The Witcher (Netflix Show) Discussion

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liquiddragon

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#1 liquiddragon  Online

Man, time flies. I guess this just came out last night!

Did anybody watch any of it? What do y'all think?
I'm gonna watch some later today. Be back with thoughts.

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MerxWorx01

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#2  Edited By MerxWorx01

Only watch most of the first episode and it seems good so far. Really surprised how well Cavill mimics Doug Cockles voice.

Edit: Also has anyone here ever posted that CBS Witcher Story Recap that featured Vinny explaining the story while sitting in tub in what looks like a church? That might be helpful here for some people.

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jacksmedulla

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I watched the first episode, and man, it's pretty rough. I think Cavill does a great job as Geralt, and Freya Allan was good as ciri. There was also a very well choreographed sword fight that captured the agility and poise of a Witcher, which was cool to see on film. Other than that, though, the dialogue nauseatingly cliche and stilted, the overall cinematography, set design, and costume design feel almost soap opera-y at points, and the pacing is just all over the place. I honestly felt like I was watching a high budget, modern take on the old 90's Xena television series. Hopefully it gets better from here, but so far, mark it as yet another mediocre Netflix original.

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TheRealTurk

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My impression of the first episode is that the individual performances are really good and the production values are really high, but I think the script and pacing significantly let it down. More specifically:

* I really, really like Henry Cavill as Geralt. He does a really good Doug Cockles impression and captures Geralt's wry and world weary sense of humor. You can tell the guy is super-invested in making this work. Dude clearly put a lot of work in preparing, and it shows.

* The battles are good and visceral, especially the fights involving Geralt. They really nail that he's super-humanly fast and skilled. Even the big battle scenes are pretty good, although as I mention below, they don't really have a sense of stakes given the rushed nature of the script.

* A lot of good performances beside Geralt. I was pleasantly surprised by the actress who plays Ciri, and I thought the scenes with her family managed to capture a lot of familial warmth. Unfortunately, the script never stays with it long enough and never gives you a sense of stakes. I'd loved to have a couple of more set-up episodes just focusing on Ciri and her family. It would have helped introduce the character and make some of the events a lot more impactful.

* As far the script goes, it feels really, really rushed. I'm pretty familiar with the Witcher games and books and I was nearly getting confused with how fast they were name dropping characters and places. I think someone coming into the series for the first time has next to no chance of figuring out who is who or where anything is.

* Specifically, I think this first episode really needed to split into two. It tries to jump between Cintra being invaded by Nilfgaard and The Lesser Evil storyline, but neither really gets enough time to have an impact. You don't get anything about Nilfgaard other than they're probably bad because they dress in black scrotum armor. There is no explanation about who they are or what they want - just a scene at a big dinner party where it's mentioned "they're here" followed by a big battle scene with basically zero context. It's really rushed and confusing. For example, there's a whole scene where Cintra nobles are choosing to kill themselves because it's implied Nilfgaard is so brutal, but there is nothing beyond that. They really needed to take the time to slow down and establish just what Nilfgaard is rather than jumping straight to the battle.

The Lesser Evil plot line feels similarly rushed. It's pretty much a series of scenes with the mage and Renfri telling Geralt "No, they're evil!" followed by a confusing dream sequence that seemingly establishes Renfri as bad so Geralt has an excuse to go fight people. The fight is really, really good, but the resolution also feels comically random.

------

Overall, I'll probably keep watching. I think people familiar with the series will have a better time if they don't go in expecting another Game of Thrones. It's sort of more Buffy the Vampire Slayer with really high production values.

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Humanity

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I read all the books although I don't remember the plot so well anymore. To be honest I didn't think too highly of the novels - not much really happens in that story.

That said - Cavil does a good job as the Witcher. Apart from that it seems ehhh kind of average? We are one episode in and they are already wildly straying from the source material but I guess thats TV for ya.

The combat scenes are really great. You do feel the way Geralt is supposed to dance with the sword. I dunno I just wasn't really all that invested in any of it.

