The Whicher: A Tale of Two Shows
Happy New Year! This past weekend I finished season 2 of “The Witcher,” the Netflix show based on the books and popular video game (the look of the show definitely based on the game, however, the story stuff maybe more based on the books).
I watched the first season when it was released, and initially thought the show was a hot mess. The show wanted to either be a monster-of-the-week slashfest where Geralt goes out and kills a big CGI monster, or an overarching story focused on Cirilla, a princess who’s origins make her a special being in either the saving or destroying of the world (at least I think that’s what it is, this show is very fucking confusing). With all the jumping back and forth, with all the out of order storytelling and with all the messiness, I would have thought I wouldn’t have been stoked to watch the new season.
Truth be told, my love of “The Witcher stems from my love of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.” The game had so many brilliant moments of storytelling and characters that I got invested in. The show has a lot of those characters, however, I feel less invested in what is going on with them. Yennifer is a perfect example of this. Her character is so important to the narrative of the game, however, the moments we are with her in the show, I feel like I want to be somewhere else. Why is this? Well, let me tell you.
I think the show’s problem is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It wants to have it’s formats and eat them too. It wants to have Geralt kill things but also have Yennefer be a substantial character and have Ciri be the keystone to the narrative and also be in with the mages (Triss, Istredd) and then here’s Dijkstra. If you’re going to have all these characters, you need to have much more than eight episodes. You need at least 10 episodes that are 60 minutes long. If you want to do the monster-of-the-week format, then you need to cut down all the branching story lines, or tell a smaller story. The reason the characters work in the game is that it takes 40-plus hours and maybe more to go through the story. We have 16 or so hours of “The Witcher” show currently. There needs to be more.
I say the way you fix the show is embrace the monster-of-the-week format. Make the show more episodic. Yennefer and Dandelion and Triss can all be there, but skip the Ciri story and make this show like the original Batman series. Make Geralt Batman (hehe) and Ciri (Robin). Have them go to all the mysterious lands and slay monsters, kill goblins and take down fire fuckers. Have Yennefer be like the Catwoman of the show. This will save the show. Or not. Either way I’m going to watch the next season cause I do like it. It’s just a hot mess but it’s a hot mess I can turn my brain off while watching.