'The Witcher' Episode 1 Review
Jessica Ross ’21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
If you came here looking to find out what Netflix’s new hit show, The Witcher, is all about, you’ve come to the wrong place. I watched the first episode three times, and honestly, not only can I not tell you with confidence any of the characters names, but I cannot accurately describe the story line itself. I know that I risk backlash and ostracization by saying this, but The Witcher is complete and total nonsense. I’m talking three thumbs down kind of awful.
As an individual who did not read the books the series is based off of prior to watching the first episode, I had no knowledge nor any insight into the story. Now, I know that many will argue with me that it’s my own fault then, that I should have read the books. However, I will remind those same people that there are many television series (Game of Thrones, for instance) which successfully make the storyline clear in the first episode so that the audience does not need to read the book series to follow what is going on. The Witcher did no such thing.
While the special effects, costume designs, and musical score are all brilliant and beautiful, the overall watching experience was more disappointing than anything else. Many viewers have said that the special effects, specifically during the fighting scenes, outshine those in Game of Thrones. While I will not contest this notion, I will argue that Game of Thrones’ dialogue was strong enough that the show did not warrant such special effects. The sustainability and survival of The Witcher, however, depends on it.
Let’s get to the heart of the issue, shall we? An audience should never feel like watching a television show is work. If you’re a storyteller, don’t wait to tell the audience what your story is about and who the characters are. Be straightforward. These vital aspects of the show should be known from the very beginning, otherwise it leaves the audience feeling confused and frustrated, and if you’re anything like me, angry and desperate to figure it out. An audience is not responsible to fill in the blanks or to do the research before or after. An audience’s sole responsibility is to engage and (hopefully) enjoy the production and the experience set before them.
The script in itself is messy and unorganized. From beginning to end, the time and place is unclear. Likewise, unable to understand the dialogue between characters (due to lack of pronunciation and volume from the actors) I was forced to continuously pause and rewind almost every single scene. (I highly recommend subtitles if you decide to watch!)
Additionally, it lacks essential characterization. We have characters fighting but we don’t know what they are fighting for or who they are fighting against. We have protagonists and antagonists but sparse inclination into who is which. We have overly dramatized scenes of characters battling one another, crying, and even dying, but not hardly enough time to care the slightest bit.
The scenes also jump around way too quickly. With all the fast-moving chaos and abrupt introduction of new characters, there is no room to feel for or fully invest in any of them. The first episode concludes and there is little to no insight into who each of these characters are, resulting in, quite frankly, no desire to continue to try and understand.
Of course, all are free to make their own judgements, but I will say it again: Three. Thumbs. Down.