Netflix's The Witcher Season 1 Review Roundup -- Check Out The Critical Consensus
Find out what critics think of Henry Cavill's performance in The Witcher TV series.
Netflix's much-anticipated The Witcher series is finally here, and the reviews are rolling in. The show has seemingly left many critics divided, though, as review scores are all over the place. We've compiled a list of a few critical opinions, so you can see where the show fits within the overarching Witcher universe.
At the time of writing, The Witcher TV show holds a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 54 on GameSpot sister site Metacritic. Many critics say the show is fun but felt coherence and pacing were lacking, leaving The Witcher feeling like an overstuffed jumble of exhilarating and rudimentary fantasy tropes.
Netflix has already confirmed that The Witcher will get a second season, with Cavill reprising his role as Geralt of Rivia. Not much is known about this second season other than Netflix stating, "Geralt's adventure is only beginning."
The Witcher Season One, consisting of eight episodes, is streaming now on Netflix.
Netflix's The Witcher
- Directed By: Alex Garcia Lopez, Alik Sakharov, Charlotte Brändström, Marc Jobst
- Written By: Beau DeMayo, Declan de Barra, Haily Hall, Jenny Klein, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Mike Ostrowski, Sneha Koorse
- Starring: Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra, Jodhi May, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Adam Levy, MyAnna Buring
- Release Date: December 20
"But in the end, Netflix's The Witcher is simply broken. Like the original stories, it begins in media res for Geralt of Rivia, so game fans hoping to learn more about the witcher himself won't find an origin story here. And by trying and utterly failing to cram new and remixed backstories for Yennefer and Ciri in without making any attempts to place each plotline within the larger story, The Witcher completely falls apart. Game fans who haven't read the books will be totally befuddled, and book readers will be scratching their heads just as frequently. If you're utterly devoted to the world of The Witcher, you'll certainly enjoy the familiar aesthetic and characters, but beyond that, this series is hard to recommend." -- Michael Rougeau [Full review]
"Despite the fact The Witcher himself initially feels like a bit of a spare part, the supporting cast makes this new Netflix fantasy show worth a watch as it comes together over the course of a few episodes. The complicated royal intrigue and extreme violence make it a decent addition to the wave of lurid fantasy shows following the demise of Game of Thrones, with the added bonus that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Throw in some schlocky monster action and Henry Cavill's hulking hero and The Witcher has the ingredients to cast a fun spell. Because when people are capable of such terrible actions, who are the real monsters? People. It's the people -- honestly I really thought we'd covered this." -- Richard Trenholm [Full review]
The A.V. Club
"Here in its earliest run, The Witcher is by no means perfect; even ignoring the earlier structural flaws, its efforts at comedy often come off sounding a bit too modern for the rest of its setting, and the characters' tendency to monologue to any unspeaking object or person they can find--horses, mute companions, literal dead babies--verges on comedic. But when the worst thing you can say about a series is that every episode ends up being better than the one that preceded it, that leaves an exciting amount of room to grow. Especially when you can see it steadily moving out of the shadow of the show Netflix might have wanted, in favor of the far more interesting series it might actually turn out to be." -- William Hughes [Full review]
"This is the first TV show I've ever seen that would actually be better with commercial breaks. The goofy syndicated fantasy of yesteryear had to have a brisk pace, building every 12 minutes to an act-breaking cliffhanger. The Witcherfully embraces the endless-movie layout of the worst Blank Check streaming TV. At the end of the series premiere, someone tells Allen's Princess Ciri that Geralt is her destiny. In episode 5, people are still telling her that Geralt is her destiny. I assume they will meet in the season finale. Alas, my destiny is to never watch this borefest ever again." -- Darren Franich and Kristen Baldwin [Full review]
The Hollywood Reporter
"So will you like The Witcher if you're a fan of the franchise? No clue. Will you like The Witcher if you're a curious neophyte? Maybe, but you have to be patient with it, and if that's not your job, the outsized amusements may not be worth the convoluted build-up." -- Daniel Fienberg [Full review]
"'The Witcher' isn't for everyone, and it's not trying to be. The soapy scheming that drove people to choose sides in 'Game of Thrones' isn't here. Neither is the tender romance of 'Outlander,' the big-minded ambition of 'The OA,' or the coherence of, I don't know, 'Vikings.' But that's OK. 'The Witcher' is 'The Witcher,' and nothing else matters. Just go with it." -- Ben Travers [Full review]
"If you can circumnavigate or weather the quick and unforgiving narrative beginnings--like if you have a background with fantasy, a knack for rolling with crazy shit, or a general love for Witchery things--and buy into the tone, The Witcher has lots to love. It can be campy, with life-or-death conversations taking place at a magically-induced Eyes Wide Shut orgy. It can be badass, with a powerful mage blending gender politics, fantasy lore, and deep characterization when telling Geralt to 'fuck off' in the middle of a magical battle. These two can mix like werewolves and silver, but when they work together, The Witcher is a wildly entertaining treat for newcomers and long-time fans alike." -- Jacob Oller [Full review]
"It also raises the fundamental question of who the show is for. As a 'Witcher' watcher but not a reader, I felt the universe at times both overly broad (in its resistance of the single hero) and a bit narrow. Unlike 'Thrones,' it resists allegorical or metaphorical readings, at least at first, and is firmly about what it's about--magic and myth. That itself is less a flaw than simply design, but it does suggest that the appeal of this series may be limited to those already under its spell." -- Daniel D'addario [Full review]
"The Witcher could've very easily turned out wrong. It's not hard to misinterpret what it is that actually makes the series interesting, but the TV adaptation gets it. The Witcher is funny, intense, and uncomfortable, and it balances out those disparate emotions almost perfectly. Yes, it stars Henry Cavill in a bad white wig, but you'll forget about all of that as soon as he starts talking." -- Andrew Webster [Full review]