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AncalagonTheBlack

The Witcher: Evil is Evil

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5 hours ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

yes, they’re so bad that basically every Polish person knows who Sapkowski is ;)

From my understanding, these books have been pretty big not only in Poland, but other countries as well. I know that without the games, English speakers probably wouldn't have gotten the books translated, but the books are considered classics in plenty of places that are not the U.S.

I think they're fantastic, personally.

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I finished watching the season yesterday. Overall, I did enjoy it but I think there were definitely flaws. I'm not sure the structure of interleaving the different timelines was a good idea. Once I had grasped that the storylines were taking place years apart it wasn't too hard to follow, but I think it made the storytelling quite fractured and I think Ciri's story in particular suffered from being spread out over eight episodes. It was also a bit surprising that even though Geralt is so close to the final battle that he doesn't really interact with that plotline (although I'm sure that will change in season 2).

I felt the first episode was one of the weaker episodes due to timeline confusion and I didn't feel it was all that clear why Geralt feels he has to oppose Renfri. I thought the series mostly improved after that, the monster-of-the-week plots may not have been particularly deep but they were fun, and the Nilfgardian invasion did make the stakes feel a bit higher than the rest of the storylines.

The acting was a bit mixed. I haven't read the books or played the games so I don't know how accurate he is to the original Geralt, but I thought Cavill did a decent job. I thought Anya Chalotra was the best of the main cast, and Yennifer did seem to get more character development than the other characters. Some of the supporting acting was a bit variable.

I'd definitely watched a second season, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

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I have absolutely no idea why the naysayers are so upset about the timelines, the production values, fight choreographies and script. I have now watched till episode 5 and maybe it's the contrast of this one with The Mandalorian or my lack of knowledge of the setting (as I have neither read the books nor played any of the games), but I thought The Witcher to be absolutely decent entertainment.

I love stories that feel like a puzzle, so while the set-up of the story threads might sound needlessly confusing to some, I rather liked to see how things fit together and which characters popped up as younger or older versions of themselves. Also I wouldn't miss Ciri and Yennifer given how I find their stories far more interesting than Geralt's, who I can't help but feels like a duller version of Kevin Sorbo's Hercules, especially in his interactions with Iolaus, wait, I mean the bard dude. The show itself feels like an anthology of stories and I think if you approach it with that in mind, many of the narrative decision make more sense. At least to me. Of course I still have to see whether there will be a payoff for Ciri's storyline, as from the reaction here and elsewhere I can tell that they will miss some of the impact that they could have gotten, but I will judge that myself. I also find the fight scenes to be perfectly fine. The worldbuilding is also able to give me just about as much as I need to piece things together and so far I have not been beaten over the head with the story constantly contradicting itself like certain other current franchises... I mean really, I went into this with absolutely zero expectations, especially since I'm not even a fan of Cavill or think much of his acting (not that he ever gets much to act with mind you. Here or elsewhere) and so far I'm pleasantly surprised and can follow all of the story without problems.

Of course if you have seen me react to things here around, you know I usually dissect shows with criticism. Of course even though this show pleasantly surprised me, I can't say it is flawless. In fact episode 2 I think was with the exception of Yennifer's story utter shit and I think this is where most of the bad impression of the show stems from. Basically Geralt's part was so stunted that it hurt the narrative quite a lot. Geralt and the bard dude know each other for essentially 3 seconds and we are already forced to accept they have a 'vitriolic best buds' dynamic with no time whatsoever to grow any chemistry. Then came the godawful elves storyline with Geralt's patronising childish ramblings about how the elves should just move elsewhere and then this whole thing just ends there and dissolves into nothingness except as a random punchline a few episodes later. This whole thing was truly awful, but weirdly enough once Geralt and bard guy settled in as discount Hercules and Iolaus, their travels together actually become somewhat watchable. I think the striga episode was a personal favorite in how it played up the creepiness and wrongness of it all, though I found Triss quite disappointing and her being there amounted to nothing.

