The Witcher, season 1

“Toss a coin to your witcher …”

I might as well start with the song:

Now then …

I’m not a big fan of fantasy. Wizards and spells and the like have never interested me the way spaceships and time travel do. I held off on watching “The Witcher” for this reason–I just couldn’t summon the mood to enter into a seemingly Medieval universe defined by mud and magic.

But this is a form of fantasy I can run with because the fantasy is a catalyst for character development. It didn’t take long for me to get invested in Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. They’re each touched and shaped by magic, yet that’s not what’s most interesting about them. Geralt is a gruff monster hunter who can’t help getting invested in the people he encounters. Yennefer ascended from the bottom rung of society to become a powerful witch, but she can’t find satisfaction. And Ciri–who’s a bit of an enigma thus far–is bubbling with power and fear.

The story in season one isn’t linear and the creators don’t employ title cards or sound effects or any other obvious signals to clue you in to time or location. That’s a bold decision. Time tripping done well draws you deeper into the narrative. Done poorly, it collapses into a confusing mess. “The Witcher” pulls it off.