The newest installment in Netflix’s growing Witcher franchise, The Witcher: Blood Origin, was recently released to a resounding “meh” from critics. But the fan response is even worse, with the four-episode limited series sporting a dismal eight percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The low scores are the result of a few different factors related to the show, the original books, and former Superman actor, Henry Cavill.
The Witcher: Blood Origin is a limited series set within the same universe as Netflix’s main Witcher show, and both are based on the original series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. However, Blood Origin is set a thousand years before the events of the original television series, and “depicts the creation of the first Witcher, as well as the events leading to the Conjunction of the Spheres.” It also stars Michelle Yeoh, who definitely deserves better than this poorly reviewed, low-rated fantasy prequel.
Over on movie review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Blood Origin sports a 36 percent approval rating among critics and an even worse eight percent approval rating from fans (h/t Forbes). While the critic score is bad and places it among some of the worst-rated original shows on Netflix, it’s the historically low eight percent audience rating that’s really wild.
Of course, it should be noted that some fans are review-bombing the series for a few different reasons. Some are angry Henry Cavill supporters still fuming about his late October exit from the main show. Others are Witcher fans who continue to be frustrated with Netflix’s handling of the original source material in its Witcher projects. Viewers being upset about how a series handles the source material has become a hot topic among many video game fans, with complaints that Netflix’s short-lived Resident Evil series and Paramount’s Halo show are both straying too far from the original works they are supposedly based on. This is likely why Amazon recently made a big deal about how its upcoming God of War TV show will be “staying true” to the games.
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Yet, it’s hard to ignore that very low eight percent viewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even Netflix’s supposedly despised Resident Evil show has a 26 percent approval rating from fans. (Halo sits at a comparatively excellent 52 percent.) Blood Origin’s rating, at least from what I can tell, seems to be the lowest viewer score from any Netflix original show. It’s even lower than some other infamously review-bombed films and shows, like Disney and Marvel’s She-Hulk (33 percent) or Star Wars: The Last Jedi (42 percent).
With all that in mind, my read is that this isn’t just another case of a property getting review-bombed by chuds, but instead just a really bad show that even diehard Witcher fans don’t enjoy. Reading fan reviews, many complain about the shoddy CGI, boring pace, bland writing, and a general lack of direction. This echoes similar complaints from critics, too. For Netflix, this can’t be a good thing, and doesn’t bode well for the future of its monster-slaying franchise in a post-Henry Cavill Witcher-verse.