One of the crucial frequent criticisms of The Witcher on Netflix is that it strays too removed from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels. It could have been a source of some stress behind the scenes, too: Former collection star Henry Cavill made a degree of claiming he “pushed actually, actually onerous” to remain true to the books, whereas additionally claiming that a number of the writers on the show “actively disliked” them. There is no query that some points of the novel have been simplified for the TV show, and in an interview with Polish site Wyborcza (translated by Witcher fan site Redanian Intelligence), govt producer Tomek Baginski defined why a few of these modifications have been made: “[A] larger stage of nuance and complexity can have a smaller vary.”

Typically modifications are made out of financial necessity: Manufacturing cannot cease as a result of an actor will get sick, as an illustration. However the wants of a global viewers, notably a Western viewers—and much more particularly the profitable US market—additionally must be saved in thoughts, in keeping with Baginski. He stated he encountered a “perceptual block” with American audiences some years in the past, when he was selling an unfinished movie challenge referred to as Hardkor 44, a sci-fi retelling of the Warsaw Rebellion.

“[I tried to explain: There was an uprising against Germany, but the Russians were across the river, and on the German side there were also soldiers from Hungary or Ukraine,” he said. “For Americans, it was completely incomprehensible, too complicated, because they grew up in a different historical context, where everything was arranged: America is always good, the rest are the bad guys. And there are no complications.”

That lesson, whether you agree with it or not, apparently stuck. “When a series is made for a huge mass of viewers, with different experiences, from different parts of the world, and a large part of them are Americans, these simplifications not only make sense, they are necessary,” Baginski said. “It’s painful for us, and for me too, but the higher level of nuance and complexity will have a smaller range, it won’t reach people. Sometimes it may go too far, but we have to make these decisions and accept them.”

Zinging the US has been a pan-European pastime of high falutin creatives for decades, yes, but even so the specificity of Baginski’s criticism—Americans!—comes off as kind of weird and unnecessarily insulting. History is complicated, yes, and it’s natural to contextualize it within the boundaries of our own experiences, but citing an inability to grasp complexity and nuance as a specific national trait is a hell of a generalization.

He’s not done, either. In addition to laying the blame at the door of all Americans, Baginski had more shots to fire in defence of Netflix’s less-literate take on The Witcher. In a separate interview with YouTube channel Imponderabilia, he also pointed the finger at the kids, saying that growing up with YouTube and TikTok has left them without the patience for “longer content [and] lengthy and sophisticated chains of trigger and impact.”

(The interviewer in that case, who described himself as somebody from that youthful technology, had a really pointed response to Baginski’s assertion: “What you imply is that you do not know make a show that youngsters want to watch.” Ouch.)

Setting apart the meat, I feel Baginski’s factors have some validity in a extra basic sense: In case your show is not accessible to a broad viewers, you are not going to get very far on a serious streaming service lately. These execs are set off glad. And look, The Witcher books are difficult as hell, with people and factions wrapped up in layers of intertwining plots and energy video games. You possibly can’t simply dump that on folks (particularly the overwhelming majority of viewers who aren’t die-hard Witcher followers) and anticipate them to remain engaged. Redanian Intelligence has breakdown of how the show modified one of many e book’s main plot factors, as an illustration, and it takes a number of paragraphs to clarify. May Netflix have pulled off that sort of complexity in its Witcher adaptation? Possibly—nevertheless it nearly definitely would have made the show longer, slower, costlier, and never essentially profitable. At a time when leisure media is both a direct hit or a whole failure, that is an issue.

The third season of The Witcher—Henry Cavill’s final hurrah—is now out in full on Netflix. We loved the primary half of the season fairly a bit, nevertheless it’s faring considerably inconsistently on evaluate aggregator Rotten Tomatoes: It holds a 77% score with critics, however simply 22% with audiences.