterile and it feels fake. I can tell that they're on a set, rather than a real location. That adds to another problem. There's no real sense of where these people are, of how big the world is. It's as if nothing exists outside of the current room where everyone is in. So when the action changes to another character in another set, it makes the world feel disjointed. The fact that the show doesn't tell you that it's jumping several decades back and forth serve only to amplify this issue and make the world feel even more disjointed. Even establishing shots don't seem to add anything to alleviate these issues.

I've only seen the first episode so far but I think it's pretty good. I do have trouble understanding what characters are saying, maybe because of the accents. I had to turn on the subtitles to follow the dialogue.

hanselthecaretaker:
Here?s what the show has done for the games.

For the longest time, I read your name as Hansel The Cracker, as in a cookie, not a whip cracker.

trunkage:
I forgot to add - I like Dandelion in this depiction. I've always hated him but I think they pull off how useful he is. Hopefully later they will add the politically savvy Dandelion without ruining him

Valley of Plenty is a catchy song

Yeah...it's been in my head all day. There are far worse songs to have that honor distinction though.

bluegate:

hanselthecaretaker:
Here?s what the show has done for the games.

For the longest time, I read your name as Hansel The Cracker, as in a cookie, not a whip cracker.

Haha. I do love a good cookie. Besides homemade, Jimmy John's has a pretty damn good cookie to buy. I really need to start cutting back on sweets though.

Henry Cavill is in my view a long way from the best actor out there, but he did okay and held it together as the lead, so fair's fair to him for that. Thought the start was iffy, but it got better throughout. Also found in the early section the jumping around of timelines a little muddling - audience not given much support. Generally, I was pretty happy with it, will watch S2 quite happily.

I guess The Witcher isn't for me. I never read the books, I only played the first game for 5 hours and never touched it again, and I'm forcing myself to watch this. Only 2 more episodes and I'm done. It's not bad, but I feel like I should be enjoying it more, though, considering I'm a fan of the swords and tits genre. I don't know what it is exactly, I don't mind if the CGI isn't that great, I can live with that just fine, but in every scene, it seems like it's just 2 people talking, maybe some extras here and there if we're lucky. The world seems so small. I don't get a sense this is a big place, it's as if everything is just around the corner.

Oh well, apparently lots of people love it, so perhaps season 2 will have a bigger budget.

Only watched the first 3 episodes but so far am enjoying it. The timeline thing is a bit wierd and while I can generally follow along, it's mostly because I have played the games and have those to draw from, so I know the deal with Ciri, Yen and such. Of course I know they're also not in much real danger since both canonically survive.

When Geralt punched Dandelion the first thing that came to mind was "Well, it looks like Geralt's played Assassins Creed 2". I too have an totally rational hatred of bards that won't go away. Though that song is damn catchy.

While I have some sympathy for Yen, the seeds of the awful person she becomes later are clearly there and the shitty scheming of the Sorcerers only makes me feel kind of bad for what happens to them later.

Meiam:

trunkage:

This cements in my mind that Yennefer is a horrible person and needs to killed to save humanity. So should all sourcerers

I never understood Yenefer in the game, her entire deal seems to be that she's an awful person but hey sex is cool!

I think the point is that she's a sociopath who can only care about herself, Geralt and Ciri, but couldn't care less about anyone else in the world, and will do terrible things to them if it benefits her and her little family.

I briefly tried to play the Witcher 3 but couldn't really get into it because I didn't really understand what was going on and the game seemed to expect me to know who all these people, places, and events were. Would watching the series be a good way to catch me up without playing the first two games?

Baffle2:

trunkage:
Well, Geralt and Yennefer aren't meant to age.

I know, that's why it's so annoying that they don't just pop a bit of 'Ten years earlier...' text up. The people all look so samey I've no idea what era I'm in.

After watching it, I can see why. Around episode 5-7 they jump between the timelines so often as part of the episode's structure that tossing some subtitles about the date with every shift would start to be awkward.