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Shiftygism

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Just got done with the first ep, super dull...despite this sort of thing usually being right up my alley. It's only eight episodes though, so I may trek on. Honestly, the trailers didn't do much for me going in.

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TheRealTurk

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2nd episode is better, mainly because it manages to stick with a single plot line for much longer between periods of jumping around. Like the 1st episode, there are really good performances, but the script is still pretty tortured. It's trapped between wanting to be really colloquial and really self-serious. Nilfgaardians are still wearing scrotum armor.

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endoworks

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I think as you get further into it I the way they are telling multiple stories is neatly done. More I watch the more I’m enjoying it.

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SilverSaint

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#9  Edited By SilverSaint

I've only played the Witcher 2 and 3, plus read a ton of stuff on the wiki. I knew a ton of stuff, recognized a ton of the stories instantly, as just the story not when it took place, but felt the pacing and the story switching was terribly done. I assumed we started in present day and nothing told me we weren't still following present day at any real point. I was watching it all back to back and it took me til episode 3 to realize OH shit we are time jumping like crazy. I actively disliked the absurd time jumps and generally disjointed 3 character arcs.

I think Henry did a superb job as Geralt, his "FUCK" lines were hilarious. Foltest was clearly miscast, he looked like a complete mess instead of being all suave. I didn't mind Yen at the start (mishapen), but later on the actor simply doesn't fit IMO, she looks so out of place constantly. I liked the rest of the general cast though.

The entire season felt short about 2 or so episodes. The final episode had some incredibly slow moments (the first 15 mins) that felt like something from a middle season filler episode.

For a really experienced Witcher Fan (book and wiki knowledge) I think the series is an 8/10.
For a newcomer the series is like a 5 or 6/10.

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CreepingDeath0

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Watched the first episode. Oh boy, it's not great. The whole thing feels like a knock-off Witcher too me. The writing is clichéd (I'd love to see a count of the word "destiny" from the first episode alone. Got to be 10+), the sets and costumes are sub par, the battles look terrible, the fight choreography is... frankly ridiculous, and the use of Dutch angles needs to stop. Then you have the oddities that are Geralt's voice and the music where, despite their repeated insistence that they haven't taken inspiration from the games, it's a poor man's impersonation.

Also, I love Henry Cavill. He's a great actor. He's still a terrible pick for the role.

I really don't see myself going back for episode 2. Which is a rare thing. I normally try to give any show I watch a 4 episode trial but... all the issues I have are so intrinsically linked to the core of the show that I don't see it improving for me.

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jacksmedulla

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Okay, after a rough first couple of episodes, I actually really enjoyed the third episode. It reminded me of a supernatural monster of the week episode, but in the Witcher universe. The production values were much better. There wasn’t nearly as much terrible dialogue. And the monster fight was a bunch of fun. Hopefully the rest of the series is more in line with the third episode.

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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I watched the first episode today and thought it was fine. I read the Witcher series over a summer and the books all kind of blend together and I can only remember the broad strokes of the series. I have beaten The Witcher 3's main campaign and generally enjoyed it but found the writing to be way over praised for it - especially the character of Geralt. So that's the kind of Witcher fan I am.

With that being said, they try to pack way too much into this episode and it makes things feel very rushed. I like most of the cast, I think Cavill does a fine job (and I was worried because I find him to be more of a jawline than an actor). The general look of the show is very sound stage with a green screen, but I thought the costumes were fine. Soundtrack sounded like a cheap version of the game. I remember liking the short story Geralt's arc is based on in this episode, but the show lacked a lot of the moral choice conundrum from it. The fight scene was well choreographed and pretty cool, but never pushed it to the next level. Also the big battle scene was fine but the fact that the archer nailed one of the royal family then just sat and watched the Queen take her helmet off and stare at him felt like schlocky tv story telling. The sound mixing was way off imo. The conversation in the dinning hall was super quiet while all the fighting was cranked to 11. I just kind of shrugged it off and just kept watching filling in the blanks with my previous knowledge. Seems like it could get better but so many elements feel half baked or just wrong.

