‘The Witcher’ (Season 2)

Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski has provided plenty of source material for The Witcher series as season two picks up moments after Yennefer of Vanderberg (Anya Chalotra) has helped defeat the warring Nilfgaardians that ended season one. But as a result, Yennefer has lost all her powers – and will do anything to retrieve them.

Season two of The Witcher struggles somewhat with its focus, a season which finds, for some reason, Gerait of Rivia (Henry Cavill) less central. Instead, along with Yennefer of Vanderberg and her quest, season two follows Cirilla (Freya Allen) and her self-awareness of potentially the most powerful of them all. But this awareness takes time – and whilst Gerait is there to help and protect, the magic it not quite there.

Politics is at full throttle as Nilfgaardia, through sourcerer Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni), host the Dwarfs and support their rise to power – but not all in the State approve and mutterings are certainly undermining Fringilla’s authority in the absence of the King. His arrival in the last seconds of the season send shock waves through what has been, until then, a predictable narrative.

Inevitably, there is a full menu of adventure, murder, lust and earthy profanity as per season one (if it works, why fix it?) but the second season is not as engaging as its predecessor.

Rating: 62%

‘The Witcher’ (Season 1)

Based on the multiple cult fantasy novels and short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is a big, bold battle of good versus evil, magic, sword fights and dastardly deeds.

The Witcher himself, Gerait of Rivia (Henry Cavill at his eye candy best) is a loner, a powerful warrior of indeterminate age, a product of a conversion process few boys survive. An outsider, feared and frowned upon in equal measure, Gerait travels the medieval countryside battling monsters and gremlins for a fee. As he comes across the powerful mage, Stregobor (Lars Mikkelson), the kingdom of Cintra is sacked by Nilfgaardia: the only survivor of Cintran royal blood is the young princess, Cirilla (Freya Allen).

In rejecting Stregobor’s advances of a mutually beneficial alliance, Gerait creates an enemy – but he also discovers his fate is tied to that of Cirilla, somewhere in hiding and on the run from Nilfgaardian troops. The eight part first season of The Witcher, based on the short stories that precedes the first novel, follows the two as their separate paths inevitably come together.

A series full of adventure, murder, lust and earthy profanity, The Witcher is a charisma of brawny charm, thrills and old-fashioned fun. Elves, witches, minstrels (splendid lighthearted relief from Joey Batey as Jaskier), monsters, curses all feature as Gerait is confronted by those who would prevent him finding Cirilla. And that includes Yennefer of Vanderberg (Anya Chalotra), the all-powerful young witch for whom lusty emotions are stirred for an unsuspecting Gerait as powerful magic and determined politics of war and power unfold.

Rating: 69%