Netflix’s The Witcher is an admirable entry into Sapkowski’s universe centering on our Witcher Geralt of Rivia. Played by Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman), Cavill’s screen presence is outstanding; his line delivery, tone of voice and accent hone in on Geralt from Witcher 3 which is a nice little bonus for fans. According to a number of sources, Cavill was a long-time fan of the series before Netflix announced they were in the process of developing the show and even approached Netflix to express his interest.
According to Looper, show creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich stated that Cavill already had a “love and passion” for the character. Plus he’s a pretty great actor which helps too of course. Although the casting for Geralt was definitely a success there were a number of casting errors for Triss, Calanthe, some of the mages and various characters Geralt meets during the first few episodes.
Often at times the dialogue feels forced. During the battle scene with Cintra the king yells out, “…we’re losing!” which is unnecessary as we’ve already witnessed them well, losing. Some other dialogue throughout the first few episodes is unnecessary and some scenes here and there are portrayed as a play rather than contributing the feel and belief of the world as a whole.
As we’ve learned from GOT, pacing can be an issue when dealing with world lore, character and world-building. With a universe as big as The Witcher and names and places having no meaning in a new viewer’s immediate memory, the show can seem disorienting in the first few episodes. Throwing very subtle hints to the audience such as character names and referencing past events will lead to a lot of confusion for newcomers of the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable show to watch.
The fighting and stunt choreography combined is thrilling to watch, especially in the first episode. Sidenote, The Witcher’s fight choreographer is actually Vladamir Furdik a.k.a The Night King from GOT. Instead of seven different camera angles and intercutting whenever a punch is thrown we are shown highly choreographed and practiced sequences that are magnificent to witness on screen. Films and television series use intercutting to mask woeful choreography; which is often due to actors not having sufficient time to prepare for the role. In The Witcher, it’s clear that Cavill took this role seriously and Netflix grabbed at the opportunity to work with Furdik.
Looking back on The Witcher series and how far it’s come in recent years gives me great hope for the recently released series and what’s in store with Polish game developer CDPR, with the game company announcing that they’ve secured a working future with Sapkowski. Fingers crossed we see a second season, new people invested in the universe and a few accolades for Cavill.