The 8 episodes first got me excited because every netflix show I've watched all the way through had at least 2 filler eps, but now I'm worried that they have compressed to much of the story and it's not going to be do much but retell the broad strokes in a visual format. Idk, tv is so unimpressive these days that my expectations are low enough that this thing seems totally fine and I'll watch it just to see how it stacks in the pantheon of the Witcher things - the comics being a very underrated Witcher thing.

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Ares42

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Only watched first episode so far and, as others have said, it felt rushed. This first episode should've really only been the Ciri story-line, functioning as a prologue, and then you open the second episode with the introduction of Geralt and spend a good amount of time fleshing him out as a character (instead of just dumping him into this scenario with multiple characters you're supposed to care about etc). But I'm guessing they felt like they had to include Cavill in the first episode considering he's the star of the project.

In some ways it reminded me of the start of Witcher 3, and how much better it's done there. You open with the cinematic with Yennefer (functioning as a prologue), and then you spend a good chunk of time with Geralt and Vesemir just doing their thing before moving on to the main storyline in Velen where other major characters gets introduced.

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RobertForster

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Geralt should be beefier and older imo.

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dudeglove

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All I want to know is if he talks to trolls

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TheRealTurk

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Now I'm three episodes in. The third was by far the strongest episode. However, I think the time skip was handled exceptionally badly. It was done in such a blink-and-you'll-miss-it fashion that I think it's going to confuse the hell out of most people watching.

Overall, I'm starting to feel like this is a well-made show that is nevertheless a bad adaptation. The time skip is kind of case in point. A good adaptation takes a complicated story and makes it easier for people to understand. This isn't doing that. There's really no reason for them to have the time jump in the way they do. They could have just told the story chronologically or just compressed book events so everything is happening on one timeline.

Overall, there's a lot of little examples like that. I'm not sure that the show runners really understand the difference between what makes for good fan service and things they need to do for actual world building. For example, in the first episode there is like second and a half mention of how the Wild Hunt has been seen around Cintra. Which, if you know the Witcher story, is incredibly (like, super incredibly) important to Ciri's arc. But here it's just treated as a throwaway line. When it inevitably has to come back around later in the story, no one is going to remember it.

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primeate

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I've watched the whole season. It was worth a watch if you are a fan of the world from the books and game. They definitely sliced some things up and stuck them together story wise from the books. I enjoyed it, I just had to put myself into a headspace similar to watching something like The Expanse.

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Aristotled

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The only thing that would immediately improve this show is if they simply slapped a

Location, Month, Year in the bottom corner for transitions to new locations or when the timeline jumps. It's hard to tell if they are making The Ciri, Yennefer, Geralt storylines occur simultaneously or not

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Shiftygism

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Halfway through, the second episode is the only one I can say I liked, and it was mostly for Yennefer.

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BladeOfCreation

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I just finished the first episode. I liked it.

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Junkerman

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#21  Edited By Junkerman

Two episodes in so far and I'm actually really liking it. First episode was a bit weird. It was like half the dialog was awkward and the word destiny was used, and then the other half was totally fine.

Episode 2 was great though.

I was super skeptical going in about the casting of Geralt but its obvious that he is putting 110% into the role and he nails video game Geralt better then he should be able to. His dry humor, grunts etc. It works for me. It really ties it to the games even though they probably weren't aiming to on paper.

Biggest weakness in my opinion is the fact that its not tied to the games. CDProject Red really had some iconic music and art design that would really elevate the show in my opinion. I cant help but feel the show is trying to skirt the line between being 'different' and borrowing so heavily from the games that they misewell have just made everything a companion piece to each other.

