It took two years to get to the second season of The Witcher, but in the end it was worth it, as I think the whole production was able to mull over the stumbles of the original first season and ramp up everything in the next one.
Season 2 starts off pretty much right where the first one left off, with the big battle of Sodden Hill and Yennifer’s mighty chaos filled attack having finished off the army and now everyone is picking through the aftermath. In Witcher fashion the storylines are split to follow a couple different groups at a time, luckily this time there is no multiple confusing timelines having to try and figure out at the same time. This is easily the biggest improvement the show has to offer, but not the only one. Clearly the writers knew it was an issue, as there is a meta joke thrown in when Dandilion -er I mean “Jaskier” is having a discussion with a fan and he says it took him a while to realizes there was different timelines in the Bard’s song.
I just finished the season less than an hour ago, and I didn’t do any recap watching to catch up or refresh myself on the story of Geralt and all his merry friends, so some people who showed up I wasn’t sure who they were or why they were important right away. But having the first season be mostly the first book, a collection of short stories, it’s nice to have that in the back of my mind.
And while I don’t have too much to actually say on the account that the series seems like it will go on for a while, all I can really say is how much I enjoyed the very faithful and great adaptation from Book/Game to a TV Show that has nice long full hour long episodes. I would have preferred more than eight episodes, as they are just so great to watch,I can deal with it. Henry Cavil’s portrayal of Geralt is right up there with Doug Cockel’s, and he does an amazing job showing both Geralt’s serious tone with a touch of sympathy and endearment. Really everyone does a great job and it feels like pretty much everything from a production standpoint got a very large upgrade form the first season.
While the second season did feel a bit less action based, and there didn’t seem to be as much happening as opposed to the first season, I still find it a better overall season merely for the fact that there is a single timeline in a linear line. There were several characters that didn’t feel very utilized, such as Ciri’s elf friend Darron, as he just doesn’t do anything other than report to an owl a couple times, and a few other’s where their inclusion just didn't’ feel justified in the slightest. Along with the major chunk of the season devoted to hanging out at Kaer Morhen, the witcher’s main home/training lair. It almost felt a bit like The Walking Dead’s Farm season in a way, but no where near as bad.
The episodes are split up following multiple characters and some just don’t have a great buildup, or just kinda disappear for the rest of the season. But when I realized that The Witcher is about a nomad who wanders from town to town picking up random monster hunting jobs, I remember that Geralt has a ton of people show up in his life for a moment or two and then leave. So I can just chalk that up to the way his stories go. I don’t find it entirely great that they’ve already shot a spinoff series featuring people we don’t care about at all, but if I just pay attention to “The Witcher” series and seasons, I’ll be fine.
Season 2 corrects so many stand out issues from the first season, and increases the production value, effects, acting and definitely costume design, that it blows season one out of the water. With Season 2 still leading with more varied action scenes and larger stakes, Season 2 fills out the underlying political struggle of the continent, pitting different factions against each other. At this point, you either like the series or not, and if you do, I think you’d feel like me, and see Season 2 as a gigantic improvement for the series and ready for Season 3 to really go all out crazy in action.