Stuff I Dont Understand. The Witcher

Yes, I know there’s an apostrophe missing up there in that title. I don’t know why but the service insists on replacing apostrophes with some kind of weird looking code in article titles. I have no idea why and I’m too lazy to go ask someone.

The Witcher

This is the new Netflix series that seems to have everyone raving about it, and I don’t understand why. I managed to make it (barely because, OMG the pain…) through the first episode and skipped through (one finger on the fast forward button) a few more episodes and, well, no. Just no.

No, it is not Lord of the Rings Lite. Nor is it Game of Thrones lite. Nor is it, well, much of anything, really. It is a rehash of various fantasy themes that have been boring us to sleep for centuries, coupled with a stilted, stiff, emotionless reciting of lines from what is allegedly a script. (In a few scenes the actors, if you can call them that, looked like they were literally reading their parts off cue cards.). Cavill tries to look menacing, grits his teeth a lot, tries to look angry and mean and sympathetic, etc. in all the appropriate places and, well, manages to end up looking like he’d rather be anywhere except in this show. Or is suffering from a really bad hangover. Don’t blame him if he is. I’d have to get roaring drunk too if I had to get through that.

And do you have to run everything through visual filters to make everything look “dark” and “edgy”? It seems that every show these has to run the video through filters to desaturate the color or flip it into grayscale and it’s turned into a cliche.

Speaking of cliches – the costumes are a mishmash of styles, like someone took all of the worst costumes from GoT, LoTW, and STNG, along with some really badly modeled Mr. Spock pointed ears, shoved in a generous helping of “cool” steampunk stuff, shook it all up in a barrel, and then dressed the cast in whatever they pulled out at random. They take Cavill, put a bad wig on him, roll him around in some dirt, dress him up like a lumberjack with a leather fetish, and… Oh, come on, really?

The first scene (after the obligatory “hero kills CGI monster” scene at the start) looks like it was stolen almost word for word out of a 1950s episode of Gunsmoke (“We don’t cotton to strangers in these parts, mister.”) And it goes downhill from there.

There is one scene in the first episode where Cavill walks through a door (without opening it – ooo, magic!) and into some kind of Playboy fantasy world where young, naked maidens wander through a soft focus garden, and, well, it was just creepy . The 3rd episode, after the obligatory “horror” sequence in what looks like a medieval version of a meat locker, shows Cavill in bed with a woman who’s shirt conveniently slips down to bare her breasts for no reason other than the hopes that this will help attract teenage boys to watch the show and bump up the ratings. (I can just imagine the production meetings: “Look, this thing is a real stinker and if we want to get anyone to watch it we have to throw in boobs and disembowelments. That will at least get us the high school market…”)

Someone told me that you can’t really understand what’s going on in The Witcher unless you’ve read the original books, and well, no to that too. This thing is more than 8 hours long, for crying out loud! If you can’t adequately explain what is going on in eight hours without making the viewer go read the original books, there is something seriously wrong with your writers and your whole concept of what a video is supposed to be in the first place.

Look, if you like this thing, good for you. Apparently a lot of people do. But frankly the sight of Sean Connery in a pornstache and running around in a scarlet diaper and thigh-high boots for almost two hours in Zardoz is more palatable than this. (Whatever you do, don’t look at that picture over there on the right. If you do you’ll never, ever get it out of your brain and it will torment your nightmares for the rest of your… Oh, you already looked, didn’t you? Oops. Sorry.)

Author: grouchyfarmer

Yes, I'm a former farmer. Sort of. I'm also an amateur radio operator, amateur astronomer, gardener, maker of furniture, photographer.

10 thoughts on “Stuff I Dont Understand. The Witcher”

    1. Yep, I’ve heard about it. I don’t operate up on microwave but it still makes me angry. I don’t like it but I can understand why they’re doing it. The FCC is under huge pressure from congress, the auto makers, internet providers, etc. to provide more bandwidth in an ever more crowded spectrum. Frankly I’m surprised we still have a small slice of the VHF and UHF bands. I think that eventually we’re going to get kicked out of everything above the UHF band and it will get sucked up by commercial or government agencies.

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        1. You just did, James 🙂

          Here’s what’s going on – the FCC wants to take a large chunk of the 3GHz band away from amateur radio users and switch it for use for – well, basically they want to sell it off for “vehicle to everything” communications and other services that don’t yet exist and which are currently used for amateur radio network communications like mesh networks, including emergency communications. The FCC says we would still be able to use that band, but in reality we wouldn’t because our usage would be secondary, and we would have to tolerate any interference being generated by other sources. So basically we’d have to move because being relegated to secondary status means the band would become virtually useless to us. And it would be virtually impossible for amateur radio operations to move because there is no equipment available that operates on the frequencies that would remain available to us. If you’re interested and want to comment to the FCC you can find more information at http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-formally-adopts-proposals-to-remove-amateur-3-ghz-band-invites-comments

          That page will give you full details about what the FCC is trying to do, and provides links with information about how you can file comments with the FCC.

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  1. I haven’t seen the Witcher yet. I have heard from a younger co-worker that it was amazing. He told me that there was a lot of violence, blood and nudity. Not the best show to have on in my house with four children. Although, my almost 15 year old would probably think it was the best thing ever.

    That image of Sean Connery is now burned forever in my brain. I had never even heard of that movie before but that doesn’t even matter. What matters is that I can never unsee that image. There’s so much about it that is just not okay.

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    1. Witcher is most definitely NOT something I would allow a kid to see. Heck I’d hesitate even to let an adolescent see it. Not because of the sex and nudity. Heck, these days the average sixteen year old has probably seen more nudity and even outright porn than I’d seen by the time I was forty. I hesitate to call it a gorefest because I’ve seen movies far worse, but there are a lot of very graphically violent and disturbing scenes. But even that wouldn’t bother me all that much if the plot, writing and acting were any good.

      Ah, Zardoz! I love that movie! It’s just so incredibly strange and weird and bad that I actually kind of like it.

      It was written, directed and produced by John Boorman back in 1974. That name should be familiar because he’s a five time Academy Award nominee who also did Deliverance and some twenty or so other films. Back in the early 70s he was working on an adaptation of Lord of the Rings, but couldn’t get anyone to back it because of the cost, and ended up making Zardoz. Originally Burt Reynolds was going to star in it, but he got sick and couldn’t do it, so they got Sean Connery. He’d just left the Bond franchise and rumor has it that he couldn’t get a job doing anything after Bond, and took Zardoz because he needed the money. It’s all very preachy and spacey and trippy. Very 1970s. With pretensions of being “art” and deeply meaningful. Or, well, something that a sophomore philosophy student would think is deeply meaningful. While some reviewers panned it badly, it got some pretty positive reviews from others. For the time it was visually impressive, some parts even beautifully done. I have a copy and drag it out every once in a while just for a giggle. But Connery in that outfit… that’s just unforgivable.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that image is a bit much, isn’t it? It’s a good illustration of just how bizarre the movie is, though.

      Witcher and a lot of other shows like it seem to be locked into this idea that they have to be gory and ultra violent in order to be dark and edgy and scary. That’s nonsense, though. It’s all down to the script and the director. You can do dark, edgy and frightening without the gore, but only if you have a good story in the first place. I think that with a lot of shows like this they throw all of the graphic violence and blood and guts in to try to cover up the fact that the story pretty much sucks.

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