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loafofgame

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I like it. That's it. It's not amazing, but I'm enjoying myself. It seems far less enjoyable if you don't already know some of the characters, though. I've never read the books, but I played the last two games to death, so I feel like a lot of the characters and the world already have more depth in my head than they actually have in the series (which I guess is making me enjoy it more?)... I'm not sure what someone who doesn't know anything about The Witcher would think of this. Pretty middle of the road probably...

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Humanity

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Much like the Mandalorian episodes are a tad too short, boy oh boy these Witcher episodes seem entirely too long. I’m typically exhausted by the end of them and even when I’m intrigued to see what’s up next the thought of sitting down for another 60+ minutes is somehow daunting.

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SethMode

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@therealturk: I have not gotten the chance to start this show yet and this thread is so all over the place it is honestly stressing me out a little.

Shout out to you though for these really great write ups! Happy to see all of the takes even though they fill me with dread that this franchise that I love will explode in a fiery bad mess of nonsense.

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Humanity

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@sethmode: I don’t think you have anything to worry about. At worst it is “fine” but it does have some really great highs. The worst part about it really is the casting which seems all over the place.

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SethMode

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#27  Edited By SethMode

@humanity: A lot too is selling it to my wife, not in the long run, as we have our shows that we each like independently, but I WANT her to like this world...and the rough on boarding sounds...man, Watchmen was hard enough. Dunno if I can do another "Well, the story with THIS guy is..."

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jamjyo

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Only watched the first episode.

Much, much better than what I expected. In comparison, I couldn't stand the first episode of Mandalorian.

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BoOzak

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#29  Edited By BoOzak

I've watched 2 episodes and i'm not really into it. First the good, Cavill is surprisingly decent as Geralt and the fight scenes so far are well put together. (even if the opening with the somewhat dicey CG didnt do it any favours) Everything else feels very rushed, nothing has room to breathe, it just jumps from one plot point to the next, conversations all seem to consist of hammering home 'the lesser evil' which the games and books both did but not to this degree.

I'm not normally this guy because honestly I dont read a lot of books but the way the stories played out were much better there. Maybe it's an unfair comparison but I dont even hold the books to very high regard I just liked the games enough to read some of them. Thats probably the biggest issue for me, I keep comparing it to the games, i'm curious what people who havent absorbed any other Witcher related stuff think of this show. I'll keep watching it, it could just take some time to adjust.

I've enjoyed videogame movies so it's not like i'm unable to accept things being reimagined, maybe I just had higher expectations for this than I do for movies, which tend to be pretty low.

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MezZa

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From the perspective of a book and game fan: I'm liking it. The strength of the show to me looks to be the stories around Geralt, Jaskier, and the combat scenes. Which, honestly, considering what the short stories largely revolve around that isn't surprising at all.

Seems like they did a good job casting Ciri, but unfortunately because of how they've included her so early a lot of her content is just filler that they made up right now. I'm concerned how this will affect the portrayal of a certain other character in the future who is being given way more screen time than he should have right now, but we'll see.

Yennefer's stuff was...alright. Mixture of interesting backstory to kind of just waiting for them to get on with it. I feel like it robbed that initial introduction of her that the stories have as well because by the time that happens you already know exactly what's up with her and she loses a lot of that element of mystery and trickery. Her best character moments are later in the story though, so honestly I didn't expect her to be an overwhelmingly interesting character yet.

Triss is whatever. She not a very important character in the books, so while I understand some people's complaints I can't say I really want to see them try to recreate people's love for the game character because that is absolutely not who she is in the books. The actress herself has a lot of time to make the role her own before some of the few Triss moments come up in the order of things. So hopefully she improves from here.

The pacing of the story is chaotic but not impossible to follow. Once you start to catch the signs of the timelines like Foltest being a child in one and an adult in another you can piece it together and it does kind of feel rewarding when you have that "ohh" moment. And obviously Cintra is another big tell about when things take place as well.

I fully expect the next season to feel a bit better on the pacing side. The short stories are after all short stories. Even when reading them I remember having to try to orient myself every time they jumped to a new short story. Introducing Yen and Ciri right away makes that part worse, but hopefully them being this established early on pays off during their character moments in the future.

