The Witcher Pulling In Huge Numbers For Netflix Despite Mixed Reviews

The Witcher

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of big divides between the opinions of professional critics and audiences. Sometimes there’s an ulterior political motive at play to review-bomb certain movies or TV shows, sometimes the critics genuinely get it wrong and sometimes there simply isn’t a decent explanation.

The latest example is Netflix’s The Witcher. Since its launch last week, the adult fantasy show has been rated as Rotten after 59 reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes summarizing it as “half-formed.” However, the audience rating after 12,200 reviews is a whopping 93%. Not only that, but according to Business Insider, the show was “the third most in-demand original streaming series in the United States between December 18th through December 24th,” behind only Stranger Things and The Mandalorian. Which means it’s obviously pulling in a lot of viewers for Netflix.

So, what explains this disparity? Well, in The Witcher‘s case it’s questionable how much of the show the reviewers actually watched before sitting down to write their articles. Entertainment Weekly drew a lot of flak for its now-infamous review, in which their critic confessed that they watched episode 1 and parts of episodes 2 and 5 and decided that was enough to review it. As you can imagine, this was greeted with disbelief by the show’s fans, who expressed their incredulity that professional critics are happy to say they haven’t watched what they were supposed to be reviewing.

While I can’t guarantee that this sort of thing happened across many reviews, it’s possible that some critics simply didn’t have access to the entire series when they reviewed it. There are numerous instances of TV reviews of a season being based on the first few episodes and the complexity of the show means it takes a bit of time to acquaint yourself with how it works.

But critics be damned, The Witcher is great! It’s fortunate that audiences agree, too, with the show currently Netflix’s highest-rated ever, a second season entering production and the streaming giant having reportedly already greenlit the third. The showrunners have big plans for these characters and this world, too, and I desperately hope they get the room to tell the story they want. In the meantime, I suspect some critics might reappraise the series now that everyone loves it.