The Witcher, the show on Netflix that is based on a book based on an underrated indie game inspired by ancient Polish history, is officially doing far better than expected. While initial critic reviews were admittedly rough, it appears as though the fans of the franchise have won out. Indeed, audience reviews of the show have generally been quite positive. Unsurprisingly, Netflix greenlighted a second season of The Witcher. Surprisingly, the feedback was positive enough that Netflix felt comfortable with sharing behind-the-scenes details of the second season.
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Of course, Netflix isn’t completely ignoring all the negative critical reviews. Those that indicate that the person hated The Witcher with a burning passion are particularly valuable. "I sat there for an hour and nothing happened! The first episode was just a black screen with random grunting and sword swishing sounds," one critic stated. "Of course, the natural thing to do then was to skip the next eight episodes and replace it with The Mandalorian, which I then gave a suspiciously positive review about by saying that baby Yoda is literally the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind.”
At first glance, such a review seems especially useless. It isn’t discouraging The Witcher’s showrunners however. In fact, they are taking it in stride, and are using such reviews to craft a better second season for everyone. “If anything, The Witcher was mentioned in the same sentence The Mandalorian, so that’s a great thing.” Plus, it proves that you don’t need some cute baby alien creature to be on screen to get people talking. You need a surprising Law of Surprising Surprise instead. Nothing gets the internet's attention faster than a plot point that confuses people regardless of if they read the book or played the games.
Another, slightly more positive critic acknowledged that while most parts of The Witcher were great, some aspects of it needed improvement. For example, the random jumps in time between episodes was one aspect that most people had an issue with. "Unlike the tight, leather-bound, and lean nature of Henry Cavill's thighs, The Witcher is all over the place," an actual review on Rotten Potatoes said. "Much like a greased-up, oily Henry Cavill, the show has problems staying on point, and would benefit a lot from a more solid, cohesive grip on the audience."
Regardless, Netflix and their showrunners are ecstatic about the general direction that the show is going in. "Even if we account for the die-hard, kind of scarily devoted and/or obsessed fans of the games, the show is performing way above expectations." Given that The Witcher is currently one of if not the most popular shows of 2019 speaks volumes about the amount of interest that people have in the franchise. And we’re not including the ever important pirate demographic, which is always left out of such audience metrics. Surely it’s just a weird coincidence that the show is making a ton of money for Netflix and enticing a ton of people to subscribe to their service. That Netflix would be fine with producing garbage as long as it makes them money is likely just unsubstantiated rumors.
Fortunately, there has been plenty of positive feedback as well. Netflix did take note that some parts of The Witcher were universally praised. The overwhelming reaction to the costume design for the Nilfgaardian soldiers in particular caught the eye of no small number of important people. One Disney+ guy remarked that the shriveled raisin approach to the Nilfgaardian armor was so unique, so bold, and so daring that it sent their office into a panic. Indeed, another random guy even compared the Nilfgaardian armor to the universally praised costumes in The Lord of the Rings movies and week-old wrinkled prunes.
Regardless, the future of The Witcher is still up in the air. Video-game-related media has always faced an uphill battle, and competition is fierce. At some point, there were considerations that the company should invest in other worthwhile projects, like a full-blown Cats movie cinematic universe. Others allegedly wanted to reboot the series into a gritty, modern take of The Witcher set in present times. Such a reboot would have featured Geraldo del Rivero as a down-on-his-luck Gwent addict who goes around slaying monsters with nothing but a rusty shiv, broken dreams, and his magical teleporting horse until, in the end, he becomes the very monster he swore to destroy.