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deckard

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I watched about 20 minutes of the first episode and turned it off. The introduction to all the characters and transitions between storylines is a mess. I've read a bit of the books, played about a dozen hours of Witcher 1 and 100+ of Witcher 3 and even I was confused as to what plot points they were trying to convey. They should have mimicked the games more and just followed Geralt around for an episode or two before introducing Ciri, etc.

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Humanity

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@sethmode: Oh then I’m sorry because if you’re not acquainted with the source material then the on boarding is very rough. The show makes use of a tried and true cinematic technique of hidden multiple timelines that works well for a 2 hr future when the big reveal comes at the end of when-what was happening - but in an 8 episode arch when you have no idea such a divergence is actually taking place I can only imagine it can be extremely confusing as evidenced by that 4/10 GameSpot review where the author had no clue what was going on.

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Shiftygism

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Geralt's introduction to Yennefer in episode five was easily the most god damned embarrassing "look how adult we are" gratuitous use of nudity I've seen in awhile.

Also, if they ever greenlight a Metal Gear movie, Henry Cavill's performance here should be used as a prime example of why David Hayter's Solid Snake voice should never be emulated.

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MerxWorx01

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@sethmode: Have you seen the show "Dark"? It feels like they decided to use overlapping timelines in a story that only has one timeline. Now there are a lot of reasons to not like how this is done but I'd like to add that much like Dark it provides a way to give great visual contrast to characters and settings without a "Back to the Future"esque setting change. I have a number of thoughts about how everything is being handled but I will say though that If I wasn't a fan of the games and didn't already have an existing idea in my minds eye about the kind of character Geralt is but it would be easy to peg the TV version of him as more impulsive among other things. I don't want to say anymore, I don't think it is a bad show and I think it is worth watching so I don't want to color your viewing of it.

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Humanity

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@shiftygism: As far as I know it has a director attached to it but I don't know if it's being actively being worked on or what.

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csl316

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I just finished episode 3, which was fucking awesome. The first two were good to great, but I absolutely loved everything about 3. The casting, the music, the atmosphere of the whole thing.

We'll see where it goes from here, but I've been pretty into it so far.

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SethMode

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@sethmode: Have you seen the show "Dark"? It feels like they decided to use overlapping timelines in a story that only has one timeline. Now there are a lot of reasons to not like how this is done but I'd like to add that much like Dark it provides a way to give great visual contrast to characters and settings without a "Back to the Future"esque setting change. I have a number of thoughts about how everything is being handled but I will say though that If I wasn't a fan of the games and didn't already have an existing idea in my minds eye about the kind of character Geralt is but it would be easy to peg the TV version of him as more impulsive among other things. I don't want to say anymore, I don't think it is a bad show and I think it is worth watching so I don't want to color your viewing of it.

I have seen Dark! At least, the first season. Thanks for the input!

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@csl316: Yeah the third episode is a huge improvement, the pacing is much better and the stories coalesced in a great way. (at least thematically) Hopefully this represents the rest of the season.

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Ares42

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Finished the season and I gotta say I liked it overall. I would imagine anyone who's not already invested in the universe would bounce off it hard though, with the way the story is structured and the fairly lackluster main plot. But the character stories are intriguing and the action is generally great (except for the dragon CGI, wtf was that?!). And ofc as a fan of the games there's just a lot of "I know who/what that is" etc to keep me interested.

I will say though that I think they fucked up on the casting of Yennefer. I get that they needed someone younger to play her early parts, but after the transformation she's supposed to be a powerful and dominating woman, not some mid-twenties "pretty girl".

But for a book-to-TV adaptation this production is easily in the top 90%. It might just be the times we live in which is great for TV shows, but this could've easily been so much worse.

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Shiftygism

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#41  Edited By Shiftygism

Just forced my way to the finish.

