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Monday, December 30, 2019

Review: Netflix's The Witcher

I came to the Netflix series having read a number of the books and played The Witcher 3 all the way to the end.  The series essentially adapts a number of stories from The Last Wish, and one of the best things about that first book was that it retold a number of familiar western fairy tales with a twist, such as Snow White, or Beauty and the Beast. Sure, there's an over-arching plot, but that wasn't at the forefront of that first series of short stories. (To be honest, the video game does a much better job than the books of giving you a plot that's coherent) I was suprised that the Snow White story didn't get played up as much as it was in the original.

The series deviates from the book in giving Yennefer an origin story that's not bad, but also doesn't provide any of the little twists that would have been in character from the books (or the video game, whose writers did an amazing job of providing plots that were entirely inline with the books).  The sword play and choreography is well done, though not so good whenever CGI monsters are in play. The CGI is not of a high quality and will age the worst.

Episodes 4 and 6 are the best of the series in providing the sort of twists that the stories in the book are known for, while episode 3 is the classic opening sequence that everyone knows from the first video game, and is well done enough that if this was your exposure to the story it's worth watching. The episodes are only loosely connected (yes, there are 3 timelines being told simultaneously, and the plot doesn't mark what order the timelines are in).

In any case, the TV series is a successful adaptation, and sets up for a second season well. I'd recommend viewing it.

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