Netflix has unleashed the first teaser trailer for the high-profile The Witcher series at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. For many, it completely misses the mark and doesn’t bode well for the series penciled in for release at the end of the year.
On the surface, the teaser depicts another mid-budget fantasy series with the usual mix of political intrigue, magic, and a cast of broody characters. In the post-Game of Thrones landscape, this fresh take emerges as a welcome cure for those suffering from withdrawal, and there doesn’t appear to be much wrong with it.
For those acquainted with both the excellent novels written by venerated Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski and The Witcher games from studio CD Projekt Red, this sneak peek raises a lot of red flags.
A Very Adult Show
Although much of the source material tackles tough subjects, it does so with a well-balanced mix of dark, challenging themes interwoven with levity. The teaser, on the other hand, is whitewashed with an overbearingly severe tone, that’s almost austere at times.
Showrunner Lauren Hissrich has been clear about aiming for a ”very adult show” and tone, but it frames the moral ambiguity of the books and games as a traditional conflict between good and evil devoid of nuance and intrigue. The inclusion of non-sensical acclamations doesn’t help, notably this gem;
Chaos is the most dangerous thing in this world, but without control, chaos will kill you.
The Witcher’s Slavic Roots Have Been All But Eclipsed
The absence of Slavic influences sticks out like a sore thumb and screams a missed opportunity. Both the novels and games dip generously into that rich heritage to great effect. Both the teaser’s setting and music detract from the Slavic roots that make the subject matter so appealing for many.