I should also point out that so far I absolutely loved everything about Ciri and her kingdom. She works great, all the characters around her are interesting and funny, making everyone in her little kingdom feel real. And like I said, the politics of the Brotherhood and Yennifer's stay at even more hazarduous Hogwarts was great, though it's undercut by the actress lacking the charisma that Ciri's actress has. Like seriously, I am quite iffed about the casting decision here because Yennifer's actress just... doesn't work for me at all. She doesn't come across mystical or powerful and after her transformation I would have expected her to have some degree of... a wrongness to her. Like that that her beauty has something fake to it that is unsettling on closer look. Instead she is just a normal person who just does things. Her story itself is interesting but inspite of the delivery of the actress, not because of it. That's a criticism I could similarly apply to Cavill's Geralt, but there his lack of emoting is less of a bummer because Geralt's storyline is as cheesy as it is, so it takes less away from it. Also I guess he gets a bit more slack for having the imposing presence that his character needs. Aside from all of this I'm also a bit disappointed just how one-note evil the Nilfgaardian dudes are. But I guess that's par of course with this setting.

So this is my verdict after 5 episodes. With the exception of episode 2 it is totally watchable as an anthology of stories around 3 characters, differing not just in timeframe but also in genre to a degree. With Geralt's monster of the week wandering the earth thing, Ciri's Arya Stark-esque survival story and Yennifer's fucked up Slytherin magical coming-of-age thing. And yet I am just glad that this show actually has something resembling a story... say, unlike The Mandalorian...

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@Toth small spoiler regarding the fight scenes

Spoiler

IMO, the one in the first episode was the best, and things go downhilll from there, mostly.

Also, the battle in the first episode was Hollywood trash of its stinkiest quality, but I suppose it didn't matter that much in the grand scheme of the story other than showing which side lost.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again -- more than once I've tried to read these books and they are unreadable. The prose for starters, but all the bs stereotypes and cliches, particularly the stupid names for things and places and people (and Fantasy is still doing that and getting even worse as all the Words get used previously), and everything and everybody all over the place and time and whatever.  Just awful structure, organization, characterization, world building, you name it.  They are awful books.  No wonder they made such great games!  They were made for that, so the writers of the games could do anything they wanted -- and by all accounts improved all of it.

 

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7 hours ago, Corvinus said:

@Toth small spoiler regarding the fight scenes

  Hide contents

IMO, the one in the first episode was the best, and things go downhilll from there, mostly.

Also, the battle in the first episode was Hollywood trash of its stinkiest quality, but I suppose it didn't matter that much in the grand scheme of the story other than showing which side lost.

I have no idea why they even filmed the big battle in the first ep. It is so bad it only damages the series... 

We could simply have the queen and a few knights running from the enemy army and arriving at the castle and tell they lost the battle... 

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9 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

From my understanding, these books have been pretty big not only in Poland, but other countries as well. I know that without the games, English speakers probably wouldn't have gotten the books translated, but the books are considered classics in plenty of places that are not the U.S.

I think they're fantastic, personally.

I Don t get how they can be classics... 

As I showed you in the previous post they are full of incoherences...by any honest standard the latter books of the series are just bad... 

Maybe the short stories are the classics... 

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8 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Also, the battle in the first episode was Hollywood trash of its stinkiest quality, but I suppose it didn't matter that much in the grand scheme of the story other than showing which side lost.

Fair point, yes. That battle was dumb, but come on, that was what? Two minutes of screentime in 8 hours? I took the same thing out of it, that it only showed which side lost and how much the queen kicked ass till the last moment. The strategies used were no concern. I agree with divica here, they should have just opened up with the bloodied survivors and the wounded queen returning. Would have saved them a lot of money.

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2 hours ago, divica said:

I Don t get how they can be classics... 

As I showed you in the previous post they are full of incoherences...by any honest standard the latter books of the series are just bad... 

Maybe the short stories are the classics... 

I don’t get why you keep fighting this. You don’t like them, it’s your right. They are classics though. Sapkowski is basically the Polish Tolkien. 

 

There were voices the Nobel should have gone to sapkowski instead of Tokarczuk. Personally I wouldn’t go so far ;)

Edited by Filippa Eilhart

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3 hours ago, Toth said:

Fair point, yes. That battle was dumb, but come on, that was what? Two minutes of screentime in 8 hours? I took the same thing out of it, that it only showed which side lost and how much the queen kicked ass till the last moment.

