Is The Witcher going to be the next Game of Thrones? Or it will be better?
Game of Thrones ended its record-breaking eight-season run on HBO in May to a divisive reaction from fans and critics. But its legacy as the most successful fantasy TV series in history was never in doubt. Netflix and virtually every other network and streaming service hopes to tap into the growing fantasy craze with more monsters and magic.
The HBO drama changed the way mainstream television audiences perceive the fantasy genre, say Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the showrunner of Netflix’s own upcoming fantasy series, The Witcher.
The Witcher is just one of the many big-budget, ambitious fantasy series you’ll be able to watch on TV in the coming years.
Amazon is investing billions of dollars in a show based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. (The company is also developing shows based on Conan the Barbarian and The Wheel of Time, a popular series of novels by Robert Jordan).
Showtime is making a TV show based on the fantasy book series The Kingkiller Chronicle.
And HBO, for its part, isn’t quite ready to let Westeros go: It has already ordered a Game of Thrones prequel, titled House of the Dragon, straight to series.
Though it’s been nearly 20 years since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and the Harry Potter movies made fantasy a respectable (and lucrative) film genre, TV has been slower to take it on due to financial constraints.
But thanks to deep-pocketed Silicon Valley players (as well as Disney entering the streaming landscape). Television production budgets are ballooning, and networks are more willing to take the financial leap. Now that Thrones has demonstrated the genre can be more than a niche offering. The audience for fantasy clearly exists, and now the money does too.
“We’re now, technologically speaking, at a place in television where we can create really believable monsters,” .
“The expectations are there, and in television we’re finally able to meet them.”Hissrich said
Unlike Game of Thrones, which notoriously downplayed many of its most magical fantasy elements in order to appeal to genre newcomers, The Witcher leans into those conventions. Geralt himself is a practitioner of magic, and hardly a minute goes by without a character casting a spell, felling some foul beast, or trying to lift a curse. Through the five episodes provided to critics, it’s less overtly political than its HBO counterpart, though perhaps that will come later once it has laid the groundwork of its fictional universe.
“People have asked me, ‘Is it going to be the next Game of Thrones?’ The truth is, The Witcher is going to stand on its own two legs, it really is its own show.”Hissrich said.