Still, I think they could have made it in such a way that the early episodes better established the primary dates of the timelines. As I recall, there's basically 3:

1) Yennefer's enrollment is I think the earliest depicted event, and her subsequent training and time as a sorceress up until she meets Geralt, at which point her timeline melds with his.
2) Geralt doing witcher things, which I think proceed chronologically as depicted in the show; most of his events call back to the first episode with Renfri, which puts that as the start of that timeline, and the encounters with Jaskier seem to proceed in order, with each having a callback to the last time they were together, which matches with the show's depiction.
3) Ciri's storyline, which when you realize starts the latest, is the easiest to follow, since it's a simple chronological progression rather than a bunch of disconnected events.

So overall, each of the 3 timelines seem like they proceed in order, so all you'd really need is a "Year XXX" when introducing each of them in the first episode or two, and it would all flow naturally from there. The big issue would be that Geralt's timeline is still really ambiguous about how much time takes place between each event, so maybe you just have a reminder per episode, although I get the feeling that the show itself didn't want to decide on concrete chronology. The showrunners might have looked at the big picture of things and decided that it was too much hassle to layout firmly and deliberately kept it vague to give themselves wriggle room.

Edit: Double post

Silent Protagonist:
I briefly tried to play the Witcher 3 but couldn't really get into it because I didn't really understand what was going on and the game seemed to expect me to know who all these people, places, and events were. Would watching the series be a good way to catch me up without playing the first two games?

I'm in the same boat but I reached a somewhat different conclusion. I didn't know any of the characters but I never felt the game was demanding me to know them all. The game takes it time to introduce you to the key players swiftly enough. The flashback and the tutorial area give you an inkling who Yen, Ciri and the emperor are and by the time you meet Dandoline you will likely have figured out he's a bard and the narrator of the game. Even more obscure characters like Dijkstra never really confused me. The dialogue got the point across pretty neatly that he's a former spymaster and that he and Gerald have a (leg breaking) history to explain why they respect but don't like each other. And if all fails there's a glossary.

The only clumsy part is the interview that allows you to carry over the choices from Witcher II. In that instance I really did feel the game was asking me questions about people and locations I couldn't possibly have known about. Especially clumsy considering entire sidequests hinges on you choosing correctly in this confusing moment.

Adam Jensen:
I'm 5 episodes in, and I can't say that I like it or that I dislike it. It's OK, I guess. But it's definitely not a GoT killer or anything of the sort. It's mediocre. But the saddest thing is that I can see all the aspects which could be improved and it's not very difficult to see how they could be improved. Which basically means that the show is cheap, since a lot of its faults could have been averted with a higher budget.

One of my main gripes is with the visuals. Everything looks so polished and sterile and it feels fake. I can tell that they're on a set, rather than a real location. That adds to another problem. There's no real sense of where these people are, of how big the world is. It's as if nothing exists outside of the current room where everyone is in. So when the action changes to another character in another set, it makes the world feel disjointed. The fact that the show doesn't tell you that it's jumping several decades back and forth serve only to amplify this issue and make the world feel even more disjointed. Even establishing shots don't seem to add anything to alleviate these issues.

Preach! I especially agree about the world not feeling like it exists.
The bloom in the visuals also annoys me. The shots aren't very well framed. The dialogue is stiff and largely uninteresting. The aesthetic decision to let them speak with a modern-day vocabulary is also quite jarring. The bard, despite being the most enjoyable character to watch, feels like they borrowed a character from a 2010s sitcom, gave him a costume, and called it a day.
I wish they would take one episode and replace all of Geralt's lines with emotive grunts. I suspect it would work just as well.

And the story is honestly a mess. It took me something like five episodes to realize they were going for an episodic format along the lines of Cowboy bebop. That's not a good sign for the quality of the show's communication. It certainly didn't help that they interspersed the episodes with scenes from a non-episodic story, set in a different time, without doing anything to indicate that's what was going on.

I saw an interesting video essay about how they had to cut a lot of material from the episodes in order to make room for the Ciri story. Apparently that's why the stories don't make sense. You need to have read the book they're based on to be able to understand what's going on.

 

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