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The Witcher producer blames Americans and social media for Netflix series' simplified plot

Papa Roach.

Henry Cavill as Geralt in The Witcher
Image credit: Netflix

Tomek Baginski, executive producer on Netflix's The Witcher, has blamed American audiences and social media sites such as TikTok for the series' simplified take on the books' plots.

Speaking to Polish outlet Wyborcza (and translated by Redanian Intelligence), Baginski tried to explain why the TV series had changed plot elements from Andrzej Sapkowski's novels.

The producer explained a lot happens behind the scenes, such as scripts needing to be rewritten due to a cast member falling ill. "There are a lot of understandable reasons why controversial decisions are made, but the viewer does not have this context, so sometimes it hurts because something was better in the book," Baginski reasoned.

Here's a trailer for season three of The Witcher.Watch on YouTube

He continued to single out Western audiences specifically. The producer reflected on a previous attempt to create Hardkor 44, a variation on the Warsaw Uprising, that ultimately never got made.

"[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 recalled. "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."

Baginski said plot simplification makes sense 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". In fact, he said they are "necessary".

The producer stated he finds this apparent need to simplify a series' plot "painful", but ultimately the showrunners have to "make these decisions and accept them".

Said Baginski: "The higher level of nuance and complexity will have a smaller range, it won't reach people."

Henry Cavill in The Witcher
Image credit: Netflix

As Redanian Intelligence pointed out, this is not the first time Baginski has made this sort of remark. In a separate interview last year, discussing the show's second season with YouTube channel Imponderabilia, The Witcher producer took aim at TikTok. "When it comes to shows, the younger the public is, the logic of the plot is less significant," he said.

When asked what he believed to be significant for younger people, Baginski replied: "Just emotions. Just pure emotions. A bare emotional mix. Those people grew up on TikTok and YouTube, they jump from video to video."

When his interviewer pointed out Baginski was talking to one such person, the producer responded: "It's time to be serious. Dear children, what you do to yourself makes you less resilient for longer content, for long and complicated chains of cause and effect."

The Witcher screenshot
The Witcher screenshot
Image credit: Netflix

The third series of The Witcher is currently available on Netflix, and marks Henry Cavill's last hurrah as the white-haired Geralt of Rivia.

Over on Rotten Tomatoes, season three is sitting with a critic score of 77 percent. However, its audience score is a shocking 22 percent, with many lamenting the lack of respect shown to The Witcher's source material.

"This series is a slap in the face to the fans," reads one user review.

The Witcher's third season has a 22 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes
Image credit: Rotten Tomatoes/Eurogamer

Thankfully, the games are faring better. Earlier this year, it was announced The Witcher 3 has now sold 50m copies, cementing the title's position as one of the best-selling games of all time.

Meanwhile, the Witcher trilogy as a whole has now sold in excess of 75m copies.

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