With Netflix releasing the first season of its lavish adaptation of “The Witcher” on Friday, reviews are now in and the results are… not very good, but not bad either. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series stands at a 58% approval rating with a woeful 5.37/10 average rating.
Its 53/100 Metacritic score is even worse – on par with some other dismissed shows of late like “Reprisal,” “The Moodys,” the “Mad About You” revival, “Dollface,” “Nancy Drew” and the second season of “Jack Ryan” which all scored in the high 50s. It’s better than the widely derided “Treadstone” (47), but a long cry from some other recent season or series launches such as “The Expanse” S4 (91), “Watchmen” (85), “The Crown” S3 (85) or “Rick and Morty” S4 (84).
Interestingly judging by the reviews it isn’t a divisive work, rather many of the reviews seem to be fairly balanced – all acknowledging strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a sampling of quotes:
“The bats–t energy driving a slew of increasingly odd choices makes for a pretty entertaining spectacle.” – Ben Travers, indieWire
“So yeah, this is some high-school level Dungeons & Dragons role play with a multi-million-dollar budget.” – Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly
“The Witcher straddles the line between fresh and rotten. The first few episodes are tough going. If you can hang on, the pieces start to click into place.” – Hannah Lodge, The Beat
“All that said, if you are willing to sit through those trudging opening episodes, punctuated by a cool fight here or an intriguing character scene there, The Witcher slowly but surely finds itself a fantastical slice of bloody, schlocky fun.” – James Whitbrook, io9.com
“Will you like The Witcher if you’re a curious neophyte? Maybe, but you have to be patient with it, and if that’s not your job, the outsized amusements may not be worth the convoluted build-up.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“I suppose we, dead baby included, can’t be as lucky as Henry Cavill’s leather, only experiencing The Witcher in tiny doses and getting to do so while being worn to death by the mortal hug of Cavill’s thighs.” – Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
As with many shows, it sounds like the first half of this first season is the roughest and there are rewards for those who persevere. Fans of the book will get a lot more out of it, in fact it sounds like newcomers have found it a little baffling.
The first season of “The Witcher” is now available everywhere via Netflix with the second season already in production.