The executive producer of Netflix’s The Witcher, Tomek Baginski, has blamed American audiences and social media websites for the fact that the show has something of a simplified plot compared to the original books it is based on.
Baginski recently spoke to the Polish outlet Wyborcza, explaining why the Netflix series had to change its plot from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and why the scripts had to be rewritten.
“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 began (via Redanian Intelligence).
Referring to a scrapped attempt at making a Warsaw uprising show called Hardkor 44, the producer singled out American audiences for their lack of historical understanding. “There was an uprising against Germany, but the Russians were across the river,” he said, “and on the German side, there were also soldiers from Hungary or Ukraine.
“For Americans, it was completely incomprehensible,” Baginski continued, “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.”
However, the producer was also keen to stress that perhaps plot simplifications are necessary to reach a wider audience, noting, “A series is made for a huge mass of viewers, and a large part of them are Americans. The higher level of nuance and complexity will have a smaller range; it won’t reach people.”
Baginski also criticised the younger generation for not caring about a show’s narrative compared to its mere aesthetic. “Those people grew up on TikTok and YouTube; they jump from video to video,” he said. “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.”