Be warned, there's going to be a lot of complaining in this article – writing is therapeutic for me after the first season of Netflix' The Witcher. Still, I will be trying to be objective. As a whole, the series is pretty enjoyable (read Hubert's excellent review here), but there are some major blemishes that we sincerely hope will be eliminated in season 2, and that's what we're going to talk about.
We'll take a look at the smaller, bigger, and completely minute issues, which the developers can still improve on in the next season of the adventures of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri. How? Well, as it's often the case, it's mostly about money. Bland scenography or daft simplifications in the narrative are, most likely, the result of insufficient budget. It's a surmise, of course – until we know some concrete numbers, it's hard to judge whether the money, or wrong decisions were the problem.
THE WITCHER'S BUDGET?
According to unofficial information, the budget of Netflix Witcher was about $70-80 million, or about $10 million per episode. For comparison, the first season of Game of Thrones had a smaller budget (50-60 million dollars), which had to suffice for 10 episodes, on top of that.
It is difficult to assess whether the information about The Witcher's budget is accurate. We also don't know how much of it went into marketing and how much into production proper. By just looking at the show, however, you could assume that either the figure is exaggerated, or that the bulk of it went into marketing. I doubt that the creators actually had that much money to spend. But if that really was the case, the money was not put to very good use.
The text has spoilers from both the Netflix series and the books of Andrzej Sapkowski.
As I write these words, I try to remember the music from the series – but I really can't seem to. And I mean the OST – Jaskier is cool, and Toss a Coin has already become sort of a phenomenon on the web. My favorite version is in Czech – Tak dej groš zaklínači strongly recommended. This piece is probably one of the most atmospheric moments of the entire season one.
Aside from Jaskier and his catchy tune, the soundtrack seems pretty bland and generic. There is nothing special about the music – just ordinary musical craft. Really, the video games (comparing which to the series isn't entirely fair, but...) and even the original Polish series, both featured more compelling soundtracks (especially the TV series from 2001 – soundtrack was one of the best things about it, check it out). Do better guys, there's plenty of room for improvement.
ATTENTION writing about music, I mean the songs you actually hear in the episodes. These songs aren't bad, or anything, but their purpose is not to sound good on Spotify. For some reason, though, I felt that the soundtrack fails in building, or even reinforcing the atmosphere. My impression was that it doesn't really fit the things we see on screen.
I asked around the office, and no one seemed to have any particular opinion about the soundtrack of The Witcher, so I think I'm onto something.
CHANCES FOR IMPROVEMENT?
Moderate, but let's remain optimistic.