This is an episodic series based on The Witcher books, it’s an excellent adaptation that should please fans of the games as well as the ones that know this character from the written perspective. This follows Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) as he ventures across the land in what are essentially “a day in the life” of a Witcher adventures. Behind these smaller stories is an overall narrative arc that builds over the season.
This background element features a spark of destiny between Geralt, and Ciri (Freya Allan) as the two are set to cross paths. This takes place over a number of years, and follows a few characters. You get a young Ciri on the run, Geralt going on random jobs and then Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) on her full journey. Initially I wasn’t sure the direction for Yennefer, but she becomes an essential and incredible character in this series. You get to see a transformation that adds motivation, and depth to that character. Geralt is also fantastic, Cavill delivers an incredible performance.
This is only enhanced further with the inclusion of his bard pal Dandelion, known as Jaskier (Joey Batey) in this. He performs a great musical piece that I can’t wait to download once it’s available. Going back to the narrative, this is excellent storytelling. It’s a collection of tales that might confuse you initially, but if you stick around it makes perfect sense when paths converge at key points. It also helps to provide a more fulfilling and dynamic narrative as well. It’s great to just see this character in action, and it’s so epic.
This is a beautifully shot series, the cinematography is simply stunning. The fight choreography is also incredible to take in, the action is so great. There are later episodes that are remarkable, and I can’t discuss them as I don’t want to spoil things but the battles are epic beyond belief. There’s a sense of gritty, visceral combat and war here that’s amazing. The use of magic, swords and other fantasy elements are great.
This is also a more intimate tale, focusing on the dynamics and relationships of these characters. Those of which feel natural, and earned over the progression of the story. It’s hard to balance, but they nail all of it here. The CGI is also excellent, with just one creature sticking out a bit but it’s one with a tiny bit of screen time before it becomes a snack. Other than that you get a wildly vast selection of fantasy characters, depictions of war and some moments of calmness.
The Witcher is not only a man that hunts, but one with the compassion to understand how nature works. It’s great, but he also gets right in there and straight up bloody. Cavill is perfect as Geralt, I was truly impressed. This is coming from a game perspective, but it’s a perfect adaptation for this particular medium. Allan’s Ciri was also excellent, as was the perfect showcase of Yennefer by Chalotra. I’m not quite sold on Triss (Anna Shaffer) yet, but she also doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time in this, just so you know. Some folks are big fans of that character, she has a moment or two to shine but this isn’t directly about Triss.
The Witcher Season 1 is a perfect fantasy series with a deep connected narrative and incredible performances that bring this world to life. I was blown away by the acting, visual quality and style that was presented here. It all works so smoothly, with a story that unraveled beautifully over the course of the season. I can’t wait to see more of this as this will hopefully be something that continues to grow over time.
They’ve got an absolutely stunning start to this series with perfectly cast characters, and a world that we’ve only touched the surface of. I was shocked by how well Yennefer was handled and Geralt’s adventures were so much fun. These little stories also mattered to the overall tale while still coming across as excellent standalone missions. They truly get this character, and this world.
The lore is majestically translated and this is a must see for fantasy fans. The sense of scale is great, it’s gritty and has every element someone that likes this genre would desire. It also has heart, and handles the emotional aspects very well. The relationships feel natural, and earned, as do the various darker moments that appear throughout the run. I can’t wait for more.
The Witcher Season 1 Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Netflix