The Daily Stream: Come For Henry Cavill, Stay For The Dark Fantasy In 'The Witcher'

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Series: The Witcher

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: In a magical medieval-esque world, Henry Cavill plays Geralt of Rivia (AKA The Witcher), a brooding, white-haired monster-killer who gets entangled in a destiny he does not want. There's monster slaying, yes, but also catchy tunes, a badass sorceress, and more than one star-crossed romance.

Why It's Essential Viewing: The Witcher is a must-watch for those who love fantasy and/or Henry Cavill. The Netflix series, adapted by showrunner Lauren Schmidt from Andrzej Sapkowski's books (it's also a very popular video game, I'm told), brings the fictional world of the Continent to life with vivid landscapes. Unlike some other popular fantasy series, The Witcher juxtaposes bright, happy moments with gothic sequences full of death and despair because levity is important.

As someone who's read a couple of Sapkowski's books and enjoyed the gothic fairytale-like world he created, I was cautiously intrigued when I first heard Netflix was making a Witcher television show. I also loved Geralt, the monster slayer who's arguably a magical monster in his own right. He, like most of my favorite (anti?)heroes, is jaded and grizzled — someone who tries to push the world away rather than be part of it. He is, in short, totally messed up physically and emotionally. And for reasons I should probably see a therapist about, I'm really drawn to those types of characters.

I initially wasn't very enthused with Henry Cavill's casting, even though I'm a fan of him as an actor. In my mind, Cavill was too pretty and too perfectly chiseled to play the gruff Geralt. In the first episode, however, Cavill won me over. His portrayal matched the Geralt in my heart, and the way he mumbles "fuck" at all the right moments brings me joy.

The show isn't all about Cavill, however. The first season weaves between three storylines that take place in three different moments in time. This admittedly is confusing if you go in not knowing this, though the show does drop clues along the way. Once you've figured that out (and now you know, because I've told you!), it's satisfying to see how the three stories mirror each other and eventually meet.

The Witcher also delivers on two levels. First, there's the overarching big bad: the kingdom of Nilfgaard killing everyone in Princess Ciri's (Freya Allan) kingdom of Cintra and trying to capture Ciri herself, who is magically Very Special™.

What's more enjoyable for me, however, are the smaller stories and the magical characters the show brings to life. There are dryads and dragons, elves and ghouls, strigas and sorcerers, warrior queens and cheeky bards. All these creatures create a vivid tapestry of what life is like on the Continent.

It's a violent fantasy world to live in, but a delightful one to watch.