Hissrich destroyed Netflix’s "The Witcher"
Some years ago, back when it was announced that The Witcher was coming to TV, fans of Sapkowski’s books gave showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich some very blunt advice: if you want to succeed, don't fuck around with the source material. She told fans not to worry.
When the first season dropped, casual watchers were pretty happy. Fans of Sapkowski were...also pretty happy.
I thought the critics got it right - 68% feels pretty fair. I didn't mind the show. I wasn't exactly in love with a lot of the group combat scenes, and it felt a bit too much like a soap opera masquerading as a fantasy saga. Definitely had room to improve, but still, overall it wasn't bad.
Unfortunately Hissrich's second season was not received well by fans.
I'd just like to highlight the massive disconnect between the professional critics and reality here. The fans definitely weren't fooled. In this season, Hissrich really started cooking
Sapkowski's lore to shit. Bone-headed writing. The overall production felt really cheap. Hardly any scenes contributed to the story
or the characters, dialogue was boring, and there were tons of lazy exposition dumps. Even casual
watchers didn't think much of it, and this was reflected by a ton of
scathing reviews. If not
for the popularity of Geralt (Henry Cavill), I don't think the show
would have done nearly as well as it did.
For whatever reason, Hissrich seemed to think it was time to kickstart the Witcher Cinematic Universe by launching a new show: Witcher Blood Origin. How did that go?
Ouch! It was so stunningly bad, it's not even worth talking about except to say that should have been called The Witcher: Girlboss Origin. The girlboss trope is guaranteed to tank your show, and this failure should have served as a massive wake-up call for Hissrich. Did she take note in time for Season 3 of The Witcher?
Nope! Season 3 was a fucking disaster. Absolutely shithouse writing, most of the story made no sense whatsoever. We got a few nods to the lore here and there, but they felt contrived and empty given that Hissrich was otherwise royally fisting things. The show's combat scenes featured generous helpings of inane, annoying slow-mo - for no good reason. The CGI effects, which were never great, were laughably terrible. And perhaps worst of all, we were treated to a stupendously large helping of my least favourite trope of all time: the girlboss. Groan! I'll say it again: this trope is absolutely guaranteed to arse-fuck a show into oblivion - why do studios think it's good?!
And that's why I noped out after trying and failing to digest Season 3, episode 4. I couldn't even finish it. It was total shite. Hissrich has amply demonstrated that she's incapable of offering anything beyond what she already has, which is an unpalatable mess. There's no hope that things will get better.
Rumour has it that Henry Cavill decided to leave the show because Hissrich and her idiot writers were taking a colossal shit on Sapkowski's lore. I need no convincing that it's true. Regardless, his departure also means the departure of a lot of viewers who were only putting up with the show because he was in it.
At the time of writing, not all of Season 3 is out. I won't be watching it when it returns, but I will predict that it'll be poorly received. I also predict that Season 4 will be worse - so bad that I’ll be very, very surprised if we see a fifth season of The Witcher.
So, what does this mean for you? Read the Witcher books by all means. And definitely play the Witcher games (fucking masterpieces, especially Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). But whatever you do, give the Netflix Witcher series a wide berth.
"Why yes, I have been watching The Witcher. How can you tell?"