This show may not be what a lot of people expected. Based off novels of the same name, the series also gained immense popularity with the release of CD Projekt Red‘s video games, and if you had not played them or read the books, you may not know what you were in store for. And it definitely seems as though critics didn’t get what they wanted.
The show is somewhat slow at the start with the first episode and a half, yet picks up with political intrigue and character development throughout nearly episode. Now, I have read some reviews comparing this to “The Mandalorian” which is absurd. This show is not trying to be “The Mandalorian”, that show is based off samurai films and westerns, “The Witcher” is based off dark medieval fantasy. And considering how much I love westerns and medieval fantasy, I can’t choose which I like more, yet I would never put them up against each other because it makes absolutely no sense.
One review I read for this was from Polygon, that discussed how “The Witcher” did everything “The Mandalorian” avoided. The dumbest remark I read about the series is how the show “has no stakes” because anyone who read the books obviously knows that our heroes survive, unlike “The Mandalorian” which is set in a new un-explored time period where characters could die or not. This is dumb for many many reasons, first of all anyone who has seen a movie knows that the hero of the story has around a 99.99% chance of surviving the story because the good guy always wins. Second, this critic is basically saying that there is no need to watch the “Harry Potter” films because there is no stakes if you already read the books, in fact you can say the same about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know the hero is going to survive in the end so they can make sequels so it automatically makes those films terrible right? Because you know the ending already? No… The mark of a good series is not whether you know if the hero will die or not (which is almost never), it is about how they reach the end, and if you don’t know that
In the end the show is meant to the be the “Game of Thrones” successor to the fantasy television genre. It is not supposed to be “Game of Thrones”, dealing with political maneuvering and royal court machinations, it is supposed to the tale of three people tied by destiny in an ever growing crappy world. And this is what it succeeds in. The show is a fine piece of art with amazing cinematography and choreography. The show, although about a monster hunter, is not about monster hunting, it’s about the monsters we create, and how to best deal with that. If you wanted a straight monster of the week show, you’re in the wrong area, although there are monsters in nearly every episode, but the show focuses much more on politics and this motif of the truth behind destiny rather than just straight up monster hunting (much like the books it is based on).