It’s a common saying: you can’t please everyone. That saying definitely applies to TV shows, including Netflix’s The Witcher. But what is it that stands out about The Witcher that makes some critics dislike it so much?
We’re going to attempt to explain. We’ll also go into what fans who enjoy the show have to say. We’re also going to mention the discrepancy between the critics’ reviews and fan reactions to The Witcher.
What do critics who dislike ‘The Witcher’ have to say?
As Kathryn VanArendonk of Vulture puts it, she “absolutely did not stand up, scream ‘What the hell was that?’, and then tell everyone within earshot what [she’d] just seen.” As the review is titled, “Ten Things You Won’t See In The Witcher,” we can assume that she did what she “absolutely did not” do. According to this review as well, The Witcher “has had ample opportunity to clarify exactly what’s happening within the complex mythology of its vast fantasy world.” This means that The Witcher hasn’t clarified enough.
VanArendonk also goes on to say that “The Witcher is told in a postmodernist bricolage fashion, thoughtfully interweaving bits of found art, frame stories, paratexts, and commentary into a pattern that, when revealed as separate parts of one whole, makes absolute sense.” This probably means that the story, at least to this critic, does not “[make] absolute sense.” According to Jack Shepherd of GamesRadar, The Witcher “reaches out to be called ‘the next Game of Thrones,’ but falls short.” Shepherd also says that the first episode “is messy, confusing, and cumbersome.”
Why else do critics dislike the Netflix series?
Yet another review, in the Financial Times, compares The Witcher unfavorably to Game of Thrones. Suzi Feay of the Financial Times mentions in her headline that Netflix’s fantasy series “fails to steal the Game of Thrones crown.” Feay goes on to say that “Characters in [Game of Thrones] were very sure of themselves. This lot look confused, and [Henry] Cavill[‘s Geralt] is like a rock in a stream, letting it all flow past him.”
Darren Franich and Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly also reviewed the show. Baldwin says that “The Witcher is…packed with confusing conflicts and long-held rivalries that require a lot of explanation but still manage to make no sense.” She also describes the show as “some high-school level Dungeons & Dragons role play with a multi-million-dollar budget.” Franich says that “The pilot has certain tropes from exported without imagination to television.”
This includes “the constant download of fantasy verbiage.” Baldwin also mentions that in the second episode, Henry Cavill’s Geralt “has to share his few scenes with a very, very annoying traveling bard.” So there you have it. Critics who dislike The Witcher find it “confusing” and “cumbersome” and sometimes compare it negatively to Game of Thrones.
What do fans have to say about ‘The Witcher’?
There seems to be a discrepancy between what fans think and what critics who dislike the show have to say. As of right now, The Witcher has a 61% score on Rotten Tomatoes with a 93% audience score. This means that the majority of fans probably enjoy the show, while the critics’ reviews are more mixed. One fan on Twitter says “Why can’t season 2 of The Witcher be out right now?”
This fan is “devastated to have finished it.” Another Twitter user says that these “four have embodied their roles amazingly.” The fan posts pictures of Henry Cavill as Geralt, Freya Allan as Ciri, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, and Joey Batey as Jaskier. Overall, fans seem to have positive reactions to the show, while critics are more negative.