The Witcher on Netflix: Hmm.
Via Eddie Makuch, Gamespot:
"The upcoming Netflix show based on The Witcher is making progress. Writer Lauren S. Hissrich has finished a draft of the script for the pilot, she announced on Twitter this weekend. [...]
Hissrich also wrote for Netflix Marvel shows The Defenders and Daredevil, as well as the political TV show The West Wing. In December, it was announced that Hissrich had been hired to work on The Witcher show.
Hissrich is also serving as the Witcher program's showrunner and executive producer, according to Variety. As of yet, there is no word on who will play main character Geralt or any of the other principal characters. We also don't know when the show will arrive."
If you haven't read Matt O's article on why video game movies fail, check it out here. One of his main points is that video games transformed into television and film are often of poor quality because they don't respect the source material. The Netflix series based on The Witcher universe, admittedly, is being developed based on the books written by Andrzej Sapkowski, but it'll be incredibly difficult for most fans to not consider the series through the lens of the video games. I'm sure there will be tons of folks stating, "this isn't like the video game," or "Geralt was better in The Witcher 3." It will just happen even though the show is based on the books. Which is why I think it's quite worth it to discuss the adaptation in relation to the video game.
Oftentimes, production corporations that take over films based on video games or popular books try to do a mix of half-hearted fan service and money grabbing, and end up with a monster of a film that is barely recognizable when compared to its source material. I believe this happens much more commonly when basing movies off of games, but occasionally it will happen with a book adaptation as well.
And oh, what a source The Witcher series of video games is for this production. You have troves of plotlines to explore, world-building to take influence from, and so much more. The Witcher 3 is often regarded as one of the best video games made in the history of gaming, and certainly within the top five RPGs of all time. The combat, storylines, side quests, music, themes--all of it is masterfully crafted by CD Projekt Red. As a video game, it's just so damn good. Which is why it makes it very hard to solely compare the Netflix series to the books. I couldn't find numbers online (please send if you do!), but I imagine that the Witcher games have outsold the series of books--and so even in name recognition, most people will be comparing the series to the video games.
So I have to ask the question: why does Netflix want to make The Witcher a show? The answer that pops into my mind first is that Netflix really just wants to make money off of The Witcher (video game) fan base. Which, of course, plays into exactly what Matt O was talking about in his article: will Netflix and the show writers actually respect the various source materials, or are they looking to just make a quick buck off of a popular video game fan base? Another answer to my original question, one that is more hopeful, would be of course to allow a fan base to enjoy the lore, characters, and plots of Geralt in a new medium.
I do hope that the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher is on the same level of quality as the video game and books (or at least close). I think it would be wonderful to see Geralt come to life in a non-virtual medium. And I truly do have some hope--the writer mentioned above, Lauren Hissrich, worked on both Daredevil (Netflix) and The West Wing, two incredibly good shows. However, I'll admit I'm more nervous than not, and I'll be looking forward to more news about the show as its developed and filmed to give me some hints as to whether or not the series will be worth watching.
And hey, if the show isn't great, maybe Geralt can just use Axii and charm me into liking it. I'd be open to it.
Edited 2.27.18 at 12:15pm