Halftime Leisure

Can The Witcher Claim HBO’s Old Throne?

November 16, 2019


The Witcher is being advocated as Netflix’s attempt at a Game of Thrones show and we now have the latest trailer to see how their attempts have panned out. The large cast and numerous locales suggest a lot of time, money, and effort has been put into the series. There is a lot of potential for the show to fail given the high expectations on it, but the trailer provides some glimmers of hope alongside some worrying parts.

The story focuses on Geralt’s (Henry Cavill) search for Ciri (Freya Allan), a lost royal with supernatural powers. The numerous locales that Geralt travels through in the trailer and the lack of any scenes of him and Ciri together suggest that this goal either won’t be reached or will have only a partial resolution. This could open up the series for a more episodic nature with a few season-long arcs to cause viewers to return. Personally, I think that this format could do wonders since it would allow the series to explore different genres within the fantasy setting (some of the clips suggested a possible horror-themed episode) and provide a sense of variety to keep the viewer engaged while also creating a complexity that makes the series enjoyable to rewatch. 

The set design, hair and makeup, and costuming all look spot-on. The sets and outfits would be enough to convince someone that this was set in Medieval Europe, if not for the monsters and magic in the story. There’s a distinct contrast when comparing the grimier, worn-down look of the towns, the elegant, grand buildings of the nobility or the foreboding and unknown atmosphere of the forests. This could create strong visual differences between the character arcs allowing viewers to associate different feelings for the characters solely based on how their situations look. The only aesthetic qualm I have is Netflix’s use of CGI; their interpretation of monsters look a little out of place and could cause a disconnect for viewers.

The series seems to carry a somber tone with a focus on outcast characters, depiction of an unforgiving society, and high levels of violence. This combination threatens to overwhelm the series since pervasive sadness or too much focus on spectacle could create a tedious viewing experience rather than an enlightening or entertaining one. Snippets of dry humor, like that shown in the trailer, may be able to balance out the heavy atmosphere while keeping the series grounded in a somewhat adventurous tone.

It will be interesting to see if this show succeeds or not. It already has a built-in audience due to its nature of being an adaptation of a book series, but it’s unknown at this point if a wider, more mainstream audience will take interest.

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