Definitely the worst Netflix original series I've ever watched. Super dull, bad effects, shoestring budget, weak villains, can't believe it got renewed, hopefully it gets a massive retooling in season two because holy shit it's bad.

Netflix should be embarrassed, especially after all the hype they placed on it. If this mid-00's SyFy quality production is their answer to Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings show, I wish them the best of luck.

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Captain_Insano

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@shiftygism: either we are watching entirely different shows or your expectations were set at some unachievable level.

I mean different opinions and all that but I think it's done a pretty good job that's fairly true to the books and elements of the games.

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obcdexter

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Binged the whole thing in one go. It's great. Loved it.

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jacksmedulla

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@captain_insano: Nah, I pretty much agree with shiftygism. I didn't have the highest expectations from the trailers, but I was still disappointed in a lot of ways. As I said earlier in the thread, I think the main cast does a good job, and I really enjoyed the third episode. Apart from that though, a lot of the show REALLY reminds me of 90's fantasy shows like Hercules and Xena. The effects are astoundingly hit or miss. Again, I think the third episode was good on this count, but then I saw the fucking dragon episode, and holy shit were they bad. The writing in general is also very poor, and kind even be obnoxious at times. The pacing and general structure is all over the place, and overall it feels like a very amateurish attempt at a high budget fantasy series. I really hope they turn it around for the next season, but given how most netflix shows go, I won't be setting my hopes particularly high.

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JasonR86

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I watched an episode and a half and didn’t care for it. I played through the second and third game so I have some context for the world and characters. But even with that knowledge, I had a hard time following along at the start. The first episode does so little to set up the characters, world, stakes, and everything else that I can’t imagine what someone new to the universe would be thinking. The whole thing felt rushed and poorly paced, but appeared to me to give the impression that when things happened, like everyone in that one town dying during the raid, we as the audience should be affected. But we barely knew anyone there and who we did know were so underdeveloped it would have been nearly impossible to have grown attached enough to be affected by their death (like, say, the Queen). When there were moments that were allowed to breath, and weren’t rushed and exposition filled, the dialogue was stilted and cliched. Take a shot every time you hear the word ‘destiny’ or ‘choice’ for example.

The second episode was at least paced better (minus the three minutes they gave to Yennefer’s back story before they shipped her off to magic school). But, again, more cliches, more stilted dialogue. The bard is the worst and that bard following Geralt around, along with the dialogue during the fight scene with the troll, reminded me of the old Hercules and Xenia shows from the 90’s. I couldn’t handle it and shut it off.

I truly can’t imagine how anyone how wasn’t already a fan of the games/books, and is very forgiven of TV programs, would like this show.

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Zabiam

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#46  Edited By Zabiam

You guys are crazy. ;) The series was great. My favorite Netflix show and maybe my favorite fantasy series. And as a fan of the witcher games I had no hopes for it. Bought the first book and reading it now.

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takayamasama

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Just wrapped it up and I loved it. Really fun show, Cavill played a fantastic Geralt and I absolutely loved his grunts and delivery of "Fuck".

Jaskier was amazing, a perfect foil to the tough guy Geralt, and the actor seemed to have a lot of fun with the role.

Likely in the minority, but I loved how it jumped around in time yet was understandable if you were really paying attention to the set pieces. I also felt like the payoff in episode 7, when the timelines converge, was really great.

Can't wait for Season 2. Hope there is more to come after that.

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jsmith79327

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One of the best 8 hours of television I’ve watched in a long time. I rarely get into shows that aren’t starring George Lopez or Kevin James, but I guess I’m gonna have to add Henry cavill to that list.

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Silver-Streak

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I'm really enjoying it so far, but they really needed date scrawls when they jumped around. A lot of people not knowing these are different time settings at first (Yennefer's > Geralt's > Ciri's) are going to find it jarring.

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SethMode

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So, it is both the worst thing Netflix has ever done and utter garbage and something great and beloved that is the best 8 hours of TV in a long time. Never change, internet.