The Witcher: Blood Origin Has Netflix’s Lowest Viewer Ratings Ever

What once looked like it could be Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones is now in serious trouble. After next season, Henry Cavill will no longer be the star of The Witcher, and the show’s first attempt to expand its universe with a new live-action show seems to be going badly.

First, the good news: The Witcher: Blood Origin is currently the most-watched show on Netflix. This means that it has a lot of fans, putting it ahead of shows like Wednesday and Emily in Paris.

The bad news is that people may be disappointed by what they are actually watching and wish they hadn’t bothered. Right now, The Witcher: Blood Origin has the worst audience scores I’ve ever seen for a major Netflix original. Critics haven’t been too kind to it, either.

Have a look at:

Even though a 35% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t great, I guess technically I’ve seen worse (my favorite Netflix statistic is that both of its 365 Days movie series have 0% ratings). But for audience scores? I’ve never seen a nine percent before.

The last time I wrote about a Netflix show with the lowest ratings ever, it was the now-canceled Resident Evil series, which only got a 22% rating from viewers. I had never seen anything like that before, not even in other lambasted series.

Even shows that everyone thought were pretty bad, like Jupiter’s Legacy, which had a 41% critic score and a 77% audience score, or Haters Back Off, which is on many “worst Netflix shows” lists and had a 50% critic score and a 76% audience score, were often liked more by audiences than critics. Back then, the only original game I saw that was similar to Resident Evil was the CG RE series Infinite Darkness, which got a 50% score from critics and a 39% score from audiences.

Fans and critics may not like The Witcher: Blood Origin as much as any other show on Netflix. Why? Here are a few examples of what each group has to offer:

“The TV equivalent, in a way, of a tangentially-related hyperlink that you end up clicking while reading about something else on Wikipedia.” – Ready Steady Cut (Critic Review)

“Lackluster, unoriginal and carried through on the promise of better things – The Witcher: Blood Origin is a mediocre affair. Michelle Yeoh is wasted, Lenny Henry lacks conviction and Minnie Driver goes some great narration. Best avoided.” – We Got This Covered (Critic Review)

Just brutal. I don’t know exactly what went wrong here, but Netflix needs to figure it out so that whatever poisoned this series doesn’t spread to the last few seasons of The Witcher.

Some people have asked why we’re even having this conversation since The Witcher is “obviously” being review-bombed and has a very low audience score (8% as of this update). So here are some things to think about:

Yes, it is sad but true that many fantasy shows with prominent roles for women or people of color have been criticized for being racist. But none of those have been “review bombed” nearly as badly as Blood Origin has been.

This includes The Witcher (75%), House of the Dragon (82%), and Rings of Power (38%). Even things like Ms. Marvel (80%), Captain Marvel (45%), and She-Hulk (33%), which we know were actively review bombed, are not even close to Blood Origin’s 8%. Nothing at all is. It’s not like anything else.

Second, you might want to read the audience reviews before saying that it’s a specific reaction to casting people of different races. As I read through them, I see maybe one comment about “politics” or “diversity” for every…fifty reviews? Most of them don’t talk about that, nor do they talk about Henry Cavill’s recent departure from the series. Instead, they talk about how weirdly bad the show’s production value is compared to The Witcher itself, as well as how wooden the dialogue and performances are.

Yes, it is true that The Witcher: Blood Origin is not the worst show ever on Netflix, as these scores suggest. But with scores this low and also low scores from critics, something is very wrong. This is a big deal because The Witcher was supposed to be a huge IP and world that Netflix could grow and expand in the future. And now it feels like everything is falling apart.

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