I agree on this. I've actually seen far worse battle sequences even in recent years (Knightfall's pilot battle looked like they used Medieval 2: Total War). I think people have gotten really over-indulged by the battles late-series big budget shows have put together, or prestige series. For a two minute affair mainly aimed at characterizing two characters, one of whom is to die by the end of the scene, it was fine.

I do feel there was some benefit to actually showing Calanthe in battle, and indeed as a queen who rode at the forefront of the charge. It's one thing to say she "won" this battle or that battle, or to see her waltzing in with bloodied armor, but you can always imagine she led from the rear and the blood was from some of her soldiers who were mortally wounded or something. Can't do that when you can see she was in the thick of it (such as it was).

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

I agree on this. I've actually seen far worse battle sequences even in recent years (Knightfall's pilot battle looked like they used Medieval 2: Total War). I think people have gotten really over-indulged by the battles late-series big budget shows have put together, or prestige series. For a two minute affair mainly aimed at characterizing two characters, one of whom is to die by the end of the scene, it was fine.

I do feel there was some benefit to actually showing Calanthe in battle, and indeed as a queen who rode at the forefront of the charge. It's one thing to say she "won" this battle or that battle, or to see her waltzing in with bloodied armor, but you can always imagine she led from the rear and the blood was from some of her soldiers who were mortally wounded or something. Can't do that when you can see she was in the thick of it (such as it was).

A few things could still have been done better, like how the Nilfgaard army suddenly appeared, first on the top hill, and then suddenly on the lower hill. Or how the Cintran army suddenly appeared behind Calanthe, while in previous shots it was just her, with her husband and a row of cavalry. That's just bad editing, without going further in how everything looked.

Final episode minor spoilers

Spoiler

And while we can all attempt to forgive the first episode's battle and siege, the final's was also mostly meh, with some good parts, but visually still sub-par to other shows.

 

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Spoiler

I suspect the final battle was probably due to budget shortfall. Not weird for an ambitious show in its first season to run out of budget and having to cut corners.

 

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39 minutes ago, Ran said:
  Hide contents

I suspect the final battle was probably due to budget shortfall. Not weird for an ambitious show in its first season to run out of budget and having to cut corners. 

 

In the final ep I bet they used the same extras several times. Some people must have died more than once in that ep...

4 hours ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

There were voices the Nobel should have gone to sapkowski instead of Tokarczuk. Personally I wouldn’t go so far ;)

OH GOD. Please no. Just no no no no no no no. SERIOUSLY NO! 

Diverging from how awful the latter books are. Is sapkowski forbiden from writting witcher books in a timeline after the events of "the lady of the lake" becaue of his agreement for the games? And even to write this new book did he need to talk with the game company?

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The final battle

Spoiler

was indeed poor. The incoming horde was just some dudes in armor stumbling through the woods. 

 

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27 minutes ago, divica said:

 

Diverging from how awful the latter books are. Is sapkowski forbiden from writting witcher books in a timeline after the events of "the lady of the lake" becaue of his agreement for the games? And even to write this new book did he need to talk with the game company?

No, he’s not forbidden from anything. He’s the author, and if he wanted to he could very well write a book negating everything that happened in the games. He doesn’t consider the games “canon”. But he’s always claimed that the saga is finished and he said all there was to say on the subject. And honestly it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for him to reopen it.

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10 hours ago, divica said:

I Don t get how they can be classics... 

As I showed you in the previous post they are full of incoherences...by any honest standard the latter books of the series are just bad... 

Maybe the short stories are the classics... 

I really couldn't make sense of what you were talking about in your last post, it was pretty, pretty incoherent, to be honest. So, let it go, I say.

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On episode 3....  Just figuring out there are different timelines.  So what story is when now??  Cirilla, Geralt and Yennifer -- is that 3 timelines or 2?

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1 hour ago, SpaceChampion said:

On episode 3....  Just figuring out there are different timelines.  So what story is when now??  Cirilla, Geralt and Yennifer -- is that 3 timelines or 2?

From what I can gather: Yennefer's story happened first, Geralt's are all over the place and Ciri's is the latest one.

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