The Witcher: Blood Origin has come under heavy criticism from fans and critics alike, leading many to wonder exactly what went wrong with this Netflix original series. Blood Origin is a prequel to The Witcher, set approximately 1200 years before the events of the main series. Blood Origin attempts to explain the conjunction of the spheres, a supernatural clash of worlds and timelines that leads to the arrival of humans and other slimy monsters on the continent, as well as the origins of the very first witcher.
Part of Blood Origin’s struggles could be that the series came at a bad time, with the loss of Henry Cavill causing uproar within the fandom. However, The Witcher: Blood Origin mostly suffered from its own mistakes and shortcomings as a series. With the news that Cavill is leaving The Witcher and Blood Origin tanking, Netflix’s once-thriving franchise could be in serious trouble losing its fanbase. The Witcher season 3 will have to avoid the following mistakes made in Blood Origin or risk losing the fanbase altogether.
Cut episodes of Blood Origin led to critical underdevelopment
The underlying problem with the entire series is that there simply wasn’t enough time for the characters or the plot to mature over four episodes. Blood Origin’s ending feels undeserved because the plot is so underdeveloped and the characters follow terribly generic arcs. One of the biggest problems with episode cuts is that there is very little time for world building. With 1200 years separating Blood Origin from the world of Geralt of Rivia, there’s a lot to explain about the world at that time, especially since the continent didn’t even have humans yet.
Unfortunately, with the time constraints created by the episode, the world-building is limited to a few vague descriptions of a “Thousand Year War”, a golden empire that seems to arise out of nowhere, and a mysteriously deceased important, but largely unexplained. An elven leader named Solryth, who lived at the start of the Blood Origin timeline. Beyond that, the series tries to create a low-born versus high-born duality to give depth to the world, but this theme is hugely underexplored. Blood Origin does well to set up the social hierarchy, and it remains present throughout the series, but they fail to explain how it works or adequately explore the complex ethical issues of social hierarchy.
The Witcher: Blood Origin also seems to have been rushed into production, which is another case of underdevelopment. The nameless monster that annihilates monarchies in the pilot episode is a particularly bad example of CGI. The CGI glitch is present throughout the series, although there are some good animations as well. The series also has some gorgeous scenes in beautiful filming locations, but the overall production is a bit cheesy when paired with generic writing. Ultimately, the show’s limited episode count led to an overall feeling of inadequacy that even bled into the things the show did well.
Blood Origin characters lack depth
Another critical issue for The Witcher: Blood Origin is that the characters come off as one-dimensional stock fantasy characters. Much of this, as mentioned earlier, is due to episode limitations. However, unoriginal characters always come down to bad handwriting. The majority of characters in Blood Origin are new, meaning they are not from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels. As such, these new characters require screen time and relevant dialogue to set up their stories and make audiences care about them. Instead, they’re given vague, generic backgrounds that provide minimal depth and make the show feel unimportant, creating a huge problem for Netflix.
For example, Éile, also known as The Lark, is given a very vague story about needing to make amends with her clan. However, we never know exactly why she needs redemption. Additionally, The Lark’s clan, as well as all the other clans, are never fully explained. Instead, they’re simply dipped into the story to provide a form of paper-thin background. Without further information about the lark’s past, she comes off as another fantasy warrior in search of some kind of ambiguous redemption. In fact, virtually every character in Blood Origin comes out this way.
Fjall Stoneheart, who ends up being the first version of a witcher, receives the same amount of minimal background. In the space of perhaps his first 5 minutes on screen, Fjall goes from a quick battle scene, to having sex with Princess Merwyn, to being kicked out of his clan. Its arc is so accelerated that its narrative is unable to make individual sense. Fjall is essential to the plot of Blood Origin, as is The Lark, however, neither of them are important on their own due to their lack of depth. Characters ultimately come across as placeholders within a loose framework of overused fantasy tropes.
The origin of blood lacks originality
The aforementioned lack of depth, in terms of the series’ characters, plot, and world-building, makes The Witcher: Blood Origin feel painfully unoriginal. Blood Origin uses storytelling to try to add depth and make the show more important, but it’s just plain disastrous. Dandelion briefly appears as the narrator’s audience, but that doesn’t do much to make the show relevant or the storytelling any less cheesy. The mysterious narrator also seems to be used in self-defense of the show’s lack of originality in a conversation with Dandelion, but his defense only highlights his lack of creativity.
Unfortunately for Blood Origin, the storytelling actually exacerbates the feeling that it’s been done a hundred times. The series manages to give a bit more depth to the main series, The Witcher, but the series fails to create any real meaning of its own. Themes are yet another aspect of the show that are underdeveloped, and that contributes to the feeling that none of it really matters. The Witcher: Blood Origin ends up looking like a collage of worn-out fantasy tropes driven by a skeleton plot.
The negative reviews for The Witcher: Blood Origin point to the lack of an original plot. The show ends just like another story about a group of outcasts taking on an evil empire to save ordinary people. Without the aforementioned depth of character, the plot just feels meaningless and recycled. Plus, the show leaves more questions unanswered than it answers. Ultimately, everything from the generic plot to the boring character arcs displays the series’ singular underdevelopment in all aspects of writing and production.