The Witcher: Blood Origin has Netflix’s worst audience ever

What once seemed like it could be Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones appears to be in serious trouble. The Witcher has lost Henry Cavill as its star after the next season, and his first attempt at trying to expand his universe with a new live-action show appears to be going disastrously.

Good news first: The Witcher: Blood Origin is currently premiering on Netflix, which suggests it’s got great viewership for its push on the likes of Wednesday and Emily in Paris.

The bad news: What people are actually watching may make them wish they hadn’t been bothered. Right now, in addition to getting very poor scores from critics, The Witcher: Blood Origin has literally the worst audience ratings for a Netflix original I’ve ever seen.

While the critics’ 35% on Rotten Tomatoes certainly isn’t great, I technically suppose I’ve seen worse (Netflix’s favorite stat is the double 0% for both 365-day movie series). But for audience scores? I have not seen nine percent Before.

The last time I was writing about a series with an all-time low audience score on Netflix was the now-cancelled Resident Evil series, which had an audience score of 22%. At the time, I hadn’t seen anything close to that, even among other soap operas. Even shows that were universal though often very bad ended up liking more audiences than critics, such as Jupiter’s Legacy, which has a score of 41% from critics and a 77% from audience, or Haters Back Off, a show that shows on several “lists of worst Netflix shows”, with 50% from critics and 76% from audiences. The only original I’d seen close to Resident Evil at the time was Infinite Darkness, the CG RE series, which had a 50% critic score and a 39% audience score.

The Witcher: Blood Origin may be the worst reviewed series, among fans and critics, that Netflix has ever seen. Why? Here are some samples from both groups:

  • “The TV equivalent, in a way, of the casually linked hyperlink that you end up clicking while reading about something else on Wikipedia.” – Cut Ready & Fixed (Critical Review)
  • “Lacking in style, unoriginal and executed on the promise of better things – The Witcher: Blood Origin is a mediocre affair. Michelle Yeoh is lost, Lenny Henry lacks conviction and Minnie Driver tells some great narration. Best avoided.” – It’s Covered (Critical Review)
  • “Bad. Just really bad. I wonder when Netflix will get to the point where they can’t handle the source material any worse. I sure hope this is their last low point, otherwise it might be time to leave this platform for good” = Al R (Review The audience)
  • In a generic fantasy setting with so many understated characters, a soulless show emerges from somewhere that should have risen. Between obnoxious and awful, this non-Witcher basically has nothing noteworthy. It does absolutely nothing for Witcher fans: it doesn’t add up. Nothing, builds nothing, has no personality or looks like the source material. I could have watched the original Polish show that you might not even know existed, but that was way too much.” – Marcelo A (Audience Review)

Just brutal. I don’t know exactly what went wrong here, but Netflix really needs to figure that out to make sure whatever is poisoning this series doesn’t translate into the last few seasons of The Witcher itself.

Update (12/27): I’ve seen some people question why this conversation is happening at all, given that The Witcher was “obviously” blown in review for a low audience score (now it’s down to 8%, at the time of this update). So, there are a few things to consider:

Yes, it’s sadly true that many fantasy series that have cast women or people of color in prominent roles have received racist backlashes. However, none of those are “review blown” nearly as bad as we see here with Blood Origin. This includes the House of the Dragon (82%), the Rings of Power (38%) and The Witcher himself (75%). If you want to extend outside fiction to the things we know it was actively The review bombed, many in the superhero space, even things like Ms. Marvel (80%), Captain Marvel (45%), and She-Hulk (33%) are still nowhere near Blood Origin’s 8%. Literally nothing. It’s in a league of its own.

Secondly, you may actually want to… read audience reviews before you say they are definite opposition to variety casting. Going through it, I see maybe one comment about “politics” or “diversity” for every… fifty comments? The vast majority of them don’t revolve around that, nor do they mention Henry Cavill’s recent departure from the series, but focus entirely on the series’ oddly weak production value compared to The Witcher itself, its wooden dialogue and performances.

Sure, The Witcher: Blood Origin certainly isn’t the worst literal show in Netflix history, as these results indicate. But for scores That’s lowAlso, in addition to low scores from critics, something seriously went wrong here, which is a huge problem considering The Witcher was supposed to be a massive IP and a world for Netflix’s future growth and expansion. It feels like everything is collapsing now.

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