Gathering what is happening at a time in “The Witcher” is impossible and insignificant. Netflix’s fantastic big-budget adaptation looks like “Game of Thrones” and plays like “The OA,” an extravagant budget that fuels a ridiculous premise. Frankly, it should be a disaster, and yet the energy of the shit that results in a multitude of increasingly strange choices makes it a pretty entertaining show.
Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s books (which have already been adopted in a popular video game series), “The Witcher” tells the wild stories of Geralt de Rivia, the namesake sorcerer played by “Witcher” enthusiast Henry Cavill, who travels from city to city. Accept missions in exchange for “coins.” Usually, their missions are meant to kill a monster. Sometimes they involve taking baths, which, surprisingly, is an extremely important activity for anyone who loves video games and “Witcher” books.
Regardless of what Geralt does, he does it with a frankly adorable appearance, made even more attractive by Cavill’s growing performance, and the mess that makes up the rest of the show. You see, Geralt’s intrigues are quite episodic; Each new episode brings a new mission, as do the sections of a video game. It is easy to follow what you are doing because the objectives are explained to you by all the strange things that you hire Gerry. In the second entry, it helps drive away a demon that steals grains. In the third, he chases a rare creature that likes to eat people’s guts.
but when he doesn’t focus on Geralt, “The Witcher” becomes very, very messy. There is a training wizard named Yennefer (yes, Yennefer!), Who just appeared in plot B during the first four episodes. Interpreted with surprising conviction by Anya Chalotra, the plot of Yen-eh-fur is maintained with a kind of dream logic, where you may not know exactly how things are going, but you get the essentials to know why. The same cannot be said of Princess Ciri (Freya Allan), a girl who escapes from a ruined castle with only two words of advice: Find Geralt.
That it takes more than the five episodes provided to critics to do so, or even find people, places or things related to Geralt, disconnects Ciri from the basic story of what seems hopeless. He may form a Baby Yoda-type association with his destiny as a witch in season 2, learning the tricks of the witch of the trade while being protected by his witch at all costs. But for now, she is a kind of strange and hard-to-connect luggage in a show that is so strange that anything extra runs the risk of putting everyone except the hardcore fans.
And “strange” is a euphemism. For newcomers, there is much to absorb, starting with the name Geralt. A sorcerer is not a witch, but a species that is rejected by humanity and forced to defend itself by fighting against monsters and performing other unwanted tasks. It has powers, but they are not so powerful: Geralt will emit an explosion of energy in a melee battle, but he does not do so often, and it is not clear if the explosion is more than a push Like the actor who embodies it, Geralt’s most revealing attribute is his imposing physique and his sword skills. He seems to be a very good warrior, who can sometimes do magic when history demands it.
Meanwhile, Yennefer is going through a physical and spiritual transformation that is so crazy that I dare not spoil it here. Nor can I spoil it here, because even explaining it to my curious friends has proved impossible. There are many parts in “The Witcher” as well; scenes that seem too absurd to be said aloud, much less taken as seriously as the “The Witcher” team, but it is exactly this dedication to the fantastic elements of the series that makes it work. Cavill talked extensively about how he really wanted this role, and his commitment not only improves the show but is clearly reflected by everyone on the set.
“The Witcher” is not for everyone and is not trying to be. The soapy intrigue that led people to choose sides in “Game of Thrones” is not there. Neither Outlander’s tender romance, nor the ambitious ambition of “The OA,” nor the consistency, I don’t know, of “Vikings.” But it’s going well.